Two ambitious young CIA officers luck into a chance to shine when a satellite picks up a mysterious signal from space. As their investigation spirals into an overdrive quest for the truth, superpowers collide, placing Lance and Kuldeep in the unenviable role of collateral damage. The future of humanity hangs in the balance. Who will step up to be the hero Earth needs? Set in the present day, The Signal and the Boys is a fast-paced SF thriller short so realistic that it'll make you wonder what the government is hiding.
Welcome to Rust Valley. The Wild North is full of nasty places, but there are some places you just don’t go. One of them is that scrapyard desert known as Rust Valley. It’s where vehicles go to die. That’s why you don’t go in after them. The bounty hunter Nox made a promise to himself that he’d never be caught dead there. Yet, when a couple of kids end up wandering inside that metal maze, he finds himself with no other choice. He decks himself out in his finest armour. He’ll need it. That land is where the rust-covered Clockwork Commune live, and if they don’t scavenge the metal off you, they’ll scavenge the flesh instead. Nox is used to being called the Coilhunter, but this time he’s saddling up with a new, more fitting title: the Rustkiller.
Revolutionary young samurai with dirigibles take on Commodore Perry and his Black Ships in this alternate history steampunk technofantasy set in 1850s samurai-era Japan.In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as the commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation's closed borders like vultures, growing ever more demanding. Tōru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by American traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun's ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Tōru must transform the Emperor's realm before the Black Ships come. Tōru: Wayfarer Returns is the first book in the Sakura Steam Series, an alternate history of the tumultuous period from the opening of Japan in 1853 to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. This volume covers the year prior to the American Commodore Perry's arrival in Japan and follows the hero and his young allies as they lead Japan through a massively compressed industrial revolution, dramatically altering that pivotal moment in history in their favor.While Tōru and his dirigibles are fictional, the story unfolds against the backdrop of the "real" Japan of that period, with historical figures and their political environment woven into the tale, staying true to their motivations and agendas even as the alternate history warps their actions, history and a few laws of physics. Underpinning the adventure plot is a young man's yearning for his father's approval and an honorable place in his world.Readers who enjoy steampunk alternate histories more typically set in Victorian England or the American Wild West may enjoy this steampunk story made fresh by the Japanese samurai setting, as well as readers who enjoy historical fiction set in Japan.
On the planet Fortune, tech is low, tensions high and heroes… unlikely. Wrongly convicted of treason, Gideon Quinn spent six years harvesting crystal under the killing suns of the Morton Barrens. When a general of the Corps arrives with an offer of freedom and the chance to clear his name, Gideon doesn’t have to think twice. With his pet draco Elvis on his shoulder, Gideon takes ‘ship for Nike City on a quest for justice (or, failing that, revenge). What he finds is a dodger named Mia, a city steeped in corruption, and a menace at the heart of the Corps which could bring Fortune’s new and fragile peace to an explosive end. And that’s just his first night in town.
In the world of Altadas, there are no more human births. The Regime is replacing the unborn with demons, while the Resistance is trying to destroy a drug called Hope that the demons need to survive. Between these two warring factions lies Jacob, a man who profits from smuggling contraceptive amulets into the city of Blackout. He cares little about the Great Iron War, but a chance capture, and an even more accidental rescue, embroils him in a plot to starve the Regime from power. When Hope is an enemy, Jacob finds it harder than he thought to remain indifferent. When the Resistance opts to field its experimental landship, the Hopebreaker, the world may find that one victory does not win a war.
Sixteen light-years from Earth, a black hole spins in the darkness, gravity and rotation flattening it into a Kerr singularity. In Colombo, Sri Lanka, a suicidal alcoholic signs up for the ultimate one-way trip: to be frozen, sent light years away from home, and shot into the black hole itself.
Digital painting programs - notably Corel's painter - are now developed to the point that they can superbly emulate the whole gamut of conventional painting techniques. With a computer and a cheap graphics tablet, anyone can now pick up a digital brush and aspire to create amazing work. For the first time, expert author Carlyn Beccia shows how these powerful digital tools can be used to successfully emulate old master painting techniques. Each chapter showcases one great painter (the selection includes Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Sargent, Gustav Klimt, Matisse, Picasso and others) and analyses the techniques that set each one apart. These techniques are then imitated in stepby- step tutorials, allowing the reader to achieve amazingly convincing results.