Two new releases and three stories about dystopias, apocalypses, nuclear war and cryogenics

As I mentioned yesterday, I have another new release announcement to make this weekend. In this case, it’s even a double new release announcement, because I have two e-books containing three stories altogether to announce.

These stories also came out of the July Short Story Challenge, i.e. the challenge to write a short story per day during the month of July. For more about the challenge, also see this detailed post about the challenge and what I learned during it.

One thing I did notice during the July Short Story Challenge is that I occasionally wrote stories in subgenres or styles I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. The two stories collected in Four Minute Warning are an example of this, because both belong to a subgenre I don’t much care for, namely nuclear war fiction. In fact, I’m not actually sure what precisely it was that inspired these two stories, though I suspect it was the result of watching footage of nuclear bomb explosions for another story I wrote for the challenge.

As a kid of the 1980s, I have seen pretty much every anti-nuclear-war movie there is: The Day After, Threads, On the Beach, The War Game, Testament, Dr. Strangelove, Where the Wind Blows, The Bedsitting Room. You name it, I’ve probably seen it. I’ve also read plenty of nuclear war fiction, e.g. A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Long Tomorrow, On the Beach, That Only a Mother, Die Letzten Kinder von Schewenborn, etc…

However, the fact that I have consumed my share of nuclear war fiction and films does not mean that I am a fan of the subgenre. Instead, I have a rather conflicted relationship to these works. I can acknowledge their importance in promoting nuclear disarmament, while being put off by the soap opera melodrama in many of them (The Day After is particularly bad about this, but Testament, On the Beach and even Threads also lay it on thick). What is more, I was always struck by the fact that the British and American characters in those works never took part in protests (anti-nuclear protests were something of a background noise of my childhood) and always seemed to assume that they could survive a nuclear war. Of course, the point is ultimately that they can’t survive, because pretty much everybody in these works usually dies in various horrible ways. But the fact that movies made during the 1980s still showed people assuming that they could survive a nuclear war always struck me as very strange, since no one in Germany believed that except for maybe a handful of politicians.

In the end, when writing my own takes on the nuclear war subgenre, I did take the “ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances” approach that I often criticized about other works in the subgenre, though I chose to focus on college students rather than suburban families. Plus, my characters are rather fatalistic and don’t assume that they will survive. In fact, both stories are set during the few minutes between the time the alarm is given and the moment the bombs hit.

And yes – fair warning – there is no happy ending to either story.

Four Minute Warning
Four-Minute-WarningTwo tales of love and loss and nuclear war.

Thirteen Minutes

Caught in a supermarket, when the alarm goes off, Luke and David admit some unspoken truths to each other before the bombs fall.

Four Minute Warning

Tracy and Jimmy know you can’t survive a nuclear war, even if civil defence leaflets and radio broadcasts claim otherwise.

More information.
Length: 5700 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Oyster, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral and XinXii.

The second new release is also a result of the July Short Story Challenge. This one was inspired by a random word generator which gave me the words “frozen” and “servant”. That started a train of thought about a rich and terminally ill persons who wants to have their servants cryogenically frozen along alongside themselves just like the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The end result was a piece of near future science fiction (again not really a subgenre I much care for) about the social and economic consequences that ensue when cryogenic freezing suddenly becomes a viable technology.

A History of the New Ice Age
A History of the New Ice Age by Cora BuhlertThe cryogenic freezing of the dead in hope of a eventual revival has long been the province of cranks and crazies. However, when two frozen mountain gorillas are successfully revived, cryogenics suddenly becomes a viable medical technology. The first humans are revived soon thereafter and though most of them have financial difficulties not to mention problems adjusting to the new world in which they find themselves, their successful revival nonetheless sparks a run on cryogenic freezing with unforeseen social and financial consequences…

This short story of 2300 words chronicles the cryogenics boom of the mid to late twenty-first century.

More information.
Length: 2300 words
List price: 0.99 USD, EUR or GBP
Buy it at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Netherlands, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Australia, Amazon Brazil, Amazon Japan, Amazon India, Amazon Mexico, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Scribd, Oyster, Smashwords, Inktera, txtr, Thalia, Weltbild, Hugendubel, Der Club, Libiro, Nook UK, DriveThruFiction, OmniLit/AllRomance e-books, Casa del Libro, Flipkart, e-Sentral and XinXii.

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