In these pages, Robert Jeschonek will take you on a tour of the wildest places and people you've never imagined. You've never met anyone quite like Luther Paraclete, the serial killer who brings murder to a peace-loving alien world...Dr. Hildegarde Medici, the mad scientist worshipped from afar by her assistant, Glugor...Smidgen the snack cake, a high tech pastry with murder in his ultrachocolatey heart...Nevada, the computer-generated sergeant-at-arms of the electronic House of Representatives of tomorrow...or Manny the Ration, an edible man who feeds more than empty stomachs in an alien landscape gone berserk. Don't miss these 18 edgy, exciting, and surprising science fiction tales from an award-winning Star Trek and Doctor Who author. This volume includes 18 stories:
"The Greatest Serial Killer in the Universe"
"The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake"
"Serial Killer vs. E-Merica"
"My Cannibal Lover"
"One Awake in All the World"
"Give the Hippo What He Wants"
"Teacher of the Century"
"Off the Face of the Earth"
"Something Borrowed, Something Doomed"
"The Cross-Dressing Cosmic Cortez Rubs Off"
"Lenin of the Stars"
"The Shrooms of Benares"
"Beware the Black Battlenaut"
Robert Jeschonek, one of the most innovative voices working in modern science fiction and fantasy, adds in a three-volume collection of eighteen short stories that you will not soon forget. The collection is called SciFi Motherload and the title describes it very well. Robert Jeschonek is an award-winning writer of Star Trek and Doctor Who. Trust me, his stories will leave you breathless. This three-volume collection is worth the price of the entire bundle just to discover Robert's work. – Dean Wesley Smith
"Unexpected, Twisted, Out-There. Those are the three words I would use to describe Sci-Fi Motherlode. I grew up thinking I didn't like science fiction. Who knew that it could be so much fun? Robert Jeschonek definitely has a creative mind and a twisted sense of humor. Even though this is a collection of short stories, Jeschonek does a fabulous job of fully developing characters, and their voices left me with a definite picture in my mind of who each one "really was." And, because it is a collection of short stories, this book is perfect for either a "quick hit" or an all-day drive."– J. Gooden
"One Awake in All the World": Named a "standout selection"– Publishers Weekly
"My Cannibal Lover": It has a sympathetic narrator, a scientific extrapolation, a conflict that must be (and is) solved – and by the end, the wily Mr. Jeschonek not only has the reader accepting cannibalism as a viable and beneficial practice, but has him actually rooting for it. It's a really fascinating mind game he's playing here – but anyone can play mind games; playing them within the context of a well-wrought story is something only the Laffertys and DiCharios and Jeschoneks of the world can do.– Mike Resnick
"Playing Doctor" is an almost-love-story between a mad scientist and her slavishly-devoted sycophantic toady…and only Jeschonek would have had the – I don't know: skill? lunacy? chutzpah? – to tell it in the first person of the toady, and to make it work. It is a totally unique, off-the-wall, completely successful almost-love-story, and you don't get any more individualistic than that.– Mike Resnick
"The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snake Cake" is set in a world a few years from now in which the ideas of modern advertising have continued to advance and self-aware junk food is the main character, who tries to convince a woman who is on a diet that she should eat him. This story seems absurd until you begin to consider how much information everyone wants about us all the time. The ideas of privacy are becoming more important and less interesting to many people all at the same time, and this story shows where we may end up, with only a few liberties taken to make the story more interesting.– Elton Gahr
"Robert Jeschonek is a towering talent."– Mike Resnick, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Starship series
"Robert Jeschonek is the literary love child of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman—"– Adrian Phoenix, critically acclaimed author of The Maker's Song series and Black Dust Mambo
"Jeschonek´s stories are delightfully insane, a pleasure to read…"– Fábio Fernandes, Fantasy Book Criti
Pass Candle could not see the creatures, except as winking blips of light on the flash-brain screen mounted in the flesh of his left arm. He didn't need to look at the screen, however, to know that the creatures were all around him and his partner, Nona Stiletto.
He could feel their presence. Could feel their eyes upon him, staring from the shadows of the darkened and fog-shrouded city.
More than that, he swore he could feel their malevolence. Their savagery.
He stiffened his right arm as he swept it from side to side, covering an arc of the gray fog with the snout of the warflower dark energy gun peeping from under the skin behind his wrist. He followed the arc with the single beam from his headlight—the round, white disk mounted like a third eye in the middle of his forehead.
