Monday, March 27, 2017

Free epub copies of INTERSEX BOYS OF VENUS

Ahead of the publication of the next couple installments of Kyler Fey's Commander Jace and the Unsuitable Boys saga--an erotic science fantasy serial of novella-length stories--we are making available complimentary copies of the epub version The Intersex Boys of Venus at this Box link. Box doesn't support previews of epub files, but it downloads just fine.

Kyler Fey's blog also has this information plus a brief excerpt from the story. Kyler's blog is somewhat "NSFW," by the way.

We are close to release of the next installment, which I think is titled Twilight Boys at the Earth's Core! (with the exclamation point, yes) but there has been some discussion over the wording of that title. But I think we're going with it. Kyler discusses the word-choice consideration in another post on his blog, and explains what he likes about his usage of "twilight" in this context.

This other image is a possible, though likely not final, version of the cover for Earth's Core!, and it's based on the design of the cover for The Strange Case of the Tattooed Twink. We may use this basic design, but with a licensed stock photo image of a model (this one is just some random dude from a Tumblr feed).

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Next (first, technically) "episode" of Kyler Fey's queer erotic science fantasy serial is live

Ebook cover for Episode #1
In the foreword to Kyler's Fey's semi-fictitious sex-confessional One Hundred Times, it's explained at some length that we concocted the plan for this gay science fantasy serial with the idea that it would be a quick run of fairly short ebooks, possibly all rolling out at once. But then somehow we ended up releasing the 35000-word novella The Intersex of Boys (intended as Episode #5 of the serial) in a lovely print edition, as part of a double back-to-back with One Hundred Times (the two volumes are out separately as ebooks as well). Because, if we're going to do it all, why not over-do it?

To make publishing out of the series' intended order work, some references to things in Intersex Boys from earlier unpublished episodes of the series that were not relevant to the story at hand were either removed or bumped into footnotes during the final edit so that the fifth installment can stand on its own without needing to know anything about episodes #1 through #4.

But now we have the very start of the thing, episode #1, The Strange Case of the Tattooed Twink. As of this posting, it's already live in the iBooks store, and it will probably pop up on Amazon by tomorrow. We'll update with links when it's live everywhere. UPDATED 3/13: It's live Amazon now, too.

From the product description and series overview...

The strange and lusty first episode of Kyler Fey’s queer science fantasy serial Commander Jace and the Unsuitable Boys!

In Episode #1—while some of the boys are away on a mission to Moon—Commander Jace and the rest of his team encounter an enigma on a beach, an ornately illustrated and beautiful young man who seems drawn to them, as if he were waiting to be found. But why was he there? Did someone send him? Is his mission a threat? They bring him back to the Home, but their unusual guest cannot speak, so Jace gives the telepathic Braden an order to peer into their visitor’s mind in that particular way that only Braden can. Will a day of intense passion in Braden’s bed unlock the secret of the tattooed twink, or will Jace and the Unsuitable Boys be left with an even bigger mystery?


A thousand years from now and in another history, the Solar System teems with life. Ships sail the aether, linking humanity’s thousands of disparate nations and clades on all the planets and their many moons. Wars flare and fade, conspiracies thrive and then die, loves and lusts burn hotter than the sun. It is the age of the apex of the children of Earth, but in the deep background of the affairs of sprawling humanity, sinister forces, preternatural phenomena, ornate evil, and bizarre schemes reach everywhere. Standing against these, on the side of light, is the super-powerful Commander Jace and his elite (and lusty) cadre of astonishing queer young men…the so-called “Unsuitable Boys.”



Saturday, February 25, 2017

New queer science fantasy titles released; more forthcoming

The first new titles in several years from M-Brane Press—The Intersex Boys of Venus and One Hundred Times, both by Kyler Fey—are now available as ebooks at Amazon, iBooks (find with in-app search), and Kobo, and also in a lovely print edition in “double” format, available February 28 at the major online bookstores. 

Cover flat of the print edition.


