Mindscapes audiobook available free with Audible free trial

Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories | [Victor D. Lopez]

My Mindscapes short story collection was released as an audiobook last week and can be downloaded free of charge with an Audible free one-month trial subscription. The book retails for $14.95 and is also available from Amazon and iTunes. A sample preview file is also accessible from the Audible, iTunes and Amazon sites. The book is also available in paperback and in all major eBook formats from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Smashwords and many other retailers.

A simple book trailer for the paperback and eBook versions of the book that features my reading of the shortest short story in the collection is also accessible here.  Unlike the audiobook which was professionally produced and read by Dale M. Wilcox, my reading of “Justice” is a cold read without the benefit of a recording studio using a cheap mike in my study. I offer it only as a curiosity and NOT as an example of the audiobook as Dale’s polished approach is in sharp contrast to my own five-minute project.


Please sample the book and feel free to leave feedback–positive or negative–which is always welcomed.



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Mindscapes audiobook available as of today on Audible

Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories | [Victor D. Lopez]

My book of short stories, Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories, is available starting today on Audible. For a preview and sample audio clip you can click on the book’s cover above or here. The book is also available in soft cover and in various eBook versions through AmazonBarnes and Noble, iBooksSmashwords and many other retailers. the audiobook version will also be available at iTunes and Amazon in a day or two. The book is unabridged and was produced and read by Dale M. Wilcox.

As always, I am grateful for your support and would appreciate any feedback my readers would care to offer on this  or any of my books.





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Worshipping at the Altar of Political Correctness

Pressure has always been applied to authors to “conform” to the conventions of their time. And there have always been those who want to BAN anything that OFFENDS them. Ironically, (and hypocritically) the very same people who ridicule those who would ban (or burn) books they find offensive/subversive/dangerous are the first to point indignant fingers at those who use language (or, worse, espouse ideas) that offend them. No society that yields to such forces from either the right or left of the political spectrum will long remain a democracy.

Political correctness has reached an absurd climax in the U.S. today. Outright racist language is attacked, and rightfully so, though only if it is used by the “wrong” people. (Read: whites can’t use the N word in any context, but blacks can–and they can also call whites “crackers, “whitey,” and other equally derogatory words with impunity.) A black man or woman calling another black man or woman an Oreo as a derogatory term is perfectly acceptable (meaning they are “black on the outside but white on the inside”) in writing, on television or in casual speech. A black person referring to any lawyer as a “Jew” is also perfectly fine and does not raise a problem with the thought police on network television (as in “I’m going to call my Jew”, meaning my lawyer, who could be white, Christian or Korean for that matter as the term is just a synonym for “lawyer” in some quarters) But the use of “niggardly” which as we all know refers only to ones unwillingness to part with cash, being stingy, miserly or ungenerous and has absolutely nothing to do with a racist term, is loudly called into question as a “racist” term because, you know, it sounds too much like the “N” word and heavens forfend anyone actually have to know the meaning of a word prior to raising the alarm and getting their grievance aired on national television.

Likewise this week the term “white is the new black” referring as anyone with the IQ above that of a potato knows to be a fashion statement–that the color white is replacing the color black as the “in” color in fashion circles.  No matter; it offends the sensibilities of the senseless and must be called into question, quashed and banned from the language lest anyone suffer the slings and arrows of a perceived slur. Never mind that absolutely no one complained when the highly popular cable show “Orange is the New Black,” which obviously also refers to the same fashion cliche, first aired or at any time during its highly successful run. If prison jumpsuits were red rather than orange and the show was titled “Red is the New Black” then perhaps there would also be some outrage at the possibility of some Native American taking offense since the term could conceivably be construed as a racial slur as well. On the other hand, “Yellow is the New Black” would likely not raise many hackles as no one seems to have any sensibility whatever against real or perceived slurs against Orientals these days and blacks would likely not see any problem with that comparison as only comparisons to “whites” are banned. And if any Oriental complained, they’d be dismissed as nut jobs, told to grow the hell up, or perhaps labeled as “racist” for even suggesting that a racial slur was intended by such an obviously racial-neutral term.

Race baiting and the marketing of hatred is big business. Just ask any self-proclaimed “Civil Rights Leader” flocking to the scene of any area of civil unrest chanting “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE.” For my part, I will always speak my mind and write precisely as I please, and I will support the rights of others to do exactly the same as is their Constitutionally protected right. Anyone who does not like it is free to not read what I write and/or criticize me as she/he sees fit. That is the hallmark of a free and healthy society. Those who take offense are free to whine and pout at will; what they cannot do is impose their will on anyone other than those who lack the courage to oppose them.

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Audiobook version of Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories slated for August release

Mindscapes: Ten Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Short Stories (C) 2014 Victor D. Lopez (Narrated by Dale M. Wilcox)There were a number of minor technical issues that needed to be resolved in post-production that resulted in the delay of the audiobook’s release. These have now been addressed and the book should be released to Audible, iTunes and Amazon in the next week or two.