Candle narrowed his dark brown eyes and stared into the headlight's beam, but he still saw nothing moving toward him in the fog. Maybe, his feelings were the product of his imagination, and the creatures in the shadows would turn out to be benevolent toward cybernetically enhanced humans like himself and Nona.
But somehow, he doubted it.
Stiletto said nothing to suggest she felt the same way, but the posture of her slender frame as she walked alongside him was as stiff and guarded as his. Her head ticked from side to side, flicking her golden ponytail to and fro in the darkness.
The retractable sleeves of her slick black form-fitting flowsuit were all the way up, like Candle's, leaving her weapon-and-instrument-studded arms free for action. She aimed her warflower directly ahead, and Candle knew from experience that she was ready to whip it around in a heartbeat and use it.
"The humanoid's twenty meters ahead," said Candle, watching the readings on his flash-brain screen. "Distress signal's strong and life signs're steady. She's surrounded by non-humanoid life-forms, like we are."
Just then, Candle smelled an odor like strong vinegar and heard a sound like claws clacking on the pavement to his left. He and Stiletto swung in that direction simultaneously, lighting it up with the beams of their headlights. Candle saw nothing in the newly illuminated area but a building's stone wall and a scattering of what looked like splintered bones at its base.
"Playing hard to get." Candle nervously combed the fingers of his right hand through his wavy salt-and-pepper hair.
"Let's hope they stay that way," said Stiletto.
Candle started forward again, following the female humanoid's life signs. "Seventeen meters to go," he said. "Easy-peasy."
The sound of breaking glass echoed in the distance. Claws or something like them clacked not far away.
"Guess again," said Stiletto, sweeping her headlight toward the clacking, then forward again.
Candle thought Stiletto had a point. In the darkness and fog, it felt like they'd walked several kilometers rather than the half kilometer they'd actually traveled from their spacecraft, the Sun Ra, which was parked at the edge of the city.
Though Candle wasn't the jumpy type, he was having his doubts about what a good idea it had been to walk away from the Sun Ra at all...or land on this planet in the first place. Trouble was, he just hated ignoring a distress signal like the one that'd brought him here; some of his best jobs had come via distress signal.
He and Stiletto were first-class spacefaring exterminators, specializing in extra-nasty pests known as Squatters. Squatters ran people like puppets, remote-controlling them from somewhere beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Squatters reached out with their ultra-powerful minds and bonded people to them with overwhelming love and pleasure. Then, the Squatters sent these zombies, known as Wipeouts, on horrifically barbaric killing sprees.
Rumor had it the Squatters and Wipeouts were building up to something big, and people were scared. Contractors like Candle could make a living hunting the bastards full-time. Wipeout hunting was pretty damned rewarding for a top pro like Candle, in fact...especially when he had a former Wipeout like Nona Stiletto for a partner.
Sure, Nona was still messed up from years of being possessed by the aliens. She had committed more violent crimes than she could remember, and she was marked forever by scars on the inside and outside.
But she knew everything about Wipeouts, and the Squatters had left her mean and strong. Just the fact that she had survived being separated from a Squatter showed what kind of a hardass she was. Candle had never heard of another Wipeout walking away from that ordeal alive.
And he couldn't think of anyone he'd rather have by his side today.
"Fourteen meters," he said, squinting into the ten-meter-deep cone of visibility that was the best his headlight could cut through the fog.
Candle and Stiletto pressed to within twelve meters of their target, then eleven. Finally, their headlights picked out a form in the gray soup.
At last, they got a look at the being they'd been seeking through the alien city...a being who, as far as they could tell, was the only remaining native humanoid on the planet.
In size and build, she resembled a human child, five or six years old...a little girl with glittering purple skin, multi-faceted red insect eyes, and not a hair on her head.
BONUS: DESCRIPTIONS OF EACH STORY:
"The Greatest Serial Killer in the Universe": The alien Ectozoids can't bear to kill, and their enemies are out for blood. Who better than Earth's top serial killer to awaken their killer instincts?
"The Love Quest of Smidgen the Snack Cake": Beware the snack cake from Hell! Junk food genius Smidgen meets the woman of his dreams at a twisted supermarket of the future.
"Playing Doctor": Can a gnarly lab assistant find love with his smoking hot mad scientist boss? Poor Glugor takes the heat when doomsday schemes blow up in his face...but can even the power of his secret passion stand between Dr. M and the deadliest doom of all?
