Tom Lichtenberg


I've written a lot of stories, and one thing I've learned is that stories have a life. They want to be read, and they're brought to life by readers. Readers give them meaning, give them substance and fulfill their destinies. Stories aren't picky about who reads them. They welcome everyone. Money means nothing to them - they don't care how much the reader paid and they equally don't care how much the author made. Stories want to live and they want to be a part of your life. I often think of them as like paper boats you place upon a stream. You never know where they'll end up!

"Author of curiously engaging novellas. His stories are not driven by action but by mood and metaphysics. His premises often begin with fairly standard, often vaguely science-fiction concepts, but he spins those concepts out into melancholy, thoughtful tales in which he explores the emotion and (often) dislocation that people feel when confronted by something outside their normal experience." - Devon Kappa

Where to buy in print


The Outlier
Meet the world's greatest Big Data detective. Part Freakonomics, part Sherlock, part Doctor Who, part Metrosexual Doc Savage and all absurdity all the time, Dillon Sharif solves the strangest mysteries ever concealed in the deepest depths of data analytics.
All Geeked Up
It's easy to be ahead of your time, but not for very long. Even the most evil high tech firms have a hard time staying ahead of the curve. The not-so-good folks at World Weary Avengers might be the exception. Their stuff always seems to be at least one step ahead. They might not be making the world a better place, but they sure are making it a different one.


