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When the diplomatic embassy from the United States of Europe was freed from the Tower of London during the Baltic War, most of its members returned to the continent. But some remained behind in Britain: Oliver Cromwell and a few companions, including the sharpshooter Julie Sims, her Scot husband Alex Mackay, and Cromwell’s Irish-American self-appointed watchdog Darryl McCarthy.

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Sixteen-year-old Randy Knox has vague memories of Earth before the aliens came and destroyed life as we know it. Now a member of the New Hampshire National Guard, Randy does all he can to resist what appears to be humanity’s inevitable defeat. But before victory can be declared, Randy must complete one final mission.

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In the near future, a fluke of quantum mechanics renders CIA agent Nat Morgan utterly forgettable. Now, Nat must team up with an enemy agent and a brilliant physicist to stop a ruthless billionaire from finishing a quantum supercomputer that will literally control the fate of the world.

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These stories from SF greats answer the question, “Are we alone in the universe?” with a resounding, “No, but we wish we were!” Includes stories by Poul Anderson, David Drake, William Tenn, Sarah A. Hoyt, Tony Daniel, and many more.

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Sick of combat and betrayal, Cordelia Vorkosigan is ready to settle down to a quiet life. But when the Emperor dies, her husband Aral becomes guardian of the infant heir to the imperial throne of Barrayar and the target of high-tech assassins in a dynastic civil war.

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Steve Smith and the members of Wolf Squadron prepare to do the impossible: take back the mainland from the zombie horde, starting on Smith’s home turf. Science-based, frightening, and all too believable, a classic of heroism in the face of extinction.

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Targeted by a powerful sorcerer and caught up in a battle for the souls of his friends, Marius Winter must leave ordinary reality behind. Together with his unconventional spirit guides, he must descend to the darkest dungeons of the underworld and confront Belial himself.

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When Staci is shunted off to live with her alcoholic mother in Silence, Maine, she thinks the worst thing she’ll have to deal with is the fact that the crumbling town is stuck in the proverbial stone age. But the town’s shabby façade masks dark forces at work behind the scenes—and Staci is about to find herself caught in the middle of a very dangerous game.

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Exiled from the Rimward Commonwealth, Simon Forrester must make a new life for himself as an apprentice on the merchant vessel Stacked Deck. But there are those on board plotting interstellar war behind closed doors. Now Simon must choose sides—and the fate of an empire hangs in the balance.

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Tim Ryan has always known he is different from other teenagers. But he didn’t know just how different, until he went to live with his grandmother on a tiny island off the coast of Australia. There, he’ll face enemies that want to destroy him, discover the mysterious changeling heritage that is his birthright, and grow from being a sulky to teenager to a young man prepared to take hold of a legacy of power beyond any he has ever imagined.

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2016 BAEN FANTASY ADVENTURE AWARD ANNOUNCED

The 2016 contest opens for submissions January 1st, 2016 and all entries must be received by midnight on April 1st, 2016. The award recognizes the best adventure fantasy short story in the style of fantasy greats like Robert E. Howard, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Andre Norton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and David Weber.

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January Contest

In Unforgettable, a fluke of quantum mechanics renders Nat Morgan completely and utterly forgettable. Once Nat is out of a person’s line of sight, he or she forgets Nat ever existed. It’s a handy trick for a CIA agent. Which got us thinking: what other occupations might suit a person with Nat’s special abilities? Give us your answer for a chance to win a signed copy of Unforgettable.

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Larry Correia, the multiple New York Times best-selling author of the Monster Hunter International series, presents the first installment in a groundbreaking epic fantasy series, Son of the Black Sword. Watch the trailer, read an excerpt from a short story set in this exciting new universe, explore the world of the novel, and more here.

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Baen Books continues its release of guides to modern classics of science fiction and fantasy with reader’s guides to John Ringo’s bestselling Black Tide Rising series. Including a series overview and all four novels (Under a Graveyard Sky, To Sail a Darkling Sea, Islands of Rage and Hope, Strands of Sorrow), these reader’s guides are perfect for book club discussion groups or individual readers who want to dig deeper into the series. Featuring chapter-by-chapter summary, group discussion questions, and more, the Black Tide Rising series guides are available as a free download now.

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Terry Burlison graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering: the same school/degree as Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, the first and last men to walk on the moon. He then worked for NASA's Johnson Space Center as a Trajectory Officer for the first space shuttle missions. After leaving NASA, Terry spent ten years at Boeing, supporting numerous civilian and defense space projects. Until recently, he was a private consultant for many of the new commercial space ventures. Terry is now a full-time writer. His web site is www.terryburlison.com.



