Featured

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a site that works kind of like a long-term Kickstarter.  You go to someone’s Patreon page and sponsor them for a monthly fee ranging from $1-$1,000.

What do you get out of this?  Stories about immortals hiding in plain sight.  Stories about worlds with dead gods that know they’re dead.  Stories about assholes getting kicked off Earth, recruited into a mission to check out alien technology, and fucking the entire thing up.

You also get periodic mental health tips and tricks and my unique brand of ranting and raving, all for as much (or as little) as you want to send me a month.

It’s a vicious, delicious cycle.  Click below to throw a few bucks at me.  I’ll let you draw me like one of your French girls.

Maybe…

Patreon for Michael J. Wyant Jr.

Review: Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2020

Review: Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2020

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, May 9, 2020

“Byzantine” by Holly Messinger
“Stepsister” by Leah Cypess
“Birds Without Wings” by Rebecca Zahabi
“Who Carries the World” by Robert Reed
“Hornet and Butterfly” by Tom Cool and Bruce Sterling
“Eyes of the Forest” by Ray Nayler
“Warm Math” by Rich Larson
“An Indian Love Call” by Joseph Bruchac
“In the Eyes of Jack Saul” by Richard Bowes
“Another F*cken Fairy Tale” by M. Rickert

“Byzantine” by Holly Messinger is fascinating. The story itself is told from the point of view of a spirit that encounters a slave with special powers in the months before the fall of Constantinople. The two develop a relationship that grows and twists in parallel with the city’s assault, siege, and ultimate fall.

Read More Read More

SOUNDLESS is available for Pre-Order!

SOUNDLESS is available for Pre-Order!

It’s finally happened… SOUNDLESS is up and available for pre-order!  If you’re into dystopias, telekinetic assassins, and government eugenics conspiracies, this is right up your alley.  

It’s also a whopping $0.99 so…

*gestures wildly at the pre-order button*

Order!
Soundless Cover Art

Review: Aurealis #129, April 2020

Review: Aurealis #129, April 2020

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, April 9, 2020

“Pork Belly” by Jack Heath
“Father’s House” by Grace Chan
“Prime Mover” by Robert DeLeskie

“Pork Belly” by Jack Heath is a trippy ride. In a near future world, female pigs (sows) are being used as surrogates to avoid the death of human women. The story primarily follows Claudia, the would-be mother, as their sow goes in for the birth process.

Overall, it’s an interesting way to treat birth and, I think, pretty accurate. The dialog and inner monologue reads similarly to conversations I’ve had with expectant parents (sans pigs, obviously), but the real kicker comes with the final line of the story. In that moment, the full reality of this situation becomes clear and it doesn’t reflect well on humanity.

Grace Chan‘s “Father’s House” is an emotional wallop. Henry returns home to pack up his father, Tsz-Kan’s, things. It’s an emotional time, with Henry recounting old stories of his childhood with his father who helps him dig through their history; even trying to dig into Tsz-Kan’s life and learn something about his parent.

I can’t say too much more about the story without spoiling it, so I’ll stop there, but the depth of feeling and fondness with which each story is told builds upon itself until, like Henry at the end, you can’t help but cry. Beautiful story.

“Prime Mover” by Robert DeLeskie is interesting. It follows a trucker, Arlene, who is going through the motions of living after her husband dies of cancer. As a final Hail Mary before offing herself, to keep the tone of the story, Arlene takes an overnight job that leads her to an old haunt, a truck stop that served the best pecan pie. When she arrives, everyone she knows is gone, the pecan pie is store bought, and people are going missing. The night just gets weirder from there, resulting in Arlene finding a new purpose in life through her abuse of a sports relic.

The tone throughout is really spot on for a trucker, I think. Having grown up with a diesel mechanic father, I had a lot of exposure to that specific group. Every bit of the story, from the anger at rain to the climactic fight at the end, is told with the same “well, this is happening” tone I recognize from my conversations with truckers and it works really well. A fun, yet emotional romp through the life of a trucker (thrown into an 80s movie plot).

Review: Mysterion, March 2020

Review: Mysterion, March 2020

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, March 24, 2020

“Reformed” by Caias Ward

“Reformed” by Caias Ward is aptly titled. The story follows a criminal with Superman-level superpowers named Declan Samuels who is recently out of eight years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

The story itself is really the story of an ex-con coming out of prison and trying to reintegrate into society. The addition of superpowers highlights those difficulties in a deep, visceral way.

It’s not often a superhero story makes me cry, but this one did. It’s a story that’s more than worth the time to read.

Review: Strange Horizons, December 16, 2019

Review: Strange Horizons, December 16, 2019

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, December 18, 2019

“Flags Flying Before a Fall” by Osahon Ize-Iyamu

“Flags Flying Before a Fall” by Osahon Ize-Iyamu is a strange tale. Roughly, it follows a nearly unidentified main character living in a world where they die constantly, only to be resurrected by a tree that their brother won from professionally rolling down a hill. (I wish I could have that make more sense, but I can’t.) After this sport is outlawed, the protagonist is forced by their family to pretend at success to hide the money the brother sends back. Later, when the brother comes back at an inopportune time, he learns the truth and leaves, which ultimately sends the protagonist on a quest to find their lost sibling.

The story itself was hard for me to follow. I feel like there’s some sort of backstory or mythology I’m missing out on to make the detached external narration easier to handle, which is a shame.

That said, the language and the poetry of the prose is beautifully done. The story spends so much time stuck in the emotion and inner workings of the protagonist, despite their mother’s constant reinforcement that they need to avoid emotion, that a lesser writer would’ve fumbled and failed at the attempt. Ize-Iyamu, however, really manages to keep those hooks in despite it all.