The first volume, The Intersex Boys of Venus, combines elements of pulp SF and planetary romance and with explicit gay erotica. Though it stands on its own, it is actually the fifth “episode” of a proposed twenty-one-part serial detailing the adventures of an enigmatic character named Commander Jace Dekka and his cadre of lubricious young men, the so-called “Unsuitable Boys.” The premise of its universe is described like this…

A thousand years from now and in another history, the Solar System teems with life. Ships sail the aether, linking humanity’s thousands of disparate nations and clades on all the planets and their many moons. Wars flare and fade, conspiracies thrive and then die, loves and lusts burn hotter than the sun. It is the age of the apex of the children of Earth, but in the deep background of the affairs of sprawling humanity, sinister forces, preternatural phenomena, ornate evil, and bizarre schemes reach everywhere. Standing against these, on the side of light, is the super-powerful Commander Jace and his elite (and lusty) cadre of astonishing queer young men…the so-called “Unsuitable Boys.”

Ideally, the rest of the episodes will appear in something like their intended sequential order, but Fey designed this serial so as to make it comprehensible wherever one starts with it, kind of like the Doc Savage serial novels or original-series Star Trek. You can pick it up wherever and get oriented. 

From the product description of the print edition as it appears on Amazon…

Side A: In Episode #5 of the “Commander Jace and the Unsuitable Boys” saga, THE INTERSEX BOYS OF VENUS, Jace sends telepathic Braden and brilliant Patrick to the lush and humid world Venus, hiding even from them the fact that their real mission is to pursue clues to a mystery, clues gleaned hazily from a bizarre clairvoyant fugue experienced by two of their teammates. Meanwhile, Jace investigates a lead among the randy students of an exclusive academy. Little does Jace know that the lithe and ardent Braden and the young rakehell Patrick will uncover a startling piece of information about the real machinations of their enemies while on Venus…while in bed with scores of that world’s extraordinary and amorous inhabitants. 

Side B: ONE HUNDRED TIMES…In this frank and rather humid erotic memoir, Unsuitable Boys author Kyler Fey tells of a summer fling with a young man who came to be a sort of muse, the living template for one of Fey’s lusty fictional characters. Fey shares in a series of graphically detailed anecdotes the events of that summer, and he opens a window into the creative process behind his erotic science-fantasy tales.

That second book, One Hundred Times, is not part of the Commander Jace series, but it offers some insight into it in the way that it details the author’s short sexual partnership with a guy who was the real-life template for one of the major characters in the series. It was written originally in a series of journal entries more or less concurrently with the drafting of Intersex Boys, and the two books occasionally echo each other. Like its companion book, One Hundred Times is quite sexually explicit throughout (there's even a brief sex scene in the author's foreword). Because it is not set in the other volume’s fictional universe (though there are some intrusions by that universe into its “reality”), it might find its own audience among readers who are into writers' memoirs (with lots of queer sex in them) but maybe not so much into the Intersex Boys’ genre.

These books are not, by the way, short stories like a lot of the erotica titles that one finds for the Kindle. Intersex Boys runs to about 140 pages in print form, and One Hundred Times to nearly 200 pages. The fact that Intersex Boys ended up being as hefty as it is, makes me wonder a little bit about the rate at which I am going to see finished manuscripts of the other twenty episodes. When the concept of this serial first came up, the plan was to roll out very quickly—possibly all at once—all of the installments and then possibly make an omnibus of them in print form. But that was when I thought that each installment was going to be a typical five-thousand-word short story like most of those erotic “books” in the Kindle store. When Intersex Boys came in at thirty-five-thousand words, I was kind of dumbstruck. If they are all going to be that long—the author says they won’t all be—then this is whole different publication project than I’d originally imagined. 


Even though Intersex Boys ends with a short preview of Episode #6 The Royal Rentboy of Kasei, I think the next title out will be Episode #1 The Case of the Tattooed Twink. I’ll put updates here as they happen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SKINJUMPERS published!


