Monday, June 6, 2016

DPS Release New Edition Of William Rotsler's TO THE LAND OF THE ELECTRIC ANGEL


Digital Parchment Services, through its Strange Particle Press science fiction imprint, and the estate of William Charles Rotsler are proud to announce the exclusive republication of the third book in Rotsler's classic Frontiers Saga which began so brilliantly with the Nebula Nominee Patrol of the Arts (Strange Particle Press 2015).


To The Land Of The Electric Angel


To the Land of the Electric Angel_ebook.jpg


From the authorized Star Trek biographer who gave Uhura her official first name (Nyota, Swahili for "star") comes this tale of a future ruled by religious extremism – and saved by the heroism of a noble hedonist:


"A fine swashbuckling story, and a rich, robust peek into our crazy future, told in clean, vigorous prose."
—Robert Silverberg


Blake Mason had it all…fame, fortune, and women. As an architect he was without equal; the exotic environments he created pulsated with sublime eroticism. But in this world of abundant free sex, Blake Mason craved true love.


Then he found it—with the one woman he could never have. Rio was the lover of mad multibillionare Jean-Michel Voss. They met when Voss came to Blake with a strange request: design a sensuous tomb in which to live, in which to love—and in which to die. What Voss left out was the supposed tomb’s real purpose.


Blake didn’t care about Voss or his secrets. All he cared about was Rio.


And all Rio cared about was Blake—and the debt she owed Voss: a debt that meant she and Blake could have a few mad nights together, after which they would be separated for eternity.


But Blake was willing to sentence himself to an eternity of unknown hells to be with her...


To The Land Of The Electric Angel
Introductory price: $2.99
FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED
ISBN: B01CV5SE8G


Born in 1926, William Charles Rotsler was truly a renaissance man: acclaimed novelist and short story writer, photographer and filmmaker, much-admired artist and illustrator and – how he is perhaps best remembered – and as a warm and special part of science fiction fandom.  Star Trek fans particularly owe Rotsler a debt for giving Lt. Uhura the first name of Nyota.


Rotsler had a hand in locating the fossils, crystals and stones for the Nebula Award trophies as well as receiving Hugo awards for his cartoon work that appeared in fanzines, convention program books, and magazines such as Locus. To honor Rotsler, The Southern California Institute for Fan Interests created the William Rotsler Art Award in 1998.  William Rotsler died in southern California in 1997.


The Authorized William Charles Rotsler site


For Review Copies Contact:
M.Christian, Publisher
Digital Parchment Services


Twitter: @DigiParchment

Facebook: Digital-Parchment-Services

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Hollywood Cowboy Detectives Ride to Rescue Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi from Electric Monster in Newest Series Book

MYSTERY OF THE HORNED MONSTER
Newest Pulp-Style Novel in B-Movie Inspired Series
Available in eBook& Paperback

It’s 1939 and someone seems to be trying to kill famous monster stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, shooting a horror film at Monogram Studios. Sets are being burned down and the Hollywood Cowboy Detectives – PR flack Curly Woods, studio chauffeur Nick Danby and cowboy star Hoot Gibson – are asked to find out who is behind the arson and why.
With the help of Karloff and Lugosi, longstanding rivals (who find it difficult to bury the hatchet and work together even when their lives are in danger), the Hollywood Cowboy Detectives pursue the trail of a monstrous honed figure whose goal may be to destroy Los Angeles itself. Fighting their way through flying torpedoes, suicide bombers, brown-suited thugs, and weapons that fire liquid electricity, the HCD’s and their actor allies finally find themselves trapped and outnumbered in the underground lair of a real-life monster that makes Universal Studios’ horrors pale in comparison.


In this cliffhanger, pulp-style adventure, author Darryle Purcell’s Hollywood Cowboy Detectives find themselves up against their most dangerous nemesis yet.


Hollywood Cowboy Detectives is a unique new series – featuring real-life, old-time western movie stars Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, and PR man Curly Woods – set in 1930s Hollywood and the whole Southwest


Cover and six interior illustrations by award-winning animator and writer Darryle Purcell.