In the end, despite my disconnect with background of this story, the raw emotion delivered through accurate, beautiful prose makes this a story worth reading.

Review: Strange Horizons, December 9, 2019

Review: Strange Horizons, December 9, 2019

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, December 11, 2019

“Into the Eye” by SL Harris

“Into the Eye” by SL Harris is a stunning depiction of our reality after the Old Gods rise. Set in the far future, Earth is now flooded and filled with chattering madmen and ruled over by these horrific beings. The only ones to escape this fate are those who were either off-world or maintained the psychological fortitude in the face of Cthulhu and its brethren to keep going. The main character, Sal, is the latter. A pilot during humanity’s last stand against madness, Sal watched the world die, but managed to steer away, the only surviving ship in the human fleet.

The story revolves around a man, Captain Moore, who has been to the center of the universe and found Azathoth—Lovecraft’s creator god—sleeping. Waiting. Like Sal, Moore is the only survivor of his failed mission and comes back, having spent ten years alone, working through a plan to get away from the madness. With that in mind, Moore assembles a crew and together they head to Azathoth to escape this damned universe for another seen only in fevered images during Moore’s time near the sleeping god.

Overall, the story is incredibly well written, the integration of the Lovecraftian mythos with a far future setting works seamlessly, and Harris develops very interesting, empathetic characters that you root for by the end.

My only real gripe with the story is the end. It sort of stops and leaves us wondering at the conclusion, a nagging feeling of hope warring with the blatant horrors of this universe. In another story, without the weight of the Cthulhu mythos driving it forward, I think this would’ve worked quite well, but I can’t help but feel like it reads as the end of a chapter in a book than the end of a short story.

That said, it’s a pleasure to read and I’d recommend folks give it a shot, especially if you like new takes on Lovecraft’s madness.

Review: Strange Horizons, Dec. 2, 2019

Review: Strange Horizons, Dec. 2, 2019

Originally Posted at Tangent Online, December 2, 2019

“The Garden’s First Rule” by Sheldon Costa

“The Garden’s First Rule” by Sheldon Costa is both beautifully haunting and terrifying at the same time. The story takes place in a semi-modern world where children can be sold, or sell themselves, to a long-term art installation called the Garden. In the Garden, these children are given a seed and tied to a frame. Over the next years, that seed will grow inside them, slowly changing them from a human to some sort of weird human-plant hybrid.

The story itself follows one of these children, Eli, who convinces his parents to sell him to the Garden because of the abuse he suffered at home in the wake of his sister, Ava, being shipped off to war. Eli is happy in the Garden, but when his sister shows up one day and sees him, his world is turned upside down as old memories flood back.

The interesting part of this story is the perspective. Costa takes the time to illustrate how some of the other children fight and struggle against their planting. Even Eli sees the pain they experience in a way that makes you think, maybe, he doesn’t actually want to be there. However, every time Eli comes back to the present and focuses on his life and his long-term goals—going to seed and spreading out over the world—it’s clear Eli is a true believer.

Ultimately, I think that’s the scariest part of this story. It feels like the manifesto of a radicalized soldier, which makes the face off with Ava, a recently returned soldier with clear signs of PTSD, the more meaningful. Great story and well worth a read.

Review: Diabolical Plots #56B, October 2019

Review: Diabolical Plots #56B, October 2019

I’m not allowed to review Diabolical Plots for Tangent Online since I’m a first reader for the magazine, so… this one isn’t associated with them. :p

Full Disclosure: I didn’t read this story during my first reader duties this submissions cycle, so it ended up being a pleasant surprise. Also, the title hooked me immediately. I like me some classy swear words in a title.

Also, since this isn’t associated with Tangent, Imma let the swears out for once.

You’ve been warned.

“Save the God Damn Pandas” by Anaea Lay

“Save the God Damn Pandas” by Anaea Lay is fantastic. At its basic, it follows a guy who tries to get pandas (who can talk thanks to technology) to fuck, while confronting his own ticking biological clock.

The story is rough and tumble in its descriptions and completely earnest in the characterizations and dialog of the characters, including the pandas. At its core, this story is a straight up, early-2000s comedy plot, with all the deprecating humor you can handle.

I really enjoyed the story, perhaps in large part to the prevalence of the profanity. There’s something visceral about its use that spoke to me. It’s rare I read a story and end on a smile.

UPDATE: Just read my cohort’s review over at TO and apparently they don’t agree. Oh well. Personally, I think the ending is actually quite believable, at least the single part that’s actually resolved. Then again, I grew up in a house where a cousin acted as a father for the entirety of my sister and younger brother’s life without any sort of sexual or romantic liaison with my mom, so two best friends deciding to adopt a baby doesn’t seem that far fetched to me.

John Killed Everyone

John Killed Everyone

Background: “John Killed Everyone” came about as the result of plotting for another story I’ve been working on for about five years now, “Soundless.” In that world, 97% of humans speak telepathically as the result of a manufactured virus that killed everyone on the planet who didn’t have a certain set of genes that predisposed one to having telepathy.

Eventually, I started wondering how the the whole “mass murder” thing happened and lit on the idea that it wasn’t actually a concerted effort by a series of eugenics-obsessed governments, but rather a single terrorist trying to take out the United States.

Unfortunately for the world, that terrorist, infected with her own virus, encounters the unluckiest man to have ever lived.

Enjoy.

— Mike

P.S.

This is my story and isn’t being given away; i.e. all ideas are mine unless otherwise noted. See my copyright page for details.

Featured Image source can be found here.


Read More Read More