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What if you went out for a six-pack of beer and never came back? If you think nuclear power is dangerous, you should try black holes as an energy source - or even scarier, solar energy! Visit the many worlds of Michael McCollum. I guarantee that you will be surprised! United Star Systems Marines. Lee E Fuller Jr. The Aeons War Part Four: The Prophecy of the Constant. The Omniverse The Unearthing. The Paradox of the Sets. The Omniverse Through Darkness and Stars. Eye of the Dracos. When The Stars Walk Backwards. Stephanie Osborn and Darrell Bain.

At The Speed of Light. Everything but the Squeal. Rita Longknife - Enemy Unknown. The Prelude to Eternity. The City of the Sun. Exiles Book One of the Progenitor Trilogy. In The Time Of Dying.

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Ruth Longknife's First Christmas. The Ashes of Humanity. Books 1, 2, and 3. The Sails of Tau Ceti. The stars were still out there, waiting.

They would not have to wait forever. Fria did not know how long she stayed down below after her revelation, but when she finally pushed back the trap door and climbed into her own bedroom, she was surprised to see daylight softly shining in the window. For the first time in a long time she felt refreshed, as if she had finally achieved a long needed sleep. She pulled the blanket partition aside and stood quietly.

She was pleased to see Amber had returned and was apparently no worse for having spent the night in the storm. The girl was sitting in the middle of the main room with her back to Fria, holding something in her arms.

Gridlock and Other Stories - Part 15 - WebNovelOnline

Fria hesitated, unsure of how to approach the girl. Finally, she walked forward and sank to her knees. Amber had been crying. Her face was puffy and red. She looked up from the wet ball of fur that she cradled in her arms and began to sob again. After a moment of hesitation, Fria reached out and took Amber's small hand in her own.

Amber leaned forward and rested her head against Fria's shoulder. She felt the child's hand squeeze her own and she gently stroked the girl's soft curls. A smile played across her lips. Maybeher prayers had been finally answered. Maybe, after all these years, she had a child of her own.

Author's note forWho Will Guard the Guardians?: You may have noticed a strong feminine flavor toWho Will Guard the Guardians?

That is because I did not write it. My wife, Catherine, did. I polished it and we jointly published it in the 14 October issue of Analog Science Fiction. One of the things that drives new authors to take up writing is meeting the old writers. For some reason, people have an inflated opinion of the craft of writing. It is as though they expect a writer to be somehow better than everyone else.


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Therefore, when they finally meet a real live writer for the first time, the most common reaction is one of That is because writers are almost exclusively introverts - you have to be an introvert if you are going to spend hundreds of hours alone working at your craft. If you would like a boring experience, try attending a party attended solely of writers. Mostly people sit around and stare at one another, not knowing what to talk about. So we talk shop. Every writers' party should have at least a few non-writer extroverts to liven up the mix.

Having finally met a writer, people generally are not particularly impressed. That leads them to the inevitable thought, "If he can do it, anyone can! The interesting thing about this phenomenon is that people are right. Just about anyone can become a successful writer.

All they need is perseverance and the desire to write. My wife caught the writing bug in the early 's. She had been proof reading my stuff for years and obviously had decided that if I could do it, so could she. Who Will Guard the Guardians? One of the problems with writing is that while you can clearly see the story in your head, it takes practice to get it down on paper. The rule is that you have to write a million words before you write the first one that sells.

This rule does not necessarily hold if you live with a professional writer and can make his life miserable if he doesn't help you polish your story. Therefore, after Catherine finished her story, I read it over and grudgingly admitted that it was, indeed, a good idea. I then went over it and polished it where I thought it was a little rough. We agreed on the changes, stuck it in an envelope along with a self addressed, stamped return envelope and sent it off to Stan Schmidt.

And, wonder of wonders, he bought it. Catherine was now one for one in the writing game!

Gridlock, and Other Stories

Those of you who have pursued careers in writing will recognize that to be an amazing statistic. Most of us have to collect a hundred rejection letters before we get our first acceptance. Not knowing this, my wife embarked on her second story. I polished it up, as before, and we sent it in to the magazines.


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  3. Diario di un viaggio a piedi (Viaggio in Calabria) (Italian Edition).
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  7. This time, they rejected it, and Catherine was pissed! Which only goes to show, no matter how successful a person is in this life, they are never really satisfied.

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    Which, if you think about it, is the theme of the story you just read. Our never-ending quest for becoming better than we are is probably what makes us all human! Itis our most endearing quality. If an alien spacecraft searching for intelligent life in the universe encountered Earth, would it think that it had found any? The attack of integration vertigo lasts a dozen nanoseconds while my brain assembles itself back into a functioning whole.

    Finally, the fuzziness is gone and I am once more awake and aware. As expected, I am in deep interstellar space. The stars are cold, hard points of radiance etched against the fathomless black of the cosmos. My chronometer informs me that I have been in flight for more than ten thousand years. It has been a long journey. Jurul warned me that it might. The thought of Jurul brings a sudden flood of long dormant memories to my main processing units. Jurul was my mentor and the Maker whose personality I carry imprinted on my circuits. It is his influence that allows me to look upon the stars and see beauty, or listen to the monotonous thrum of the pulsars and hear music.

    And it was Jurul's voice that bade me goodbye just before launch: I have yet to see a life probe that was calm at this point in the countdown. Remember what you're supposed to do? Repeat your mission objectives. If possible I will learn all I am able of their scientific knowledge, obtain their help in my overhaul and refit, and then return home to report.

    Answer the question, Nine-three-five. How long to boost? Shortly after reaching cruising velocity, even that tenuous link with home was broken-- and with it, all hope of ever speaking to Jurul again. For when I return to point of launch if I return , Jurul will be ancient dust and it will fall to one of his descendants to take my report. To report I must first return home and that is proving no easy task.

    I accepted the same gamble every life probe takes when it boosts into the unknown. It is a gamble five of six eventually lose. It is beginning to look as though I may become another grim statistic. A life probe is the ultimate of the Makers' many creations. Powered by the complete conversion of matter into energy, we climb to nearly one-eighth light speed in less than a single year.

    But in so doing, we leave ourselves nearly crippled. For after attaining cruising velocity, we find ourselves with barely sufficient fuel reserves to slow our headlong rush at journey's end. Thus, necessity has doomed me to spend most of my life in transit. I plod slowly outbound toward the galactic rim, with the eternity between stars my greatest danger.

    What intelligent being, organic or machine, could maintain its sanity on such a journey? My memory banks would overflow with data long before the first waypoint sun if nothing were done to protect me. His brain is my brain. Only the arrangement of our basic circuitry is different.

    It is his function to watch the sky, ever vigilant for that one stray bit of energy that betrays its creators as intelligent beings. When he finds one, he signals me awake. He has done so four times now. That first time I was less than two hundred years out, barely within my area of search.

    I scanned the star in question, noting unmistakable signs of an advanced civilization.

    However, a quick check of the star's position showed it to be outside my ability to maneuver. To attempt rendezvous would have drained my fuel stocks without halting my rush through the void. That was my first great disappointment. The next two contacts were no better. One was with a race on its way back to savagery, no longer able to repair the few machines that still operated. The other was sketchy and far outside my range.

    I returned to the Long Sleep each time with a feeling of increasing disappointment resonating through my circuitry. Now it is time to turn my attention to Contact Number Four.