Lawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, is a past Astounding, Hugo, and Nebula, nominee, twice won the Cóyotl award for best novel, founded the Klingon Language Institute, and occasionally does work as a hypnotherapist specializing in authors' issues.

His science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. Other works take a very different tone, exploring aspects of determinism and free will, generally redefining the continua between life and death. Sometimes he blurs the funny and the serious. Lawrence lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog.

Slice of Entropy by Lawrence M. Schoen

Melody Wilder just needs to complete her dissertation and life will be perfect. Alas, that's not going to happen.

She hasn't picked a topic yet, her undergraduate loans have been "un-forgiven" with a vengeance, the university is about to strip her of her stipend, her job, and her apartment, and a pirate-priest minotaur is systematically destroying her hopes and dreams.

Meanwhile, alien bear cub physicists are trying to extradite her best friend on charges of violating the laws of conservation of matter every time he makes a pizza!

And things are just getting started.

With a blend of colorful aliens, explorations of new types of memory, the introduction of social predestination, and the healing power of pizza, Slice of Entropy is a rollicking romp of science fiction fun and adventure that will leave you hungry for more.


•Some of my favorite space opera tales feature a hearty helping of humor, and this book by Lawrence Schoen follows in that fun tradition. I would expect no less from the author of novels about mini-buffalo creatures (buffalito) and a spacefaring hypnotist (the Amazing Conroy). Who better to bring us this novel about pizza that defies the laws of physics, and the madcap adventures of a grad student on a space station? Lawrence has a way of hooking readers with outrageous premises, vibrant characters, and thrilling surprises. He also founded the Klingon Language Institute and translated works of Shakespeare into Klingon, proving he knows how to tell great stories with a cosmic point of view. – Robert Jeschonek



  • "The book opens with grad student Melody Wilder eating some great pizza – pizza that defies the laws of physics."

    – Amazon review
  • "I love this new series! It's witty. It's hilariously crazy. Plot twists. Clever science. Strange but believable aliens and cultures."

    – Amazon review
  • "A romp through Niflheim station, with a pizza baker with a gift, incorrigible identical twin scientists enforcing the laws of physics, a very lucky alien and a despicable villain, all chatting about memory, pre-destination and higher academe. What more could you ask?"

    – Amazon review
  • "I love the aliens, and I love Melody and the Captain....ok, I loved just about everyone."

    – Amazon review



In the next moment, an ear-ripping blart of a klaxon rang out, a noise made up of layered sounds and different frequencies. It cut through the cognitions of multiple races, ensuring it could not be ignored. Security had designed it to get your attention and elicit an immediate response. You couldn't live on the station without hearing it every ten days as part of an emergency drill. Only… we weren't scheduled for a drill, which meant this was a real emergency. All up and down my residence corridor each door instantly locked. Every apartment sealed itself against potential decompression because that klaxon meant some portion of the station had been breached.

I pounded on the door to my apartment to no avail. I'd been locked out. My heart raced but all those drills helped me push down my own dread and I settled for repeating "Holy crap!" under my breath a dozen times.

I looked at the Ersommerey, wanting to both blame them but also get them to safety. They very possibly had just solved my money woes and I doubted they knew their way around the station. "Okay, don't panic, but we need to get to a secure space."

The bearlings looked oblivious to the danger, and merely pawed at their ears in annoyance.

"What is that obnoxious noise?" said Blichael.

"How long have you been on station?" I said.

"Mere days," said Strichael.

"How many days?"

"Counting today? Just one."

"How are you even roaming the station then? There's a mandatory orientation training."

"Oh, that," said Blichael. "We were excused from it."

"No one gets excused from orientation." The klaxon continued to sound, suggesting the breach hadn't been resolved yet, which meant it was probably a big hole and the situation more dire than I could imagine. I grabbed each of the Ersommerey by a paw and began hauling them down the corridor. Owing to the conservatism of Glamorkan design, there were emergency alcoves at several spots along the way that would be safer if the hallway itself lost containment.

"We were," said Strichael. "The people in charge were convinced we already knew everything we needed to know."

Blichael nodded. "We passed several written tests on our way here and had the results transmitted in advance to the station's authorities."

"It's mandatory. Do you understand what that word means? It's so you know what to do in emergencies. Like when this klaxon sounds."

"Could you turn it off now?" Strichael winced. "It's hurting my ears."

"What kind of emergency does it portend? Is it predictive or descriptive?" asked Blichael.

"Oh, those are good points," said Strichael.

"Well, thank you," said Blichael.

"The worst kind," I said as I hurried them along. "The station's been breached."

The bearlings stopped and turned to one another.

"Somebody really ought to do something."

"Somebody who knows more about stations than we do."

They turned back to me, gazing up with the innocence of terrestrial bear cubs. "We're not good at emergencies."

"Keep moving. It's not much farther."

"Thank you for your assistance. Do feel free to go ahead and emerge."


"Isn't that what one does in an emergency? Emerge?"

I wanted to scream at them. How could alien physicists be so stupid? "Do you not not understand what's happening? There's nowhere for me to emerge, to or from, this corridor has been sealed off. I'm trying to get us to an emergency alcove that will offer some protection if the corridor is blown out."

"Blown out? That doesn't sound good," said Strichael.

"This is one of those situations where the inadequacy of English as a language for interspecies communication really comes through."

"How so?"

"Well the word good. It's profoundly vague and relativistic. Not to mention, judgmental. What we find to be good could conceivably be vastly different from what the Human Melody Wilder finds to be good."

"I see," said Strichael. "That's remarkably insightful."

"Isn't it though?"

"So what you're saying is, in addition, something that is good today might be perceived as more or less good tomorrow, as a function of intervening experiences of the parties involved."

"You understand it completely," said Blichael.

"Thank you. Apparently this noise, despite being quite annoying, has not impaired my cognitive function."

"Well, surely that's good," said Blichael.

"Both of you, just shut up!" And to my surprise the bearlings did, but only after regarding me with the most wounded of looks.

In a perfect world, I'd be safe and secure in my apartment. In an emergency, it had its own atmospheric integrity because that's just the way the Glamorkan overbuilt. But I wasn't in my apartment so I had to settle for the next best option. I'd never heard of one of their stations losing containment on any scale, big or small. The Glamorkans are sticklers for safety, with double and triple redundancies built into every system. Which is why, even in a residential corridor there were emergency alcoves and communication pads along the wall after every five apartment doors. I raced ahead of the babbling Ersommerey to finally reach the nearest of them, two doors beyond my apartment.

I tapped the main panel to activate containment, and an emergency forcefield flickered into existence, sealing us off from the rest of the corridor. I tapped again, sending a query to security, when a second ripple of energy popped into existence just behind me. The Ersommerey were within the safety of the first forcefield but several steps behind me. They bumped into the new energy curtain, face first. It flickered at the contact with a staticky violet flash that shocked their snouts and caused them to stumble backward. I could see them rubbing their noses and speaking to one another, but I couldn't hear them. The field permitted light to pass, but not sound.