Well, that took off.

Ok, folks, I can occasionally bow to the inevitable.

Raconteur Press will do a Fluffy Yeet Cow Space Marine anthology — probably to launch 3rd or 4th Quarter of 2023.

This will differ from our normal anthologies in that it will be a shared world type — the universe of the Fluffy Yeet Cow Space marines being my creation, rights will not revert to the individual authors after a year, as is standard with our other contracts.

Participating authors will continue to receive payments as long  s the book is selling, but I’m hanging on to my intellectual property.

Since I am — quite literally — making this up as I go along, I do a set of vignettes about the universe of FYCSM, and the rest of the Uplifted, to give authors a skeleton to hang their stories on, but give me a moment.

The rules I had in my head for a throw-away short-story aren’t gelling with an entire universe, so things ar changing pretty dynamically.

Since it’s going to be a Shared Universe, I’ve got some questions.

The Uplifted Species are Dogs, Cats, Foxes, and American Bison — I may throw in Otters, depending on how folks respond, but the list is going to be kept quite short.

No, monkeys will not be Uplifted. Monkeys are the Devil’s Oven Mitts — and that includes chimpanzees, orangs and the rest. Yes, I know they’re not monkeys — I don’t care. Devil’s. Oven. Mitts.

And that goes double for dolphins. Dolphins are just droogs in wetsuits, and they’re all about that old ultraviolence. Sodding serial rapists/killers with fish breath. No.

The stories need to be rollicking space opera goodness. They should be entertaining above all else. On that note, we’ll take any space opera genre — excepting grimdark. Grimdark annoys me. If you have a grimdark story, the grimdark folks need to be the Bad Guys, they need to be idiots, and they need to lose.

The Terrans in this universe are entering a frontier phase. They have discovered how to get to the stars, they have created children to go with them, and they are charging full-tilt into this new frontier.

This is not to say that all humans are good, nor even all Uplifted — but overall Humanity is thrilled, heading out into the Great Unknown, running into civilizations who were ancient when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and humans are … just being themselves.

I’m … batting around an idea for interstellar travel. Tannhauser Web, and a lot of handwavium.

I’ll post little vignettes from the universe to give interested writers a feel for the bones and and the taste … as I get time.

*deep breath*

Ok, let’s see where this thing goes.

LawDog

… Complicated, part 2

So, part of he way my mind works is that I’ll write little snippets that are nothing more than world-building.

When I write a story, I tend to take on the mindset of the story, and writing little world-building sets gives me the taste and the feel of the world I’m trying to present to people. Especially if there’s a time gap in writing the story.

For the Fluffy Yeetcow Space Marines short-story, I’ve been posting these snippets on social media — giving folks a look folks a look at the inside of my head, so to speak.

The results have been … interesting.

These are snippets, people!

Anyway, latest snippet. Probably the last, because I have a proper feel for the setting now.