It's been a long time coming, but M-Brane Press has a fresh new book out in the world as of today: Skinjumpers by Michael D. Griffths, with a vivid front cover by Hannah Walsh. This is a book that I committed to so long ago that I was still living in The Exile in OKC when I first announced it. I remember sitting at my desk there informing the Twitterati about it. And I returned from Exile three years ago, so it's been a while. Several issues of the first year of M-Brane SF Magazine during 2009 and 2010 featured a serial of short fiction by Mike concerning the adventures of the Enforcer Dak and his body-swapping partner Erin in the deadly city of New Cluster. This new novel continues their tale in a big way, but it is not necessary to have read the original stories to enjoy this new one. It stands alone just fine. I placed a preface in the front of the book, the text of which I will copy below. It's for sale now on Amazon and will show up elsewhere shortly.

PREFACE to Skinjumpers
I first encountered the world of Skinjumpers—a strange and dangerous milieu—in a short story that the author submitted at the end of 2008 to my then-fledgling zine M-Brane SF. The story “A Clone of a Different Color” introduced New Cluster, a decaying city in an unspecified future and location, run by a corrupt and authoritarian police-state structure that resembles a mafia as much as a government and which is shot through with struggles among various factions. But it was not the post-cyberpunk veneer of this tale that appealed to me, but rather its subversive core conceit that people can move their consciousnesses, their very selves, from one body to another and somehow remain whole.

Specifically, the first Skinjumper tale evoked a topic that I’d wondered about a lot before I’d read that story: if I somehow change bodies (a perennial fantasy of mine), am I still me? Is there even actually a “me” outside my physicality? This remains a vexing question that we may—within the lifetimes of people reading this—have answered for us when we find out whether or not it is possible to separate consciousness from the body, move it into another body or possibly into a computer construct and learn whether that consciousness can survive intact or if it will be radically altered by the nature of its new physical form. I’ve wondered whether my “selfness” is really somehow a wholly different thing than my body in the way that humans tend to believe it is or if all I am is simply the compound of the literal physical stuff of my body. Is that which makes me an individual, a consciousness, actually a real thing that can be taken out of my body by some sort of futuristic instrumentality and moved elsewhere? Or is my body’s physical gender, its chromosomes, its genitalia, its sexual orientation, its age and condition and experience inseparable from the “me” of me? We don’t know this answer yet in the real world, but in the world of Skinjumpers, the answer is no: we can separate from our bodies and remain ourselves. We can even become even more our real selves by doing so.

In Michael D. Griffiths’ series of Skinjumper short stories that I published in M-Brane SF, and in this novel, a lot of questions are left unanswered. One is not given a detailed rationale as to why things are the way they are in New Cluster, but the reader doesn’t really need one either. The titular Skinjumpers threaten the social order and draw the fire of the authorities because (among other reasons) they are sex-rebels. They not only change bodies and cheat death by “jumping” into cloned replacements, but they can change physical gender. Some of them choose to do so permanently. In this story, you will meet Erin, a young woman whom you may underestimate at first because of the way she chooses to present herself. She is the long-term girlfriend of our protagonist Dak. But Dak has a particular sexual kink that is fabulously enabled in this world: he is oriented toward men who inhabit female bodies. Erin was once a guy and still somehow is even within her unambiguously feminine physical form. But she seems to not quite fit into our current understanding of LGBTQ-ness either. She and he are a shade different than what is enabled by or even understood in our so-called “real” world. Underneath their more or less conventional gender self-portrayals, they are both fascinatingly queer.

I am brought back to my original wondering about whether all this is possible and plausible. If I could move from my own body into that of a female, would I still be basically the same person, a gay male but somehow with a female physicality like that of Erin? What if I moved into the physicality of a straight guy? Or that of a one hundred-year- old man or a ten-year-old boy? Or even a younger clone of myself? Skinjumpers proposes, with great enthusiasm, that it is all possible: you can have the body you want and still be you—and maybe even a better “you.” It’s wonderfully subversive in the world of New Cluster in almost the same way that simply not being straight can be in our real world.

Now, please relax, turn the page, and recline into a world where your body is not a permanent boundary.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Behold, the M-Brane SF Double!