The White-Hole Situation
Price: Free! Words: 25,180. Language: English. Published: May 24, 2018 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
It's the year 2525 and the world is finally clean. It's the future Star Trek promised, where benevolent computer systems make all our stuff on demand and take us on adventures in outer space, but the universe is large, and there are things out there that even the most advanced AI is ill-equipped to handle, and humans are little help to it. After all, would you ask a cat to do your homework?
This and That
Price: Free! Words: 21,770. Language: English. Published: July 4, 2017 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
Told in the style of a combined social media feed, 'This and That' relates several overlapping and interwoven stories; a woman facing treatment for cancer, a man held hostage for no reason, a global corporation enamored of its power and reach, an unstable future world disorder, and more. Filled with drama, pathos and dark, dark humor.
La Variable Aléatoire (Tome 1: Après le bip)
Price: Free! Words: 7,990. Language: French. Published: July 7, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Amateur sleuth, Fiction » Science fiction » High tech
Dillon Sharif est le plus grand détective au monde spécialisé dans les ensembles de données. D'ailleurs, c'est aussi le charmant petit-fils des milliardaires fondateurs de AllDat Corporation, propriétaires légaux de toutes les informations mondiales.
How My Brain Ended Up Inside This Box
Price: Free! Words: 37,650. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
When I was born I was so small I was mistaken for a french fry. I was never an ordinary child. My best friend was a seagull. I was also illegal. Artificially intelligent people like me had been banned ever since that thing with the Twelve Elevens. Mother raised me for profit. Buyers and sellers had other plans for me, but then I grew a mind of my own. This is my story.
Close to Nowhere
Price: Free! Words: 16,400. Language: English. Published: May 2, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(4.00 from 1 review)
A haunted desk, a case of mistaken identity and ominous threats from mysterious strangers can be seriously annoying when all you want is to get your job done and go home to your family. Sometimes you just have to take the horns by the bull and deal with it. Close to Nowhere, a short novel of danger and suspense. It's everything you could ever want in a climate change call center thriller!
The Outlier #4: Zappers
Series: The Outlier, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 7,200. Language: English. Published: March 30, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(2.00 from 1 review)
The world's #1 Big-Data Detective returns in another unrealistic adventure. This time there are disappearing dogs, cars that won't start, and people who have been partially electrocuted, perhaps by God. Part Freakonomics, part Sherlock Holmes, part Doctor Who, part somewhere on the spectrum and 100% completely absurd, The Outlier series continues with "The Outlier #4, Zappers
The Outlier #3: Lost Souls
Series: The Outlier, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 5,560. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(3.00 from 2 reviews)
The world's #1 Big-Data Detective returns in yet another impossible adventure. This time the wrong things are happening at the wrong times in the wrong places while pasts and futures hang in the balance. Part Freakonomics, part Sherlock Holmes, part Doctor Who, part somewhere on the spectrum and 100% completely absurd, The Outlier series continues with "The Outlier #3, Lost Souls
The Outlier #2: Migrants
Series: The Outlier, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 6,020. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(3.00 from 1 review)
The world's #1 (if not only) Big-Data Detective returns in yet another extremely unlikely (if not impossible) adventure. This time things that should never move are apparently moving, and hidden dangers are lurking just beneath the surface. Part Freakonomics, part Sherlock Holmes, part Doctor Who, part Metrosexual Doc Savage, but 100% completely absurd, another Dillon Sharif Tall Tale.
The Outlier #1: Beepers
Series: The Outlier, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 7,340. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(3.67 from 3 reviews)
Dillon Sharif was the world's greatest big-data detective. It helped to be the handsome grandson of the billionaire founders of the AllDat Corporation - legal owners of all the world's information - but would it be advantage enough to solve the riddle of those invisible things that go beep in the night? Dillon was going to need every bit of his trusty assistants' assistance on this one.
Wish World
Price: Free! Words: 5,880. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Literature » Literary
(3.00 from 1 review)
We all have dreams. We pray, hope, buy lottery tickets and wish on falling stars. We know this isn't the most practical way to get things done, but we want to believe. Suppose the world really did work like this, a world where everyone was guaranteed to have at least one of their wishes granted in their lifetime and their life would instantly change, but would it be for better or for worse?
The End of the Line
