Three stories all separated by time, planets and
events, but tied together by war.
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.
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.
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.
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.