I will post links and a sample audio file here as soon as the book is released.  It is a little longer than four and one half hours and I am very pleased with the narrator’s (Dale Wilcox) final work. Pricing is, unfortunately, not up to me and will be set by ACX. Paperback and Kindle versions of the book are currently available through Amazon and elsewhere. If I maintain Amazon’s distribution of the Kindle version of the book (rather than limiting the Kindle version distribution to Smashwords and its many affiliates–something I am currently considering) then anyone who has purchased the Kindle version will be able to purchase the whispersync audio version at a cut rate price.  Unfortunately, my ACX exclusive distribution agreement will not permit me to make the audiobook available other than through Amazon, Audible and iTunes.

A rough book trailer for the paperback and eBook versions of the book that includes my reading of the shortest short story in the collection, “Justice”, is available here. (Worry not. The actual audiobook is professionally produced and narrated by Dale M. Wilcox rather than me.)

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Armageddon de jour . . .

Alas, one need not be a prophet or read tealeaves to see some disasters coming, such as the wisdom of bringing a doctor with an incurable, highly infectious disease into the U.S. for treatment rather than maintaining quarantine on site and taking treatment to him. What could go wrong? Did anyone other than my wife and I immediately notice the exposed skin in the gap between the glove and the sleeve of the hazard suit worn by one of the health care workers in yesterday’s news reports? Are terrorists signatories to international agreements not to use chemical and biological weapons? (And do these help when countries like Iran, North Korea, Iraq and Syria are involved–to say nothing of the U.S. infecting native Americans with smallpox-laden blankets prior to such agreements in a particularly low-point in our history?)

One need not be prescient to posit a novel (yet I believe quite plausible) theory of cosmology or a low-tech means of allowing terrorists to bring about the end of the world by creating black holes with readily available technology (for a price) as I do in “End of Days.” There are far more pedantic means of achieving that end right now without any specialized technology or knowledge of physics or quantum mechanics. I wonder, for example, if any of the geniuses in Washington DC at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue have thought what would happen if terrorists purposely infected the tens of thousands of children making their way to the US from Central America with bubonic plague, Ebola, antibiotic resistant tuberculosis, anthrax or any number of other readily available naturally occurring pathogens? It does not take a science fiction writer or much imagination to posit a scenario where infected suicide terrorists posing as cut-rate coyotes shepherd these unsuspecting children to the U.S. border where there is no screening of any kind for infectious diseases. These children are then relocated (for “humanitarian reasons”) to the four corners of the U.S. courtesy of an overwhelmed (and politically driven) federal government, thereby ensuring as wide a reach as possible for the infection as these hapless souls are welcomed into the unsuspecting arms of caring sponsors. Armageddon soup, anyone?

And if terrorists have scruples about using children in this terrible way (you decide how likely that is) not to worry: there is no health screening for visitors from many countries with whom we have friendly relations and which are overrun by terrorists and their sympathizers.

No need to move back very far from this pointillistic painting to see the clear picture. But fear not. Courageous men and women in improperly fitted hazard suits will rescue us if that impossible scenario from the overactive mind of a know-nothing prof ever comes to pass.  So don’t worry. Be happy.

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Life Imitating Art?

Last year I published Mars: Genesis 2.0, a short story set in the very near future that deals with efforts to set up a small colony on Mars before an unavoidable extinction event on earth. No, we don’t have a massive asteroid with our number on it destined to hit us in 666 days (as far as I know), but NASA announced yesterday that an oxygen reclamation system will soon head to Mars that will turn CO2 into oxygen in preparation for a future mission. My idea for reclaiming O2 and hydrogen from the Martian atmosphere through atmospheric reclamation units as the means to provide both water and a breathable air (also methane and carbon for fuel and building materials) was based on some rudimentary scientific knowledge and was not a novel concept. But if NASA announces that it is exploring ancient dry aquifers and/or lava tubes by dry lake beds as a site for a colony I’m suing the agency for plagiarism.  Surprised

Now, given the  current situation in the Middle East I sincerely hope that terrorists are not into fiction as my “End of Days” short story also published last year is keeping me up nights.

If I were Stephen King, I’d write a novel about a mild mannered university prof driven to write prophetic warnings on his demonically possessed laptop that nobody reads. The end is near. Fade to black.

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Should independent authors opt-in to Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited program?

I received an email from Amazon announcing its new Unlimited program that provides royalties for books read by subscribers to this new service that allows readers unlimited access to all participating author’s works for a monthly fee. The new subscription service is Amazon’s answer to Scribd and Oyster. It did not take me long to find the usual Amazon catch though: exclusivity. Authors who wish to have their indie books listed in this new service must restrict distribution of their Kindle titles to Amazon–just like KDP Select. In keeping with the Select paradigm, Amazon will add $800,000 to its Select global fund for author’s royalties under this new service.

While this may be a very welcomed addition for authors who distribute their books exclusively through Kindle, the exclusivity arrangement is unappealing to me and I will not participate, just as I no longer participate in KDP Select. I already enjoy access to Scribd and Oyster as well as BN, iBoks, Baker & Taylor, Library Direct, Overdrive and other retailers (including Amazon) through Smashwords.  Although I would gladly participate in this new Amazon subscription program as a reader and author if exclusivity were not required, giving up much more appealing distribution channels for an Amazon-exclusive  distribution is about as appealing as buying shares of the Brooklyn Bridge. Ayone feel differently about this?

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