Escape Velocity: Feminist Folktales from Beyond the Stars
Once upon a time, on a glamorous space station called Eris, there was a young woman who could spin base metals into gold…
At least, that’s what she tells people to separate them from their money.
Naia Mills is a con artist, a Human orphan scraping to get by in a galaxy that doesn’t want her, more than a century after her ancestors rendered the Earth uninhabitable. She travels the stars selling fake gold jewelry and elixirs, until the day she unknowingly swindles the son of a space station commander. Now confined to the station and threatened with a slow death in a radioactive penal colony, Naia has three days to buy her way to freedom with an impossible act of alchemy.
Eager to get out from under his father’s thumb, and fascinated with Naia’s profession, the commander’s son is an easy dupe and willing accomplice, but to get their hands on the gold they both need to escape, they’ll have to make a deal with the local mob, and a queenpin so powerful and private that even her closest associates don’t know her name.
Welcome to Escape Velocity: Feminist Folktales from Beyond the Stars. This reimagining of “Rumpelstiltskin,” along with other Escape Velocity novellas about complicated fairytale women in space, can be enjoyed independently or in any order.
Once upon a time, on the second planet from Apocrytus, there was a monster whose face men trembled to behold…
Or they would, if they knew who she was. Perhaps she should leave more survivors.
Meligora lives for revenge, but it’s not as dreary as she thought it would be. Her old life ended when the Brotherhood took control of her planet and started rounding up women for mandatory “conversion,” removing their stingers, wings, and most of their eyes, looting their bodies for their valuable reproductive organs, and leaving them docile shells of their former selves. But after her own botched procedure turned her into a lethal weapon instead of a slave, she learned to make the best of things, bending Brotherhood enforcers to her will and slaughtering them in droves each night.
She knows it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to stop her, but when a young Human bounty hunter finally follows her trail of corpses, he offers her a choice: stay a wanted killer of dime-a-dozen thugs, or join him in tracking down the man who mutilated her.
Welcome to Escape Velocity: Feminist Folktales from Beyond the Stars. This reimagining of the legend of Medusa, along with other patriarchy-smashing Escape Velocity novellas, can be enjoyed independently or in any order.
(Note: For the companion short stories to The Prospero Chronicles, click here.)
(Book 1 of The Prospero Chronicles)
Under normal circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other. He’s an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal; she’s a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small Northern California town of Prospero, with its rich history of cryptid sightings, miracles, and mysterious disappearances, has no normal circumstances to offer.
When Ben’s missing childhood friend, Haley Perkins, stumbles out of Prospero’s surrounding woods and right into her own funeral, Ben and Mina are forced to work together to uncover what happened to her. Different as they are, their unlikely friendship may be the only thing that can save the town, and possibly the world, from its insidious invaders.
"A snapping, crackling, popping homage to classic horror that alludes to no optimistic resolution—all the more reason for a series." --Kirkus Reviews
When autumn descends on Prospero, California, Ben hopes the normality of the new school year may offer a reprieve from the town’s paranormal horrors. Mina knows all too well that there are no reprieves and no normality to be had in Prospero, but even she can’t prepare for what the coming year holds.
On top of the vivid hallucinations that have plagued Mina since the attack on the Warehouse, and the brewing Splinter civil war that threatens all of humanity, inside the walls of Prospero High, Ben, Mina, and their expanding Network face a vicious campaign to destroy their friendship, and a mysterious assassin picking off human rebels – an assassin with powers like no Splinter they’ve fought before.
Ben and Mina’s one hope rests with a mysterious old man hiding in the woods outside of town; a living legend who may be able to teach them how to fight this dangerous new breed of Splinter. That is, assuming he doesn’t kill the pair of them himself.
“Titchenell and Carter hold nothing back in this solid sequel that thrills and expands on its predecessor. Aided by swift writing, relatable characters and unexpected scares, Shards is a chill-inducing delight.” —David Powers King, co-author of Woven.
Growing up is hard, and growing up in Prospero is even harder, but I think we manage. I mean, yeah, my friends and I spend more of our time fighting a race of shapeshifting aliens than we do hanging out, but we have our fun. We go to parties, help each other with our classes, maybe even fall in love…
I’ve no illusions that we live ordinary lives, but they’re our lives, and I’m going to make sure we make the most of them whether the Splinters want us to or not.
The truce is temporary. We will not humor the Splinters forever. It's only until the Slivers can be stopped, until the army of Shards being planted among our classmates can be disassembled, until we get our hands on the thing I'd almost given up believing in.
The humanity test.
For the chance to know, once and for all, who can be trusted, some dealings with monsters must be excusable. Inevitable. Just like this feeling between Ben and me.
This is Prospero’s darkest hour. The few remaining humans trapped within the quarantine zone are all but defenseless against the multiplying forces of the Sliver Queen, Locusta. With Ben missing, Aldo among the enemy ranks, and more steel plates than bones left in her body, Mina’s passing the hours drowning in morphine and throwing heavy objects at her guards.
Stripped of her weapons, her gadgets, and the Network itself, she has just one card left, hidden somewhere under her oft-sutured skin. It might be powerful enough to complete her life’s work once and for all… or to reach the one person who could make her life into more than a means to an end. But playing it will cost everything she has, or everything she believes in.
The final chronicle of Prospero waits in these pages.