*****

“Fair cycle, class. This cycle’s presentation is over Terra Prime and Terrrans in general. Those of you who are of a metaphysical nature may wish to make the appropriate symbol of placation to the deity of your choice now.”
Audible signals of amusement, some more nervous than others, rippled through the Meeting Bowl.
The speaker, chitin showing the fine hazing of age, waved a pedipalp genially, and depiction of the galaxy appeared above the holotank at the center of the bowl.
“Terra Prime is located in the galactic stub known to the ‘Sthann as ‘The Grave of Death’; to the Gnarr as ‘Aching Hunger’, and the Ikag’g simply refuse to name it, believing it to be a curse, that if named would come to them.”
An antenna signaled attention, “The Terrans themselves call it ‘Orion’s Bridge’, a phrase in one of their languages that means ‘A Hunter’s Path Though Obstacles’. A singularly appropriate term, as we shall see.”
“All of the planets in this little stub of a galactic arm; al of them — save one — are hellworlds. Sapient life *does not* survive on the worlds of Orion’s Bridge. And the only thing keeping Terra Prime from being classified as a hellworld is the fact that somehow a sapient species evolved there. The only sophont in that dead, blasted region.”
Expressions of curiosity, most tinged with dread, were signaled by physical, visual, sonic, and pheromonal means, depending on being.
“The native sapient species managed to not genocide their species into oblivion, achieved a primitive warp capability, explored several systems, and assumed they were alone in the Universe. Would that they have stayed that way.”
“In one of the many unique traits of Terrans, when they made this assumption they retreated to their native star system, and — over the course of tens of hundreds of star cycles, they used their genetic template to uplift four non-sapient species.”
“Diplomats and scholars make a massive error in judgement when they speak of Terrans. One I will not make. I tell you now that there are five species of Terrans. Note that, use it to win free intoxicants, and never think of it again. There are not multiple species of Terrans — there are only Terrans. It does not matter their genetic stock, they are the same. Remember that always.”
“The second unique trait of Terrans is that once they had raised these lesser species to sophonthood, they did not enslave them. They did not make them low-caste — no, the Terrans treated them as beloved children, and led them into the hell of Orion’s Bridge, where the Terrans — all of them — colonized deathworlds at a rate only slightly slower than that of bacteria.”
“Terrans. They were forged on a killer world; tempered on a thousand hellplanets. They are good at many things, they are altruistic, they have empathy for other beings far beyond any sane sentient species, they will aid alien lifeforms without expectation of recompense .. but their true talent is war.”
“Never forget that regardless of genestock, they are all simply Terrans; and never forget that their true art, and their finest work … is death.”
*****
LawDog

Why does it have to be complicated?

I’ve told folks how I write stories — I break each story up into acts; and for each act I write a description of something going on, and a sentence that should probably be in the story. Usually the sentence is dialogue, but not always.

We’re going to be launching two Space Marine anthologies in 2023, and I really need to have at least one story for them, but they’re far enough off that other things are needing done before I get around to Space Marines.

Or so I thought.

During the livestream I mentioned “Fluffy yeetcows” — an Ian-ism for bison — and someone in the comments snarked, “Marine Yeetcows!”

And off my squirrels went.

“Homo crinitibison yeetus.”

Interior shot of a spaceship passageway. An uplifted American bison passes a human, “Oo-rah, Colonel,” he salutes, “Semper moo.”

*****

Background: A decaying emo empire occupying a backwater arm of the galaxy — the kind of place where civilised sophonts roll up their windows and lock their doors when they warp by — has ventured forth from their little hell-hole, and run into the Fluffy Yeetcow Space Marines:

“Those were their best? Wow.”

“Sarge! Sarge! I got a slow one caught in my hoof! Get it out!”

*****

“Even in the 33rd and a Third Millennium physics was still physics, and there is simply no way to forge a blade — or anything else, come to think — strong enough to withstand the force of 1200 pounds of enthusiastic homo crinitibison yeetus at 35 miles per hour.”
In orbit, Admiral Schenk pivoted his command chair slowly, “A bayonet charge, General? Seriously?”

General Watie stood in a picture-perfect ‘at-ease’ with only the manic flicking of his shaggy tail showing any emotion. He cocked an eyebrow, “Are you denying my boys the free exercise of their religion?”

Schenk rubbed his forehead, “No, but the budget didn’t plan for 460 bayonets and rifles broken and used for clubs.”

“Ah, well,” the General sniffed meditatively, “The grass needs it.”

*****

“To show you the true regard we feel for you, we are serving our favorite dish, saved only for the most ceremonial of occasions!”
At a gesture from the Pharoah’s ambassador, servers placed trays in front of the Terrans, then whipped the covers off. Muted gasps came from several Marine throats.

General Watie sighed, “Ambassador, since your tech-priests are one step above bone rattles and entrail-reading, allow me to quote Hambright’s Law: ‘In order to achieve breakthrough intelligence, a species must first evolve into a carnivorous or omnivorous diet.’ This holds true for all sophonts, even the uplifted ones.”

