Saturday, December 22, 2012

M.Christian Reads His Science Fiction Story "Some Assembly Required" from LOVE WITHOUT GUN CONTROL

(from M.Christian's Technorotica)

Here's the very fun M.Christian reading his story "Some Assembly Required" from his collection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories Love Without Gun Control (out in ebook and a special paper edition) from Renaissance E Books/PageTurner Editions:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Did Someone Say ZOMBIES?

Just because ... BRAINS ... zombies are ... BRAINS ... popular, M.Christian has shaded with us ... BRAINS ... an except from his own zombie ... BRAINS ... story from his f/f/horror collection Love Without Gun Control.

Btw ... BRAINS...


All in all, Presidential Aide Lawrence Tucker thought, it had almost been one fucking successful administration. He thought this while pushing the snapping, squirming corpse of the Assistant Secretary of Urban Affairs on a gurney. The gurney had one squeaking, spinning wheel, and it echoed down the flickering fluorescents of Access Tunnel B2, deep inside Cheyenne Mountain.

Yeah, he thought, almost –


They’d managed to get Hubbel into the seat with a clear 65%. For the conservative middles they’d used a budget-cutting and job development plank. Rehabilitation and civil liberties had pulled in the sandal-wearers and the granola-eaters. A hands-off business tax approach brought in the big campaign bucks from the old white men. A couple of clean overseas “actions” had cemented Hubbel as a man who took no bull. The loss of Peter, his eldest, in a gangland shooting had gotten him in real firm with the bleeding hearts – that, and his tearful plea to “stop the killing of our children” as he dedicated a big hunk of the domestic budget to education and law enforcement.

At the door of elevator shaft C2, Tucker unholstered the heavy army automatic that Major Clark had given him. Hitting the cycle button, he stepped out of the way of Henry’s clutching hands. The straps were definitely not slipping, but he was being extra careful. He’d had to pump six rounds into Julie, the personal secretary to the Chairman of Foreign Affairs, after she’d slipped free a week or so previous.

Leaning back and lighting a precious Marlboro, he watched the shaft door slowly crack, then ponderously open. Thinking, once again, of Hubbel.

Even the shit that had come up acted as if it had been dreamt up by some divinely inspired spin doctor, Tucker mused. Even that paramilitary wacko had parked a U-Haul packed with fertilizer TNT in front of the White House, Hubbel had insisted on remaining at his desk. “Ain’t going to run from someone who wants ta blow me up with cow shit,” he’d said with his cool smile.

Remembering Julie, Tucker carefully pushed the gurney to the edge of the empty shaft. Popping the safety snaps on the restraining harness; Tucker lifted up his end. Flailing all the way, the corpse slipped off and hit the bottom with a meaty impact. Very meaty: Cheyenne’s basement was a fetid, undulating sea of the dead.

Yeah, it had almost been a great administration, Tucker thought. That is, until the fucking dead rose from their fucking graves. Taking a long drag on his Marlboro, he slammed his palm down on the CLOSE switch.


Tucker had moved up the government ladder during a big “down-sizing” era. He’d honestly expected to find Cheyenne looted and barren. Maybe, if they were lucky, there’d be a thousand cans of military rations and a copy of Life from 1963. Yeah, and a billion cockroaches who would look at them with a “what the fuck are you doing here?” attitude.

Luckily, a couple Chief Executives had managed to squirrel away enough to make the interior of the mountain almost a comfy place. They had cable teevee (but no broadcasts – except for a pathetic Texan who’d played Coal Miner’s Daughter 73 times before the blowing his brains out), purified air, an electronic copy of the Library of Congress, a complete surgery setup, more than enough water, and food for about four months if they starved themselves. The cockroaches hadn’t given them attitude, but they did pretty much have the run of the lowest level storage rooms.

At first they’d been almost jovial. They’d wait out the rising of the dead in air-conditioned and isolated comfort. Eat their canned beef, pork, Spam, beans, and carrots for a few months then crawl out to check out the State of the Union.

Then Lawrence O’Neil (R, VA) suffered a heart attack. They found him the next day, merrily eating Slade Dole (D, OR).