Available in Kindle and paperback.
eBookspecial introductory sale price $1.99
Paperback special introductory price $9.99
Read free excerpt click here.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

SHERLOCK HOLMES VS. JACK THE RIPPER IN ARTHUR BYRON COVER'S AN EAST WIND COMING

IMMORTAL SHERLOCK HOLMES & JACK THE RIPPER IN A CHASE ACROSS SPACE AND TIME
Second in the Great Mystery Trilogy
Digital Parchment Services, through its Strange Particle Press science fiction imprint, and Arthur Byron Cover are extremely thrilled to announce the publication of an enhanced edition of Cover's follow-up to his Nebula-nominated Autumn Angels, book two in his Great Mystery Trilogy, An East Wind Coming.

"An East Wind Coming is a decadent smorgasbord oozing sex and nihilism, peppered with the thrills of various pulp fictions and comic-book universes. In a far future the iconic characters of nineteenth- and twentieth-century pop culture have been reborn, all of them referring to themselves coyly as "the consulting detective," "the good doctor," "the Big Red Cheese," etc. Imagine Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time reinvented by a chimera of Kim Newman, Philip José Farmer, and Belgian nihilist surrealist Jacques Sternberg, and you'll get an idea of the strange atmosphere of this dense and mindwarping novel. Cosmic concepts, depressing sex, horrific crimes, and pulp heroes ... what more could you want?"
–The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Arthur Byron Cover’s work is filled with "...agile inventiveness ... extraordinary salience and outlandishness ... astonishing imagination ... grotesque and hilarious ... honest and often truly beautiful ... shocking and exultant ... nothing like the usual SF fare."
–A.A. Attanasio, author of Radix

"The book is excellent. I recommend this one very highly, with the proviso that the reader will only enjoy it if they happen to like a great number of different types of writing; from great literature to comic books, pulp magazines, penny dreadfuls, etc."
–Casebook: Jack the Ripper

Coming soon, also from the Digital Parchment Services, will be Arthur Byron Cover's Platypus Of Doom, The Sound Of Winter, and a collection of Arthur Byron Cover's short stories.

"It takes the materials of everyday entertainments—pulp heroes, movies, comics, detective stories—and transforms them ... into a gestalt that is fresh ... the lawyer is modeled after Doc Savage's sidekick, 'Ham,' Brig. Gen. Theodore Marley Brooks; the fat man is Sidney Greenstreet; the gunsel is Elisha Cook, Jr. in The Maltese Falcon; the Big Red Cheese is Captain Marvel; the Insidious Oriental Doctor is Fu Manchu; the Queen of England who calls herself a virgin is Elizabeth I; the ace reporter is Lois Lane; the zanny imp from the Fifth Dimension is Mr. Mxyzptlk, and both the imp and Lois are, of course, from the Superman comics; the godlike man with no name is Clint Eastwood in the Sergio Leone-directed spaghetti westerns; the galactic hero with two right arms is Harry Harrison's Bill, the Galactic Hero; the fuzzy (but boring) little green balls of Sharkosh are Star Trek scenarist David Gerrold's tribbles; and you can figure out for yourself the true identities or esoteric references for The Ebony Kings, the poet, the shrink, the bems, the other fat man and his witty leg man, and on and on."
–Harlan Ellison, on Autumn Angels

FREE FOR KINDLE UNLIMITED
Introductory price: $2.99

Arthur Byron Cover's Site
http://www.arthurbyroncover.com

Distributed by Futures-Past Editions
https://futurespasteditions.com

Twitter: @futurespasted

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hollywood Cowboy Detectives #6


Fading cowboy movie stars turned detectives ride to the rescue when Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi run afoul of murderous Nazis while filming a big budget Western in the next Hollywood Cowboy Detectives book from the award winning writer and artist Darryle Purcell. Watch for it May 2016. Check out the cover art sneak peek below.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Back In Print After 30 Years from DPS: Feminist SciFi Legend Jody Scott's I, VAMPIRE!!

