The Community of Tomorrow – Proof of Concept

Hello,

Book and story ideas pop into my head more often than is comfortable. When one really sticks it’s like a piece of popcorn in my teeth and I don’t get full relief until I get it out on paper.

A Proof of Concept is kind of like a trial run. It’s me wiggling the popcorn (story) with my tongue.

This would be the third in my LGBT+ Romance / Northern Ontario Horror novels, along with Copper Tarnish and Parabiosis which I think will need a new name.


“Why the hell do you smell like antiseptic?” screamed my mother. I didn’t wait for my dad’s reply and closed my door. It was an open secret that Mr. Zelan had built himself a still and was selling alcohol from the back of the pharmacy.

It had been less then a month since we’d moved here. Somehow my parents thought that after ten years of fighting, cheating, and just generally being bad at being married; that moving into an experimental green community in the middle of nowhere would save their marriage.

I was extra pissed because I’d believed them and instead of doing my first year of university at Western or U of T like I wanted, I was stuck two hours northwest of Big Falls Ontario.

Aeter Aerospace had been around since they broke off from Door Technologies in 2004. It had since made a name for itself in every aspect of space travel technology. It created everything for both space missions and consumers. Because everyone needs space-worthy airfiltraion and aeroponics.

Aeter had decided that it needed a testing and development facility. So came the idea of creating The Community of Tomorrow. Build an approximation of what you’d need on Mars or the Moon and then fill it with two-thousand of the brightest, most gullible minds and their kids.

If the first month of this place was any indication, it was a damn good thing they didn’t try it in antarctica or actual space. There has so far been a murder suicide, two people escaping into the wild, and history’s lamest black market.

Not to mention the power outages.

I could hear my parents yelling even through the thick ‘space’ door. Everything here was space or tech or something that sounded like it was named by a middlegrader. The power went out and they didn’t stop fighting. If anything, it got worse.

I stormed out of my room. I’m not sure what I was going to do; yell, scream, tell them to get a divorce? Any thought I had left my mind when I saw them. Standing there yelling, but not moving, just standing with their arms at their sides, no emotion on their faces. Nothing was moving, but their lips.

That’s when I saw the thing for the first time. It unfolded itself from the shadows with a series of cracking noises that sounded wet. Its legs and arms were too long and it looked like it didn’t have any skin. What still keeps me up at night was its face. It looked like a skull with silly string oozing all over it and teeth in every hole.

It’s teeth chittered at me like a squirrel run through an autotune and then the power came back on and my parents started moving normally.


Okay. I’m liking this one. No idea when I’ll write it, but I look forward to it.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Stay safe and be kind,

Éric

Girl Vs. Monster – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2012 film Girl Vs. Monster.

Story

This is a fairly simple story about facing your fears. It’s surprisingly well thought out with lots of fun throughout. It has aged much better than I expected.

Score: 1

Charaters

When I first watched it I really liked the assistant and the main character. Watching it now, the best friend is seriously the most awesome character. The parents are annoying but understandable and most of the characters are good but a little shallow. The movie could have done with less secondary charters.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is often a little bit too much on point and is interestingly already dated. It has some nice layers but its mostly just okay.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie uses its sets, cinematography, and special effects very well. The special effects are cheesy, but the sets are well done and I was impressed with the camera work.

The music was good. It was obvious that they had 2 songs and a small score, but it worked and helped move the plot forward instead of just taking time.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I liked this movie the first time I saw it and still liked it this time. I had both kids snuggling into me during the scary parts and both really liked it. They both got really excited at the big music scene. It also kept both of them interested the whole time without snacks. The day after, the 2 year old asked, “Watch Scary Movie?” which is super cute.

Score: 1

Overall

A good intro to horror adventure movies for kids, few scares but no trauma. With it’s strong message and wonderful soundtrack it’s a great cheesy Disney scary movie.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

The House with a Clock in Its Walls – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2018 film The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

Story

I was very impressed. The movie had the right level of intrigue and excitement and the pace was a great balance between Gothic horror and kids horror. The plot was relatively simple and gave space for the characters’ backstories and the world building.

Score: 1

Characters

A lot of times, stories like this will neglect character development for the adults or the kids, but this one did a great job balancing it. The villain was surprisingly sympathetic for a corpse.

Cate Blanchett was amazing in her role and really made me feel for the character.