Adrift
Terry Burlison

"No, no, no!" Dan Colton shouted, slamming the thruster control on his EMU backpack fully forward. Directly ahead, a truss beam swung out of control, another EMU clinging to it like a bug on a girder, jets firing frantically as its occupant tried to wrestle the beam under control.

"I've got it, Cole," Chris Brody's voice rang in Colton’s helmet. Colton shook his head. Damn kid, about to die from a rookie mistake.

No, he told himself. Not on his watch.

"No, you don't have it!" Cole jetted behind the beam and fired his grappler with a flick of his wrist. The grappler head shot out from under his seat like a startled rabbit, trailing a thin wire as it sped toward the beam forty meters away. It struck and instantly riveted itself. Cole applied the momentum brakes, then felt his thrusters firing, slowing the beam. A perfect shot: the grappler had snagged it just off the center of mass, stopping it in mid-flight and killing its rotation before it killed Chris Brody. Cole let out a slow breath.

"Sorry, Cole," Brody said. "Once it was moving, I just couldn't stop it."

Cole reeled himself to the beam, detached the grappler head, and stowed it back under the seat of his EMU. He didn't respond. Let the kid stew a little; it'll help him remember. Once he assured himself the beam was more-or-less stationary, he jetted over the top of it and found Brody waiting for him on the other side, still grappled to the beam and nearly pinned between it and one of the power satellite's main trusses, probably afraid to move for fear of killing himself. Cole suppressed a grin. He couldn't read the kid's expression through his gold visor, but he could imagine it—he’d worn it himself a few times.








Jim Beall (BS-Math, MBA, PE) has been a nuclear engineer for over forty years, a war gamer for over fifty, and an avid reader of science fiction for even longer. His experience in nuclear engineering and power systems began as a naval officer. Experience after the USN includes design, construction, inspection, enforcement, and assessment with a nuclear utility, an architect engineering firm, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC).




From Corvus to Keyhole: Shipyards—Past, Present, and Science Fiction
Jim Beall

Stories of fighting captains and admirals fill histories and novels alike but, though ships and fleets may win battles, shipyards win wars. A nation's navy is merely a snapshot in time of its maritime military power, while a country's shipyards constitute its strategic, forward-going strength. Shipyards repair damage so that ships can fight again, replace ships lost in battle, and incorporate new technological advances and battle lessons learned. In fact, at any point in time few ships in the fleet contain all the latest technologies, but a shipyard must have every one of them and the tools to add them.

Shipyards and the Shape of the Ancient World

This is nothing new. For example, the First Punic War (264 - 241 BC) was at base a naval conflict as Rome sought to end Carthage's dominance of the Mediterranean Sea. Rome began without much of a navy, but captured a grounded Carthaginian galley and used their shipyards to build a fleet (some sources say one hundred ships in sixty days). They knew they were better soldiers, but that their enemies were better sailors, so they incorporated a new tech: the Corvus. (Figure 1)

Boarding Ramp

Figure 1. Roman "Corvus" Boarding Ramp (Image courtesy of Look and Learn: http://www.lookandlearn.com/)

Imagine the Carthaginians' dismay in the next battle (Mylae) when odd-looking vertical boards pivoted on their masts and suddenly plunged down onto their decks, locking the ships together (Corvus is "crow,” named for the steel "beak" on the bottom) for a century-strong boarding party of Roman legionnaires to storm across. The result was a great Roman victory, including the capture of some thirty Carthaginian ships. Unfortunately, the Romans soon lost that fleet, but built another. They continued to repeat the process, implementing new techs as they went. In fact, it would be the fifth Roman fleet that beat Carthage and forced them to sue for peace. Thus, the Roman shipyards ultimately won that war.

One analogous situation in science fiction would be Walter Jon Williams' excellent Praxis series. In the opening novel, a multi-thousand-year-old space empire falls into civil war. The fleets of the two sides suffer almost mutual annihilation in the very first battle. From there, it is as much the race between shipyards as it is the space battles that decide the conflict.

An even more dramatic case from history was the Venetian Empire. From the Middle Ages until about the time of Columbus, Venice dominated the Mediterranean through a combination of military power, trade, and diplomacy. A key player in the Venetian success was the Arsenale shipyard which—by using parts prefabrication and assembly line practices on a scale that would not be matched until Henry Ford—could build a warship in a single day. Indeed, Venetian officials would invite visiting dignitaries to witness the process for themselves. (Footnote 1) The Arsenale shipyard was so intimidating that it actually prevented wars!










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