Digital Parchment Services and the estate Of Jody Scott are pleased to announce the re-publication of Jody Scott's sequel to her feminist, surreal SciFi classic, Passing For Human: 

I, Vampire

—with a special introduction by SciFi Legend Theodore Sturgeon!


Plus new estate-sponsored site dedicated to Jody's life and work by her partner, Mary Whealen!

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"A rip-roaringly magnificent time ... quite unlike anything anyone else has ever done."
—Neil Gaiman

"I liked I, Vampire enough to check it off on the Nebula ballot."
—Pamela Sargent

Back in print after 30 years, I, Vampire is the sequel to Jody Scott's acclaimed SciFi classic, Passing For Human (and part two of the four-part Benaroya Chronicles), featuring the adventures of Jody's charming vampire Sterling O’Blivion:

After seven hundred years, glamorous vampire Sterling O’Blivion has begun to think the joy is going out of life. Then she meets Virginia Woolf in the ladies’ room of a dance studio in Chicago. But Woolf is really Benaroya, a dolphin-like alien anthropologist here to learn all there is to know about humanity and to fight the good fight against the evil, slave-trading Sajorians. Sterling falls madly in love with Benaroya. It’s just the sort of romp an aging vampire needs—but first, to defeat the Sajorians, they have to sell millions of Famous Men’s Sperm Kits to every woman on Earth.

"A lot of fun ... its real appeal is in Scott's stabs at the foibles and shortcomings of our society. Jody Scott sees things with a clear eye. You must read carefully, for she can point a caustic finger with a single throwaway line. And when she really winds up, everything is fair game: big business, the military, politics, religion and more. In addition to sharpness and criticism, there are wackiness, clever dialogue, action and lots of love. I enjoyed this one immensely and recommend it highly."
—The Seattle Times

"Exuberantly clever and wildly iconoclastic ... if you thirst for something really witty, quirky, with bags of brains [...] you'll do no better than this wonderful novel."
—For Books' Sake

"Those who seek to deride feminist SF often suggest that it is too serious and po-faced, but Jody Scott’s wild imagination, seemingly scattershot but tightly controlled, makes ... an absurdly comic romp of unexpected juxtapositions and witty asides."
—SF Mistressworks

Plus Jody's partner, and her Estate Manager, Mary Whealen has launched a band new site celebrating Jody's life, work, and her lasting influence on science fiction, feminism, and modern literature: http://www.jodyscott.info.


Born in 1923, Jody Scott, or Joann Margaret Huguelet as it says on her birth certificate - Mr. Scott came later closely followed by Mr. Wood, two characters out of P.G. Wodehouse (if Wodehouse had happened to marry Jean Genet) - was born in Chicago of an old-settler family of Fort Dearborn (as the toddlin' town was once called) with loose ties to the underworld.

Ms. Scott attended Daniel Boone grammar school, Senn High, North Park College, Northwestern U. and U.C. Berkeley before crying out in clear, ringing tones: "Enough of this crap. If you wanna be a writer never, NEVER go to college or you'll come out a brainwashed zombie who offends nobody but writes like everyone else or as Monty Python used to say: 'Dull, dull, dull!' - the L's sounding like W's."

Our subject then worked as a sardine packer, orthopedist's office assistant, Circle Magazine editor (knew Henry Miller and Anais Nin), artist's model at Art Institute Chicago, factory hand, cabbage puller ("in Texas where I was arrested with my buddy Don Scott for hitchhiking and slapped around then thrown in jail for eight days; how stupid can 'The Law' be? Its reasoning was: my gay friend {close pal of Leonard Bernstein and Tennessee Williams} had long hair, therefore we must be criminals"), blue movie maker, headline writer for the Monterey Herald ("that's where I got my spare, lean style"), bookstore/art gallery owner, vacation land salesman and at many other fascinating trades, spent six months in Guatemala (in Antigua enjoyed a night alone with Gore Vidal at his house both madly talking) and lived in Seattle in a falling-apart house choked with ivy and blackberry brambles a stone's throw from Puget Sound and was the winner of the 'America's Ugliest Couch' contest upon which she wrote every day from 9 AM to 2 PM Pacific time.

