Newsletter 2022-06-17: on pride, book tips and a lofty music tip

Newsletter 2022-06-17: on pride, book tips and a lofty music tip

Hi there,

It's pride month! Of course, as the G in QUILTBAG+ I should be aware of such things, but I've been so busy, I missed it completely.

Next to being the G in QUILTBAG+, I'm also a buddhist. Or at least, I try to be. Not because of the ceremonies, I think those are besides the point, but because Buddhism puts great focus on introspection and learning by observing one's mind. I meditate daily, looking at my thoughts, feelings and the sensations in my body. More often than not, my mind runs away with all kinds of hypothetical scenario's, memories, judgements. I observe those and let them be, learning from them as I sit in silence without reacting.

Anyway, back to pride, or Māna in Sanskrit (which is the language many Buddhist teachings were written in). To quote Wikipedia, Māna is "defined as an inflated mind that makes whatever is suitable, such as wealth or learning, to be the foundation of pride. It creates the basis for disrespecting others and for the occurrence of suffering." It is one of the "five poisons" (along with ignorance, attachment, aversion and envy) that stands in the way of enlightenment.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate pride month, and it's good that we have it! There is still so much hatred and bigotry for being who you are born as (even more so in recent times, thanks to social media and Putin-sponsored right-wing politicians), with religious wackos treating it like a treatable disease and what have you. And that's just in the more 'civilised' countries. Go to eastern Europe or the Caribbean, to name a few, and you have to hide your true nature for fear of being murdered.

So yay for pride month! Every month should be pride month! We're here and we're not going away. But am I proud to be gay? No, I just am. I don't feel better than others because of it. Yet, if not pride month, what should we call it? Awareness month? Ugh, that sounds so lame. We're here and we're not going away month? Quite a mouthful. Celebration month then? Yeah. That sounds nice. I'll go with that.

Happy celebration month!

And if you're tired of celebrating, why not give one of the book tips below a chance, or relax with the music tip even lower down?

Oh, and one more thing: all the individual stories in the Isolated Futures series are currently available individually on Amazon and the other platforms, but I plan to take them down soon (with the exception of the first one, Forced to be Free) in favour of the omnibus that has all six in one volume. If you want to get one of the stories without buying the bundle that has all six (not sure why you would, but hey, it takes all sorts ;) ) get it now while you still can!

Book Tips

Happy robot peeking around the corner with a backdrop of blue shards radiating from metal orb

Crazy Foolish Robots
Adeena Mignogna
Tendrils of gossamer threads radiation from planet grasping at escaping space ship

Discovering Your Neighbor
Shane Shepherd

What does an entire planet of robots want with one human?

A humorous science fiction story

Ruby Palmer finds herself on an entire planet surrounded by the things she hates the most: robots. Besides taking everything she says way too literally, the robots have problems of their own. A myriad of technical glitches are, on the cosmological scale, quickly destroying them. Ruby has the programming knowledge and skills that matter to them, but can she overcome her fears and find it within herself to help? Her survival, along with the survival of all of humanity and robot kind, depends on it.

This is Book 1 of The Robot Galaxy Series.

Get the free sample!

A simple exploration of an unknown planet. What could go wrong?

Prequel to The Neighbor You Don't Know Series

Baldwin Tavares is called up by the Admiral Pitch to join in their expedition to the planet Allende 1-b, also known as Neighbor. Baldwin and his team were requested for their very specific skill set, as they are the best in their individual fields. Eager to be part of something bigger than himself, Baldwin, aka Win, convinces his team to go on the expedition. They aim to find some remnants left behind of the once inhabited planet Neighbor in the hopes of studying and preserving whatever knowledge about them that they find.

Win begins to realize the expedition to Allende 1-B is not entirely scientific. He suspects the Pacific Ocean World Mining Organization, or POMO, have sunk deep into the pockets of the ship’s commanding officers, with the hopes of mining Allende 1-B for its rich mineral reserves as soon as they arrive. As such he immediately starts investigating the ship to confirm his suspicions. When Win finds out he was right, he races to convince the crew against any mining expeditions before it’s too late. However, little does he know something even more pressing will require his attention before he even gets the chance to tell anyone.

Get it for free!

Music Tip

Two men dancing against background of green and blue rectangles

(spotify, youtube)

Now that summer has finally arrived in the northern latitudes of southern Sweden, it's time for some lofty beats and easy tunes. It's time for a classic.

Moon Safari by French electronic music duo AIR fits the bill perfectly. With a plethora of Moog synthesizers, a Korg MS-20 and a whole range of organs (even the Mellotron makes an appearance) there sure is a lot of electronics, but the duo doesn't eschew acoustical instrumentation. There's the occassional acoustic guitar and there's a string quartet in some of the tracks too.

The music is full of lovely organ solo's and laid back beats. With a heatwave assaulting much of Europe (40°C in France, surely that's beyond comfort, isn't it?) this is just what we need!

Out Now

Office towers reaching up to a starry night

Isolated Futures Omnibus
Koen Martens

If you’re a fan of thought-provoking sci-fi cyberpunk technothrillers like The Passengers and Black Mirror, then Koen Martens’ sci-fi anthology is your perfect next read!

Story 1 - Forced to be Free: Sam, a young hacker with anger management issues, has joined a defense initiative against the advancing Russian army set to occupy Europe. When he discovers his boss is working undercover for the enemy, he must thwart his boss and prevent the destruction of the EU’s drone defense network before it’s too late. 

Story 2 - Murder, Plain and Simple: Dr. Jennifer Mendoza is a ship physician on the interstellar luxury cruiser Christopher. When a prominent and wealthy passenger is murdered, she is called to investigate the crime. Can she identify the killer before more people lose their lives?

Story 3 - Cima Peak: Juan, a naive adolescent growing up in a post-apocalyptic world, embarks on a dangerous excursion that strands him and his friend far from his home. Can they make it back to their base before it’s too late to save the city from incoming slavers?

Story 4 - Negative Reinforcement: Limei is an independent app developer on an isolated space station. She is utterly dependent on and enamored with her personal AI assistant. When she learns The Algorithm is planning to destroy human life on her ship, she must find a way to take it down before her crew 80perishes. 

Story 5 - Eddy: Digital forensics expert Lagan has been wrongly convicted of murder, but no one is willing to believe that he witnessed his own doppelgänger commit the crime. When he learns that the doppelgänger was one of many beings created to replace humans with AI-run clones, he must prove his innocence and take down the scheme before more people’s lives are ruined.

Story 6 - DingDong by Zhumee: When Martin’s new Zhumee smart doorbell accidentally causes his neighbor’s wrongful arrest, he must set out on a quest to prove her innocence. Little does he know, Zhumee has far more control over the justice system than anyone imagined. Can he race against the clock to take down this corrupt system?

Click through below to delve into this eye-opening novella collection today!

Get it on amazon!

Get it on Kobo!

Get it at Barnes & Noble!

Get it on Google Play Store!

Get it on Apple Books!