Adage – free short story (Science Fiction)

ADAGE by Travis Hill – Copyright 2013

“Comm check,” Sergeant  Horowitz called over the radio, even though we were all bunched together in a side room of the temple.

“Aw, Sarge, you can smell us, we’re all here,” Pvt. Hoskins complained without keying his mic.

“Private, test your radio properly before I put your name on a report,” Horowitz replied with no malice. “Radio checks are essential in case we get separated. You know this.”

“Aw Sarge, you can smell us, we’re all here,” Private Hoskins said in his Georgia twang, this time with his mic keyed. The rest of us had a silent chuckle, and even Hardass Horowitz allowed the corners of his mouth to turn up a little. The squad chimed in one by one, then double-checked weapons, webbing, flak jackets, and Kevlar helmets.

Sergeant Horowitz sighed quietly and stepped out into the temple’s main room, the rest of the squad right behind him in single file formation. Some of us were scared to death, some were still bewildered at where we’d ended up, but all of us had a job to do, and we weren’t going to let fear of the unknown rob us of what the United States Army had instilled in us.

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Playboy Interview with Sam Houser of Rockstar Games

I don’t know if any of you are gamers, but I most definitely am a gamer. I’m also a HUGE fan of the Grand Theft Auto series. Playboy scored an interview with the very reclusive Sam Houser, head of Rockstar Games (he hasn’t given an interview in 5+ years).

It’s a long article, but well worth the read, especially if you love Rockstar Games.

Playboy interview with Sam Houser

“GTA III unveiled an entire new world, a place of sweet, lawless release, of feisty urban insanity, that you could really live in.

And it almost wasn’t published.

As the finishing touches were being put on this crazy pastiche masterpiece and crunch time for Rockstar’s hoped-for 2001 launch ramped up, 9/11 happened. The World Trade Center towers were attacked, and all things precious in every New Yorker’s world, including Sam Houser’s, would never be the same. The brothers witnessed the horrors from an apartment in Greenwich Village. Fear of the unknown bubbled up into sheer paranoia. As the towers collapsed on that sunny September morning, Houser thought buildings north of ground zero might be affected, maybe from a domino effect. He told Dan, “This beautiful city has been attacked, and now we’re making a violent crime drama set in a city that’s not unlike New York. My God, I’m terrorized where I live, and on top of that, we’ve got this crazy fucking game that is not exactly where people’s heads are at right now.”

Not where people’s heads are at. Movies released at the time were tanking. A Jackie Chan film was scrubbed, and films that featured bombings (such as Collateral Damage) were delayed. Houser and Rockstar considered bagging the project, but the game was released, amid a fair amount of staff concern, on October 22. It featured a transformed Big Apple called Liberty City. The Twin Towers and blue-and-white police cars, too similar to those of the NYPD, were eliminated.”

Why Can You See Human Eyes on a Moth’s Wings?

I am,
A moth among
I tried,
So desperately,
To drink the milkweeds
And fly,
Into golden sunlight.
I played
An endless game of
Tag with the monarchs.
I am a creature
Of the moon,
My wings are made
Of stardust.
I see the whole world
On my wingspan,
I find hope
In the brightest light
During the darkest
Of midnights.
Will never
Have the freedom
Or reason
To fly aimlessly
Into the daytime.
For I,
Am a lonely traveler,
Among many,
A creature of the moon,
And a moth among butterflies.

I remember the first time I saw one of these moths. It was somehow wounded, lying in a field near a playground during summer school when I was a small child. Everyone excitedly gathered around this strange creature. It had strange eyes displayed intimidatingly on big brown wings. The other children were screaming at how disgusting and freakish this creature was.
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The Evolution of Custom Art #1

rough sketch #1

rough sketch #1: Bishop Antonelli, Father Castillo (seated), Satan

So a couple of weeks ago I decided that for two upcoming science fiction books, I wanted custom artwork. Custom artwork is not cheap, but the beautiful thing about it is that it is customized to my desires, which means it can reflect a lot of the story that it is covering.

Artwork by Daniel Johnson @ Squared Motion




rough sketch #2

rough sketch #2

Once I received the initial sketches, I knew right away I wanted to make a series of posts showing how art can go from initial concept to rough sketch to finished art (and then to book cover!). I’m the type of nerd that watches the extras on animated movie DVDs just to see how all of that stuff is done.




rough sketch #3

rough sketch #3

A few things to keep in mind: I’m only showing one book’s artwork for the moment. The book is titled (for now) “Diabolus” and the plot is basically ‘Skynet meets The Exorcist.’ Two Vatican priests are tasked with ‘exorcising’ a malfunctioning AI, one that has control over the world’s nuclear forces, and is intent on bringing about Armageddon, fulfilling the prophecies of Revelations.

It is a science fiction story, and it is not preachy at all (there’s no scripture in it that I’m aware of!). It is a good theological-philosophical adventure, and it will probably be a fairly quick read at around 40,000-50,000 words (maybe 250 paperback pages).

Here are the first three initial rough sketches, where Daniel Johnson ( is sort of ‘thinking out loud’ with his pencils, so to speak, and allows me to see what he’s thinking, and add/suggest what I’m looking for to flesh them out. Over time, you’ll see one of these drawings, or maybe a combination of all three, evolve into a finished, professional piece of art. I’ll update with new art as it comes in.

Feel free to leave comments!


Website Update

Hi all, just wanted to let everyone know that the website has been updated to make leaving comments much less of an ass-whip. Before you had to sign up with the site, login, blah blah. Now you can simply leave comments, and if you aren’t a spambot, I’ll approve them and you won’t have to worry about waiting for moderation again.

If anyone has any issues with the website, please let me know. Now that everything works properly, you can expect an increase in posting, from both me and my friend Momiji, who is just beginning her writing career.