Monday, November 20, 2017

Free speculative fiction short story through November 27, 2017 with Coupon Code ZE68J-- "Eternal Quest"

On its surface, this speculative fiction short story (7,800 words) deals with one man's obsessive quest for knowledge and the devastating price he must pay for the knowledge he ultimately acquires. Beneath the surface, this story is about deep friendships complicated by unrequited love, split loyalties, the interplay of id, ego and superego, (or Plato's appetites, reason and the spirited element that Freud "borrowed" and "re-labeled" for his own purposes) and existentialist lessons learned much too late in life.
It is about looking for truth and meaning in all the wrong places and about the deep tragedy of misdirected efforts in the single-minded pursuit of all the wrong things. It is also about love, and the noble and often tragic self-sacrifice that true friendship requires and that true friends give selflessly, unquestioningly no matter the cost. It is also about the pain of unrequited love and split loyalties, and ultimately the very real tragedy of too many lives spent in the single-minded pursuit of lesser important things. Nothing else I have ever written since those happy, productive days as a college sophomore means more to me, and it remains little changed from the original. Since this story was written, I've gone on to a productive life as an academic in the intervening four decades since writing this short story, but my combined output of "serious" publications (textbooks, scholarly books, articles in peer-reviewed journals, etc.) contains no greater truth than that which I knew as a young old man of 19 for whom the world still contained endless possibilities.
You can download a free copy of the short story until November 27, 2017 by clicking on the cover above or by clicking here. If speculative fiction is not your cup of tea, please share this with friends who might find it of interest. For more information about my published works, you can click on the links below. Thank you!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Free with coupon code through November 24, 2017 -- SF short story "End of Days"

This short story poses a novel theory of cosmology involving the role of black holes in the creation and extinction of a limitless number of multiverses including our own. It explores scientific arrogance and the ability of determined terrorists to exploit it, using two suitcase nukes and a commercial plane in a field experiment that will begin an irreversible countdown to the end of days. To download your copy free of charge, click on the cover photo above or click here and use the coupon code SJ42K at checkout if it does not automatically appear. 

You can preview my Mindscapes collection that includes this short story and nine others by clicking on the cover below. You can also get a free copy of the audiobook version of the collection with a free, one month trial membership by clicking on the second cover below. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did writing them.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Happy Veterans Day to All veterans!

Once a year we formally acknowledge the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform who have served in war zones, too many of whom did not return, and too many of whom returned with scars that will never fully heal. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your willingness to fight for causes greater than yourselves. Thank you for making possible the freedom we all enjoy that is ONLY possible because of your sacrifice and is never, ever free.

Our veterans ask little or nothing of us. They served quietly and suffered in silence what only they and their brothers and sisters in arms can ever know. We owe them . . .  everything: a debt we can never fully repay. Let them know what they mean to us every day, not just on Veterans Day or Memorial Day. Let their families know too, for they suffered alongside their loved ones who served in war zones far from home.

And don't forget those who fight daily to keep us safe at home--our police officers, firefighters, EMS workers--and our active duty troops who are always ready to answer the call we always hope does not come. Thank them when you see them working to keep us safe as we go about our business. And remember them all in your prayers. May God protect our men and women in uniform who serve with honor, each and every one, each and every day--and all those who served.

Free through November 19 - Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems

I am making the electronic versions of my book of my first book of poems free through Smashwords until November 19, 2017. I cannot give any of my books away through Amazon or other retailers unless I buy these unless I give Amazon exclusivity for the distribution of my books, which I am unwilling to do. I can't even buy and gift my titles to anyone outside the U.S. as Amazon restricts purchases to one's own country in order to prevent piracy. Thus, although I make my books available in most of the world's regions, I can only do an Amazon Giveaway or gift in my own region--The U.S. Fortunately, Smashwords has no such restrictions and I can offer books free without any cost to me or to the "purchaser" by issuing coupons--a main reason that I also distribute through Smashwords. The coupon code for this giveaway is KV32D but you should not need to type it in at checkout if you simply click on the book cover below or here.Unlike my current Amazon giveaways, these are available internationally, not just to U.S. residents. Also, unlike the Amazon giveaways, the first 50 people requesting one will get one--not a "contest".  Simply use the following COUPON CODE at checkout: KV32D (not case sensitive). 

You can click on the book's cover below to go directly to the book's Smashwords page. Then click "Buy" and enter the above coupon code at checkout if the price is not slashed through with the coupon code already inserted as should be the case. Free sample readings by me are also accessible from the book's page towards the bottom of the page after the brief bio. Kindle (mobi), epub,  PDF, txt, html and rtf versions are available for most any ebook reader or PC/Mac. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Free--Two SF Short Stories to first 100 readers (Expires November 15, 2017)

You can download the two shortest stories from my Mindscapes SF and speculative fiction collection free of charge from Smashwords through November 15 ("Justice" and "The Riddle of the Sphinx: Solved") by clicking on the book cover below and entering the coupon code RAE25 at checkout. 