Series: Epic Fail, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 21,300. Language: English. Published: September 14, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Escaping from one prison only to find themselves inside another, where machines run wild, the sun doesn't know how to set, and time itself is running out, the chosen ones find themselves without a clue. All they have is an old battered book that re-writes itself daily and advises them to "follow the path", but what they find at the end of the line is both more and less than they ever expected.
Prisoners of Perfection - An Epic Fantasy by Tom Lichtenberg and Johnny Lichtenberg
Series: Epic Fail, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 19,610. Language: English. Published: April 20, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias, Fiction » Fantasy » General
(3.75 from 4 reviews)
All they wanted was to get out of the infinite forest where they'd been imprisoned for what seemed like millennia. Accidental immortals, they were set on revenge. They assumed that the world outside had changed since they'd been locked away, but never in a million years could they have imagined just how much or what bewildering surprises lay in store for them now. Epic Fail, Book Two
La Acera Secreta
Price: Free! Words: 20,240. Language: Spanish. Published: March 13, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Beauregaard Dulce se volvió invisible, pero sus problemas comenzaron cuando de repente volvió a aparecer. Ahora todo el mundo quiere algo de él. Manny el mecánico quiere a su mujer. Sharad LeMaster quiere su secreto. Emma Biggs quiere otra oportunidad en las noticias de televisión, las Cuatro Tribus desean enviarle de vuelta a donde quiera que se hubiese ido, y todo lo que él quiere hacer es comer
The Lemon Thief's Ex-Wife's Third Cousin
Price: Free! Words: 18,430. Language: English. Published: February 4, 2013 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(3.50 from 2 reviews)
YOLO. You Only Live Once. Or do you? Maybe there's another you living your own life somewhere else, right now.
The Girl in the Trees
Price: Free! Words: 21,570. Language: English. Published: September 8, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Literary
(2.50 from 2 reviews)
Twelve year old Miranda Amelia Harden has lived all her life on her grandfather's ranch in the mountains. All she wants is to stay there, but the rest of the world can't seem to leave her alone. She has only two questions. How young is too young to know what you want? How young is too young to get it?
The Von Barkingham Method of Time Travel
Price: Free! Words: 1,820. Language: English. Published: August 6, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
In the future ... well, you already know this (or will), assuming you lived (or will live) through the horror, the misery, the nightmare that was (or is) (or will be) the Von Barkingham method of time travel. May God have mercy on our souls.
Happy Slumbers
Series: Dragon City, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 15,040. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
When Argus Kirkham disappears, his older brother Alex returns to the city of his youth to join in the search, but finds himself instead at the edge of a baffling mystery he can neither see nor begin to understand, in this fourth and final re-mix of the Dragon City series.
The New Guy In Moon Base Twelve
Price: Free! Words: 18,830. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Satire
(4.00 from 4 reviews)
They weren't exactly the crew the President had in mind when he announced his plan to build a permanent base on the moon so the Chinese wouldn't do it first, but there they were, a boring collection of peaceful, happy settlers who couldn't even get a decent reality TV show rating. Life was perfectly dull until the new guy arrived. Now if they could only find out who he was and where he'd come from
In Constant Contact
Series: All Geeked Up. Price: Free! Words: 22,790. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
The good folks at World Weary Avengers are at it again. They have a device that keeps you in continual contact with a "professional friend", guaranteed to always be there, whenever you need them, to be whatever you need them to be, but with friends like these, who knows what could go wrong? (Book Three of the "All Geeked Up" trilogy)
Entropic Quest
Series: Epic Fail, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 35,460. Language: English. Published: June 22, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
In this dystopian fantasy, certain people are stuck at binary ages due to an unknown cause. They cannot age, or change, or become sick or even injured. By turns experimented on, abused, tortured and scorned, they are eventually exiled into a strange prison, an infinite forest world from which there is no escape. There they seek a cure, an antidote, a solution to their problem. Book 1 of Epic Fail
Dragon Town
Series: Dragon City, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 18,040. Language: English. Published: April 21, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
Argus Kirkham, now 39, is once again dragged unwillingly into an inexplicable situation. Sapphire Karadjian returns to the story as an investigate journalist assigned to a new mystery, a volcanic sinkhole which has swallowed an entire football stadium, and from which a very strange and nameless young girl has emerged, hair and clothes on fire, with a message for Argus. #3 of the Dragon City series
Sexy Teenage Vampires
Price: Free! Words: 4,980. Language: English. Published: March 26, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
