QSFer Brian Barr has a new queer alternative history book out in his “Carolina Daemonic” series: Rebel Hell.
Enter Book II of the Carolina Daemonic epic novel series, Rebel Hell!
Rebel Hell picks up immediately after the cliffhanger ending of Book I: Confederate Shadows. After the destruction of Charleston and Columbia, SC, OrbTech carries out its plans for world domination with flying undead creatures, massive steambots, necromancers, and armed enforcers. Magicians, mystics, and rebels stand against the evil corporation as the United States of the Confederacy burns to the ground. Succubi, freed from their prison in another dimension, feast on human flesh in our world. Violent riots sweep the British Isles of the Victorian Empire as two loyal friends, hunted by the government, discover a shared destiny in which magic will transform their lives forever.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Rebel Hell.
It’s 2020. The South won the Civil War and achieved manifest destiny in the United States. Great Britain, known as Victoria, and China, have maintained their empires. American slavery was abolished in the late 20th century instead of the late 19th century. Steam powered machinery and electricity make up the bulk of modern technology.
In the shadows of the Confederacy, there is magic. Esoteric sciences arcane and archaic survive from forgotten times, and strange demonic creatures wander through the slums of Charleston…
Enter Carolina Daemonic. In an alternative timeline, see a dark world not too far removed from our own- religio-political cults, racism, sexism, homophobia, corporate takeovers and corruption are abound. Witness the strange and mysterious beyond the familiarity of our ordinary world as well- godly avatars, lustful demons, necromancers, and the undead.
Carolina Daemonic is an epic occult urban fantasy-horror series with steampunk elements.
This had to be it. The ifrit could feel them, sense them, the same genetic codes, faces, and energy stored within the master’s energy-based computer. His targets were here.
Somewhere, beyond these pipelines, beyond the tunnels.
The station was big, so the ifrit would have to move quickly. It raced through the underground, ethereal, vaporous and fast. It didn’t race as rapidly as it did to come to the station’s tunnels. It had to slow down in order to read the energy of the place.
Easier said than done. In trying to move quick enough to stop the two in case they were making a getaway from Manchester, the ifrit had to be slow enough to feel the vibrations of the station. Pinpointing two humans in the masses upon masses of people above the pipelines and out of the tunnels wouldn’t be easy. If the two had already boarded a moving train, the feat would even prove to be more difficult. All over, the ifrit could sense old ladies, bad boys, businessmen, families, losers and loners… but two magically-skilled protestors?
J’kemil found it hard enough, being a fire elemental, to keep his cool.
Flying invisibly through those rows upon rows of tunnels, working to stay undetected by the human world was also aggravating. Magicians were always strict about that, making sure their magical servants stayed out of the sight of normal, everyday citizens. Who cared now? VisionBots across the Victorian Empire showed undead fiends searing through guts and feeding on human flesh.
Golden light flashed some distance ahead in the winding tunnels.
J’kemil slowed down abruptly. He saw five magical beings levitating over the tracks. They were light wards, fire elementals of the solar variety, slender and tall. J’kemil knew, by their energy and aggressive stances that they were owned by someone who wasn’t their master.
The elementals were blocking his path.
Their hands were held out, preparing to strike.
Do you belong to my targets? J’kemil telepathed to the solar beings before launching the first fire-born attack.
Neither of the five solar beings granted J’kemil an answer, nor did they allow the streams of fire launched in their direction to hit them. They disappeared immediately, reappearing around the ifrit and releasing their sun-born flames at the monster.
The attacks surely hurt, though J’kemil remained cocky. Sure, they were five to his solitary state. Plus, his fiery body was coarser, bulkier, and slower than the light wards.
His strength, however, could serve at a high advantage.
He couldn’t attack them all at once, and he found it hard to dodge the five of them, striking with their own attacks simultaneously, one solar flame after another. Each strike was bringing the ifrit to the tracks below, and soon, he was standing on the metal beams, covering his head for protection. The light wards hit the ifrit’s orange-red figure as he growled, forced to become more corporeal with each strike. No longer could he hide, invisible, under the tunnel.
Yes, he could. This surely wasn’t a match he could win, not on his own. Perhaps he could retreat for now, and fight the light wards later.
J’kemil took one step as he screeched in pain, then two, finding it difficult to fly with so many attacks launched against his fiery form.
A trap. Some huge sigil appeared on the ground, below J’kemil’s feet. How far it spread out, somewhere around an 18 feet circumference. Glowing blue as it revealed itself, J’kemil recognized the powerful binding and entrapment symbols written inside of the circle, well-crafted to hold more than just a rival ifrit in place.
He didn’t stand a chance.
The ifrit kept getting hit by solar flames. Perhaps, if he could just focus on absorbing the energy into his own fiery composition, assuming the very property of his rivals.
A possibility, but he was too distracted. The attacks of the light wards hurt, and the suction of that circle, how it held him in place, shining all about him with mockery, was too much.
He couldn’t move, even as hundreds of feet away, he heard the racing of a vactrain.
And those vactrains traveled really fast.
Brian Barr is the author of the Carolina Daemonic series and the 3 H’s Trilogy. He writes novels, short stories, and comic books. His latest book, Carolina Daemonic, Book II: Rebel Hell was released in March of 2019. He co-created and co-writes the Empress comic series with Chuck Amadori, which is drawn by Sullivan Suad and Zilson Costa with colors from Geraldo Filho.