Jody died in 2007.


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For review copies or information on the Jody Scott estate please contact the Publisher, M.Christian at m.christian@digitalparchmentservices.com

I, Vampire (The Benaroya Chronicles I)
By Jody Scott
ebook: http://amzn.com/B01BNVU9QY - $2.99 (free on Amazon Unlimited)
Trade paperback: coming soon!

Passing for Human (The Benaroya Chronicles II)
By Jody Scott
ebook: http://amzn.com/B0143K2LXG - $2.99 (free on Amazon Unlimited)
Trade paperback: http://amzn.com/1517285291 - $8.99

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The Estate-Authorized Jody Scott site: http://www.jodyscott.info

The Digital Parchment Services Jody Scott site: http://www.authorjodyscott.com

Digital Parchment Services: http://digitalparchmentservices.com

For information please feel free to contact mchristian@digitalparchmentservices.com

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Out Now: New Edition Of Ernest Hogan's Underground Chicano SciFi Classic HIGH AZTECH!

DIGITAL PARCHMENT SERVICES

Is Proud To Announce The Republication of Ernest Hogan's Wildly Inventive Underground Chicano SciFi Classic

HIGH AZTECH


For Immediate Release

Listen to Ernest Hogan read the first chapter to HIGH AZTECH here: https://youtu.be/kSjBE6710xI

Hear Ernest Hogan and Digital Parchment Services Publisher, M.Christian, discuss multiculturalism in sci-fi, Ernest Hogan's fascinating career and more in part one of a multi-part interview: https://youtu.be/7M-OH3HzPwc

"A high-energy adventure peppered with great ideas, well-imagined unusual settings, outlandish characters, and a wicked sense of fun." –Locus

Digital Parchment Services through its Strange Particle Press science fiction imprint, and Ernest Hogan, are extremely proud to announce the publication of a brand new edition of Hogan's chicano science fiction novel, High Aztech

The enhanced ebook version of High Aztech, which contains a new introduction about the writing of this highly controversial novel which introduced Chicano tropes to science fiction, is available now – and a premier trade paperback edition will be coming out in April, 2016.

Hogan, who describes himself as "–a recombocultural Chicano mutant, known for committing outrageous acts of science fiction and other questionable pursuits" has had stories published with great acclaim in publications such as Amazing Stories, Analog, Science Fiction Age, Semiotext(e)SF, and many others.

This re-release of High Aztech by Digital Parchment Services was preceded by Cortez On Jupiter last year – will be followed by Ernest Hogan's Tezcatlipoca Blues, and a collection of Ernest Hogan's short stories: Pancho Villa's Flying Circus.

High Aztech takes place in 21st century Mexico, Tenochtitlán, the metropolis formerly known as Mexico City, is the most exciting place on Earth. Stainless steel pyramids pierce the smoggy sky. Human sacrifice is coming back into fashion, especially on the new Aztechan TV channels, and everyone wants an artificial heart. Xolotl Zapata, celebrated poet, skeptic and journalist, starts receiving death threats from a cult he's lampooned in a comic book. But soon he will have much worse problems and be running for his life. The government, the Mafia, street gangs, cults, terrorists, even garbage collectors will be after him. Why? He has been infected with a technological development that will changing human life as we know it Zapata is carrying a virus that can download religious beliefs into the human brain - a highly contagious virus that is converting everyone he meets, and everyone they meet, to the Aztec religion. This is Witnessing with a PUNCH! Since he's a virulent carrier he infects a large part of the city all by himself, and the masses, filled with visions and portents, await the End of the World.

