Phantom Sense and other stories

Phantom Sense and Other Stories

Sgt. Kip McCorbin must choose a military sixth-sense or the love of his family.

Courtney Brandt lies frozen on a glacier, but warm to the touch. Her killer is already claiming another victim.

Valerie Akwasi stumbles into the deadly side of a vineyard.

Michael Graves could be your best friend or your worst enemy, but he doesn’t care because you’re just an experiment.

The award-winning team of Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross present this collection of stories, exploring the dark space between science and humanity – with a bonus look at the science that just might make it come true. Come along and meet some of the scientific monsters that share our daily life.

Richard A. Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross are ‘two halves’ of one of the best science fiction writers Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine has ever discovered. Scientific mystery, suspense, just plain hair-raising action and all-out adventure—on top of some of the most original ideas ever to grace the printed page. Here are five of the most original, most entertaining, fascinating, and just plain fun stories to emerge from this happy collaboration.

David R. Palmer, award-winning author of Emergence and Tracking

Lovett is probably Analog’s best regular writer

Locus, July 2011

Rick Lovett and Mark Niemann-Ross have written some of the most thought provoking and entertaining stories I’ve read in years. If speculation is your thing, then this collection is for you.

Jerry Oltion, Winner of Nebula and Endeavour Awards

Phantom Sense . . . is a lesson in how to write a short. . . . From the start it grabs you and never lets go. In every way this story reminded me how good Science Fiction shorts can be.

Tangent Online


Phantom Sense and Other Stories is available from Amazon in kindle and print.


From Phantom Sense:

I’ve never understood how it could be stalking if all you’re trying to do is keep her safe. I just want to be a good father. Make up for all those years of being AWOL because CI-MEMS is a full-time job. You can’t be a father and CI-MEMS. That is, you can be one – that’s the same as for anyone else. You just wind up with big chunks of time when you have to choose between being AWOL from the Corps or from your family. And if you give your family more than a generic because-my-country-needs-me hint as to why, then you’re both in trouble.

Or that’s how it had been back before I became Staff Sgt. Kip McCorbin (Ret.). Before the (Ret.) bit, that is. Once that happened, it was just me … and the secrets.

From A Deadly Intent:

There’s an ineffable something about a frozen corpse. And sadly, if you hang around high elevations and the Antarctic as much as I have, you eventually see a few. Not that this stopped me from dropping my pack, yelling Courtney’s name, and running to her. It’s called denial. Your hindbrain figures that if you act quickly enough, maybe you can roll back the clock and stop the disaster that’s already happened. Your conscious knows better, but for the moment it’s just along for the ride.

She was sprawled facedown in the snow, wearing nothing but turquoise panties, about a dozen feet from her tent. If there was any doubt she was frozen, it was dispelled when, ignoring the fact it was fifty degrees below zero and blowing like a bitch, I stripped off my gloves and reached out to take her pulse. Her arm was unbendable, and not from rigor mortis. That doesn’t exist at minus fifty. If you die without a thermal suit, you freeze solid long before rigor can set in.

There was just one other thing wrong: Courtney Brandt was warm to the touch. Which was truly bizarre because she was so solidly frozen I couldn’t depress her skin enough to have found a pulse if there’d been one to find. But even though the wind was rapidly sucking the heat from my hands, she was most emphatically warm. Nice, toasty, body-temperature warm. Feverishly so, in fact.

From New Wineskins:

Valerie Akwasi gave a last look in the rearview mirror, checking her makeup before surrendering her car to the valet. She hated these things: mingling with the posh and self-important, pretending to be interested as cocktail conversation yo-yoed from gallery openings to gossip, all while ordering drinks that didn’t even allow her to share the cocktail-hour buzz. “I’ll just take a tonic and guava juice with a twist of lemon,” or some such silliness that sounded like a real drink but wasn’t. The waiters probably figured she was a recovering alcoholic rather than a reporter needing a clear head for her story.

But tonight there would be no cocktails. The valet bore the crisp, maroon-and-grey livery of Angel’s Head Winery, which was hosting this fundraiser for Congressman Blaine’s bid for the Senate. The race had opened up a month ago, when 89-year-old Senator Crooke had had his long-overdue heart attack, and it promised to be the most exciting in ages. But not the fundraisers. Their whole purpose was to tell donors what they wanted to hear, fill them with booze, and wait for them to open their checkbooks. Barely a story unless Blaine tripped over the carpet or something, which wasn’t likely. As trim and athletic as Crooke had been decrepit, he’d started his first congressional campaign by joining thousands of cyclists on a 100-mile tour of his district, raising money for cancer. Then he’d walked a marathon, shaking hands and smiling, all the way. Not the type to trip over his own feet.

From NetPuppets:

Dennis Brophy wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was more a listener than a talker: a questioner, not an idea person. But if the old saw about silver spoons ever got extended to computer mice – that would fit Dennis to a tee. Who needs to be a great orator when you can make computers dance to your whim? Dennis had never met an operating system he couldn’t master, nor an interface so arcane he wasn’t the first to deduce its logic.

If he’d wanted to, Dennis could have been a millionaire many times over, but he enjoyed playing with computers more than he did figuring out ways to make money with them. As long as he could afford the latest upgrades and wasn’t starving, he was happy.

Lately, he’d become fascinated by orphan web sites. It was amazing how many there were, established by people who spent a great deal of effort constructing them only to abandon them. The best lurked on academic computers, where processing time and disk space were essentially free, paid for by academic funny money no bean counter would ever notice.


Phantom Sense and Other Stories is available from Amazon in kindle and print.