She invited Joseph into the woods. Whether for a cult or a one night stand, he was not sure, but either way, he followed her. What Joseph encountered instead were Gray kidnappers, aliens who were using corporations to mold humanity into their own genetic image. Some people, enchanted by ancient lies, would get a choice to embrace the new path. Others, like Joseph, will resist…
J. Manfred Weichsel returns with Tomorrow’s People, full of the same body horror and political irreverence as his debut, Going Native (reviewed here and here). Here, Weichsel plays with the third wire of controversy, and, in the process, illuminates a vision of Hell not too far from today. And that vision is perhaps too on the nose, tied to the particular nightmare that is 2019, filled with the subversions, mobbing, and persecution that makes this present age such a delight to suffer through. There is a chance that this story will become too dated by how it is anchored in the present day milieu.
This one is not for fans of apolitical science fiction–or for the squeamish. Fortunately, Weichsel deals with the alien biohorrors with more grace than most grimdark stories, although he does not pull many punches at the horror.
But for all that care, and that taken in the investigation of identity, peer-pressure, and sedition, Tomorrow’s People is a bitter story dealing with the corruption of one’s society towards extinction. As such, what could be a haunting short story stretches thin in novella form.
For fans of such grim fiction such as Appalling Stories.
In Andrew Karevik’s CivCEO, Charles Morris, a forcibly retired CEO, is spirited away by mistake to another world. Abandoned to his own devices, yet gifted with the same skills as an otherworldly champion, Charles settles into the the role of mayor for a small village. But when the villagers discover Charles lacks the blessing of their goddess, they give him an ultimatum: improve the prosperity of the village in a month or die. Now Charles must draw on fifty years of business skills to grow his village–and keep away from the gallows pole.
CivCEO is a variation of the growing dungeon builder genre of litRPG fantasy, bringing the management and building aspects above ground and into the light of day. Like many a dungeon builder and litRPG, CivCEO is exposition-heavy as it explains Charles’ various strategies for trade and development, albeit without abusing statistics sheets. Unlike said litRPGs, CivCEO does not get swept up into epic world-changing events over the horizon. Instead, it settles in among a cozier setting of Charles’ village and its nearby neighbors. And it’s this coziness, combined with Charles’ goal of making sure that both sides of a deal come out ahead, that gives CivCEO its charm.