“Learn to fucking adapt,” Tucker said, puffing his Marlboro and clumsily twirling his pistol. Hubbel had used it as a catch-phrase, a way for people to deal with the problems of modern America. Tucker, though, used it as a mantra. He said it over and over again to keep his mind off canned pork, stale Marlboros, weak booze, canned air, intermittent power, the rising of the dead, and imminent starvation.

Tucker jammed the pistol back in its holster. Major Clark would rip him a new asshole if he caught him playing with it.

He was at the intersection of B2 and D2: The fluorescents there were more stable, jury-rigged with loops of rainbow wiring. At first, Clark had almost split a gasket. But after six months in Cheyenne the fire had gone out of the starched Major.

Nothing like “adapting” like fucking mad to make a West Point asshole shut up about “damaging military equipment.” If Moe made the lights work, then they worked. Who cared if he violated the sanctity of Cheyenne’s cold-steel guts to do it?

In addition to the working lights, Moe Travel had re-rigged the air- conditioning ductwork and Cheyenne’s computer system. Now the corridors were draped with cascades of fiber optic cable and great patches of duct tape inches thick.

Moe had been a pleasant surprise, the only one Tucker could remember. Everyone else had panicked, swallowed bullets, cyanide, or simply started crying at unexpected moments. Tucker’s old college buddy, though, had simply dealt with it with by quoting “adapt” right back at them – and went about fixing what was broke.

Magenta 16. The door was painted with a mad collage of splattered paint. The crazy tie-dye had been an impulsive decorating job by a GI to indicate that the room was livable. The same GI had later stepped calmly into shaft C2 to “join his buddies.” His screams as they tore, chewed, and swallowed him alive had lasted for almost twenty minutes – till Clark calmly dropped a grenade down the shaft.

“You decent, Moe?” Tucker said. Taking a final drag, he carefully ground out his cigarette on a bit of unpainted door and stuck it in his pocket.

“Compared to you?” came a squeaky voice through the thick metal, “I’m a saint.”

If the outside was splattered with paint, the interior space was spattered with improvisation. Tucker was again struck dumb at the conglomeration of Moe’s spit and-bailing-wire gizmos that had filled the room. Shaking his head against the riot of hodgepodged gear, he said “Anything?”

Moe’s face, stained a bilious green from a ramshackle computer monitor, looked at him. “You always ask me that.”

“Only ever since you’ve been trying to crack it.”

“And I always say–?”

“‘No’. But, shit, Moe, gotta hope for something, don’t I?”

“Better fucking hope that Clark will develop a personality. Better luck than hacking this motherfucker.”

Tucker made his way through the wheezing, dripping, beeping mass of claptrap machinery. When he was next to Moe he was also a sick green from the monitor’s glow. “Did you try – what did you call it, ‘random number sequences’–?”

“Yes, dear,” Moe said, turning back to his monitor. “Yes, I did. And every other fucking trick I know. Nothing, okay? This fucker uses an eight letter combo – you know how hard that is to crack? With fucking numbers you at least get nine tries per character. But this fucker uses the alphabet so it’s 28.” Moe blinked for a second, disconnecting that part of himself as he remembered... “I thought you were feeding the dead,” he said, looking up at Tucker with pale, but strong, eyes.

“Just dumped Henry down the shaft. No one else bought it during the night.”

“Fucking creepy, man. Can’t see how you can do that shit. Still gotta blow their brains out?”

“Nah, Clark says we’re just wasting bullets.” Tucker shrugged over the first part of Moe’s question. “I got the short straw.”

“Yeah, and I get to think like a fucking dead man.” “Speaking of which, anyone fed the chief exec yet?” “Don’t ask me; I’m just trying to save all our asses.”


The late President of the United States, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, etc., etc., Armitage Hubbel, was eating the leg of the Secretary of Agriculture.

“This is a fucking nightmare,” Major Clark said, watching from the other side of a sheet of bullet-proof glass.

“Since when did you wake up?” Tucker said, stepping into the room.

“You’re fucking late, Tucker – had to feed the Chief myself,” Clark said, watching the late President tear into a pale, greasy calf. Partially congealed blood splattered down Hubbel’s chest.

“Sorry, Major, was talking to Travel. Won’t happen again.”