(4.00 from 5 reviews)
Three short stories offering a novel twist on the 'paranormal' romance thing. These kids live underground, in train stations and subway stops, using modern techniques to extract what they need from packed and tired rush-hour commuters. Sometimes it pays to be more afraid of what you CAN see, what you want to look at, what you can't stop looking at.
Price: Free! Words: 15,620. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(3.50 from 4 reviews)
When a city commissioned a famous artist to create a masterpiece for their newly refurbished downtown, they only forgot one thing: to tell him when to stop. Now his greatest work is threatening to take over everywhere. It's a race against time and space and dimensions nobody even knew were there!
Unwritten Rules of Impossible Things
Price: Free! Words: 15,660. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
What if someone - or something - stole one of your days? Just one, and you didn't know why, or what they had done with your life in that time? Young Philip Galvez and his friend Marcus Holmes found out for themselves when they decided to discover why there was a giant stuffed moose in a house down the road.
Renegade Robot
Price: Free! Words: 16,990. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.67 from 3 reviews)
It's the end of the world as we know it, when the dreaded Singularity finally occurs and happens to be captured, live on tape, by agents of the Frantic News Network, which freaks out, as usual, and causes a lot of trouble for the mild-mannered nanobot exterminator who happens to get caught in the crossfire.
Price: Free! Words: 16,620. Language: English. Published: April 28, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Coming of age
(3.00 from 2 reviews)
Three stories of a lonely youth. Jimmy Kruzel's bad luck is that his worst enemies are always his best friends, or is it the other way around, and that sometimes his darkest hours seem to come right after the dawn. In tales more bitter than sweet, Jimmy finds that you can attract more flies with honey than you can with vinegar, but really, who wants to attract flies anyway?
Death Ray Butterfly
Price: Free! Words: 19,440. Language: English. Published: April 10, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.87 from 15 reviews)
Inspector Stanley Mole doesn't mind a hard case, but things have gotten out of hand. There's a killer who escapes to a parallel universe, a frozen caveman with a bullet in his skull, a woman who claims to have witnessed her own murder, a toddler assassin, time-traveling dictators, and subatomic-particle sniffing butterflies. For Mole, this time more than just his reputation is on the line.
Zombie Nights
Price: Free! Words: 18,840. Language: English. Published: March 11, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Horror » General
(3.69 from 52 reviews)
Being a zombie, not so easy. That could have been Dave Connor's six word memoir. "At first he couldn't remember how he'd ended up in that shallow grave; he just knew it was hell to claw his way out, and that the taste of its dirt would remain in his mouth for the rest of his time on this earth" ... Expect the unexpected in this existential resurrection thriller.
Tiddlywink the Mouse
Price: Free! Words: 5,470. Language: English. Published: January 26, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Fiction
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
A collection of oddly surreal stories for unusual children, featuring a mouse and his friends - a squirrel, an elephant, a limpet and a fish - along with an assortment of mischievous clouds and cowardly mushrooms.
Ledman Pickup
Series: All Geeked Up. Price: Free! Words: 29,890. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2010 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.75 from 4 reviews)
If you were a sentient gadget, what would you do? Travel? See the world? After overhearing one warehouse worker tell another that 'Green Bay is better than San Francisco', a newly conscious handheld device decides to re-route its shipping destination. From there one hell of a wild goose chase is on as its owners race to bring it in before it gets away. (Book Two of the "All Geeked Up" trilogy)
Phantom of the Mall
Price: Free! Words: 7,230. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The settlers were dispatched to a distant world to prepare the way for the great migration. Everything went according to plan, a little too smoothly, perhaps. Now there's only one thing missing in New Town, just a minor detail. Dystopia in G Minor. The Phantom of the Mall.
The Part-Time People
Price: Free! Words: 16,160. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(3.00 from 3 reviews)
DeBarrie's Stationery Store needed help again. Somehow, the part-time people never worked out. It was a problem. One after another, the part-time people came and went, and sometimes, nobody ever found out what happened to them. The newest one seemed even more hopeless than usual. His job application announced "there's a man who follows me around and ruins everything I try to do".
Cashier World
Price: Free! Words: 42,710. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A collection of stories, including the Legend of the Wandering Cashier, the roadside diner Angel of Death and the classic tale of the Bathroom on the Bus.
Hidden Highway
Price: Free! Words: 19,780. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Fantasy » General
