Quotation from “Peter Grimes” by Benjamin Britten Bonus item: Preamble Bonus item: Space Tektonics, Inc – Manfred Hengst’s orbiting space complex. Bonus item: Glossary of alien words and names....

Top Shelf launching Monday, Nov 4th with Chapter 1 of The Atheling. We have created the Top Shelf for the series to separate it from the main podcast library. Since the series contains sensitive material in places, we have placed an age gate on the shelf as an alert. I post this preamble which will always be available in the Top Shelf Bonus folder along with other items as they are added....

(2-tone print on parchment by Roberts not used in the printed book.) Readers ask: Does Bruto get his human form finally? My reply: The clue to that lies in Chapter 7. But does it matter? This marks the end of over three years of regular podcasts. All these books are for anyone, no age range set. Early October, I kick off the SF quartet which is for older readers and access will be duly limited. I thank all who have listened in and hope we meet ag...

Peter pictured Bruto in the big, empty mansion, dining alone in the Great Hall by the light of the golden tree candelabras. No talk, no sharing songs on the spinet. Now if Bruto sang, his voice would echo through the solitary spaces, with no one else to hear. Bonus item: Bella and Bruto talking together in the courtyard...

“Bruto, it is wrong to force your will on people!” Bella cried. “And we’ll never give in!” She turned to Peter. “I’m beat. I’m going to sleep right here.” “Not me.” Peter remembered the first night they’d fled: the roars and the howling. “No way I’m going to close my eyes. No way … no way….” Note: the pig in ‘Tom, Tom the piper’s son&...

They scrambled up and hurried around the corner of the greenhouse. In the full glare of the late morning sun lay a body covered in a heavy cloak and hood. Bela darted forward and crouching drew the hood aside. Bruto....

As he peered down, the massive shape unfolded from its chair to stand beside it. Then, unaware of being watched, it moved out from the shadows towards the spinet and Peter froze. “What, what is it?” Bella called from the stairs. Bonus item 1: Bella at the spinet. Bonus item 2: What Peter saw. Bonus item 3: How Bella likely would have seen it....

Tomorrow night, (Peter) thought drowsily, slipping into sleep at last, what then? They surely wouldn’t even think of going back into that place—would they? He certainly would not. But you never knew with Bella. Bonus item 1: Bella in her finery. Bonus item 2: Shadow behind the chair...

This final Jason chapter replaces the 1st edition version in the printed book and will comprise Sunday in the second edition. This coming Thursday I begin reading Beauty and the Beast, a retelling. The pen & ink illustrations by Claire Roberts (couple by me) will be included as bonus items with each chapter....

Tears came, warm tears, blinding him. He felt the woman’s touch, a soft caress. “Jason? Jason, love, what is it?” “I want my dad,” he sobbed....

Looking Jason’s way, the prince strode over. “Is not Rani the most delicious creature? Her face is as a million summer gardens, her skin is delicate as—” “Can Rani get us some curry, Firouz?”...

Halfway along the horse’s polished neck, Jason found a small red button. He pressed it, and at once the horse began to buck and bounce like a dime store ride gone wild....

“Grippus, Grampus, hippo-campus! Who cares, let the ocean damp us!” Jason sang … and wished the night would last a long, long time…....

“Let me get this: you sit out here for ten whole years. Then you build this thing and quit. Won’t the Trojans be suspicious?” Epeus stopped smiling. “If they are, we’re all dead men.”...

“Ten years we’ve waited on Troy’s front doorstep. The city must be ours today==or never.” Captain Epeus...

Soothsaying? Jason looked around the circle. What was that?… “Ask something,” Aesclepius murmured. “Quick.” “I—” Jason gazed around. Sons of kings and princes, destined to be heroes. He cleared his throat. “Will I be anything?”...

… Achilles stayed fixed on Jason. “How dare you, mongrel, come up here without lineage?…” Mongrel? Jason got slowly to his feet. “I’m good as you any day.” The big boy laughed. “Prove it.”...

Jason was just about to move on when, up on the rack behind the vendor’s head, he spotted a silver stallion rearing up against a deep blue sky....

Abigail paced to the window and back. “I only hope it’s not too late….” Emma sobered up at once, recalling her thought that the spell might not work now....

Maybe after a night’s sleep, Abigail won’t be so mad. Maybe in the morning she’ll remember the good times, and how nice I was, and she’ll change her mind. Maybe . . . Note: Emma’s text on the mirror is shown in the book. Her last appeal is a crude drawing of the heart halves unlinked....

Chapter 23 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 20, 2020

You’re a fool. I thought so and now I know it. Go, while you’re yet safe. Fool you may think me, but when a man must choose between a raging fire and an uncertain ledge, surely the ledge is worth the risk… NOTE: Spoken words have some advantages over written ones. But there can be loss. Mindspeech is depicted in italics. During this chapter when pilgrims use their voices again, the distinction between normal and silent...

Chapter 22 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 16, 2020

The Iron Rose turned, looked blindly out into the darkness where Torc still stood. Look what you’ve done! she screeched at him, her face twisted. You hated thing. Now are you satisfied?...

Chapter 21 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 13, 2020

Smoke. She smelled smoke. She ran to the door. She took a deep breath to shout, choked. The passage was full of it. She ran back into her room, took up her washcloth, soaked it in water, put it over her face, and opened her mouth to shout again just as a strange light erupted through the passage windows, and a loud wild bell sounded tocsin over her voice. The king’s tower was afire....