Jack Black managed to do what he does best and make a loud, arrogant, character who is both sympathetic and likeable.

Owen Vaccaro was wonderful as the quirky kid. I am a little sad they cut the fat-phobia story, but it’s probably for the best.

Score: 1

Dialogue

Quirky, weird, and definitely memorable. The skills of the writer (who wrote for the first five seasons of Supernatural) were definitely well used.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were beautiful and creepy. I wasn’t a fan of the abundant poop jokes however.

The music was atmospheric and fun.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I watched this with my 2 year old and he loved it. Kept saying “scary… fun!” In the actually scary parts he hugged me. I think my 4 year old would have yelled at the screen when the cabinet was opened and flailed like an angry octopus.

Its exactly the kind of kid’s horror that I grew up with and it felt like something I would have watched in the 90’s, but better in almost every way.

Score: 1

Overall

Fun, exciting, and scary with more heart and better acting then expected. This is a movie made by horror fans for future fans. It’s a great introduction for those kids that can handle and enjoy the scary moments. It’s also a great nostalgic feel for those of us that grew up with this style of storytelling.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Books – The Holiday Shopping List

Éric Desmarais Author

Adventure, magic, fantasy, and friendship. Books for young adults and the young at heart.

Where to find them

https://renaissance-107765.square.site/s/search?q=Eric%20Desmarais  (HOLIDAY15 for 15% off)

https://www.EricDesmarais.ca

https://Coffee.Jeneric-designs.ca

Shipping Deadline

December 11th

Sales

Free Shipping in Canada over $75 with code CANFREESHIP


Mirror World Publishing

An Independent Canadian Press of Escapism Fiction for all ages! We publish paperbacks and ebooks in science fiction, fantasy, romance, and adventure as well as children’s books and some art books.

Where to find them

http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

http://www.mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com

Shipping Deadline

Varies by location and product

Sales

Use discount code BUNDLE at checkout when you buy a paperback to get 50% off a second paperback! https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/discount/BUNDLE?redirect=%2Fcollections%2Fpaperback

Or for Ebooks, Use code: BOGO at check out to Buy one, Get one


Renaissance Press

We sell books by diverse Canadian Voices

Where to find them

pressesrenaissancepress.ca

Shipping Deadline

December 10th

Sales

HOLIDAY15 for 15% off between November 1st and December 10th


The Holiday Shopping List

Find all your holiday gifts from local Canadian Artists.


Renaissance Press – The Holiday Shopping List

We sell books by diverse Canadian Voices

Where to find them

pressesrenaissancepress.ca

Shipping Deadline

December 10th

Sales

HOLIDAY15 for 15% off between November 1st and December 10th


The Holiday Shopping List

Find all your holiday gifts from local Canadian Artists.


ParaNorman – JenEric Movie Review

How This WorksRead Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2012 film ParaNorman.

Story

The story is a pretty standard middle-grade mixed with zombie elements. It has a strong message and a great twist. I’m not a fan of the fat jokes but other than a few of those it was a very positive film.

Score: 1

Characters

All the characters were horror stereotypes but done with lots of heart. It’s great characterization that I ended up liking the zombies better than the townspeople.

Norman and his family are extremely believable and I have a soft spot for Neil. I definitely relate to him.

Also big props for Gay representation in 2012. Onward was banned in multiple countries for the same type of thing 8 years later.

Score: 1

Dialogue

The movie is utterly hilarious, balancing horror, humour, and heart, but it’s dialogue is forgotten as soon as it’s said.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The level of visual detail in the movie is utterly stunning. It’s beautiful even when it’s gross and grimy. The work and effect they managed is just fantastic. The blocking and camera work is so much better then most movies.

The music is suitably epic and well used.

Score: 1

Fun

My daughter loved it even though it was, “Kinda Scary”. I found that they created a great rhythm between scares and gags that helped her go from terrified to giggling. I enjoyed the adult jokes, the references to other movies, and the message that was well delivered.

Score: 1

Overall

A wonderful homage to horror movies with lots of heart and a great message. All that with some of the most impressive animation. It’s a perfect movie for October.

Final Score: 4.5

Disney Vacation Posts

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

For the next few weeks I’ll be writing articles on Disney Vacations. I’ve read horror stories and seen terrible things.

I’ll offer tips and tricks, tell you how I felt, and all kinds of other ridiculous stuff.

