Alpha Tales 2044 by Wesley Britton is a new collection of stories that are part sci-fi, part murder mysteries, part horror, and part social commentary. But completely full of the unexpected, surprises, and tales, unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
I vividly remember the afternoon when Jrin Rol, the second-in-command of our security unit, and I stepped onto the ground floor of the Hotel Domino in the new city called Monte Carlo. The hotel was an entertainment center named after yet another Alpha game Malcolm Renbourn had brought to our planet. It should have been named Hotel Backgammon for all the pointed spikes of alternating colors on the floors and walls.
On this day, I was listening to Jrin’s wistful hopes for an extended leave from service so she could deepen her studies in linguistic morphologies, geographic spatial patterns, and other analytical investigative techniques that would make her far more than a skilled expert in stealth and counter-espionage operations. I was becoming more and more impressed with what I heard as we walked into the dining hall.
Then, my blood chilled. In one moment, I felt as if I’d drank a bath shell-sized cocktail of adrenaline and dread. Sitting alone at a table in the corner was First Helprim Kiem Holenris from ital, the supreme head of the Munchen Collective. The last I’d seen of this seeming old crone had been in my offices in Bercumel. On that day, Holendris had let me know my life was on the line if I continued my then-pointless, personal war with my bond-family. For, like her, my genetically-enhanced mutations had come at a cost. The little pills the Collective now provided me slowed the metabolic rushing of time that aged such as us much faster than our years. If I wanted to live a healthy and beautiful life and for a good long time, I needed the pills only the Collective could provide me.
Holendris looked like a woman who’d seen four generations of descendants from her womb. But she was merely the age of my own mother. Like me, her appearance concealed a body of extraordinary gifts. Unlike me, she had started her pill regimen much later in her life than I had, hence her aged face and deceptively marked skin. On this day, while her lips were twisted in an almost skullish smile, her eyes sent a clear message to me across the wide hall of tables and happy noises.
“Child,” they wordlessly told me, “bring your sun-drenched bronze skin and bright, blonde hair over here to me. You must come to me now. A matter of dire importance awaits you. Awaits us.”
I looked to Jrin, who understood my own silent signal. We slowly made our way to the Helprim’s round, polished white table where Kiem studied our movements with practiced eyes. She nodded as we came close and indicated two chairs.
“Sit, little kitty,” she cooed. “Sit, Jrin Rol of the Mask-Painters.”
Wordlessly, we took our places as serving hands quickly brought us trays of beverages. Kiem waited until the hands departed and took a sip of her own red pravine, then said softly, “Thank you for your quick compliance, as what I am here to discuss requires some delicacy.”
Alpha Tales 2044 is out now.
A Bite of... Wesley Britton
Question one: Have you ever invented a language?
Yes, the first four books of the Beta-Earth Chronicles are built on dialects I invented.
Question two: Would you rather be James Bond or Batman?
007. He has a better sex life.
Question three: Would you rather live in this world or the one you create in your books?
I’d answer that in different ways depending on when you ask me the question. Sometimes, I’d rather be anywhere other than this world, especially after the presidential election of 2016. But right now, I’m pretty content to be here on Alpha-earth
A bit about Wesley Britton
Besides his 33 years in the classroom, Dr. Wesley Britton considers his Beta-Earth Chronicles the most important work he’s ever done. “I suppose an author profile is intended to be a good little biography,” Britton says, “but the best way to know who I am is to read my novels.”
Britton earned his doctorate in American Literature at the University of North Texas in 1990. He taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College until his retirement in 2016. He serves on the Board of Directors for Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania.
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