In the first short story, "Justice", a man is being tried for the last remaining capital offense in a kinder, gentler, truly unified world in the not too distant future. In the second, "Riddle of the Sphinx: Solved" the secrets of the Sphinx are finally revealed to a curious world in prime time by the world's most famous Egyptologist in a live event reminiscent of the disastrous, much hyped opening of Al Capone's vault by Geraldo Rivera in prime time some years back. No empty bottle will be found in the chamber beneath the right paw of the Sphinx. No, not this time. Alas.

For more information about my non-fiction, fiction and poetry books, you can visit my Amazon Author's Page by clicking here. 

NOTE: The short story collection is available on paperback, audiobook and eBook versions from Amazon, Audible and most book sellers. The short story is also available in various eBook versions, including a Kindle version from Amazon and other book sellers as well. Both are also available to libraries at very low cost. If you like the preview and think you and others may enjoy reading the whole story or short story collection, won't you consider recommending them to your local library? All are available for library purchase, including through OverDrive for libraries that use the popular Live-brary platform.  Thank you!

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Earth Mother" SF Short Story Amazon Giveaway Plus Extended Free Preview (November Amazon Giveaway #1) Ends November 21, 2017

You can click on the following link for a chance to win a copy of the short story "Earth Mother" from my Mindscapes short story collection for your Kindle:

Win or lose, you can read a preview of the short story below. Good luck!


SF Short Story Preview: "Earth Mother" (C) 2011, 2014 Victor D. Lopez

A mysterious visitor from another world wakes a young, ambitious woman in the middle of the night to deliver an intriguing offer after nearly frightening her to death. He explains that his race is dying as women in his distant world are no longer able to carry embryos of their species to term. If she is willing to serve as a surrogate mother for an embryo for an accelerated gestation period of a few weeks, he promises to return to take away the child and to bestow upon her the gift of telepathy for the remainder of her life in exchange for her service. As an added bonus, the embryo will provide a boost to her immune system that will make her virtually impervious to all disease for the rest of her life. If she accepts, will her dreams finally be realized, or will she live to regret her choice?