And don’t worry I’ll have cute pictures of the kids too.

Later Days,

Éric

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 7 of 7

In the past five minutes, I’d learned that my god wasn’t alone in the universe and that my nightmares were created by an evil version of myself.

I also learned that he didn’t fight fair, and how it feels when a bullet pierces your lung.

I then quickly learned what it felt like to get shot in your leg, hand, and shoulder. I reached out with my power tried to pull his soulfire from him. I was too weak.

Convinced this was how I died, I prepared to explode. I could at least take this jerk out with me.

Walking towards me, he smirked again. His sword touched my neck and he said, “You don’t have to die today. I could burn out Sol’s influence and give you a new life with a real god. Denebola is merciful and gives his emissaries gifts beyond your imagination.”

“Your god has more than one emissary?” I asked, coughing up blood.

“Millions!” he replied. I coughed and thought of the implications of having an army of me.

I shuddered at the thought and hoped Sol had some sort of trick to save me. “Phoenix!” I said into the com I’d been keeping open. I also hoped that my crew were listening.

The ship turned itself on and I heard the hum of the engines and suddenly we were in subspace.

Without a fantastic targeting computer, a prophet, or a Precog, you’re just as likely to appear inside a sun as you are to get to your destination. Space is vast and filled with a lot of nothing, but space drives are like tiny pieces of metal and suns are like giant magnets. The reason we don’t go much past our solar system isn’t a lack of power, it’s a lack of ability to calculate where to come out. Even a Precog can make a mistake. A short jump will land you dangerously close to a planet. A long one will almost always land you inside a star.

That’s exactly what happened to the Robinson. My crew lobbed it at the sun. Like throwing a marble down a funnel, we appeared in the middle.

There was a split second when we came out of subspace that the other man scowled and then we were completely engulfed in fire.

I thought I was going to die, but as the ship around me vaporised, I started to heal. All around me was wonderful warmth and love. I could see the beautiful colours of the sun that should have blinded and killed me. It was all wonderful. Of course I was naked again, but I still had the sword.

Unfortunately, so did the other guy. “You knew we could survive inside a sun?” he asked and his words were in my head; they felt slimy.

“Nope,” I replied.

His face fell and looked at me in wonder. It was the first time I saw on his face what I had seen with my power. He was dying. The power was eating him alive. “You are either a fool or you are more powerful than we thought possible.”

“As epic as sword fighting another prophet inside a sun sounds, I don’t like sword fighting naked.”

He laughed and he looked me in the eyes. It was like being hit by a small planet. Our minds locked and I saw a battle that was ancient, and made us seem pitifully small. I saw the stars themselves fighting and the destruction it caused. I saw Sol trying to save sentience while the others tried to enslave it. Then I saw flashes of what was going to happen, what had happened, and what was happening now. In essence, I saw everything and it gave me a headache.

We were no longer fighting as ourselves. We were conduits for the fight between Sol and Denebola.

When it was all over, I knew Sol had won. I hoped I’d helped somehow. The other prophet had the bad form to smirk as he turned back into stardust.

I have no idea how to explain it, but I felt pride from Sol. He was proud of me. The feeling was quickly replaced by a series of visions.

When the visions cleared, I was kneeling in the centre of my ship’s bridge, sword in hand, and still completely naked. Even with the serum, I was weak and needed a little time to recover.

I felt hands gently place a robe over my shoulders and looked up at Suzie. I imagined a million things to say and instead asked, “May I?”

She grabbed the scruff of my hair and pulled me into a kiss. When the kiss ended and the jeering from the rest of the crew stopped, I said, “We have funerals to prepare for and family to notify. How’s Travis?”

“I’m fine. Tougher than I look.” He looked pale and sick, but he had both legs and was conscious so the doc must have done something right.

“Great. We’ll start with Teddy’s parents on Venus.” I hadn’t been back since I was excommunicated and had caused a civil war. “While we’re there, we’ll have to save the Venusian royal family.” Everyone looked at me disbelieving. “Don’t worry, I have a plan.”

They all laughed. It was a wonderful sound and I appreciated it. Things were about to get a lot worse. I had seen the ships coming, each with a crew of nightmare creatures and prophets. Worst of all, their sheer numbers meant they wouldn’t fit in our solar system. We were outnumbered by so many I didn’t know what to call the the number.