Sharad LeMaster ran away from his own cult, and tried to hide from his followers by taking a desk job in a motel in the middle of nowhere, but when a certain lazy ghost from his past reappears, Sharad is lured into a haunted house and becomes the proud possession of the witch Eugenia, and gets caught between rival black-market magic-potion dealers. Book Three of the Secret Trilogy
World Weary Avengers
Series: All Geeked Up. Price: Free! Words: 15,020. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.00 from 1 review)
The good folks at World Weary Avengers Incorporated had a simple idea - changing the world for the better by talking loudly in public. Seemed simple enough, but even with the help of the most sophisticated hand held device ever invented, some jobs are better not left to amateurs. You never know what kind of hell could break loose. (Book One of the "All Geeked Up" trilogy)
Time Zone
Price: Free! Words: 33,750. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.00 from 3 reviews)
This is not your father’s time travel. There’s no machine, no dial. There’s no telling where or when you’ll go. The only thing that can change is you. It will make you what it needs to make you. And if you come back, it won’t be the same you. You’re messing with the nature of things, and the nature of things does not like to be messed with. Welcome to a riddle of change and addiction.
Squatter with a Lexus
Price: Free! Words: 20,490. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
(4.33 from 3 reviews)
Pearson Holmes disappeared a long time ago, leaving behind a potentially valuable safety deposit box. Freddy the Freegan is the first to stumble across the mystery, but soon a whole cast of characters are out to find the key and claim the treasure before time runs out and the contents are forfeit to the state. Who will solve the riddle of the Squatter with a Lexus? Book One of the Secret Trilogy
Somebody Somewhere
Price: Free! Words: 23,740. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
Some psycho kidnaps his would-be girlfriend, gets chased by the cops halfway across the state, runs out of gas right outside your house, where you and your spouse are enjoying a quiet evening at home, and now you’re held hostage at gunpoint and surrounded by police. It could happen.
Snapdragon Alley
Series: Dragon City, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 21,600. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Science Fiction, Fiction » Science fiction » General
(3.50 from 8 reviews)
Ten year old friends Alex and Sapphire discover something strange on the city bus map, a street that existed for only one year. As they set out to solve the mystery, they encounter the possibility of another world, another dimension perhaps, in a vacant lot, but they are not the only ones on the trail. Who will discover the truth, and who will pay the price? Book One of the Dragon City series.
Secret Sidewalk
Price: Free! Words: 19,550. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Beauregaard Sweet became invisible, but his troubles began when he suddenly reappeared. Now everybody wants something from him. Manny the mechanic wants his wife. Sharad LeMaster wants his secret. Emma Biggs wants another shot at the TV news, the Four Tribes want to send him back to wherever it was he’d gone, and all he wants to do is eat donuts and watch reality TV. Book Two of the Secret Trilogy
Orange Car with Stripes
Series: Atheist Comic Sci-Fi Pulp Fiction, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 19,580. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
On a dare, Gian Carlo Spallanzini set out to discover the deepest darkest secret of a person picked at random. He had no idea what he was getting into. Even a fat, bearded know-it-all ought to know better than to leap before you look. Add a crystal ball, a foul-mouthed parrot, and a cranky atheist talk show host and you'll never guess the outrageous mystery behind the orange car with stripes.
Missy Tonight
Series: Atheist Comic Sci-Fi Pulp Fiction, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 26,160. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
(4.00 from 3 reviews)
These days it seems like everyone is cashing in on the New Atheism craze, except for lifelong unbeliever Alan Musted. What’s a portable toilet dispatcher to do? Crash the party, that’s what! Join Alan and his friends and enemies in this ground-breaking work of “atheist pulp fiction”, the spellbinding sequel to 'Orange Car with Stripes'
Price: Free! Words: 24,180. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
(2.50 from 2 reviews)
A gang of street kids, an anonymous radio announcer, a detective from the future, a presidential assassination attempt and a frequently mistaken narrator all play a part in this jumble of introductions to an open-source novel inspired by the works of Macedonio Fernandez. Cover painting by Delma Soult.
Freak City
Series: Dragon City, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 24,620. Language: English. Published: November 15, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.25 from 12 reviews)
It’s hard to control your destiny while you’re waiting for the bus. The trouble for Argus Kirkham began when a stranger pushed his way through a crowd at a bus stop and pressed a package into his hands. Inside the package were various random items. As Argus and his friends unravel the clues, very strange things occur in this story of mystery and ghosts. Book Two of the Dragon City series.