After a year of making beautiful music together, Chloe Hatherly thinks she’s more than ready to make the age-old promise to her bandmate, Jon. In sickness and in health, for better or worse. When the sudden death of Jon’s father forces the couple to postpone their wedding in favor of a funeral, however, their relationship veers rapidly off course from the ever after they’d both envisioned. Now living in her intended father-in-law’s memory-steeped house and acting as round-the-clock caregiver for her fiancé’s worsening depression, Chloe finds herself afflicted with a songwriter’s block for which she’s only ever known one cure: leaving and writing a killer breakup song. Unlike the subjects of her past lyrical rants, Chloe can’t picture her life without Jon in it, and she begins to wonder if there’s a way to save the music she loves while keeping the vows she never had the chance to make — or if she and Jon have already been irrevocably parted by death, albeit not their own.
The Future Mrs. Brightside is an uncomfortably honest, sometimes hilarious, fiercely romantic prose ballad to the hideous beauty of love in good times and bad.
To some people, Pinnacle City is a glittering metropolis, a symbol of prosperity watched over by the all-star superhero team, the Pinnacle City Guardians. But beneath the glitz and glamour is a gritty underbelly, one still feeling the physical and economic damage of the superhero-villain battles of generations past, where the lower class―immigrants, criminals, aliens, sorcerers, and non-humans alike―jostle and elbow for scraps to scrape by on.
Private investigator Eddie Enriquez is an ex-con and veteran with powers of his own who still bears the scars of his time as a minion for a low-level supervillain. Good work’s been hard to come by until a mysterious woman shows up at his office with a case the police and superheroes are ignoring: the suspicious death of a prominent non-human rights activist.
Meanwhile, superhero Kimberly Kline, a.k.a. Solar Flare, has just hit it big, graduating to the Pinnacle City Guardians. With good looks, incredible superpowers, and a family name that opens doors, the sky is the limit. But in trying to make the world a better place . . . she’ll discover Pinnacle City isn’t as black and white as it once seemed.
From the minds of Matt Carter and Fiona J. R. Titchenell, Pinnacle City is a pulpy, throwback noir of yesteryear, where two people from opposite sides of the track must team up to do good in a world full of bad.
“In this skillfully constructed secondary-world noir novel, having superpowers isn’t always so super, and everyone has something to hide. . . . By allowing everyone to be a little morally grey, Carter and Titchenell spin a superhero story with staying power.” --Publishers Weekly (starred review).
“A rollicking take on the all-American superhero tale. It’s Stan Lee meets Dashiell Hammett, with just a little Clive Barker thrown in for good measure.” —Scott Kenemore, author of The Grand Hotel and Zombie, Ohio.
“Lively and endearing, funny and hip, Pinnacle City puts gumshoe to cape and in a fantastic adult alternate history throbbing with modern pop-cultural conflict and absurdities.” —Johnny Worthen, award-winning author of The Finger Trap.
For over a century, the town of Green Beach has frightened its children with the tragic legend of Joshua Thorne. He’s the reason it not only locks its doors at night but nails its windows shut. Steeped in romance and revenge, his is the kind of story Angela Ironwright lives for.
When the specter of Joshua appears to her, insisting she’s the only one who can help him piece together the fragments of his own murder, she follows him without a second thought into a place he calls the Pocket, a beautiful hidden world of jumbled memory and imagination. But the Pocket holds more than magic and mystery. Before long, its other reclusive inhabitants begin to call out to Angela, warning her not to trust Joshua and begging for her help to escape his dark power.
Angela’s sure there must be some misunderstanding, and she’s determined to set it straight. Otherwise, finding justice will mean betraying the only boy who’s ever liked her.
Smart and genre-savvy, Out of the Pocket is a dark, honest, subversive take on the modern paranormal love story.
"Angela’s story truly surprised me at its end, which is not something I can say for most stories. For tackling tough issues and subverting dangerous romantic tropes Out of the Pocket gets 15/15." --Feminist Book of the Month Club.
Rachel Blum isn’t beautiful — yet. But she’s got it all figured out. All she has to do is save up enough money as a medical test subject to have her nose fixed, and make sure her friends and family don’t notice that she’s stopped eating. It’ll all be worth it if she can get chosen as a promising new talent by the Public Aesthetics Endowment, giving her access to all the loan money she’ll need to have her body made fully camera-ready, so her acting career can finally begin.
When one of the labs she works for begins trials for a miracle beauty supplement called Swan, Rachel’s skeptical of its claims. No more starving. No more sweating. No more surgery. She’s heard that pitch before. But this treatment is different. There’s no denying it when she drops fifteen pounds and grows three inches overnight. There’s no denying it when she scores both the next lead role in Roberts High’s legendary drama department and the attentions of its uncontested leading man. And there’s certainly no denying it when her newly out-of-control appetite for flesh starts becoming murderously selective.
Prepare for a grisly and haunting tale of one girl’s quest to be good enough at last.
The world is Cassie Fremont’s playground. Her face is on the cover of every newspaper. She has no homework, no curfew, and no credit limit, and she spends her days traveling the country with her friends, including a boy who would do the chicken dance with death to make her smile. Life is just about perfect—except that those newspaper headlines are about her bludgeoning her crush to death with a paintball gun, she has to fight ravenous walking corpses every time she steps outside, and one of her friends is still missing, trapped somewhere in the distant, practically impassable wreckage of Manhattan.
Still, Cassie’s an optimist, more prone to hysterical laughter than hysterical tears, and she’d rather fight a corpse than be one. She’ll never leave a friend stranded when she can simply take her road trip to impossible new places, even if getting there means admitting to that boy that she might love him as more than her personal jester. Skillfully blending effective horror with unexpected humor, this diary-style novel is a fast-paced and heartwarming read.
“Heartbreak, humor, a very large number of crushed skulls and even romance ensue . . . . Readers who don’t mind a little brain spatter on the windshield will be happy they took this particular trip.” --Kirkus Reviews.