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"The plot twists and turns, bouncing between the horrors of a police state with high-tech weaponry and eavesdropping equipment and the feverish hallucinations that the protagonist endures as he is captured first by one enemy then another. Those who enjoy science fiction will probably find pleasure in this book. I found the book entertaining and clever in the complexities of its plot ... an example of what might be called Latin American sci-fi magico-realism." – Nahua Newsletter

"Cyberpunk is the combining of science fiction and technology with a future society on the brink of self-destruction. Ernest Hogan takes the concept a step further, blending in his love of the Aztec’s ancient beliefs and civilization to produce very unique and gripping stories. When it comes to science fiction of a different breed, Hogan is definitely sitting in the front row. One reviewer aptly referred to Hogan as a 'mad Mexican Hunter S. Thompson.'" – Wicked local.com

"Chicano writer Ernest Hogan bridges the gap between hard science fiction and cyberpunk … interweaving Pre-Colombian mythology and Spanish, Spanglish, and Nahuatl language into a humorously dystopian sci-fi context … exploring the intersection of religion, technology, pop culture … with a distinctly Latino twist." – The Routledge Companion to Latino Literature

"...a delirious mosaic of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, post-cyberpunk savvy, linguistic fun and Aztec myth." – January Magazine

ebook (FREE on Amazon Unlimited!)
http://amzn.com/B01B5BE7GU
$2.99
ISBN: 9781615085804

Trade Paper (coming soon)

Ernest Hogan's Sites:
http://ernesthogan.blogspot.com
http://www.mondoernesto.com

Distributed by Futures-Past Editions
https://futurespasteditions.com
Twitter: @futurespasted
Facebook: Futures-Past-Editions

For Review Copies Contact:

M.Christian, Publisher
Digital Parchment Services
m.christian@digitalparchmentservices.com

Digital Parchment Services is a complete ebook and print service for literary estates and literary agents. The founders of Digital Parchment Services are pioneers in digital publishing who have collectively published over 2,500 ebooks and PoD paperbacks since 1998.

DPS clients include the estates of multiple Hugo winning author William Rotsler, and science fiction legend Jody Scott; authors such as Locus Award finalist Ernest Hogan, Hugo and Nebula nominee Arthur Byron Cover, prize winning mystery author Jerry Oster, psychologist John Tamiazzo, Ph.D., award winning nutritionist Ann Tyndall; and Best of Collections from Fate Magazine and Amazing Stories.

http://digitalparchmentservices.com
Twitter: @DigiParchment
Facebook: Digital-Parchment-Services

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Free Chapters 1&2 of First Ever Generation Starship Story

READ THE ENTIRE STORY IN THE BEST OF AMAZING STORIES: THE 1940 ANTHOLOGY


THE VOYAGE THAT LASTED 600 YEARS
Don Wilcox
Thirty generations would live and die before the Flashaway reached its destination. Could the one man who was to live on keep them to their purpose?

THEY gave us a gala send-off, the kind that keeps your heart bobbing up at your tonsils. “It’s a long, long way to the Milky Way!” the voices sang out. The band thundered the chorus over and over. The golden trumpaphones blasted our eardrums wide open. Thousands of people clapped their hands in time.
There were thirty-three of us—that is, there was supposed to be. As it turned out, there were thirty-five.
We were a dazzling parade of red, white and blue uniforms. We marched up the gangplank by couples, every couple a man and wife, every couple young and strong, for the selection had been rigid.
Captain Sperry and his wife and I—I being the odd man—brought up the rear. Reporters and cameramen swarmed at our heels. The microphones stopped us. The band and the crowd hushed.
“This is Captain Sperry telling you good-by,” the amplified voice boomed. “In behalf of the thirty-three, I thank you for your grand farewell. We’ll remember this hour as our last contact with our beloved Earth.”
The crowd held its breath. The mighty import of our mission struck through every heart.
“We go forth into space to live—and to die,” the captain said gravely. “But our children’s children, born in space and reared in the light of our vision, will carry on our great purpose. And in centuries to come, your children’s children may set forth for the Robinello planets, knowing that you will find an American colony already planted there.”
The captain gestured goodbye and the multitude responded with a thunderous cheer. Nothing so daring as a six-century nonstop flight had ever been undertaken before.
An announcer nabbed me by the sleeve and barked into the microphone, “And now one final word from Professor Gregory Grimstone, the one man who is supposed to live down through the six centuries of this historic flight and see the journey through to the end.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” I choked, and the echo of my swallow blobbed back at me from distant walls, “as Keeper of the Traditions, I give you my word that the S. S. Flashaway shall carry your civilization through to the end, unsoiled and unblemished!”
A cheer stimulated me and I drew a deep breath for a burst of oratory. But Captain Sperry pulled at my other sleeve.
“That’s all. We’re set to slide out in two minutes.”
The reporters scurried down the gangplank and made a center rush through the crowd. The band struck up. Motors roared sullenly.
One lone reporter who had missed out on the interviews blitzkrieged up and caught me by the coattail.
“Hold it, Butch. Just a coupla words so I can whip up a column of froth for the Star— Well, I’ll be damned! If it ain’t ‘Crackdown’ Grimstone! “
I scowled. The reporter before me was none other than Bill Broscoe, one of my former pupils at college and a star athlete. At heart I knew that Bill was a right guy, but I’d be the last to tell him so.
“Broscoe!” I snarled. “Tardy as usual. You finally flunked my history course, didn’t you?”
“Now, Crackdown,” he whined, “don’t go hopping on me. I won that Thanksgiving game for you, remember?”


