Saturday, March 3, 2018

Reality Benders: Countdown





Reality Benders by Michael Atamanov
Book 1: Countdown



Release - April 23, 2018


Introduction. First Contact


At long last, an extraterrestrial civilization reached out and the First Contact was made. No one on Earth took it for the genuine article, though. Even fewer appreciated just how little time our new suzerains had promised to keep our planet safe. But the end of their address showed humankind how to access a mysterious game. The purpose of this game is unclear. No one can say where its servers are located, and its inner workings are beyond comprehension. Nevertheless, the game slowly gained momentum, pulling in more and more players. Soon enough, it became impossible to ignore that events in the game had a direct impact on our reality. And not only ours...

But as we learn to play this mysterious game, the countdown timer is ticking away. And no one can say exactly what will happen when Earth’s safety is no longer guaranteed.

 

Introduction. First Contact


How many ways have writers, astronomers, philosophers and military theorists imagined humanity's first contact with a celestial intelligence? Earths observatories receiving intelligible signals from deep space? What about the discovery of interstellar artifacts or even living aliens when excavating ancient burial mounds or pyramids? And the appearance of ominous extraterrestrial starships over our major cities? Heavenly bodies falling to Earth, UFO's crashing? Meeting brothers in intelligence on far-off planets? Invasion? War? The extinction of everything alive...?
But when it really happened, it looked like a stupid joke, hoax or intrusive advertisement, so humanity didn’t believe it was the real First Contact. One day, a popup window appeared on many popular websites, blocking off the whole screen. Despite every computer user’s habitual and instant reaction, it was impossible to close. It played a video showing a furry humanoid that was somehow distantly reminiscent of the abominable snowman, but with thick dark-red fur. The tall bipedal alien had piercing black eyes, a flat dark nose and a wide mouth. Its clothing was somewhere between a suit of armor and a helmetless spacesuit. The first thing it did was raise a clawed hand and give a friendly wave to its captive audience. With a very strong accent, the humanoid gave a speech adapted to the language of the receiving country: 

"People of Earth, by right of first discovery, the civilization of Shiharsa declares its authority and jurisdiction over your planet. We will provide one Tong of safety to your world, but the fate of humanity depends exclusively on what you do with that time. You have now made sufficient progress as a species, and may take part in the great game, the game that bends reality. So, come play and earn the right to take your place among the great spacefaring races!”

Thursday, March 1, 2018

An NPC's Path: The Dead Rogue




An NPC's Path: The Dead Rogue
by Pavel Kornev




Release - May 30, 2018
Pre-order now - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B4Y1WJ9

Quick nav:

Chapter I (1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5)
Chapter II (1)

Go to the library



            Virtual worlds are places of boundless freedom. Anyone can become an elven mage or an invisible rogue, join a clan and go on raids, fight, develop their characters and most importantly, escape from the daily grind.
            However, a game is only a game if you can quit. This is something I learned the hard way. I just wanted to let off some steam in virtual reality and ended up getting murdered and imprisoned in the body of one of the undead—slow, clumsy and cursed to die at the hand of other players over and over again.
            The only way out of this awful predicament was to find the legendary Scroll of Rebirth, but the helpless plague-ridden corpse would need to be turned into a real killing machine. If   only people knew what it was like to level up a dead rogue...



Chapter 1
A PLAGUE-RIDDEN CORPSE

1

The bracelet was covered with hypoallergenic plastic but the skin underneath still itched like hell. I pulled the tracking device away from my ankle as far as it would go so I could scratch it. The bracelet vibrated and buzzed in reply.
“Relax, Comrade Major,” I quickly said. “All quiet on the western front!”
The tracking device that traced offenders under house arrest was full of various electronic modules such as GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi, GSM and even an altimeter, so I was in no doubt that they would have added a simple microphone to it. It did not matter what the actual rank of the controller assigned to me was—a little sympathy goes a long way. At least it was someone to talk to...
It was already my second month of being under house arrest and I already managed to really start missing normal human contact. I wasn't even a hardened criminal or a sociopath—I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I got a job at the wrong place, to be more exact.
It had all started so well! My salary wasn't bad, there was a great package of perks and excellent career prospects, but it all went down the drain when the bank's senior management ended up behind bars accused of money laundering! I was never made part of the illegal scheme, but most of the payments had gone through my department, so the most that my defense attorney could do for me was a concession to get me placed under house arrest. At least it was better than jail.
Ah, here comes my attorney...