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ZACHARY KANE’S STRANGE TALES
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-187-2
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 204 Pages
Published: October 2004
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

The author of The Other Side of Infinity offers a collection of short stories and a novella that entices and dares the reader to suspend disbelief. Typical Kane, a vein of cynicism immersed in a strange brew of humor and sobriety snakes through these pages. Take a bumpy ride through a turbulent sea of extraterrestrials, ghosts, bizarre science, time travel, alternative realities, a teetering human psyche, a perilous manifest destiny.... Enjoy!

Reviews and Awards

Nineteen short stories and one novella, this collection of work by veteran author Zachary Kane will not disappoint! In fact I haven?t read anything as good in a while. Each story contained a hidden twist; in most cases the author placed a mirror up to the face of humanity and allowed a glimpse into its nature. While I do have my favorites within this collection, I can not slight a single story. Each one has been masterly composed and executed. The novella, Shores of Time, is a special treat and is a grand finish for the piece. I hope to see more work from this author! ~ ED

ZACHARY KANE’S STRANGE TALES (Excerpt)


Contents

Jessica: A story of obsessive love with fatal consequences

Byte Me: Do thinking computers really have carnal knowledge?

Spaceship Einstein: What do we really know about relativity principles and their implication? Could the answers lie in other dimensions?

To Be Or Not To Be: What is the origin of consciousness and where does it reside?

Climb! Climb! Climb!: A truly blind date.

The Pariah: Careful what you wish for?.

The Final Flight: There is no excuse for failing at suicide. Well, maybe just one.

The Visit: Visiting other worlds can be disappointing at best.

The Line: Can death be recycled?

Party Games: You never know who may crash a party.

Room Number Three: What are extraterrestrial visitors really looking for?

The Hot Line: If you need help, think twice about calling the hot line.

Until I Get It Right: Good luck!

The Solution: What is worse, the disease or the cure?

The Gift: A demonstration of consciousness

Variation On A Theme: Is time travel possible? Relativity principles suggest that it is, regardless of the paradoxes.

The Experiment: Isn?t everything an experiment of a type?

The Evening News: Stay tuned.

The Old Man: A parent’s love cannot be replaced.

Shores of Time (a novella): Does anyone know who they really are?


JESSICA

Kyle raced along the deserted rural road toward the small general aviation airport, fleeing from all the skirmishes with loneliness, speeding toward another. Memories flickered in and out like pictures in a photo album?panic when a parent turned out the light in his bedroom and left him to brave the crushing darkness alone?his father strapping a screaming child into a roller coaster car to be whipped through space alone?his uncle tossing him into the swimming pool to sink or swim alone. Studying alone. Working alone. Living alone. Alone.

Kyle understood. A birth defect from a drug-infested mother manifested itself in a disfigured face of contorted bone and marred skin. But he had a working brain that had survived all the turned down eyes, whispers from behind, sudden quiet when he entered a room.

Jessica understood too. His defects made no difference to her. Perhaps that’s what made her so beautiful, so special, so perfect. She would listen with compassion and empathy to all his words and the feeling behind each, and to the pain of loneliness. His very life would not be too much to give, if she wanted it. Jessica would be proud of him this day, his first solo flight. Yes, she would be so very, very proud.

The Cherokee Archer waited on the ramp, its regal lines and smooth white skin shimmering beneath the warm rays of a late morning sun. Kyle sucked the air deep into his lungs, preparing for the adventure. But first he had to reaffirm to his flight instructor that he was indeed prepared to aviate alone.

Kyle did everything right: three circuits in the airport pattern with flawless touch-and-go’s. His instructor, a debonair type who had given Kyle not a single glance, talked over his shoulder as he exited the aircraft. "Okay, you?re on your own. Remember, stay in the pattern. Only three ups and downs. I?ll sign you off when you get back." He closed the door behind him and latched it, then jumped off the wing and headed for the flight office.

Alone. Finally! Kyle looked at the shards of light dancing on the spinning propeller in front of him, then the empty seat to his right. Smiling, he eased the throttle forward and taxied out to the end of the runway. Feeling the presence he wanted to feel, he spoke to Jessica, remembering an old World War Two flick where the brave young pilot taped a picture of his girlfriend to the instrument panel before winging into battle.

"Well, baby, here we go. Just you and me." Kyle eagerly shoved the throttle all the way forward. The aircraft surged ahead, attacking the air like an eager tempest. Then, he was airborne, the checkerboard earth of greens and browns falling away, humanity falling away, pain falling away, loneliness falling away.

"Stay in the pattern, hell," Kyle announced, keeping the nose pointed skyward and straight-ahead. "Climb! Climb! Climb!" he cried. This would be a real solo flight. The aircraft became a measureless speck in a boundless sky.



The paramedic, a pretty young woman, freed the body from the harness, laid it across the two front seats, and worked frantically to revive it. Finally?"This man is dead." She looked closely at him. The placid smile on Kyle’s face had cloaked the distorted bone and flesh; he was handsome. "I think I know this guy; I?ve seen him around the hospital." She swung her head back against her arm, toward the flight instructor crouched on the wing.

"That’s why I called 911," the man said. "I thought he was dead but I was afraid to move him, just in case." He shrugged his shoulders. "Well, I?m glad he got the airplane back before he kicked off."

Stunned, the paramedic replied, "What?" She exited the aircraft, forcing the man from the wing. They stood next to the fuselage, her doubting eyes seizing his. "You were with him, weren?t you?"

"Well, no. This was his first solo."

"You mean you weren?t with him when he died? When you were up in the air?"

"Nope"

"Impossible. That body is ice cold. There’s no way in hell he could?ve died on the ground. He had to have died up in the air, way up in the air."

"Ice cold or not, I wasn?t with him." The man wanted to dismiss the subject, the dead subject. "What’s your name, hon?"

She shook her head at his glossy voice and insouciant manner. "Your student is dead, and all you?re interested in is my name?" She glared at the other paramedic standing by the wing, then back at the fop. "It’s Jessica." She started toward the ambulance, speaking over her shoulder. "We?ll take the body away. I?ll need some information from you."

"Anything you want, sweetheart," he whispered into the wind, "plus some."

The flight instructor looked back at the aircraft and grinned at the name painted on the nose?Jessica.



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