HE gazed at my red, white and blue uniform.
“So you’re off for Robinello,” he grinned.
“Son, this is my last minute on Earth, and you have to haunt me, of all people—”
“So you’re the one that’s taking the refrigerated sleeper, to wake up every hundred years—”
“And stir the fires of civilization among the crew—yes. Six hundred years from now when your bones have rotted, I’ll still be carrying on.”
“Still teaching ‘em history? God forbid!” Broscoe grinned.
“I hope I have better luck than I did with you.”
“Let ‘em off easy on dates, Crackdown. Give them 1066 for William the Conqueror and 2066 for the Flashaway take-off. That’s enough. Taking your wife, I suppose?”
At this impertinent question I gave Broscoe the cold eye.
“Pardon me,” he said, suppressing a sly grin—proof enough that he had heard the devastating story about how I missed my wedding and got the air. “Faulty alarm clock, wasn’t it? Too bad. Crackdown. And you always ragged me about being tardy!”
With this jibe Broscoe exploded into laughter. Some people have the damnedest notions about what constitutes humor. I backed into the entrance of the space ship uncomfortably. Broscoe followed.
Zzzzipp!
The automatic door cut past me. I jerked Broscoe through barely in time to keep him from being bisected.
“Tardy as usual, my friend,” I hooted. “You’ve missed your gangplank! That makes you the first castaway in space.”
We took off like a shooting star, and the last I saw of Bill Broscoe, he stood at a rear window cursing as he watched the earth and the moon fall away into the velvety black heavens. And the more I laughed at him, the madder he got. No sense of humor.
Was that the last time I ever saw him? Well, no, to be strictly honest I had one more unhappy glimpse of him. It happened just before I packed myself away for my first one hundred years’ sleep.
I had checked over the “Who’s Who Aboard the Flashaway”—the official register—to make sure that I was thoroughly acquainted with everyone on board; for these sixteen couples were to be the great-grandparents of the next generation I would meet. Then I had promptly taken my leave of Captain Sperry and his wife, and gone directly to my refrigeration plant, where I was to suspend my life by instantaneous freezing.
I clicked the switches, and one of the two huge horizontal wheels—one in reserve, in the event of a breakdown—opened up for me like a door opening in the side of a gigantic doughnut, or better, a tubular merry go round. There was my nook waiting for me to crawl in.
Before I did so I took a backward glance toward the ballroom. The one-way glass partition, through which I could see but not be seen, gave me a clear view of the scene of merriment. The couples were dancing. The journey was off to a good start.
“A grand gang,” I said to myself. No one doubted that the ship was equal to the six-hundred-year journey. The success would depend upon the people. Living and dying in this closely circumscribed world would put them to a severe test. All credit, I reflected, was due the planning committee for choosing such a congenial group.
“They’re equal to it,” I said optimistically. If their children would only prove as sturdy and adaptable as their parents, my job as Keeper of the Traditions would be simple.
BUT how, I asked myself, as I stepped into my life-suspension merry-go-round, would Bill Broscoe fit into this picture? Not a half bad guy. Still—
My final glance through the one-way glass partition slew me. Out of the throng I saw Bill Broscoe dancing past with a beautiful girl in his arms. The girl was Louise—my Louise—the girl I had been engaged to marry!
In a flash it came to me—but not about Bill. I forgot him on the spot. About Louise.
Bless her heart, she’d come to find me. She must have heard that I had signed up for the Flashaway, and she bad come aboard, a stowaway, to forgive me for missing the wedding—to marry me! Now—
A warning click sounded, a lid closed over me, my refrigerator—merry go round whirled— Blackness!