Tom Lichtenberg's tag cloud

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Tom Lichtenberg's favorite authors on Smashwords

Michael Summers
Latest book: The Cutlers Of The Howling Hills.
Published June 25, 2014. (5.00 from 1 review)
Michael Hayes
Latest book: Dog Coma.
Published March 16, 2015. (5.00 from 1 review)
Warren Peas
Latest book: Cheesecake, Jr. in the Future.
Published May 16, 2011. (5.00 from 1 review)
Judy B.
Latest book: Stories for Airports.
Published February 19, 2009. (5.00 from 4 reviews)
Michael Graeme
Latest book: A Lone Tree Falls.
Published December 4, 2022. (4.50 from 2 reviews)
Sean Boling
Latest book: The Current Mr. Orr.
Published April 7, 2024.
Charles Hibbard
Latest book: Yard Sale.
Published October 30, 2021. (5.00 from 1 review)
...and 12 more

Smashwords book reviews by Tom Lichtenberg

  • We Don’t Plummet Out of the Sky Anymore on July 21, 2010

    Definitely worth reading. Although I got lost a bit in some of the comparison shopping, I enjoyed the humor and appreciated the novel approach to one of the more popular futuristic myths of our time.
  • 3 on Sep. 20, 2010

    I especially enjoyed the first and last of the three stories. I found them thoroughly engrossing, suspenseful and surprising as you're led deeper and deeper into their mysteries, but never feel tricked or deceived. All three of the stories eventually go farther and deeper than you expect.
  • Mr. Diddles, the Pit of Fire, and The Karate Guys on Dec. 15, 2010

    This is really good comic science fiction! It's very funny, hysterical at times, and very inventive too, and takes so many unexpected twists and turns it makes you want to hang on to your seat. It has several characters so vivid it makes me wish I could draw - it would make a fantastic graphic novel. I would love to see a collection of readers' drawings of these guys.
  • Welcome to Mom's Diner on Oct. 29, 2011

    What a wonderful story. I loved it. I'd give it ten stars if I could
  • The Fear of E on Nov. 19, 2011

    Wonderful. Excellent. Hilarious.
  • Day Gazing: Weird Shorts on June 02, 2012

    I loved these intense short stories. In several of them, beautifully sketched characters find themselves drawn, thrown, or simply awakened into inexplicably weird situations. I especially liked the pair called ‘Freedom/Stairs’, depicting protagonists choosing opposite coping strategies (‘Stairs’, especially, is a greatly empathic story). ‘The Protector’ is another sharp tale of unexpected and exciting new possibilities, while ‘Bunker Test’ and ‘White Room’ are in her wheelhouse of personal apocalypse. Highly recommended.
  • The Alien's Luggage on June 03, 2012

    A fun little story, nice take on flying saucers
  • The Ad Agency on June 03, 2012

    clever take on an original idea, well executed and funny too.
  • Taxbell on June 03, 2012

    based on a great concept, the story is well told and well thought out.
  • Accident Man on June 03, 2012

    excellent story, made me wonder what Lady SOL would look like!
  • Generation Next The Real Thing on June 03, 2012

    nice take on the old alien invasion theme.
  • Yitzi on June 05, 2012

    A great story by a brilliant writer. Mr. Zaks, as always, has a wonderful way with original and fascinating ideas.
  • Short and Stupid: Ten Somewhat Dark Short Stories for a Rainy Day on June 08, 2012

    Very funny short shorts. This greedy reader wants more
  • The Devil Still Has My Lawnmower & Other Tales of the Weird on June 16, 2012

    Maybe the funniest book on the planet. The war between the magic eight ball and the Ouija board is as hilarious as anything I've ever read, and wait, there's more!
  • In the Future This Will Not Be Necessary on July 01, 2012

    This is a very good sci-fi novel. The main story tells of a freelance writer who becomes involved with a sort of techno-guru internet cult due to his previous involvement with the leader's ex-wife. Thus there is a personal element and a general/social element woven together in the narrative. The techno-guru is a computer enthusiast who extrapolates the rate of growth of computing power into a concept of the Singularity involving a leap in human evolution - this is not the same Singularity I'm more familiar with, the idea that at some point machines will design themselves better than we can design them, hence rendering humanity superfluous. In fact, it is an opposite Singularity! Nevertheless, in this new-age age you hear a lot of nonsense about leaps forward in human evolution, so the guru's ideas slide easily into all that. The book rings true to me and reminds me of the time I worked at a bookstore in Palo Alto in the early 1990's. This was at the very beginning of the world wide web, and nearby Stanford University was as important then as it has been since to the development of the internet. In the cafe, there was one young man who held court offering techno-predictions to a coterie of fellow travelers, and I remember at the time thinking that this could well turn into a cult much like the one described in this novel. That it did not is more a testimony to the uber-rationality of most computer geeks. They are often enthusiastic and cult-like (witness the Apple phenomenon) but usually don't end up wearing identical Nikes and storing exact change for the spaceship lurking behind an approaching comet. They want to be here to see it all go down. The personal story becomes more dominant by the end, emphasizing the "novel" in "science fiction novel", which also brought to mind the recent, interesting movie 'Sound of my Voice', in which the central character is also an outsider who becomes strangely entangled, emotionally, with a cult figure. Another similarity with that film is the idea it gave me that you don't have to "like" a character very much in order to appreciate a story told from their point of view. I liked a lot of things about this book, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a thoughtful, intriguing, and worthwhile book.
  • The Hardest Word on July 02, 2012

