Every week, the Castalia House Blog spotlights some of the many new releases in independent, pulp, and web novel-influenced science fiction and fantasy.
The Backbone of Surprise (The Transhuman War #1) – C. S. Ferguson and Greg Ferguson
What do you do when the criminals are faster than the police?
Artificial enhancement of humans is illegal, especially since it makes the criminals smarter, faster, and more capable than those who enforce the laws.
Digger Stewart is a Ranger, a member of the law enforcement organization tasked with policing the transhuman trade. Raised on a backwater planet, Digger’s thirst for adventure sends him to the stars. When a mission goes wrong, though, he finds out about CARD—the Combat Applications Research & Development group—the Rangers’ secret, elite commando unit that gets called to save the Rangers when all hope is lost, and Digger gives up everything to join it.
On a normal day, the Rangers don’t have any problems taking down Biofate, the powerful interplanetary criminal organization that deals in transhuman affairs, and they can easily shut down Biofate’s illegal labs when they’re found.
But when Biofate decides they are tired of the Rangers’ meddling and builds combat mechs, Digger finds himself at the center of a growing political, cultural, and military war… a war the Rangers may not be equipped to win.
Dragon Lands (The Shadow’s Dragon #2) – Dustin Portia and D. K. Holmberg
.Treylen never thought he’d be hunting his own people. Least of all, family.
In the mines of Wetherdin, a foul plot is unfolding. Someone’s stealing dragon eggs for the Jaul, and it’s up to Treylen, Aaron, and their dragons to infiltrate and root out the traitor.
This time he’s ready. His spycraft is stronger, his bond with Rime is better than ever, and his mentor has come along for the mission. Under the guise of visiting nobility, they’ll have all the comforts of a cozy mountain lodge while untangling the mystery at their leisure.
But when Marziel disappears on the night of a murder, and his own family gets caught up in the intrigue, a dire deadline is set. Treylen is faced with a choice that the abbey never prepared him for. And the solution will take him deeper into the caves of the Dragon Lands than he’d ever imagined.
Eye Of The Storm (White Ops #5) – Declan Finn
Those of the planet Renar have one rule regarding the local mafia: They do not exist.
When White Ops leader Sean Patrick Ryan uncovers its existence, he finds a world of political intrigue and corruption that stretches back years. The Mafia has cast a shadow that has touched every member of his team. Now, the Mafia wants to emerge from the shadows.
Their first target: Sean Ryan. Despite Sean being held back by local politics and diplomatic niceties, he’s still the most dangerous man in the universe.
They underestimated him.
Mad Master Alchemist – Seth Ring
Alphonso Richt— Expert botanist. Genius chemist. Recently unemployed.
Burning down the lab will do that. But every cloud has a silver lining, and after being let go from his most recent job for unsanctioned experiments, Alph is given the chance to blow off a little steam with a cutting edge new game that isn’t even out of beta.
It’s called Nova Terra.
Logging into a fully developed fantasy world, Alph discovers a new field of study called Alchemy that instantly captivates him, allowing him to bring his unique insights and scientific knowledge to bear as he explores the wonders of magic. Plus, no one really cares if his potions explode in the game.
Stone Soul (Path of the Thunderbird #2) – eden Hudson
A murdered warrior artist transported to a strange land. A condemned princess fighting for her life. A hidden enemy pulling the strings of fate.
Yesterday, Ji Yu Raijin died to save his betrothed. Today, he awakens in a strange land of deadly demon beasts, weaker than he’s ever been. Without his overpowered lifeforce, Raijin will have to start again from the bottom while he searches his past for what went wrong.
Hunted for murders she didn’t commit, disgraced princess Shyong San Koida must find a weapon that even someone with a crippled lifeforce can use to defend herself. A drunken master and a tribe of hulking savages hold the key, but Koida will have to survive the brutal training and complete a series of deadly trials before her pursuers catch up to her.
While the warrior artist and the princess fight to survive, an immortal evil conspires with their earthly enemies to destroy them both.
Valor (The Lost Warship #3) – Daniel Gibbs
Evil never sleeps.
Home is on everyone’s minds, but none so much as General David Cohen. The weight of the universe grows heavier with each passing week as the CSV Lion of Judah searches the Sextans B galaxy for answers to how they ended up four million light-years off course. But all they find are more questions as one solar system after another turns up empty.
And their inhabitants vanished without a trace.
Colonel Calvin Demood has little time for thoughts of his wife and newborn back home. Just when his Marines think they’ve seen the last of religious extremists, terrorists strike again determined to destroy the technological advancements the Coalition has shared with the alien worlds.
Technology that won’t save them from an unstoppable enemy.
In their search for precursor artifacts, the Lion encounters a malevolent force impervious to CDF weaponry—and seeking the same ancient tech that stranded them in the unfamiliar galaxy. As the horrifying truth of this enemy’s plans becomes reality, David faces an impossible choice:
Break every oath he holds dear or witness the complete annihilation of all life in the universe.
Anvil: Iron Age Magazine – a crowd funding campaign by IronAge Media
In this age of derivative and propagandistic mainstream media, creators across mediums and genres have begun pushing back. ANVIL celebrates and highlights those artists and authors drawing inspiration from the roots of comics and pulp. Heralding the rediscovery and refocus on quality over ideology which is already underway, and gaining momentum.
ANVIL is the first official step into the world of publishing by IronAge.Media, a site focused on connecting Iron Age creators with new fans. The dedication and growth from the community surrounding this site has allowed me to pull together a fantastic team to bring this magazine to fruition. Daniel P. Riley, of Whimsyland as Editor and Jacob Calta of 365 Infantry as Designer. Together with the fantastic Iron Age authors and artists we’ve collaborated with, the first issue is over a hundred pages of pure talent guaranteed to blow you away.
Catch an early glimpse of RazörFist and George Alexopoulos’ upcoming Hellfire and Brimstone Western comic!
The crowd-funded campaign will close on 2 May, 2023.
Ghost of the Badlands – a crowd funding campaign by Razorfist and George Alexopoulos
Who is the Ghost? Man or myth? Flesh or phantom? Is he a ghostly stranger who wandered out of the Arizona desert to deal divine judgment upon the modern Gomorrah of Canyon Diablo? Or is he a survivor of godless effrontery… plucked from his grave by beings unknown, to visit upon evil men the ravages to which they subject the weak? Whatever his origin, the result is the same: Gunfight after gunfight, body after body, coffin after coffin, legend soon grows of this phantom of the high desert.
The badlands swirl with whispers of a lone pistoleer. A one-man vendetta ride, wielding a mechanical weapon of the Old World, to cleanse the heathen with hails of gunfire. Rumors soon circulate of an entire army, cloaked in shadow, his faceless foot soldiers. Eventually, folk find a name for this mute, masked missionary of death…
THE GHOST OF THE BADLANDS.
Inspired by storytelling traditions both East & West, the team will be pleased to release TWO versions of this first edition: A Softcover inspired by manga, and Hardcover inspired by Bande Desinee.
The crowd-funded campaign will close on 21 May, 2023.