Read More Stories


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 6 of 7

Oh, how I hated that smile. It was smug, knowing, and superior. I hated it all the more because I had perfected the same one years ago. The man looked a lot like me, but older and evil. How does one look evil? His eyes were the colour of space with no stars, his smirked tilted in a way that said he knew he was better than everyone, and sides of his eyes didn’t crinkle when he smiled.

I didn’t believe in evil, even when the church I served tried to have me killed, twice. But that changed when I saw the man. I can feel the people around me. There’s warmth to all sentient souls. It’s a reflection of Sol himself. This man was colder than the heart of a black hole. Dispite all that, I could feel the powers of a prophet in him.

“Emissary of Sol. I’m here to kill you,” he repeated.

“I prefer Sun Speaker, Prophet, or just Hal thank you.”

“Your preferences make no difference. You will die today and everything in this system will bow to Denebola and The Pantheon.” I could hear both the truth and the capital letters in what he said. There was a lot to unpack there. First, was that Sol wasn’t alone as a god. Second, there was a pantheon of them. Most pressing was that this guy was like me. I’d met my predecessor before I had any connection to Sol. He was the first member of the church to try and kill me. But I’d never met someone like me.

Reaching out, my senses I felt his power; it was slimy like a vegetable left to it’s own devices for too long. He was still in perfect contact with his god even from this distance. Something I wasn’t. There was something else there though, he was powerful but like a wood fire, I could see he was wearing thin.

I had always assumed that Sol was the only god and finding out there were others threatened to send me into a philosophical spiral. I did what I do best and compartmentalised; I’d deal with the fact that my god wasn’t alone and might be weaker than others later.

From my study of my predecessors, they all died rather young. None survived past forty. In this line of work, our connection to Sol, literally made us burn out.

Our Doctor Janet’s miracle serum that let her stay young, had a very different effect on me. I wasn’t reverted to my early twenties, thank Sol, but instead it had allowed me to channel the power without killing myself.

“You busy yourself meddling in the affairs of others, when you should be ruling them.” He stretched out the vowels of ‘ruling’ and lifted his arms melodramatically. The nightmare creatures moved forwards as if pulled by strings attached to his hands.

He glowed a deep green light and smirked. I decided that if that was the way I looked in a fight, I wouldn’t want to fight me. The nightmares attacked and I sliced two of them down. Suzie would have gotten five.

One dove to bite me and I grabbed its head. For a moment I considered wrestling control of them from him. Being inside their heads didn’t seem all that much fun. Instead I pulled the sunlight out of its soul.

We are all made of the same elements, forged from stars over billions of years. Those elements are infused with a kind of spiritual energy. It’s what kept me calling Sol a god. Not his prophetic visions, but knowing that we were formed inside him and he had given us our souls.

Creating fire is fun, it scares people and makes them do what I want. Pulling the Soulfire from something isn’t fun. It was an act of destruction that left me feeling sick and horrified.

From the outside, all you’d have seen is the creature collapse, shrivel, and turn to dust.

“How? No one can channel that power without destroying themselves.” The man looked… excited? Amazed? Aroused? I wasn’t going to ask.

“You can give up now and head back home. Tell The Pantheon we’re good.” If Sol wasn’t part of this pantheon, maybe he was a rebel. No wonder he liked me.

“No! I’ll still kill you.” He pulled out a sword. It was the kind of sword villains carry in bad entertainment vids. Completely impractical in its size and spikiness.

Reaching into the belt of my robe, I pulled out the gun I had taken from the armory on my way up and shot him. The first hit should have killed him. I should have shot him in the heart. Instead, it went through him and the wound healed. I emptied the clip into him and he shrugged it off. It was my turn to be envious. I didn’t heal like that. I can heal by going into a sort of flaming trance, but it takes time.

Dropping the gun, I held the sword in both hands and prepared for his attack. The bastard pulled out a gun of his own and shot me.

“Copy-cat,” I said with a wheeze. I think I felt the bullet rattling around in my lungs.

Read Final Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7

Ghost Ship Robinson – Chapter 5 of 7

“Hal, you’re an idiot. Get the hell out of there.” Suzie was sad and ignoring it by being furious with me. I couldn’t blame her. I’d told her I loved her and sent her back to the ship with a giant alien monstrosity’s head. If I’d been going for romantic, I should have gone with flowers or chocolate, but it’s all I had at the time.

