“Red Dead Ten” is a thrilling collection of 10 dark military scifi, fantasy and horror stories about various Soviet-style alternative futures and pasts, including: inquiries in strange disappearances and occurrences in a future, global USSR; first contact stories where the cosmonauts explore new planets only to find surprising and hostile secrets; WW2 fantasy tales where the real war slips into bizarre and deadly battles; Lovecraftian horror about unseen monsters terrorizing a besieged city; a time-travelling commando with unexpected enemies and consequences; and military scifi about future war-robots stumbling on well-known arch-enemies hidden in plain sight.
Mil Brač is the author of 3 books and more than 25 stories published in numerous magazines, webzines and anthologies (including his country’s “Best of SF&F 2017”), very well received by the public and critics: “Natural dialogues, life-like characters, perfectly going interactions” (Helion Magazine); “Daring stories full of vast imagination, crafted with artistic skills” (Nautilus Magazine); “Mil Brač proves able to write leisurely in all genres and subgenres, building unforgettable characters” (fanSF); “original ideas, surprising twists, built atop an old-school structure with well-crafted plots” (cititorSF); “reminded me of the work of brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky” (Aphelion Magazine).
From those stories, the best 10 were selected, translated into English and collected in this book for the international audience, as follows:
1. ZMB 1. Tigermen. In post-apocalyptic USSR, straying from the dogmas of Orthodox communism is investigated by inquisitors, but when one of them tries to find out what had happened to a mysteriously vanished officer in infested Germany, the answers might be more surprising than expected.
2. ZMB 2. Molokan. In post-apocalyptic Siberia, the villagers of a taiga hamlet dead for a century are resurrected by a mysterious force; together with Yuri Marilov, we’ll gather clues to find the truth: is it a divine miracle, or there’s someone else speaking to us?
3. The Padojd Trites. In this classic ”old-school” scifi, space explorers descend on a new planet, but discover that underestimating faith can have miraculous effects, yet too expensive...
4. The Mir.322 Case. In this scifi about robots, a mechanical soldier is accused of murder and sabotage in an orderly world run by AIs; but do the prosecutors have the right to accuse? Or are they guiltier? And what if they only want to get rid of him because he has just uncovered the galaxy’s biggest secret?
5. Shaman 1. Kurgan. A dark fantasy tale about Stalingrad, where the Germans and the Russians take turns conquering a cursed house, only to vanish without a trace; could a Shaman be the secret to its mystery?
6. Shaman 2. Maple Heart. On the Eastern Front, the reconnaissance mission of a Soviet patrol takes a fantastic turn in the ancient Byelorussian woods, as one of them, a Siberian Shaman, must make a painful choice between death and his duty to the tribe.
7. God Tears. In this first-contact scifi about an expedition to an ocean world, we get to ask ourselves: if we ever meet an alien deity, how would we talk to it? And would it even be a good idea to wake it?
8. Tolya and the Akylosaur’s Death. In this scifi about time jumps, a commando with a suicidal mission attacks the future, but ends up figthing some very, very similar enemies, and those that pay the price are innocents from a far, far away past.
9. The Dark Room. In this strange horror about the Transnistria war, a policeman tries to find some missing people, but instead finds terrifying monsters, an ever-changing reality and an unspeakable enemy only he could ever challenge.
10. Red Snow in Kaperka. In this fantastic whodunit from the frozen Gulag, a series of brutal murders horrify the prisoners of war. Could it be the elusive tribesmen? Or maybe some legendary ancient beast still prowling the woods, looking for human blood?