    This story of a kidnapping would make a great one-act play. The action is concise, the dialog compelling, as three men, frustrated with how the white-collar bankers who caused the recent financial collapse have gotten away free and clear, decide to teach one of them a lesson. Soon it's not clear who is teaching who, or what the lessons really are, or even if anyone can truly teach anyone else anything, so tenaciously we all cling to our opinions and belief systems. The story manages to capture all these aspects in a fast-moving, tense and compelling drama.
  • The Backward Approach to Ebook Success on July 11, 2012

    A plain-speaking, straight-forward, no-nonsense survey of the current state of self-publishing and e-books from someone who has been through it and provides solid advice from real-world experience.
  • Stories for Airports on July 17, 2012

    This collection of great stories is set lovingly in my own hometown, San Francisco. It's a book of sights and sounds, traffic and fog, populated by distinct and very real characters. The stories vary wildly in tone and topic, resulting in quite a satisfying assortment of flavors. I especially enjoyed the very funny tale of the facial rash shaped like Guadalupe, and the onion-layered regression of Clang Clang Clang.
  • Blue Tent on July 19, 2012

    One of the things that annoys me about most dystopias is the way they usually just start from a blank slate. They'll wipe out everybody on the planet except for a handful of white, english-speaking young people and take it from there. Often, the back story of 'how we got there' is treated pretty lightly, leaping right over the realities of the struggles and the suffering that had to occur, but it simply isn't that easy to get from here to there. Even the Black Death killed only about a third of the population of Europe, and those who died suffered horribly while those who survived were devastated in many ways. There's no great 'survival of the fittest', 'uberman-libertarian' stuff going on. It's miserable and hard and there are no shortcuts through it. If you want to know what dystopias are really like in this world, you need look no farther than countries in the midst of civil war. In such conditions, the lowest of the low are kicked the hardest while the strong dominate with ferocity and terror, and they, the strong, are also the rich, meaning those who are rich now, not you or me in our Horatio Alger fantasies. The rest of the people, the ninety nine percent as it were, are those who are going to feel the pain. The only way out for them is to band together and fight, but such unity is difficult to come by and the fight is often to the death. Divide and conquer is a proven ruling methodology, and so is outright brutality. You can witness the former first hand right now through the phony 'red states' versus 'blue states' in the USA, when conditions are not even so bad, and the latter, as of this writing, in places like Syria. Imagine, then, that the current trends towards greater inequality and higher base levels of unemployment and permanent underemployment of the youth continue on the course they're on now. The next Great Depression is going to look different from the last, but who wants to think about it? We don't see it in our fiction or in our films. We'd rather blow right past all this reality stuff and get to the wild primordial wilderness. But somebody's got to tell it like it is, or rather, how it could be. We've relied in the past on books like this - "1984", for example, or "A Handmaid's Tale", or "It Can't Happen Here". They are rare enough, but stories that reflect the way we're headed as in a truth-telling mirror are often startling and stunning. "Blue Tent" is like this. It's a powerful story, one that I felt in the pit of my stomach as I got to the end. The characters are vivid and more than believable, as are the settings and events. This is no "do-over dystopia". It's a real one. Highly recommended.
  • The Color Of Things on Aug. 16, 2012

    these stories of the world as seen by little lenny helzerman are characterized by great writing and brilliant moments when you just have to reach for your highlighter pen. It's a complete world of its own, built with brevity yet fully realized and familiar.
  • Another Bookstore on Oct. 12, 2012

    Nicely done story in the great tradition of Poe, O Henry and Borges.
  • Dead Birds on Oct. 13, 2012

    Dead Birds is a story of dark prophecy, featuring a homeless drunk tracking down some random and scary portents; beheaded pigeons and rings of blood on alley walls. The trail leads him to fascinating encounters with opaque, mysterious characters. An interesting story all the way.
  • A Crack in the Wall on Oct. 16, 2012