“Sorry. Sol tells me I’m more likely to survive this.” It was mostly a lie. I’d seen her death, more than I ever wanted, but I hadn’t seen anything about me. Although these nightmare creatures were sure trying hard to get me. I’d managed pretty well so far by slicing with the sword and pushing them back with gusts of heat.

“Fine. Just get to the shuttle. We need to talk before I kill you.”

Clearing his throat, Adric said, “I’m having a little trouble getting a lock on the ship. Can you get to engineering and turn off everything?”

“Sure. Just a walk through a park. An alien, prophet eating, dog park.” I’d been doing okay against the creatures and that wasn’t a good sign. They should have been able to swarm me. Maybe cutting off the big one’s head had scared them? Or maybe something else was going on and I was sure that wasn’t a good thing.

Sure, I had a sword and sure, I had cut a few of them down, but if they all attacked at once I’d be swamped. What were they waiting for?

I moved slowly towards engineering and wished I could stop off at the armory. I killed a few of the nightmares as I went. They were getting less petrifying and more annoying.

It took me much too long to get to the main power shut off. It would shut everything down. Thank Sol for my portable air extractor. It would let me breathe in terrible conditions for at least a few hours.

I saw fresh blood on the ground and Sol hit me with a disturbing vision. “Adric, power’s off now. Is the Doc there?”

“Yeah Hal. I hear you. What’s up?” Janet sounded and looked like she was in her early twenties. It was the side effect of her immortality serum. She should be just over a hundred now.

“I’m seeing blood in engineering. Either they’ve been spreading our poor teammates around or someone was bit. Check Suzie and Travis out and let me know.”

The creatures all lifted their slimy heads and turned around, leaving me alone in the semi-darkness. I started to wonder where they were going and decided to worry about it later. Making my way back to the shuttle quickly would have been my best bet; but I was worried about a trap. I made a small stop at the armory on my way.

“We’ve locked onto the ship, but we have a problem.” Adric sounded annoyed and didn’t wait for me to say anything before adding, “Travis was bit by one of those things. He says he can’t remember, but now his legs swollen and Doc put him in the fishbowl.” He was talking about the sterile biohazard room that doubled as our jail cell.

Janet started talking, “Something’s attached itself to his leg and infected him somehow.”

“My day isn’t going to be complete until you tell me that one of my crew has alien eggs in him, is it?” I tried to not gag.

“How did you know?”

“I asked myself how things could get worse and this was one of two options. Can you cut it off?”

A sigh from the coms told me she didn’t like the idea, “The eggs are releasing an antitoxin. If I cut off his leg, the toxin that’s throughout his system will kill him. I’m trying to synthesise an artificial version but…”

“I owe that man my life. Do what you can… wait… what about the virus? Could that work? It was genetically engineered to fight these things right? Maybe it could be adapted to cure him.” Travis had been the captain of one of the most impressive pirate ships in the system. They stole from the rich and gave to the poor. The poor were mostly their families, but they gave to others too. They were rotten and wonderful all at once. I’d infiltrated and it hadn’t gone well for him. I’d felt every pain the other pirates put him through before he escaped, and I’ve never forgiven myself for what he went through.

“This isn’t my first medical issue, Hal. I’m already working on it. Get your healing fire ass over here.” She sounded tired and stressed. Without me or Travis to pilot they’d have to take a risky jump or coast to the closest commercial jump gate. One gave them even odds and the other would take a few hundred years.

“My flame cleanse might make things worse.”

“Then do the opposite. I don’t know. Get here and we’ll figure it out.”

It was an interesting idea. If I could create heat and plasma why couldn’t I drain it? Could I freeze these things?

The point was academic. I turned the corner to approach the shuttle and there, standing with a cocky grin, was the man from the cryogenic pod. I stopped walking and he must have taken that for fear instead of shock. Still smiling, he said, “Emissary of Sol. I’m here to kill you.”

Read Next Chapter


Sun Speaker

In the distant future humanity has spread to the other planets in our solar system. These stories follow Hal (a prophet for a godlike entity that lives in the sun), and his friends, as they try to make the solar system a better place.

Hal The Sun Speaker

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The Assassin

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to my Funeral

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Gladiators in SPACE!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Ghost Ship Robinson

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7