Down the table Private Reynolds whispered out of the side of his mouth, “It’s burnt, Sarge.”

“It’s well-done,” hissed Sergeant Bukowski, “Not burnt. It’s diplomacy, nobody is supposed to be happy. Drown it in ketchup like you always do and drive on.”

“But there’s no ketchup, Sarge!”

Bukowski closed his eyes, “[deleted]”

The Terran ambassador, a human male well into his eighth decade of service, folded his hands, “Well, this has to be the most clumsy attempt at a diplomatic insult I’ve ever seen — bravo, for that by the way — but you ought to fire your cooks for what they’ve done to the steaks.”

General Watie regarded the chunk speared on the too-small fork clutched delicately in his three-fingered hand, popped it in his mouth and chewed experimentally, “Yes, fired. Out of a cannon. Do you steak-hating bastards have some chicken somewhere?”

*****

“Ah, we come to the threatening part. About [deleted] time.” The deck sounded deep drumbeats from his hooves as he took three slow steps to tower over the Legate of the Pharoah’s Own Legion, staring down at the genetically-engineered supersoldier.

“Listen up, bumble-[deleted],” USMC General Robert Watie’s black eyes glittered, chairs crashing around the dining hall as his Marines slammed into predatory crouches, the Star Legionnaires suddenly, uncharacteristically, frozen. “You [deleted]nuggets have been bigger, stronger, better fed, and better armed than the people you’ve been fighting. Not anymore.” His lips peeled back in a smile, mess-hall lights glinting off the campaign rings fused to his horns.

“You’ve been bullying your way around this arm of the galaxy for a thousand years, with only half-starved xenospecies armed with sticks to slow you down. Well, son, that has just changed.”

“You can take your pretty little supersoldiers off of this planet, and back to Uncle Daddy Pharoah, and tell him that he can’t have any more of the galaxy …”

Sergeant Bukowski grabbed the mess table, and one-handed it out of the way, sending the hand-carved slab of meta-oak pinwheeling down the officer’s mess.

“… Or I take a company of Marines, and thirty-three thousand years of Marine Corps history, and send every single one of you ethnicist Legion idiots back to the Eternal Pharoah in sandwich bags. Your [deleted]ing choice.”

“Marines!”

“Moo-RAH!”

“We’re gone.”

“Moo-RAH!”

Terran Ambassador Jones dusted his hands, smiled at his counterpart and patted his arm, gently, “Well, that went about as well as one could expect.”

*****

In the middle part of the 21st Century Humanity ventured forth from their homeworld into the galaxy only to learn that they lived in the Orion Bridge, a desolate stretch of hellworlds in which Terra is the only planet that bore life.

Not realizing that other arms of the Milky Way were far more fertile, Humanity became melancholy and turned inwards to find intelligent species to share the galaxy with.

First were the Canids. Eldest of Humanity’s Children, these uplifted Good Boys were the wisest and most loyal. Next were the Felids. No less loved than their elder siblings, the Felids were fierce and daring.

Not to be outdone by the tribes of the West, the East uplifted the Vulpids, restless and cunning wanderers.

There the Uplifting paused, with terrible and awful failures, until Dr Matthew Hambright engineered the American Bison to be omnivorous, uplifted the result, and Humanity gazed in wonder at the youngest of Her Children, strong and steadfast.

With her children at her side, Humanity looked back out into an unsuspecting Galaxy, and then exploded forth.

*****

And there’s a look into how my mind works. All of that will coalesce into a 5,000 to 8,000 word short story … due sometime late 2023.

Sigh.

LawDog

Raconteur Press — New anthologies

I have mentioned this earlier, but here’s the Official Announcement:

Raconteur Press will be releasing two anthologies based around stories of space marines.