CHAPTER II
Babies, Just Babies
IN a moment—or so it seemed—I was again gazing into the light of the refrigerating room. The lid stood open.
A stimulating warmth circulated through my limbs. Perhaps the machine, I half consciously concluded, had made no more than a preliminary revolution.
I bounded out with a single thought. I must find Louise. We could still be married. For the present I would postpone my entrance into the ice. And since the machine had been equipped with two merry-go-round freezers as an emergency safeguard — oh happy thought—perhaps Louise would be willing to undergo life suspension with me!
I stopped at the one-way glass partition, astonished to see no signs of dancing in the ballroom. I could scarcely see the ballroom, for it had been darkened.
Upon unlocking the door (the refrigerator room was my own private retreat) I was bewildered. An unaccountable change had come over everything. What it was, I couldn’t determine at the moment. But the very air of the ballroom was different.
A few dim green light bulbs burned along the walls—enough to show me that the dancers had vanished. Had time enough elapsed for night to come on? My thoughts spun dizzily. Night, I reflected, would consist simply of turning off the lights and going to bed. It had been agreed in our plan that our twenty-four hour Earth day would be maintained for the sake of regularity.
But there was something more intangible that struck me. The furniture had been changed about, and the very walls seemed older. Something more than minutes had passed since I left this room.
Strangest of all, the windows were darkened.
In a groggy state of mind I approached one of the windows in hopes of catching a glimpse of the solar system. I was still puzzling over how much time might have elapsed. Here, at least, was a sign of very recent activity.
“Wet Paint” read the sign pinned to the window. The paint was still sticky. What the devil—
The ship, of course, was fully equipped for blind flying. But aside from the problems of navigation, the crew had anticipated enjoying a wonderland of stellar beauty through the portholes. Now, for some strange reason, every window had been painted opaque.
I listened. Slow measured steps were pacing in an adjacent hallway. Nearing the entrance, I stopped, halted by a shrill sound from somewhere overhead. It came from one of the residential quarters that gave on the ballroom balcony.
It was the unmistakable wail of a baby.
Then another baby’s cry struck up; and a third, from somewhere across the balcony, joined the chorus. Time, indeed, must have passed since I left this roomful of dancers.
Now some irate voices of disturbed sleepers added rumbling basses to the symphony of wailings. Grumbles of “Shut that little devil up!” and poundings of fists on walls thundered through the empty ballroom. In a burst of inspiration I ran to the records room, where the ship’s “Who’s Who” was kept.
THE door to the records room was locked, but the footsteps of some sleepless person I had heard now pounded down the dimly lighted hallway. I looked upon the aged man. I had never seen him before. He stopped at the sight of me; then snapping on a brighter light, came on confidently.
“Mr. Grimstone?” he said, extending his hand. “We’ve been expecting you. My name is William Broscoe—”
“Broscoe!”
“William Broscoe, the second. You knew my father, I believe.”
I groaned and choked.
“And my mother,” the old man continued, “always spoke very highly of you. I’m proud to be the first to greet you.”
He politely overlooked the flush of purple that leaped into my face. For a moment nothing that I could say was intelligible.
He turned a key and we entered the records room. There I faced the inescapable fact. My full century had passed. The original crew of the Flashaway were long gone. A completely new generation was on the register.
Or, more accurately, three new generations: the children, the grandchildren, and the great-grandchildren of the generation I had known.
One hundred years had passed—and I had lain so completely suspended, owing to the freezing, that only a moment of my own life had been absorbed.
