QSFer David W. Menefee has a new gay sci fi book out: The Final Journey To The Center Of The Earth, By David W. Menefee.
How far down will you go?
The year’s most compelling story conjures an exhilarating blend of suspense, romance, and mind-bending twists. With the release of Olga Schumacher’s explosive journal, the renowned GNN reporter has defied skeptics and snubbed a gag order issued by Judge Stewart Shore in a Los Angeles, California courtroom this week.
“The public knows I tell the truth or be damned,” Schumacher stated outside Los Angeles County Superior Court. “I’ll let the facts speak for themselves. And if challenged, I’m prepared to reveal further evidence that proves my claim that there are more fantastic things in this world than on this world!”
The widely discussed subject matter in Schumacher’s tale covers the Lidenbrock expedition to Antarctica and their discovery of a hidden entrance to the Hollow Earth. Cynics have dismissed the book as fiction. Schumacher claims otherwise.
Is the ultimate destination ordained to be mankind’s final foe? In her account, weird events tear apart the life of young pilot Axle Lidenbrock II, adventurous great nephew of the legendary explorer in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. A mysterious note from his long-lost father to rescue him from the legendary land of Shambala proves real, and he launches a secret expedition to save him, but the voyage is hijacked. Schumacher, a blind detective stowaway, and a murderer jeopardize the journey and they crash in the Antarctic. Axle’s heroism leads them to a fabled entrance to the lost world below, and they descend into a subterranean futuristic kingdom that holds a horrifying secret never before revealed . . . until now.
One person inside the continental USA will receive an autographed copy of the first edition – comment below for a chance to win.
Lorelei must have had some powerfully intuitive thoughts controlling our crafts, because we set down with nothing but a slight bump, but the soldiers weren’t so lucky. Their longi fell in a soft crash about a hundred feet behind us. I beheld Commander Nero-Ul and his vehicle smashing upside down in a convoluted pile and I screamed. We should have run for it like jackrabbits, but I lost it. He was all I could think of. I shed my parka and raced to his side, finding him sprawled out and knocked senseless. I knelt beside him and cupped his head in my hands.
“Tell me you’re okay! Let me hear you say something!”
His eyes slowly opened and he recognized me. I felt his arm pull me closer. He whispered, “I will tell you a secret.”
“I love you.”
I kissed him. I wept. I brushed tears from my eyes and patted off a few that tumbled onto his cheek. “It isn’t fair!” I said hoarsely. “To meet the one great love of my life only to lose him! If we could just go away together!”
“I can’t leave.”
“And I can’t stay!”
We both knew the hopelessness of either course of action. The silliness of my childish desire to bring him with me contrasted foolishly with the tragedy of the moment. I felt rage at the injustice of life. I ached to alter our circumstances and chart a new path together with him, but to what end? We were born to different worlds. A glance back showed my friends were impatient to go, and some of the other ACT soldiers were staggering to their feet.
“Go while you can get away!” he urged. “I’ll explain it to the Council of 12 as the result of the crash so no harm comes to me or my men. But Olga . . . .”
“. . . promise you will never forget me.”
“I promise. And you’ll think of me when you’re in Telos just under Mt. Shasta, so near yet so far from my office in Los Angeles?”
“Yes. And do not be surprised if I find a way there.”
Perhaps I had found my soul mate. The fact that he seemed enamored of me from the get go opened feelings in me I had long forgotten. A mystical Romeo and Juliet deal for both of us, but I knew I couldn’t remain in his world. Regrettably, neither could I return to my world with a giant in tow. Or could I? My thoughts bounded from one idea to another, all insane, all desperate, all a pathetic, last-ditch attempt to sustain—even for one more minute—what I thought was true love.
Perhaps I had fallen victim to a beguiling satyr. They certainly all had a way of discerning every one of our hot buttons. The devilish nature of their collective conscience certainly anchored the idea that he and everyone else might not be what they appeared to be. I couldn’t shake the feeling, and my gut’s usually right, but wasn’t he different? He seemed so to me.
Perhaps I was nothing but an aging woman with so few prospects for personal happiness that I let myself believe for one phantasmagorical day that a mighty man of renown could fall in love with me. I was drunk on that passion. Intoxication from desires met and loneliness appeased—even for one night—made for a soul change that I had never before experienced.
“Goodbye, my love!” I said, and I sealed those words with a last kiss.
The walk from there to the longi seemed to drag for hours, as if my ankles were tied to hundred-pound weights. I couldn’t resist taking one last look back at him, instantly fearing I might turn into a pillar of salt. There he stood again, forthright and manly, and he connected to my heart with a power nothing could break. He waved at me. I waved back. The image of him so tall and strong again formed a mammoth memory on my psyche that I wanted burned into the gristle of my soul.
And he is there now . . . and forever.
I was going home, but I was returning a changed woman.
We struck out on the hardest, loneliest, and saddest journey of my life, back through the cavernous labyrinth on foot, lugging our pathetic parkas laden with fruit, and feeling the first blasts of subfreezing temperatures blustering into the caves. Somewhere along the way, I had lost my camera and my notes. I possessed nothing to prove what I had experienced there, except for Commander Nero-Ul’s bracelet.
“Look!” Lorelei said, pointing to a human form etched in a gray silhouette on the earthen wall, like an odd cave painting of a man with both arms outstretched as if grasping for something. “Someone who once tried to leave against their will was vaporized by our forces,” she explained. “That ash is all that remains of him.”
We didn’t stop, but we stared at the terrible picture as we passed, wondering who the hapless wanderer was and what terrible crime he had committed that would have justified them snuffing him out like a cigarette. Then again, I thought back to what we witnessed an hour ago. Life meant nothing to the powers that be in this place that had sold the entire world a fake bill of goods for centuries about their noble aims and Elysian Fields.
David W. Menefee began his career as a writer and marketing representative for the Dallas Times Heraldand the Dallas Morning News. His books have appeared under various imprints in a variety of categories, including biography, travel, fiction, and mysteries. As an esteemed film historian, his Richard Barthelmess: A Life in Pictures was named one of the Top 10 Books of the Year by the San Francisco Examiner. His Wally: The True Wallace Reid Story was nominated for a 2011 Pulitzer Prize and was named one of the Best Silent Film Books of the Year by the San Francisco Examiner along with his The Rise and Fall of Lou-Tellegen. David’s popular fiction works include EPIC, The Remarkable Mr. Messing, Brothers of the Storm, Charlie O’Doone’s Second Chance, and the Margot Cranston mystery series.