Earth Mother

(C) 2011, 2014 Victor D. Lopez

She awoke in the throes of a mind numbing panic.  Her eardrums sympathetically vibrated with the subliminal hum of an unseen, unheard yet very palpable force just below the threshold of audible frequencies.  Her heartbeat sloshed in her ears as though she were under water, desperately trying to escape a powerful predator. 
The adrenaline in her veins and the irrational fear that paralyzed her made every joint in her body ache and yielded spasmodic pains as though her muscles were tightly coiling around themselves. Her mouth dry and vocal cords frozen from fear, Lisa lacked the power to give voice to a scream that was born, grew and died in her throat without expression.  Unable to move and still unaware of the cause of her discomfort, Lisa could detect a barely perceptible blue-green aura through the partially closed Venetian blinds and drawn drapes in her bedroom.  The air was charged;  she could sense it though the prickly itch of her hair standing on end. It smelled like a summer thunderstorm had just passed though, despite a cloudless sky. 
After long, silent moments of languishing transfixed in irrational terror, satin sheets clinging coldly to her naked body as she lay in a  perspiration-soaked bed, a painful flash of white light inundated her bedroom, leaving Lisa temporarily blind, with multiple circular black afterimages receding slowly through her repetitive blinking, eventually fading to gray and melding into a humanoid form standing some six feet from the foot of her bed. The form, a hairless, androgynous ashen skinned humanoid with large, seal-like black eyes, button nosed, with thin, small lips,  approximately five feet tall and weighing perhaps ninety-five pounds, finally spoke to her.  More accurately, it transmitted words and fragmentary, vivid images into her mind accompanied by a soft, musical sound that might be speech and was as beautiful as it was unintelligible. 
“Please, please don’t hurt me,” she thought, still unable to utter a sound.
“No need to fear; we will not do you harm. Be calm,” the creature replied in visual words and images that were fragmented but quite clear.
“Please go away.  Oh. God, help me, please.”  Lisa would have cried and screamed and run had she the power to do any of those things.  Since she did not, she lay still, mentally pleading with the seemingly innocuous creature whose presence, despite its attempts at reassurance, had done little to ameliorate her dread.
“Do not fear.  We bring you a gift with which to bargain for your help.”  The creature’s facial expression and body language did not change, but the visual messages it transmitted clearly tried to show its good will. Warmth, happiness, contentment emanated from the creature as does the sweet scent of a flower carried by a slight summer’s breeze.
“You won’t hurt me?” Lisa half asked, half pleaded, somewhat reassured by the creature’s communication, yet certainly not yet disposed to accept its alleged good will at face value.
“We come only to offer a gift, in exchange for your assistance.”
“What kind of gift?  And what type of help do you want?” Lisa’s fear seemed to dissolve rather quickly with each reference by the creature to a gift.
“We offer a great gift, the ability to communicate without words as we now do, in exchange for your service” The creature retorted, seemingly encouraged into more negotiation by Lisa’s growing receptiveness.
“Are you offering me the gift of telepathy?”  Lisa’s heart, no longer beating fast in response to fear, was beginning to speed up in response to a new growing emotion.”
“You may call it that, yes.”
“What do you want in exchange?” Lisa asked, furrowing her brow slightly, and beginning to ask herself what in her power she would not be willing to do for that ability.
“You must incubate one of us and nurture it until it is strong enough to part from you.”
“I don’t understand. Do you want me to care for you or one of your kind? To be a baby sitter?”
“Much more,” the creature replied, sending Lisa a clear image of a human body, her body, in the last stages of pregnancy.
“No!” replied Lisa, as she tried instinctively to close her legs and gather her sheets about her, aware for the first time with revulsion of her nakedness and vulnerable position. She also remembered the unpleasant reports of alien encounters with horrific medical exams and intrusive probes wielded by intergalactic perverts apparently intent on molesting humans for their own gratification. But her body would not obey her commands; whether she was paralyzed by some sort of stasis field of by the creature’s mental powers, she did not know. 
“It is not copulation we seek,” the creature immediately offered, seemingly amused and sending a clear visual image of its honorable intentions.  “Our anatomy is unlike yours and would not permit it, but your womb is compatible for our purposes.  We would plant an embryo in your uterus that would grow, protected and nourished through your normal biological means” With this, the creature sent an image of a sesame seed-sized embryo being implanted into a human host, and later emerging in the usual means less than a fifth the size of a human baby.
“No pain?” Lisa asked, relived but cautious.
“Both the implantation and the subsequent birth are completely free of discomfort.”
“How long for the procedure and how long is the period of gestation?”
“Two of your minutes for the implantation and six of your weeks for the gestation to be completed.”
“A two minute implant and painless delivery six weeks later buys me the gift of telepathy, huh.  Is that your deal?”
“Wait a minute.  My mother raised no fools.  How long does my telepathy last?”
“Throughout the entire period of your life.”
“Not bad.  A lifetime of telepathy for six weeks of work.” Lisa replied, more to herself than to the creature, who perhaps sensing that fact made no reply.
Then, her brow furrowing again, she continued, “If this is such an easy deal, why do you need me?  Why can’t your own kind do so themselves.”
“All of those capable of breeding on our world are dead.” The creature’s thoughts and mental images conveyed great sadness. “We will cease to exist as a species unless we have outworlders such as yourself help us.”
“Sorry to hear that.“  She thought back at the creature, which again made no reply.  “Is there any risk to me from the pregnancy or birth? Will you return for the birth?  And how long need I care for the thing afterwards?”
“There is no risk to you during gestation.  We will give you medications to strengthen your immune system and eradicate any illness you may currently have. The medication will also prevent your antibodies from attacking the embryo.  We can guarantee your health and vitality for the rest of your natural life as a byproduct of the procedure.  As to our return, it is unnecessary.  Our infants are self-sufficient and require only the most basic type of sustenance for a period that never exceeds two of your weeks after their birth. The infant would then move on without need of any additional assistance from you.”
        “Sounds like a deal to me.  The little bugger will pop out like a slice of toast when its time comes, care for itself immediately, leaving me with telepathy and good health for life, and I don’t even have to undergo morning sickness or stretch marks.  What more could a girl want?” She smiled, thinking about the possibilities that telepathy would provide for her.  To know what others thought, and to be able to plant messages in their minds.  The possibilities were intoxicatingly endless.

[ **** END OF PREVIEW **** ]

For additional information about most of my published books, you can visit my author pages at AmazonSmashwords and iBooks and most other book retailers. You can also recommend my books for purchase by your local library if you use Livebrary and Overdrive. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Free through November 7, 2017 -- "End of Days" SF short story. The end is very near and there is nothing you can do about it.

This short story poses a novel theory of cosmology involving the role of black holes in the creation and extinction of a limitless number of multiverses including our own. It explores scientific arrogance and the ability of determined terrorists to exploit it, using two suitcase nukes and a commercial plane in a field experiment that will begin an irreversible countdown to the end of days. To download your copy free of charge, click on the cover photo above or click here and use the coupon code SJ42K at checkout. 

You can preview my Mindscapes collection that includes this short story and nine others by clicking on the cover below. You can also get a free copy of the audiobook version of the collection with a free, one month trial membership by clicking on the second cover below. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did writing them.