Stunning Short Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction – award winning anthology #shortstories #scifi #amreadingfantasy

Four friends issued a collection of eight short stories – otherworldly adventures we enjoyed writing, that you’ll enjoy reading. Now, Yee Ha! Our anthology won 2021 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards. Celebrate with us! Free Kindle and other favorite formats from favorite stores. Click here now. Enhance your karma and leave a review – a few words is all it takes to help other readers find the book. Thanks

Thanks New Mexico Book Co-op! 2021 winners and finalists listed here:

Analog Astronauts on Simulated Mars #Mars #Space

For a Mars expedition to succeed, we need as much data as possible.

[In October] the Austrian Space Forum – in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency as the host agency and D-MARS – will conduct an integrated Mars analog field mission in the Negev Desert in Israel – the AMADEE-20 Mars simulation.

OEWF ExploringTomorrow. ExploringMars
#AMADEE20 #simulateMars

They’ll evaluate space suit design, deploy instruments and robotic vehicles, and simulate the time lags and Earth-to-Mars coordination that a real mission will encounter.

That last bit may be more difficult than you’d expect. Even with the International Space Station, friction arises between astronauts and earthbound controllers. I suspect that, on Mars, astronauts will demand more autonomy than ever, especially if they plan to stay for the rest of their lives.

Mars isn’t the organization’s only mission. They also launch cube-sats and have a mission underway to remove space junk from Earth orbit. “Scientific models estimate the total number of space debris objects in Earth orbit to be more than 170 million for sizes larger than 1 mm, having impact energies comparable to a gun bullet.” ADLER-1 That’s a lot of junk.

Mars simulations are proliferating here on Earth, but the only way for you to go to Mars today is via science fiction. Check out my Mars series, the first colony, for stories that nail it for realism.

Colony on Mars Box Set Cover - Kate Rauner

Find the Complete Series at Amazon and Other Favorite Store

Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties – where do they come from? #halloween2021 #ghost

What will you see Halloween night, either when you’re out Trick-or-Treating or just walking the dog?

We’ve all seen this explanation:

“If you’re walking in the woods and you see movement, you can make two errors,” says Michiel van Elk, a professor of social psychology at Leiden University. “You can either think it’s nothing, and it could be a potential predator, or you can think there’s a predator, and there’s nothing.” Psychologists suspect humans evolved a cognitive bias toward the latter mistake for good reason: Our ancestors had to keep a constant lookout for stealthy hazards like leopards and snakes, and folks with a “better safe than sorry” attitude were more likely to survive and reproduce. That’s why a snapping twig can activate the fight-or-flight reflexes that make us scream. Popular Science

The article offers more explanations for seeing spirits:

Zhong Kui, the vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings, painted sometime before 1304 A.D. by Gong Kai
  • We want to believe, to be part of the great ghost-hunting tribe.
  • Ghosts aren’t all bad, so why not? “In a 1995 survey in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 91% of participants said their encounter had at least one upside, such as a sense of connection to others.”
  • Our brain is having problems from seizures or schizophrenia to drugs (recreational and otherwise.)
  • Infrasound! That’s as weird as any ghost. Sounds that are “inaudible to human ears, whose range bottoms out at 20 Hz, the interval creates some fairly insidious side effects.”
  • Geological phenomena where someone knows the explanation, but it’s not me and you. Here’s a fun name for the effect: “the devil’s magic.”

No one’s ever proved ghosts exist, at least not scientifically, and – no – listening to faint garbled radio signals on a device with no proper antenna or frequency tuning is not proof. Neither are those green-lighted night-vision offerings on cable.

Still looking over your shoulder? Here’s a solution from my past, tried and true:

When I was a kid, the door to our home’s attic was in my bedroom. Eek! Every night as darkness fell and the house cooled, creaks and groans floated down to me. I outwitted the monsters by lining all my stuffed animals up facing the door. I know the scary thrill and the sweet relief.

Thanks to Popular Science for their article at

Bring Isaac Asimov’s Foundation to TV? Good Luck

Apple TV+ is bringing an adaptation of the classic scifi tales to TV, and I thought: go heavy on the “adaptation” part. The image heading this article about the effort shows a Black actress, but there are almost no females of any sort in Foundation. I understand that some characters have undergone sex change, and that there are significant departures from the source material. Those are hopeful signs.

Asimov’s tales, crafted from Golden Age zine stories he wrote between 1941 and 1949 and assembled into a book in 1951, may be one of the most important books in scifi history, but it truly shows its age. As I’ve written before…

don’t expect a lot of action. Each story is primarily conversations among the characters. The style is almost Socratic in its questions, answers, and explanations. It makes sense that Amazon ranks the book under Political and Literary Fiction

Also, don’t expect diversity, and don’t expect aliens either, though Asimov used elements of science fiction that are iconic today: force fields, hyperspace, and holograms among them. Nuclear power was the epitome of high-tech and fills the books.

Asimov’s original can feel very dark (as well as pedantic.) All his governments are dictatorships – usually kingdoms and empires. Humans in general appear only in negative terms as mobs and fools. Even the [all male] heroes manipulate populations on a planetary scale without remorse, and religion is a cynical tool of “conquest by missionary.” Society does not fare well. Maybe it is inspiration for our times.

I recommend the books (there is a trilogy) if you’re interested in the history of science fiction. As to the TV adaptation… there’s nothing wrong with finding inspiration in the Golden Age. I don’t subscribe to Apple TV+, so I suppose I’ll never know what happens. If you have a chance to view Foundation, let us know what you think in the comments.