The Epoch Index
Quinn Mitchell is a nine-to-five spy. She’s a data analyst for the CIA during the day, and a suburban wife and mother on evenings and weekends. After a series of personal struggles and professional failures, Quinn hopes to find redemption in her newest assignment: a series of bizarre assassinations where victims are found with three-digit numbers tattooed, burned, or carved into their flesh. As Quinn pursues the killer across the globe — always one body behind — their lives become entangled in ways neither of them can predict.
This novella by Christian Cantrell (about 13,000 words) takes place in a world bordering on unprecedented change: as oil-based economies shift to hydrogen, the majority of wealth is redistributed across the globe; as aging nuclear arsenals are replaced with even more menacing threats, terrorists try to seize opportunities to tip the balance of power; and as humans become increasingly dependent on machines, massive indexes of information accumulate which can reveal almost anything about anyone to those who know how to use them.
The Epoch Index is a story about a world changing faster than humanity can adapt to it — a world which may require us to redefine what it means to be a hero.
When humanity is forced to the edges of the last remaining habitable regions along Earth’s equator, three nations turn against one another, competing for resources in a desperate bid for survival. In an effort to end a decades-long stalemate with China and Russia, the American military turns to Miguel dos Santos, a brilliant roboticist living in self-imposed exile. They’re after his creation—the Autonomous Self Replicating Asset (ASRA)—a ruthless robot that makes the perfect soldier. Key to ASRA’s utility is its brainbox, a neurological processor that combines the logic and reasoning of a computer with the creativity and free will of a human. ASRA is the Americans’ best hope at finally winning the seventy-five-year Equatorial Wars, but as Miguel reluctantly carries out his orders, it becomes clear he has his own plans for the fate of humanity.
Brainbox is a stark, chilling vision of the future of warfare in a devastated, dystopian world.
In an economically depressed and politically dysfunctional US of the near future, the long-defunct NASA is reestablished. Wanting to revive American hope and patriotism, the president engages in a “space race” redux, though this time around the competition is the Chinese rather than the Soviets, the target is Mars instead of the moon, and the US is hopelessly behind.
In a desperate attempt to catch up, a ragtag team of NASA’s elite comes up with a far-fetched plan to beat the Chinese to the punch. But when the shuttle’s pilot—lead engineer Austin Lockwood—vanishes into thin air after landing on Mars, NASA starts to wonder if they are actually in control of the mission or unwittingly playing a part in history’s most elaborate hoax.
Farmer One is an irresistible dystopian adventure set in a future America gone utterly awry.
Human Legacy Project
The goal of the Human Legacy Project is to give everyone who wants it the chance to live forever. Immortality is not achieved physically, the project teaches, but through our influence on future generations.
But as the political and economic environment changes throughout the world, the HLP takes many different forms, from a well-funded and charitable non-profit to a splintered terrorist organization driven underground by increasingly totalitarian governments. It isn’t until the HLP’s final phase is reached that the original vision of the founder is revealed, proving to be far bigger and more profound than anyone had imagined.
This short story (about 7,200 words) is a critical and sobering analysis of many different aspects of human nature, from close personal relationships to mankind’s ultimate contribution to the universe. It is best described as a compact but epic tragedy.
Venom is a story of improbabilities. Gabriel Kane goes from a struggling architect to one of the most powerful men in the world; Armonía Solorsano—a young Hispanic girl who grew up in a dilapidated suburban McMansion-turned-tenement—invents one of the most important and influential pieces of technology in history; a non-profit organization goes from a charity to a decentralized domestic terrorist group; and the greatest democracy in the world finds itself falling into the ever-tightening grip of a dictator.
As five people come together with the shared goal of changing the world, they discover that their approaches are fundamentally and irreconcilably at odds. Their partnership becomes a bitter political and high-tech rivalry from which only one of them can emerge.
This novella by Christian Cantrell (about 16,000 words) portrays an intersection of politics and technology which is both extremely relevant, and frighteningly feasible.
A quiet and remote wildlife refuge, Anansi Island was the perfect place for Laurel to escape her past. But throughout the island’s history, its isolation also made it the perfect place to hide things the world was never meant to see.
As Laurel finds herself entangled in the island’s newest and most bizarre chapter, she must not only solve its mysteries, but also survive long enough to pass them on.
This short story (about 7,500 words) mixes science fiction and horror with endearing and enigmatic characters who can only solve the mysteries of Anansi Island by facing their worst fears.
Negative Proof is unabashedly about gun violence. But it does not revolve around the politics of the Second Amendment. Nor is it a thinly veiled parable endorsing or condemning gun legislation. Instead, it’s the story of a journalist who — through an unexpected gift from a controversial philosophy professor — discovers an extraordinary way to turn seemingly irremediable personal tragedy into hope and inspiration.
Negative Proof is for all those whose lives have been touched by senseless and preventable gun violence.