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Announcement: Tantalus, by Albert Nothlit

TantalusQSFer Albert Nothlit has a new sci fi book out:

In the aftermath of a nasty fight after being jumped by four youths, faced with a mother desperate to get rid of the son she’s ashamed of, Kyle is forced to leave home to take up an apprenticeship he doesn’t want and can’t wait to be finished with.

On another planet.

Upon arrival, though, a nasty surprise awaits. The position he was hired for no longer exists and he’s going to be left standing around until Dr. O’Brien, the man he was to work for, can find him a new job. Following a strange compulsion, Kyle leaves the compound, only to nearly get himself killed out in the alien atmosphere. Kyle is told he’s too reckless to stay and fit only for the mining colonies, where he’ll be little more than a slave.

Distraught but helpless, Kyle counts down the days until his departure. He’s distracted from his misery, however, by the same compulsion that first drove him from the compound, a presence in his mind that seems to be coming from the local lifeform being kept in Dr. O’Brien’s lab…


I didn’t make a scene when my mother finally kicked me off the planet. I sat in the shuttle, arms crossed, ignoring the other passengers, and looking out the window. I wondered if she was glad to see me go, relieved that she would finally be left alone to mourn my father in peace. She hadn’t said much, the last time we spoke. She essentially told me not to screw up like I did everything else.

“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity,” she’d said at the spaceport. “Dr. O’Brien is the best xenobiologist in his field. This apprenticeship is a guaranteed ticket to a professional certification, even without a college degree.”

“You mean it’s my only chance at getting a job now that they kicked me out of college,” I answered.

She sighed. “Kyle, please. Let’s not do this again. You are officially an adult now. Act like one.”

“Oh, right. Because I turned eighteen yesterday. And what better birthday present than to waste all the money we got from the settlement on this stupid ticket to nowhere?”

“Dr. O’Brien’s research station is isolated, but—”

“But expenses don’t matter when it comes to the opportunity to finally get rid of me, isn’t that right? I saw you during the trial, Mother. I saw your shame when you spoke of me. You couldn’t even bring yourself to say the word ‘homosexual’.”

Her eyes clouded over, like they did every single time I brought that up. “Kyle… You sent one of your classmates to the hospital.”

“After he and three others jumped me!”

Another sigh. “It’s almost time for you to leave. Promise me you will do your best. Maybe you don’t appreciate it now, but I’ve done everything I can to help you on your way. This assignment to Tantalus was obtained as a great personal favor, but there won’t be another one. This is your future now, son. It’s up to you whether you succeed or not.”

I rolled my eyes. “Of course. Change the subject like you usually do. You’ll do anything but acknowledge who I really am.”


“Forget it. The shuttle’s leaving. Bye.”

Okay, so maybe I lied. I did make a scene when my mother kicked me off the planet.

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Author Bio

Albert Nothlit is a writer and an engineer who enjoys creating science fiction worlds.

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