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 7 – The Orborgon
The Atheling , Top Shelf / March 16, 2020

She slid into her bolthole, had it almost shut—and cried out. In the center of her narrowing line of vision, directly across the pool from where she was, a man stood stock-still under the flying snow, and he was staring straight at her....

Chapter 6 – The Orborgon
The Atheling , Top Shelf / March 12, 2020

They moved off, down towards the pens, where the adahi awaited them, past rows of twitching window covers, all the way up the street. Anka, bringing up the rear, spat over his shoulder and made his lucky sign that they not find the two alive, for if they did, his troubles, far from ending, could well begin afresh....

Chapter 5 – The Orborgon
The Atheling , Top Shelf / March 9, 2020

Anka Ragnar loomed large in his crofthouse doorway, his very bulk a challenge, nay, a threat to the timid woman barring his way. His throat was raw, his breath, short; his hide coat hung wet and heavy on his back. He looked angry at seeing the woman there, more even than usual. He was angry. The anger masked his fear....

Chapter 4 – The Orborgon
The Atheling , Top Shelf / March 5, 2020

When her vision returned, the man was riding, and, she knew it just as clearly as he did himself, he would keep riding for full three days across the plain with the others, his mind part on the receding herds, but increasingly on getting home before . . . Shira, surrendering, lay still, locked in the shock of what lay before him, and in the terrible grip of his desperation. . . ....

Chapter 3 – The Orborgon
The Atheling , Top Shelf / March 2, 2020

The Earth personnel are now split: some hiding out on in an Earth sub-polar base, the rest abducted up to Space Tektonics, Inc. (STI), Hengst’s massive orbiting complex near the moon....

Chapter 2 – The Orborgon
The Atheling , Top Shelf / February 27, 2020

Her mind and (Grandfather’s) were but sparks in the vastness of time and space. What if they were blown apart, away into that immense uncertainty, never to touch again? Only a heartbeat ago she’d been grumbling about the Bourg, and wishing for change. Now she wished all this had never been....

Chapter 1 – The Orborgon
Top Shelf / February 24, 2020

The tetralogy connects in my mind with an aria from Benjamin Britten’s opera, Peter Grimes. Unhinged, Peter is raving. Deranged people often have insights not shared by the sane, especially when they are incoherent. But his agonised rantings contain deep truth. Parts of the aria preface the first 3 volumes, and the whole rounds out the 4th. Here, the clip for the second book: Who can decipher in storm or starlight The written char...

Chapter 29 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / February 17, 2020

No spoiler quotes this day. This chapter marks end of The Atheling. Readings of Book II of the quartet, The Orborgon, will begin Monday, February 24th. This book marks drastic changes in both worlds: the Earth people scatter, and the alien setting arcs to a Phrynis 1000 years post Torc, beginning in a remote region far removed from Gurnyac....

Chapter 28 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / February 13, 2020

Torc dipped his head, feeling the unaccustomed weight of the crown, and as he did so, it slipped slightly on his bare scalp so that he had to snatch at it and push it back into place. Feric, still beside him, his back to the crowd, bowed. “I think, sire,” he murmured, “that the crown sits insecure upon a shaven head.”...

Chapter 27 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / February 10, 2020

“Gar is an ever-present danger while he lives. For that reason he must die before the sun sets on your crowning—and there’ll be edicts tomorrow for you to sign to that effect. If not, I’ll not, nor would any man in the whole Known World vouchsafe your future as king.”...

Chapter 26-ii – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / February 6, 2020

Gurnyac! Even as Ramoni’s warning came, a slight sound came from the window. He crossed the room, felt his way along the thick harpile, slipped around into the bay. Reminder: While mindspeech is clearly indicated by italics in the book, here it cannot be so easily distinguished. All speech between Ramoni and Torc is silent: the interactions with Feric are normal talk....

Chapter 25 ii – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 30, 2020

It was a sombre vigil. His thoughts went again and again to the old visions: of tattered flame and blood and masses crowding the countryside, of his father’s last cry, of the tocsin, the screams of those dying in the fire. Of Ramoni toiling up the hill and the mentor falling in his own blood. Those hours were the among the loneliest in his life....

Chapter 25-i – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 27, 2020

“About Kabun—” “He’ll give you no more trouble, I promise.” “Well, that’s good….I don’t mean to complain, but he’s crazy. If, as you said, he’s one I’d be safe with, I’d like to see one who wished me ill.”...

Chapter 24 – The Atheling
The Atheling , Top Shelf / January 23, 2020

Poor Tanna. It were well if she ‘d died in the fire. Such hopes the girl had had of him. How long was it since he’d thought of her? His mind turned to Ramoni. Bridge of love. As if he were not heated enough already. He squirmed a little, then relaxed his body joint by joint and in the closeness of that cramped space sought comfort in the Canticum....

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....