Eventually I was to get used to this; but on this first occasion I found it utterly shocking—even embarrassing. Only a few minutes ago, as my experience went, I was madly in love with Louise and had hopes of yet marrying her.
But now well, the leather-bound “Who’s Who” told all. Louise had been dead twenty years. Nearly thirty children now alive aboard the S. S. Flashaway could claim her as their great-grandmother. These carefully recorded pedigrees proved it.
And the patriarch of that fruitful tribe had been none other than Bill Broscoe, the fresh young athlete who had always been tardy for my history class. I gulped as if I were swallowing a baseball.
Broscoe—tardy! And I had missed my second chance to marry Louise—by a full century!
My fingers turned the pages of the register numbly. William Broscoe II misinterpreted my silence.
“I see you are quick to detect our trouble,” he said, and the same deep conscientious concern showed in his expression that I had remembered in the face of his mother, upon our grim meeting after my alarm clock had failed and I had missed my own wedding.
Trouble? Trouble aboard the S. S. Flashaway, after all the careful advance planning we had done, and after all our array of budgeting and scheduling and vowing to stamp our systematic ways upon the oncoming generations? This, we had agreed, would be the world’s most unique colonizing expedition; for every last trouble that might crop up on the six-hundred-year voyage had already been met and conquered by advance planning.
“They’ve tried to put off doing anything about it until your arrival,” Broscoe said, observing respectfully that the charter invested in me the authority of passing upon all important policies. “But this very week three new babies arrived, which brings the trouble to a crisis. So the captain ordered a blackout of the heavens as an emergency measure.”
“HEAVENS?” I grunted. “What have the heavens got to do with babies?”
“There’s a difference of opinion on that. Maybe it depends upon how susceptible you are.”
“Susceptible—to what?”
“The romantic malady.”
I looked at the old man, much puzzled. He took me by the arm and led me toward the pilots’ control room. Here were unpainted windows that revealed celestial glories beyond anything I had ever dreamed. Brilliant planets of varied hues gleamed through the blackness, while close at hand—almost close enough to touch—were numerous large moons, floating slowly past as we shot along our course.
“Some little show,” the pilot grinned, “and it keeps getting better.”
He proceeded to tell me just where we were and how few adjustments in the original time schedules he had had to make, and why this non-stop flight to Robinello would stand unequalled for centuries to come.
And I heard virtually nothing of what he said. I simply stood there, gazing at the unbelievable beauty of the skies. I was hypnotized, enthralled, shaken to the very roots. One emotion, one thought dominated me. I longed for Louise.
“The romantic malady, as I was saying,” William Broscoe resumed, “may or may not be a factor in producing our large population. Personally, I think it’s pure buncombe.”
“Pure buncombe,” I echoed, still thinking of Louise. If she and I had had moons like these—
“But nobody can tell Captain Dickinson anything...”
There was considerable clamor and wrangling that morning as the inhabitants awakened to find their heavens blacked out. Captain Dickinson was none too popular anyway. Fortunately for him, many of the people took their grouches out on the babies who had caused the disturbance in the night.
Families with babies were supposed to occupy the rear staterooms—but there weren’t enough rear staterooms. Or rather, there were too many babies.
Soon the word went the rounds that the Keeper of the Traditions had returned to life. I was duly banqueted and toasted and treated to lengthy accounts of the events of the past hundred years. And during the next few days many of the older men and women would take me aside for private conferences and spill their worries into my ears.
CONTINUE READING "THE VOYAGE THAT LASTED 600 YEARS" IN THE BEST OF AMAZING STORIES: THE 1940 ANTHOLOGY
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