Friday, 13 May 2011

Whale Screamers: read an excerpt

This is the first part of the short story Whaling the Multiverse that was published last month in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Thank you to Inna Basman for her artwork: an interesting interpretation of the whale screamer in action. If you haven't got your copy fly on over there now.

Whaling the Multiverse
 Mark Lee Pearson

We were in a harbour tavern on the floating city of Osaka when the skinny urchin flicked the noren aside and stepped in. He stood in front of the blue cloth with the white koi design and scanned the bar until his eyes fixed upon our ship’s captain.

“Captain Montagfire?”

Montagfire, a thickset half-breed in a sea green jimbei, was slouched over the bar, chewing the froth from a schooner of Asahi. He raised his shaven head and looked over his shoulder.


The kid approached the bar. “Are you Captain Montagfire?”

“What is it to you?”

“I want to be a screamer.”

Montagfire furrowed his dark eyebrows and spoke out of the corner of his mouth.

“A short, skinny wretch like you? You couldn’t tickle a trout let alone scream at a minke across the multiverse. Why, you are all skin and bone! Those lungs,” he said, prodding the kid’s chest with his titanium finger—“Those lungs are barely keeping you alive.” He turned back to the bar to order a fresh Asahi. The kid didn’t take this as his cue to leave.

“With respect, sir—”

Montagfire spun his stool around and glared at the boy.

“I don’t need your respect, fish hole,” he said, tapping his titanium finger on the katana in his belt. “Give me one good reason not to slice you up and feed you to the sharks.”

Now, I’m not one to watch people disrespecting others like that. Montagfire may have been ship’s captain, but that didn’t give him authority to treat anyone like the barnacled end of a beluga’s backside. Besides, I wasn’t in the mood for the kind of bloodbath Montagfire was alluding to.

“Give him a crack,” I said.


“Give the impudent rascal a chance. We just lost Saline Kid. Maybe—”

“He ain’t no match for Saline Kid.”

“And you ain’t no Ahab,” cried the kid. “Who are you to judge how well I scream just from the size of my body?”

Montagfire prodded the kid’s sternum with his titanium finger. “It is customary for a screamer—”

“Pollocks to your custom! I can compete with the best in the multiverse! Come outside. I’ll show you.” The kid thrust his chin out, clenched his fists, and stormed out of the tavern. Montagfire, never one to pass up a challenge, drained his schooner, spun off the barstool, and drew his katana.

“Wait, Captain,” I said. “That urchin knows no better. His life will be short enough without you cutting it shorter.”

But Montagfire was already halfway to the door when he yelled back at me, “You think I’m some kind of fool? There ain’t no way in this damn multiverse that kid can—”

Before the captain could finish the sentence a typhonic scream rattled the wooden walls. The windows shattered and splintered onto the floor. The side of the tavern came crashing in. Chairs and tables were thrown into disarray. Everything— fixtures, fittings and even customers that got in the way—was crushed as a mighty sperm whale forged headlong through the room, bowling Captain Montagfire off his feet and pinning him to the bar.

A ship’s wheel, the last fixture left hanging, dropped off the wall and cracked open on the sawdust floor. The bar fell silent.

The kid stepped back inside and called up the flank of the whale, “Now, Captain Montagfire, will you give me a chance?”

“Get this whale out of my face and perhaps we can talk business.”

The kid grinned at Montagfire then winked at me. I winked back. I was right; he was impudent but he was a character, too.

“Get this damn whale out of my tavern,” cried the landlord. “I’m trying to run a business.”

Friday, 6 May 2011

Cutlass and Musket; Tales of Piratical Skullduggery

An anthology of PIRATE STORIES, which includes my story The Tales of Blackleg Osai by Snarke P. Amor as well as a host of other fabulous stories by scabbard wielding authors is available now.

The Tales of Blackleg Osai features an unfinished book by an elusive writer, a famous bear with a personality twist, a sexy captain of a lethal ship called the Cuddly Quotient, a British Rail train, and various planks that lead the characters into a ragged maze of plots woven together with a wormhole or two.


Table of Contents

Get Kraken…Michael A. Ventrella

Silver Hand Sam…Cherie Reich

Last Voyage Of The London Fog…Marc Sorondo

Old Billy, Old Friend…Darren Gallagher

Mist And Shadow…Sarah Zama

The Legacy Of Captain Jareena…Scott M. Sandridge

The Sapphire Ring…Reese Mills

Uncle Zapf…Harris Tobias

Lost Hope…Rebecca Hart

The Blood Of An Immortal…M.S. Gardner

Elixir Of Tears….Jason Andrew

Guardian At The Gate…Ken Staley

Voyage Of The Golden Goose…Gary Moeser

Tales Of Blackleg Osai by Snarke P. Amor…Mark Lee Pearson

The Devil’s Fog…Coy Hall

Captured…Kate Larkindale

Isle Of Sorrow…Lee Clarke Zumpe

Beneath The Death’s Head…Dev Jarrett

Treasure In The Charnel Pit…Henrick Ramsager

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Review at Horrorscope

Thanks to reviewer Mark Smith-Briggs for his favorable comments on my story Whaling the Multiverse at Horrorscope.

The enjoyment of the work (In ASIM Issue 50) will depend on your particular tastes, but as always there is enough variety to ensure you’ll find something you like. Personal standouts included Mark Lee Pearson’s Whaling the Multiverse – an original sci-fi high seas adventure about a boy who attracts whales with his voice.

You can read the full review here: