Final Duty – The Alien War Anthology
Three stories all separated by time, planets and events, but tied together by war.
That is the idea behind Final Duty – The Alien War Anthology, scheduled for release in early 2013.
I’ve been working on a novella and two short stories that I wrote long ago, but never released. I felt they were excellent stories, but I never knew what to do with them. In the end, I decided to publish the stories, totaling about 27,000 words, in a single volume. All are firmly set in the military science fiction subgenre. Here is a synopsis of each.
Final Duty: Twenty years after the death of her father during the Battle of Altair, Lieutenant Amy Palmer returns to the system as an officer aboard the reconnaissance ship Mirage. Almost immediately disaster strikes and Amy, along with the crew of the Mirage, must face the possibility of performing their final duties.
I wrote most of Final Duty while serving on the U.S.S. Missouri (BB-63) during the Gulf War. I’m certain that writing this story while living in the confined grayness of a navy ship during battle gave it an added sense of realism. While writing it I tried to take current military procedures and imagine them in a future spacefaring navy. At nearly 16,000 words, Final Duty the longest story in this collection.
The Promise: A young man will soon leave the planet of his birth with his wife and child, but his mother refuses to go until they visit an old war memorial. The visit stirs buried memories or are they something else.
This short story, of just of 5,000 words, includes a tale told in flashback within the main story. Today, they tell writers not to do flashbacks, but I didn’t know that at the time and, regardless, I think it works. This was written before Final Duty, while I was on deployment with the USS Sterett (CG-31) in the western Pacific and, I believe, it was also helped by the fact that I was onboard a navy ship at the time. While it was my first venture into the military science fiction genre there is just a bit of romance. At just over 5,000 words, it is the shortest story in this anthology.
Infinite Darkness: A young man wakes up and discovers he is the new guy in an army unit on an alien world.
While the previous tales were naval, this story uses a loop literary technique to examine one day in the life of a soldier caught in combat on an alien world. I quizzed my youngest son, an Army veteran, for procedural details while writing it. This story is just over 6,000 words.
I’ve finished my rewrites and edits this weekend and have sent them off for final editing. I’ll start working on the cover design in the next few days. Originally I thought this collection would come out in the spring of 2013, but now I believe we can have it out shortly after the new year.