As Hubbel chewed, Tucker noticed for the first time that the skin of one cheek (the right) was starting to sag. It stretched like a blister aching to burst, bulging and pulsing with the action.

“See that it doesn’t. What does Einstein say?”

Human blood and flecks of skin and tissue covered the front of Hubbel’s suit. Tucker absently noted that Hubbel’s crotch was one huge stain of blood and bile. The President tore into the leg, stuffing the human flesh into his mechanically chewing mouth. His hands punctured and tore loose stringy ribbons of flesh.

“The same: we’re fucked. We’ll be dead of starvation or dehydration long before he can crack the thing.”

With a few jaw-stretching bites into the fat calf, Hubbel ripped the last few strips of flesh off the bone. Working crackling tendons and gristle like bubble gum, his feral eyes whipped around the storage locker. The prez was searching for something else to eat, to fill his rotting gut.

“And to think I actually voted for the fucker,” Tucker said.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Available Now: Toka, King of the Jungle & Toka and the Man Bats

First reprint since original 1940s publication!

Straight from the pages of Fantastic Adventures magazine, and the wild days of the pulps, comes this tale of action, romance, intrigue and dinosaurs! A homage to Burroughs, and a treat to Tarzan fans, TOKA, KING OF THE DINOSAURS, is a rollercoaster ride written by a master of the pulps, and editor of Fantastic Adventures, Raymond A. Palmer – who had also published some John Carter and Carson of Venus stories by Burroughs himself! If you like adventure, dinosaurs, invading barbarians, a feisty heroine, and wild battles as only a master pulp writer can deliver, then the TOKA series is a must read! Covers: Reprouced from the original 1945 Fantastic Adventures.

Raymond A. Palmer's Toka Series
Toka, King of the Jungle
Toka and the Man Bats

Toka and the Big Cats
$4.99 each

Out Now: Will Eisner and Matt Baker's The Phantom Lady Omnibus [Fantastic Femmes of the Comics]

[from the Introduction to the Phantom Lady Omnibus]

Phantom Lady was the first and longest-lived costumed heroine (in a different form she is still around today) to grace comic books in the wake of the success of Superman's debut in Action Comics. Phantom Lady made her entrance three years later in 1941 via the pages of Police Comics No. 1., and was soon elevated to a comic book of her own. She was the brainchild of the Eisner and Iger Studio, run by the legendary Will Eisner (of The Spirit fame) and his then partner Jerry Iger, who together created and packaged comic books for a number of publishers.

Although she didn't have super powers, Phantom Lady, like Batman, had honed her physical and mental reactions far beyond those of most mortals, and in battle was more than a match for the average gang of miscreants. Also like Batman, she used science to give her an edge when fighting villains, ordinary or super – a futuristic gun that shot a wide beam of blackness, instead of light, completely blinding her enemies. In real life, Phantom Lady was Sandra Knight, the daughter of a U.S. senator who had grown bored with her privileged life and decided to use information that came to her as a Washington insider to help fight espionage and crime.

At first, Sandra Knight's costume was yellow with a green cape, but when publisher, Quality Comics, dropped the character in 1936, Phantom Lady Comics was sold to Fox Feature Syndicate. There Sandra Knight underwent a dramatic change at the hands of Matt Baker, fabled today as one of the kings of "good girl art" and the comic book industry's first successful African-American artist. Baker changed Phantom Lady's lackluster yellow and green outfit to a skimpier, and far more revealing, blue and red that packed every frame with sexual dynamite.
In fact, Baker's artwork, which did not shy at bondage and emphasized cleavage might have gone a tad too far. His cover for Phantom Lady No. 17, featuring Sandra Knight attempting to free herself from ropes (reproduced on the cover of this omnibus), helped stimulate a congressional hearing on comic books, and was denounced during a 1950s congressional hearing by psychiatrist Frederic Wertham. Dr. Wertham claimed Baker's cover aroused unhealthy "sexual stimulation by combining 'headlights' with the sadist's dream of tying up a woman." The good doctor had risen to fame with his book Seduction of the Innocent, which targeted comic books as the cause of teen gangs and teen vice and an all-around morally corrupting influence on children and teenagers. In his sixties, a wiser Wertham, with a wider view of life, recanted his indictment of comic books and claims they were a harmful influence on the young. (You will find a gallery of Phantom Lady covers at the end of this omnibus and can make up your own mind about Baker's Phantom Lady art.)