"Serial Killer vs. E-Merica": Virtual reality e-representatives form a more perfect union, until someone reaches into the computerized Congress and murders them one by one. Only Nevada, the e-rep sergeant-at-arms with a shadowy past, stands a chance of tracking the killer.
"My Cannibal Lover": As Lupe and her men close in on their target on an alien world, the fugitive killer strikes back brutally. What will she do when her only chance for survival lies in eating the edible man she loves?
"Zinzizinzizinzic": A violent alien invasion rages across the world, conquering the dominant force of life and power on Earth—the shadows.
"One Awake in All the World": Stalked by hordes of savage creatures, space exterminators Nona Stiletto and Pass Candle fight a war for survival against impossible odds. Their only hope: an abandoned alien child who might be the last of her species left alive.
"Give the Hippo What He Wants": In the baseball league of the future, losing the World Series will get you the death penalty. Thal Simoleon choked because of an opera-singing pink hippo that only he can see. But when he goes on the run, he can't escape that damn hippo, which just might be leading him toward the final inning of his life.
"Teacher of the Century": Welcome to the school of tomorrow, a nightmare of high-tech savagery. Tribes of genetically and cybernetically enhanced students rule the classroom. Weaponized parental A.I. drones terrorize teachers. One teacher stands alone against the insanity, but her old-school ways might be the death of her.
"Off the Face of the Earth": When a little boy disappears off the face of the Earth, his good-for-nothing father turns over a new leaf and sets out to track him down…but it takes a strange visitor from the future to point him in the right direction.
"Something Borrowed, Something Doomed": The wildshiners of Best Virginia make bioengineering seem like magic. But the genebillies of the prank-loving Dozen family take it too far when they start out wrecking a wedding and end up bringing on the apocalypse.
"The Cross-Dressing Cosmic Cortez Rubs Off": Philippa the cross-dressing space Conquistadora will do anything for ratings, but can an alien king change her heart with his mystical secrets?
"Star Sex": Can hot space sex save planet Earth? With the world about to end, a desperate team of humans mounts a last-ditch effort to find alien help at the interplanetary Worlds' Fair. Captain Alec Strayhorn and his crew offer up everything Earth has left, only to be rejected by one bizarre alien lifeform after another. But the aliens turn out to have a craving for an unexpected treasure: human sex. The aliens like to watch, and the humans will do anything to save their world...or will they?
"Messiah 2.0": What form will the Second Coming of Christ take? In the world of the far future, Father Clement the warrior priest and Imago the stained glass robot will stop at nothing to find Him...so they can KILL Him. It's the only way to save the King of the World and his Kingdom from the great threat predicted in the Book of Revelations. Will a mysterious prisoner lead the way to their target Messiah, or will she help them realize they're serving an evil cause?
"Lenin of the Stars": Lenin came from outer space! He and his fellow shape-changing aliens bring communism to Earth, hoping to teach galactic harmony to violent humanity. But changing times and surprising turnarounds lead the aliens to fight a secret civil war among their own ranks. When the alien Lenin and his beloved Irina end up on opposite sides, they have no choice but to battle to the death...or start a new revolution that might just sweep the stars.
"The Shrooms of Benares": Benares: planet of fungi on the far frontier. Mushrooms grow taller than trees, fungal creatures roam the landscape...and a terrible new spore turns humans into the walking dead. The one man left alive, a genetically modified super space priest named Father Obregon, sets out to confront this threat and save the woman he loves. But the deadly fungal spore has other plans in store, plans that will push Father Obregon to his limits and test whether his faith can sustain him.
"Beware the Black Battlenaut": All-out war engulfs a distant quadrant of space. Hardcore warriors clash in high tech Battlenaut armor, pitting the ultimate fighting machines in epic struggles on a planetary scale. In the heart of this raging hell, the sleep-deprived Redeye squad fights harder than anyone. Pumped up on drugs, wired to the max, the Redeyes tear through enemy forces like berserk Vikings. But fatigue takes a toll, as the Redeyes start to see things that don't exist. Does the Black Battlenaut truly tower over the blood-soaked war zone? Is it a nightmare brought on by exhaustion, or an omen of infinite devastation?
"Killer Bod": A super-strong exoskeleton mows down innocents, and the man trapped inside it is helpless to stop the slaughter. Can even death end the exoskeleton's rampage and the nightmare of its occupant?