Author MCA Hogarth has graciously agreed to submit a story for each volume.

Yay!

Both will be released the last half of 2023 — the first half of the year is kind of full-up right now, truth be told — and we will open the call for submissions probably 2nd Quarter of 2023. We’ll update the fine print as things move along, but 5k-8k words, entertaining, and involve marines in space — or somesuch. Entertaining!

Yes, you may begin teasing me unmercifully on Tuesday’s livestream.

Busy, busy, busy.

LawDog

LTUE

I’ve been getting questions as to whether Rita and I will be at LTUE in 2023.

Unfortunately the answer is “No”.

Matter-of-fact, absent a tectonic shift, neither I, nor Rita, nor Raconteur Press will be at another LTUE symposium.

First there was the silliness when they tried to ban JL Curtis — that was fixed easily enough.

Then they played silly buggers with our membership rollovers for the virtual LTUEs during the Covid bushwa — okay, they probably needed the money, and buying a couple of new memberships wasn’t a financial hardship.

When they sent an invitation to be a Guest Panelist, and then rescinded the invitation after I had been squeeing and dancing around the office — that was annoying, but volunteer college students, am I right?

The icing on the cupcake was last year when they announced an extremely restrictive mask and vaccine policy; and justified it by saying it was in line with State of Utah and County policies.

When we pointed out, “No, they aren’t. Here are the State and County policies, and they’re nowhere near being that restrictive” we were ignored. They doubled down by deleting any comments to that point in social media, while allowing snide comments, and insults directed at us from people who favoured the restrictive policies to stand undeleted.

I’m not daft.

We come to this decision after some hard thought — we have friends, and fans, and authors in the Western states, and our current convention schedule trends heavily towards the South and Southeast which puts us out of reach of those friends, fans, and authors — but LTUE is off our list.

As we ramp up, we’ll look into other cons in the West, but as of right now we don’t have anything on our radar.

Sorry guys.

LawDog

MOGGIES! IN! SPAAACE!!

Herself penned a charming little short story regarding a cat on a spaceship, and when I told folks about it, the inevitable teasing about “Anthology #214” started.

Well, she blinked those big blue eyes, started pondering, and I am pleased as punch to announce that she will be chairing an anthology about cats in space (which I teasingly refer to as “Moggies! In! SPAAACE!!”)

If you’re interested, and have a 5k to 8k short story involving 1) Cats; and 2) Space you might hit her or Kortnee Bryant up.

I think she’ll be making the formal announcement at FenCon, but it can’t hurt to give folks a little extra writing time.

LawDog

Boo-yah

Larry Correia is a good friend of mine, and while he probably doesn’t need any help from me, I feel strongly enough about his newest book that I’m going to suggest that people buy it.

It’s called “In Defense of the Second Amendment“, and even if you completely agree with Larry, you probably know somebody who’s kind of on the fence about the issue — and that’s really whom this book is for.

Plus, he’s absolutely stomping his way up the Amazon ratings — he’s already got the Orange Flag of Greatness, and is on the way to nailing #1 in multiple categories.

And that’s on pre-orders — the book actually releases in January.

Go. Drive the wokies at Amazon nuts by purchasing this book.

LawDog

SQUEE!

Your Humble Scribe has learned that Paramount will be releasing a D&D movie set in the Forgotten Realms in March of 2023.

I watched the trailer, and words cannot express how giddy teenage LawDog is right now.

The trailer has a displacer beast, a gelatinous cube (a/k/a Dungeon Roomba), an actual black dragon, the Red Wizards of Thay, Waterdeep, and an owlbear.

Aw, man, this is going to ROCK.

And yes, I know that technically a druid can’t change into an owlbear. I don’t care. Yes, I know it’s against the core rules, but if you’re making that argument you DM’d a boring campaign, or never heard of House Rules.

I can’t wait.

EDIT: I just realized that Chris Pine’s character is wearing a Harper pin!

LawDog