The original Phantom Lady's final adventure was in 1955, when the majority of the comic book publishers went out of business in the wake of Congress' Wertham-inspired hearing. Sandra Knights costume and presentation were considerably tamed by then, but even so, the notion of a woman who could beat-up men was not wanted in Cold War America. She appeared again only sporadically in reprints. Then in 1973, D.C. Comics, publisher of Superman and Batman, among others – which had acquired rights to the character through the earlier purchase of a defunct comic book company – reintroduced Sandra Knight to a new generation, albeit in a somewhat subdued and more patriotic costume. In the years since, Phantom Lady has gone through several changes of costume and identity, including training her own successor, Delilah "Dee" Tyler.

For this omnibus, we have selected a large helping of Matt Baker art along with what we believe is a selection of stories that showcase Sandra Knight, Phantom Lady, at her sexy, crime fighting best – pitted against some of the most fiendish villains of her career. First, under Matt Baker's able pen, Phantom Lady literally leaps into action, down into a carload of commies, in "Television Spies," a minor masterpiece of nonstop action. Then, "The Beauty and the Brain," a tale of a cruel revenge and one Phantom Lady too many, provides Baker with a showcase for his not inconsiderable talent at portraying the half-draped female form. Next, in a Cold War thriller from one of the final issues of Phantom Lady we have "Satan's Seal," with Sandra trying to outwit the sadistic Red agent known as The Whip! Serial killings lead Phantom Lady down a peril-filled trail and through gaggles of costumed women a la Baker, to a fiery climax in "A Shroud for the Bride." For a change of pace, we see Sandra Knight, still in her yellow and green costume, in an early adventure from the pages of Police Comics. The two tales that follow, "The West Point Incident" and "School for Spies," constitute an exceptional treat for comic book connoisseurs, because they feature very early work by celebrated illustrator Joe Kubert, who would grow into an industry giant, but then young enough to still be under the influence of mentor Jack Cole (creator of the surreal and underappreciated Plasticman). Writer/artist Frank Borth serves up an untitled, ringading yarn from a series he created for Feature Comics co-starring Phantom Lady and two other costumed heroines (the Raven and the Spider Widow). Matt Baker gets the artist credits on the final two Phantom Lady adventures in this omnibus, both from All-Top Comics: a hypnosis thriller set in a ballpark, "The Man who Lost His Stuff," and "The Substitute Cinderella," which opens on a splash panel of two svelte, green-sheathed redheads shooting it out, while Phantom Lady puts a male criminal out of commission.

Like all works of art from earlier eras, these stories from Phantom Lady comic books are redolent of the values, concerns, fantasies, stereotypes, and events of their time and could cause offense to some. But, we believe that their value as cultural documents, artistic creations, and unparalleled storytelling make them deserving of reprint. Most of all, we hope you will enjoy Phantom Lady as an early, and still compelling, portrayal of a strong, independent female figure in popular media, and one who in her more recent incarnations, is still inspiring people today.
Jean Marie Stine

Monday, January 23, 2012

Out Now: Far Out Within - Off-Trail Science Fiction & Fantasy By Ralph Greco, Jr.

Here's a very special treat: we here at PageTurner Editions love the work of Ralph Greco, Jr., so we are very excited to be able to bring you a magnificent collection of Ralph's science fiction and fantasy tales.  It simply doesn't get any better than this: Far Out Within: Off-Trail Science Fiction & Fantasy By Ralph Greco, Jr.

The first ever collection of science fiction and fantasy from the widely published author. Greco writes of this dazzling assemblage of tales: "Considering the many subgenres of science fiction, I have attempted to keep this collection focused on stories of a more 'out there' nature.  Even when the action takes place on Earth, aliens (either in body or concept) are responsible for or involved with the action to such a degree they're be no story without them.  A few are light-hearted (at least I hope you'll think so), some a tad bit darker and there are those time travel ones (did I mention those?) but I hope you will be entertained by them all.  Enjoy this short little batch of stories, some far out and some within." Includes:
and others..