    A mystery that remains a mystery through the end is hard to pull off, but is well done here. Another impressive 'module'.
  • Ink on Dec. 27, 2012

    Another intense, compelling installment in the Newt Run series. Each of these 'modules' are like windows into another world, a place you want to know more about. The author sets about laying these threads for you to follow, a trail of crumbs. The reader has much in common with some of the characters as we search these stories for clues and answers.
  • Tesla's Secret on March 03, 2013

    It is well-known that Nikola Tesla was an astoundingly brilliant inventor-engineer-scientist whose true life story is quite fascinating and well-worth reading about. He is also a great character for fiction, especially science fiction, as it's easy to believe him to be capable of anything, After all, he was decades ahead in many ways, including his concept of a global wireless broadband network. Who knows what incredible gadgets he may have tinkered with and left behind in some basement somewhere? That is where this short story, Tesla's Secret, by Carla Herrera, begins. A woman and her daughter come across such a device in a hotel whose owner wants nothing to do with the crappy-looking ancient machine. Messing around with it, they accidentally find it to be a sort of seance generator, able to bring back the spirit and form of dead people, but only for a brief period, a few minutes at most. I love what Carla does with this idea. Naturally, the first thing you think of is, who to bring back to talk to? The mother and daughter have very different ideas, and their disagreements and mutual disapprovals make for a very funny and entertaining story. The nature of the machine itself, its limitations and side effects, are also interesting. Highly recommended!
  • The Pick Up on March 25, 2013

    As any contemporary father can tell you, there is a certain caution he has to take around young children these days, much more so than a contemporary mother must. A father, watching his children at the playground, is likely to be among more mothers than other fathers, and those mothers aren't always so club-welcoming. A man is a suspect around young children, any man, including male elementary school teachers, any male youth sports coach, any man, anywhere, due to the confluent factors of rational probability and media hype. On the one hand, when there are crimes against children committed, a man is more frequently at fault. On the other hand, the percentage of crimes against children versus men interacting with children is not very high, but most of us have been conditioned to think otherwise,. Whether we like it or not, the stories bombard us daily and we cannot help but absorb them all out of proportion to their actual occurrence. All of this is by way of preamble to the story told in The Pick Up, which focuses on this issue. A father watching his child and his child's friend in a playground has a brief and utterly innocent interaction with someone else's child, but soon finds himself embroiled in suspicion. accusation and scandal. As a father who has spent the last several years around young children, I was easily able to identify with the protagonist and the themes in this story, so it had emotional resonance with me. Also, I think Paul is an excellent writer and every new story of his is an event for me, so I grabbed it from Smashwords and read it as soon as I heard about it, and I'm very happy to recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good story, well told.
  • The Third Person on Sep. 05, 2013

    The story of a very unpleasant 13 year old girl who despises her mother, is terribly jealous of her little sister and perpetually longs for the father who abandoned them, this novel is surprisingly engaging, mainly because of the way the author so well captures this person and her point of view, clearly illustrating the partiality through which we all view our little worlds. At every step we know that what she's seeing is not the whole picture, that her prejudices are masking the reality she's moving through, the one she doesn't want to see or admit to. you feel for her, though, and somehow even root for her too, even when she's being very bad.
  • Waking Up Different on Feb. 08, 2014

    Another fun story by this always entertain writer. Recommended!
  • Tul Tul's Train: a Short Story From the Desi Drive Series on Feb. 18, 2014

    Beautifully told, this is a story of adventure and discovery, with unexpected twists and moments of great drama.
  • Jahangir's Journey "Noakhali to New York: a short story from the Desi Drive series on Feb. 20, 2014

    This story - and its companions - share a common thread of New York City life among immigrants from Bangladesh, and cross-reference one another through characters and neighborhoods. Nazli writes with great fluidity, grace and humor, and each of these stories suffers only from the reader wanting more, which I’ve always thought of as a true sign of good story telling. She brings to life a world I’d be happy to keep reading about.
  • The 53rd Attempt on May 17, 2014

    It's about time somebody settled this problem once and for all. Or at least once!