Originally published by Dark Quest Books, Defending the Future, Volume 5: Dogs of War has bee re-issued by eSpec Books. This volume includes my story, “Father of War,” about a scientist taken prisoner, and the cybernetically enhanced dogs he created who attempt to rescue him. Researching military working dogs (MWDs) proved fascinating. The ability of these dogs amazed me as much as their connection to their handlers. These brave canines have saved many lives in battle over the years, though they haven’t always been treated with the respect and appreciation they earned. That situation has improved significantly in recent times, but there’s still a ways to go. This collection honors their efforts and those of their trainers and handlers. “Father of War” is the most emotionally taxing story I’ve written for DTF–but there’s a fair amount of fun to it as well, especially for those who enjoyed 1970s war comics and the artists and writers who created them. More info and the full table of contents is posted on eSpec’s website. Amazon has the book for sale in print and e-book.
Defending The Future is a long-running, award-winning series of military/science fiction, comprised of six volumes. I’ve been fortunate to have contributed stories to all but one volume, with special thanks to series editors Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail whose confidence in me allowed me the opportunity to take a crack at writing this kind of s/f. It’s a challenging genre to write, demanding of meticulous research, and I’ve turned in at least one or two “weird” stories along the way when ideas led me to strange places. Mike and Dani accepted them along with the more conventional ones, much to my great excitement. Editors aren’t always able to allow their writers that kind of freedom. For authors, it’s invaluable because it opens up opportunities to flex different writing muscles, explore new ideas, and play with genre conventions.
I’ve seen plenty of sci-fi movies that fit into this genre, with Aliens, Enemy Mine, and Starship Troopers springing to mind. But my inspiration for writing these stories lay firmly with the works of Joe Haldeman, Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Fred Saberhagen, and the other s/f masters I read growing up, with perhaps a dash of DC Comics’ Weird War Tales thrown in (especially for my contribution to Dogs of War). So it strikes me as a great honor that my story, “Mother of Peace,” originally published in DFT3: By Other Means has been selected for the recently published The Best of Defending the Future. The stories, chosen based on reader reaction and requests, individual reviews, and editorial judgement include a fantastic cross-section from the series and work by some of the best military/sf writers working today. More information and the full list of table of contents can be found here. The Best of Defending the Future is also available on Amazon.
Catching up on some recent releases, my short story, “Father of War,” was published last month in Dogs of War, the sixth volume in the Defending the Future anthology series edited by Mike McPhail. This volume is dedicated to military working dogs, and my story, which features a team of cybernetically enhanced solider dogs, is a thematic sequel to and set in the same universe and conflict as “Mother of Peace,” my story in Defending the Future, Volume III, By Other Means. With the exception of DTF Volume IV, No Man’s Land, which spotlighted only women writers, my stories have appeared in every volume of DTF. The award-winning series is well worth a look if you like military science fiction.
“Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war!”
They have fought for us for centuries, not because of the ideals of service to King and Country, but out of unwavering loyalty and devotion to their human Masters. The future, it would seem, is no better than the past, as some animals become expendable weapons, or augmented semi-machines, while others receive the honor and dignity of being treated as fellow soldiers.
In tribute, we bring you seventeen new stories of our animal comrades-in-arms.
Featuring: David Sherman, Bud Sparhawk, Brenda Cooper, James Chambers, Judi Fleming, CJ Henderson, Tony Ruggiero, Christopher M. Hiles, Janine K. Spendlove, Jeff Young, Patrick Thomas, Edward J. McFadden III, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Peter Prellwitz, Eric V. Hardenbrook, Robert E. Waters, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail.
A pair of quick updates while I work on a couple of major announcements to come soon, including a new page to be added to this site and news of my most recent collaboration with Christopher Mills…
First up, Dark Regions Press, publisher of Resurrection House and The Engines of Sacrifice, has recently launched a revamped, redesigned website, complete with a new company logo. The new site looks great and is very easy to navigate. Drop by and check it out. Meanwhile, DRP is also running a free horror books raffle. Sign up for the DRP newsletter to enter.
Second, it’s that time of year again, the time for lunacy with the Lunarians at… Lunacon! Held once again the Escher Hilton (not it’s real name) in scenic Rye Brook, New York, Lunacon will take place on March 16-18. I’ll be attending and posting my programming schedule here as soon as I have it. Also in attendance will be my frequent partners in crime: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Mike McPhail, Russ Colchamiro, and Patrick Thomas.