Chapter 20 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 9, 2020

The trembling gave way to faint excitement. What if—what if Gar came home again before she returned the scrolls? What if she couldn’t get back into his bedchamber? Or someone saw her leaving the queen’s tower and followed her there?… The excitement faded. But after another minute, so did the fear. If they caught her, so be it. At least she’ll have tried....

Chapter 19 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 6, 2020

Out of the dark the old woman’s voice came. “I’m here. Pick her up, young man, gently, if you value your splendid outfit, and follow me.” “Harbeli!” Tanna was vaguely aware of being lifted, of the old woman’s face hovering somewhere upside down against the wheeling stars then in a flash of pain the face and the stars winked out....

Chapter 18 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 2, 2020

Then tell me only one thing, if you can: shall I be king hereafter? The Athor regarded him long and solemnly, then slowly he nodded. Yes, he answered. You shall wear the crown. The Athor stood, and in that moment a shiver of cold air passed through the arbor, stippling the surface of the pool, scattering the fish, and sending a faint frisson through the brittle bushes, showering dead and dying leaves onto the grass, chilling Torc’...

Chapter 17 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 30, 2019

If the scrot would make a likeness of the melk for him, and maybe give her some hair, that indeed would be a gift. But the mentor would never agree to ask Sheshu for the kind of likeness of her that Torc would want. But if he ever did, then, oh then would Torc test out the Gurnyac lore!...

Chapter 16 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 26, 2019

She … tried to sit up. But the night had been too much for her. The stables, the shock of seeing Feric’s treachery. The horrible moaning from next door. And now this that she’d tried so hard to avoid. With awful suddenness, hot caustic fluid welled from her gut, spilling out and down as though it would never ever stop....

Chapter 15 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 23, 2019

He stood before a grassy courtyard walled in by white rush screens. In the centre of the grass was a raised blue mat marked off by a thick latik cord. In the centre of the mat sat a small golden man dressed only in a loin cloth…. “Behold the Harash D’ho, prince. Grand Master of the D’hogana.”...

Chapter 14 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 19, 2019

Here, where light and dark comingled, one stood to greet them. No Lothuri was he, for sure…. The features were blunt as the pitted Dryacs atop the Gurnyac keep. His scalp, furthermore, was shorn. His robe was dark brown, whatever that meant. “Behold D’huru Nor, your mentor. Look your last on the world out there, an you will.” There. By his broad flat accents, the be-hawld, the yaw , the last, the very gruff of hi...

Chapter 13 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 16, 2019

The Athor looked him up and down curiously. “Tell me, Torc, prince: in the chamber of mirrors—what did you see?” Torc considered. “I saw myself multiplied to the power of infinity, stretching in all directions, line upon line of me, going forever.” At last a fleeting flash in the golden eyes. Of triumph? Or relief?...

Chapter 12 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 12, 2019

(Shira) walked slowly into the third stall from the door, stepped up onto the toilet seat and felt along the narrow rim of the left-hand partition. There! A bead of paint? Better not try to move it, in case. She jumped down, ran to fetch MacAllister. A moment later, he gingerly lifted down a tiny silver bead. “Well, I’ll be,” he said, grinning proudly down on her. “You did it. That was pretty smart. How old are y...

Chapter 11 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 9, 2019

The waters frothed and boiled, rising, filling the space of the lab floor, swirling and swelling to engulf them all. Ord closed his eyes and cried out but his cry went unheard. Just as the waters were surely closing over his head, the tumult faded, the raging river was gone, and the lights from the passageway shone in on an empty floor....

Chapter 10 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 5, 2019

What if things happened while she was away? Terrible things? And she was too late to do anything? Maybe she should make herself ill and stay behind. Maybe no one would notice if she did not go. Maybe ....

Chapter 9 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / December 2, 2019

As the daur turned ponderously and lumbered across the courtyard cobbles, Torc had one last glimpse of Gar heading Tanna’s way. Then he was passing under the inner courtyard arch and down towards the drawbridge gate....

Chapter 8 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / November 28, 2019

Feric, massive and dark against the light, bowed his head. “I wish you safe journey and swift return, Highness.” He turned back to Brac. “I’ll catch you up, General,” he said, and strode back into the hutment....

Chapter 7 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / November 25, 2019

“…Without his proving in the holy city the king is but a man like all the rest. Already the people line the streets to see their next king ride the route that will render him a demigod. What—shall you stand out there and tell them that you’ll not go? … Farce or no—and that’s not for you to say—of course you’ll go tomorrow against one thousand conspiracies, and there’s an end to it.”...

Chapter 6 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / November 21, 2019

Ord couldn’t help a small tinge of excitement at the thought. All this time using a tri-di-corder and never being able to see its true results until now. The TS was still operating, of course, but whatever came through today would be there, in its full roundness, filling the lab. Ellisen waved him on. “Go ahead, Ord.” Ord crossed his fingers and set the headband on Fazhakian’s brow....

Chapter 5 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / November 18, 2019

The whole planet abounded with natural resources, as Earth had a century before. And there was Hengst, up there with his precious voyager ships, all rigged up and nowhere to go. Maybe there was a deal here. Perhaps, instead of going up to see Hengst, he could persuade the man to come down here. . . ....

Chapter 4 – The Atheling
Bookreadings , The Atheling , Top Shelf / November 14, 2019

The old man’s adrenaline had reached an impossible high. Ord watched Suk pan it down again. This wasn’t like ’25. That woman had only gone catatonic, for a spell. This was something much worse. The pulse rate was faster than a humming bird’s and the respiration, shallow. The eyes opened, rolled up under the lids. The lips were going cyanotic. Oxygen. Ord placed the mask over the old man’s face, adjusted the feed. No change. Th...