A short video of me showing off the proof copy of the new Double, due to be live any hour now with the major online booksellers.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2020 VISIONS released in epub format on B&N

It's a few months later than planned, but we finally have an .epub-format ebook version of Rick Novy's 2020 Visions available as a Nook Book at Barnes and Noble, and directly from M-Brane Press as well (details below). It's our hope that people who passed on the lovely print version of the book (also available at B&N as well as Amazon) were just waiting for a version that they could read on their Nook or iPad or a variety of other devices and will now go ahead and get a copy of this great book. 2020 Visions is a beautiful original anthology of very near-future speculative fiction (the "2020" in the title refers to the year) featuring stories by Mary Robinette Kowal, Alex Wilson, Jack Mangan, David Gerrold, Emily Devenport, Alethea Kontis, Ernest Hogan, Jeff Spock, David Lee Summers and many others. This is a very cool book, and for only $4.95 at Barnes and Noble, it should not be missed.

You can also buy it right here for only $3.95, using the Pay Pal button below (takes credit cards and e-checks if you don't have a Pay Pal account). One may wonder why we seem to be undercutting our own price at Barnes and Noble. We're really not--it's just that direct purchase from M-Brane means a bit more money more quickly that can eventually go to the authors when this book goes into profit. But if you're shopping at B&N anyway, then by all means get it there. By the way, if you purchase it here, allow anywhere from a few hours to a day or so for delivery: we're not rigged for direct download from this site, so we send a link to you by email.

One last special detail: Anyone who buys 2020 Visions in any format (print, Nook, Kindle) from B&N, Amazon or directly from M-Brane Press will get a free subscription to the electronic (PDF) edition of M-Brane SF, our very nice monthly magazine of short speculative fiction. If you purchase from B&N or Amazon or any other retailer, just forward a copy of your order confirmation or receipt to mbranesf at gmail dot com, and we will add you to the M-Brane SF subscription list.





Sunday, May 1, 2011

DOUBLE PRE-ORDER SPECIAL BEGINS!

The M-Brane SF Double, by Alex Jeffers and Brandon H. Bell, is finally within days of completion. This beautiful book is due for official release May 31. People who have followed my blogs or paid attention to me on Twitter and Facebook over the past year know that I have long dreamed of publishing a book that would honor the style of the old Ace Doubles from decades ago, those wonderful books where two short novels were published back-to-back (and upside down in relation to one another), so that the book has the effect of having two front covers. Over the last two years, I have had the joy of publishing monthly issues of M-Brane SF, a couple of gorgeous anthologies, a couple of lovely single-author short fiction collections, and the new fantasy periodical Fantastique Unfettered. I adore all of these things, but this new book, the Double, has become something of the new baby of the family, the special adored one, the focus of all attention (The rest of my operations will probably be glad when it's finally released! )

While I have worked hard on this project, the work I that have done is petty, insignificant, a mere trifle compared to that of the real talent behind it, the two great writers and the one great cover artist. These three came together to make my pet project not just real but actually a thing worth doing. I am going to introduce the two authors and their stories at length below, in the form of publishing here the actual intros that I prepared for the book. But first I want to acknowledge artist Jeff Lund for making two fine, matching covers for this book which each catch an essence from the stories they introduce but which also together create the whole look that I was after for this book. Of course everyone who knows me at all knows very well that Jeff is also my life partner, but his employment as the cover artist was by no means an easy inside job. He fought me for months on actually doing the work, insisting that he wasn't qualified for it. But I knew that he could do it--because I had seen so much great work from him before--and that he was the exact artist that I needed for this very special project. This post on my Live Journal , from many months ago, tells the story of getting the covers done in more detail.

