QSFer Patricia Loofbourrow has a new sci-fi collection out, some including ace and lesbian characters: Weird Worlds.
A man arrives at his new job. A woman lets one last customer into her shop. Two teens sneak away to a party.
These all sound normal. But these simple actions are on worlds that it’s unlikely you’ve seen before.
Twenty short stories bring you twenty weird worlds you won’t soon forget.
- A Small Victory – they’re coming for her. What should she do?
- Alon – a young queen’s visit to her vassal leads to a dilemma.
- Bellicola and the Dragon – a child’s story of the far past. Or is it?
- Chipmunk Station – a miner is surprised when he arrives at his new job.
- Flames – what if one action would bring you eternal power?
- Kythera – can life spring from the inanimate?
- Lucky – just an ordinary job. Right?
- Merry Christmas – a man deals with his crazy father.
- Mmrra – two teens sneak off to a party. What they find on the way changes everything.
- Proof – a girl’s being kidnapped! Or is she?
- Ready To Go – this is her last assignment. But it all goes sideways.
- Savita – it was just a routine mission.
- Strawberries – a guy gets into a cab. That’s when the fun begins.
- Takashilipsi – a child goes to a funeral, and it changes everything.
- The Customer – she let in one last customer.
- The Doors of Hell – minions of the Dark One threaten his people.
- The Fire God – a question is answered.
- The Right Ammo – something’s in the barn. He’s gonna investigate.
- To See What Others Cannot – she’s on a quest, and she can’t rest until she finds what she’s after.
- Wealth Beyond Compare – a man’s future is decided in the courtroom.
Warnings: Violence (a bombing), on-screen death.
Mmrra raised all three of his eyes over the fallen log and peered at the spectacle.
Flowers decked the vast clearing – hung in trees, across logs, around entry-holes. Hundreds of people were there for the Celebration, and the array of squat green bodies, painted and covered in leis, would have awed someone younger.
Mmrra felt bored.
Mmrra, come on! I want to see the weight lifting!
Mmrra gave a mental sigh and settled behind the log. We’ve seen the weight lifting before, he told Prroh. I’m tired of Celebrations.
So what do you want to do, go home? Prroh’s thought held tinges of friendly mocking. What about the thirds from Claaveraa?
Boredom vanished. What thirds? Where?
All hail the challengers for the first round of the weight-lifting competition!
Mmrra knew Prroh couldn’t answer until the cheering and shouting stopped, but he extruded some hands to pound on Prroh anyway.
Quit it, Prroh said, flinching away. His thought and smell held annoyance.
Mmrra sent back remorse. Prroh was his second! So Mmrra reshaped his hands to smooth and caress Prroh’s hurt skin.
Prroh’s eyes narrowed, and he gave a mental Hmph. Now are you ready to go? He turned and flowed off around the log.
I’m coming, Mmrra said, and followed, producing a slight rustle of the leaves drowned out in all the movement going on in the clearing.
The weight-lifting competition was at the other end of the clearing, but Prroh’s path took them around behind the food area. A cook – looked like a first – was slicing meat, extruding a precise stream of cutting acid to both cut and cook the meat, the aroma of cooking meat mingling with his contented smell. Then the cook extruded his arms and collected half the slices to move to a platter.
Prroh grabbed two slices and fled, Mmrra ducking around to follow.
Hey! The cook’s thought went out on small group mode. The murmur of others answering in the same mode faded as Mmrra shimmied behind a tree.
Prroh handed him a large thick slice, and Mmrra engulfed it greedily, laughing. That was smooth, Prroh.
Prroh preened, puffing his five-foot diameter body up and out a bit until he looked like a green mushroom top, then collapsed in laughter when Mmrra sent that mental picture.
Prroh sent back a mental picture of the two of them mating with a third that made Mmrra’s skin tingle
Let’s see these thirds, Mmrra said, starting off towards the competition.
No, Prroh said, they’re not over there.
There’s a party down in the city.
No wonder Prroh went this way! A breeze sent leaves flying past them. Well then, Mmrra said, lead on.
Patricia Loofbourrow is the NY Times and USA Today best selling author of the Red Dog Conspiracy steampunk noir crime fiction series. She has been a professional blogger, author, and editor since 2000 and began writing novels in 2005. Her first published novel, The Jacq of Spades, released in 2015 and has sold over 20,000 copies worldwide.
A native of southern California, Patricia Loofbourrow has lived in Moore, Oklahoma since 2005. You can see all her books at pattyloof.com