M-Brane Press is offering a fine domestic (US and Canada) pre-order special for the M-Brane SF Double: The New People/Elegant Threat, Print Edition. Buy here, using the Pay Pay button below (takes credit/debit cards and e-checks if you don't have an actual Pay Pal account) for $14.95. For this price, you will get a copy of the beautiful print edition of this book (shipping included) plus this giant slew of electronic bonuses: 

1) permanent electronic (PDF) subscription to M-Brane SF, the monthly magazine of astounding science fiction. Your subscription will begin (and never end!) with a three-issue "starter pack" consisting of issues #25, #26 and the new #27--check out a free issue with the button over in the right side bar...
2) Electronic copies of Fantastique Unfettered #1 and #2 (worth the price right there). Fantastique Unfettered is our new "Periodical of Liberated Literature," a gorgeous magazine edited by Double author Bell... 
3) Electronic copies of our fabulous anthologies Things We Are Not (queer sf) and 2020 Visions (near-future sf)...
4) An electronic copy of Ergosphere, the special twelfth issue of M-Brane SF, guest-edited by Rick Novy...
5) A giant mega-bundle of the entire second year of M-Brane SF, back issues #13 through #24. 

(Again, US and Canadian orders only; sorry, we can't manage high overseas shipping costs at this low price, but the print book will become available in the UK, Europe and Australia after release.)

We are giving away nearly everything we have to give away with this special. That's how terrific we think it is, and how important we think it is that people get a copy of this book. But there's one catch: The special ends by the 5/31 publication date or as soon as 100 readers order this special. As soon as order #100 is received, we will will shut down the pre-order and the book will then be available only through B&N, Amazon, etc. (This isn't just an arbitrary number or a gimmick--processing pre-orders is a lot of work, and a 100 is about as many as we want to commit to in the next couple weeks). Readers who decide to jump on this good deal should do so right now by using the Pay Pal button. Allow us up to a day to send you by email the details of your purchase, including all your download links to your fat new cache of electronically preserved fiction. The print Double won't ship to you until 5/31, but you'll have more than enough to read in the meantime.

Here's the nice, easy-to-use Buy Now button, and please continue reading below to learn more about the authors and their novels...

$14.95 includes M-Brane SF Double (print), and everything mentioned above.












T


he fact that Alex Jeffers does not quite yet seem to be a common household name among readers of speculative fiction is a deplorable situation that I mean to do whatever little I can to correct. A writer of fantasy, science fiction and difficult-to-categorize literature, Jeffers has been one of my favorite writers that I have encountered over the last couple of years. He is a storyteller of remarkable imagination, a wordsmith of great talent and an editor’s dream of a writer with whom to work on a project.
I first learned of Jeffers when he offered a story for my GLBT science fiction anthology Things We Are Not (2009). I accepted “Composition with Barbarian and Animal”—a gorgeous, exotic, enthralling tale—for the book and counted myself lucky to have gotten such a nice item for my first attempt at editing an anthology. After I learned more about Alex Jeffers, I suspected that he was a writer perhaps a bit out of my league at the time (as the very small-time editor I was), and I doubted that I’d have a shot at publishing him again any time soon. But a short while later he surprised me with “Jannicke’s Cat” (M-Brane SF #10, November 2009). And it was then, while reading this achingly lovely story, that I learned of the singular world of Rahab, an oceanic place with but a few small islands where humans live in interstellar isolation from their cousins on other distant, out-of-reach planets. There befell a situation that resulted in the birth of no more females to the last generation of women on that world. Jannicke, an old woman at the time of the story, is one of the last of her sex, in a soon-to-be all-male world where the very survival of the species may be in peril.
Fast-forward many, many years: Science found a way where nature didn’t, and the humans—the men—of Rahab survive and flourish as humans always have, living their lives, dreaming their dreams, marrying and having families. But something else also remained the same as it had always been: most males were still born heterosexually oriented but they would live their lives never knowing a single living woman. This biological, existential conundrum and one possible solution to it are at the core of The New People. If, based on what I have just said, you have already formed expectations or made presumptions about what you will find in The New People, you are probably wrong. Jeffers surprises throughout both with the details of the story and the way his vividly rendered characters navigate through it.
When Jeffers submitted The New People to me over a year ago, I was frankly stunned. Because he submitted it for consideration as a story for the normal run of the M-Brane SF magazine, taking me at my word that I had no upper limit on word count. Indeed I do not have a firm upper word count limit for the magazine, but a thirty thousand word novella that I suspected would be fantastic (before I’d even read a single word) seemed altogether too much to treat as a normal submission. So, what to do? I had already been chattering on the web about my dream of creating a new book in the old style of the Ace Doubles, but I was still pretty far away from committing to the actual doing of it, and I had no idea what I’d be able to get for its content.  But as I started reading The New People, I realized that I had one half of my Double in hand already. It was the perfect situation all around: I had one story that would work beautifully for the new book, and it was a story that had long deserved but had never gotten a proper presentation to the public.
As with the story that forms the other half of this book, Jeffers’ tale is one stand-alone piece of what we must hope will one day come forth as part of a much larger story. Jeffers says he has in process a work called A Boy’s History of the World, which will incorporate all of his Rahab stories. This is something that ranks highly on my personal list of Books That I Wish Existed. But for now, I will content myself with the terrific pleasure of being the one to point toward this great open window into that world. Enjoy.
—Christopher Fletcher, Editor, M-Brane SF

Foreword to Elegant Threat by Brandon H. Bell..

I
 have been telling readers about Brandon H. Bell since I first read his work in the slush-pile the first month I was producing M-Brane SF magazine. In the slightly more than two years since M-Brane SF #1, I have published Brandon’s stories twice more in the magazine and in a couple of anthologies (Things We Are Not and the M-Brane SF Quarterly #1), and I have been gratified to see, as his list of publishing credits steadily lengthens, that other editors are seeing what I see in this extraordinarily imaginative and intelligent writer.
The story you are about to read is a marvel, and the realization in print of a project that Brandon Bell has been working on for a long time. He has created a rich, lavish, fascinating and sometimes frightening Post-Singularity, interplanetary milieu. Some lucky readers have had a chance to peer into it a couple of times already: one of his first published short stories, “Best Gift” (Return to Luna, Hadley Rille 2008) was, as Bell describes it on his website, “a tale about Sterling Suits, Neo-Dromedaries, and the persistence of love, trust, and faith on the lunar surface.” The next glimpse into this strange world was in M-Brane SF #5 (June 2009), with the story “Abraham Discovers an Artifact Impenetrable to All Harm,” an enigmatic and startling story about an unusual family struggling to make their way in the universe at the edges of an impending war between humans and Post-humans. These stories were so fascinating that my only complaints were that they were too short and that there weren’t enough of them. But now, with Elegant Threat, we finally get to spend a longer time in Bell’s world.
Elegant Threat—the story of people who wrangle aquatic fauna from the harrowing tides of the moon Shanama against a backdrop of imminent conflict with the mysterious Post-humans and sectarian strife within their own ranks—was envisioned by its author as the first of a triptych of stories that will eventually comprise a much longer novel. But this story herein—a novella of about thirty thousand words—is also complete, self-contained and will satisfy readers even if the other portions are never seen (though all readers of this one will certainly clamor for the rest and Bell likely shall feel obliged to produce it soon enough).
Bell has deployed an interesting and unexpected literary device in telling this story. Its subtitle, On the Demise of Captain Fantomas Patton-Guerrero and Loss of La Amenaza Elegente, gives the reader a big clue up front essentially how the story is going to end, as does the very first chapter’s final line: “…La Amenaza Elegente dropped toward the planet, beginning its descent toward the place that would soon become its grave.” As with an ancient Greek tragic play or a Shakespeare drama, we go into it knowing that Captain Fantomas and his ship are doomed but the fascination lies in seeing how and why this disaster unfolds. And even though the ending is foretold from the earliest pages, the reader will not see coming the stunning sequence of events that bring about that ending. This way of telling the story, as if it is a recounting of an event that the reader may have heard of before, adds an alluring patina of history to it. But what really makes this story and this way of telling it succeed is the way that Bell draws such lovely, nuanced characters and makes the reader really care about them enough to hope that maybe somehow, against all odds, they will still avert tragedy even though we already know that the Amenaza is not going home again.
Now, without further delay, please visit spectacular, deadly Shanama and witness the fate of La Amenaza Elegente.
—Christopher Fletcher, Editor, M-Brane SF