Doug L. Hoffman Retires, Lowers Prices In Anticipation Of New Novel.

Resilient Earth Press author, Doug L. Hoffman, has officially retired from industry and academia and will now concentrate on writing science fiction and having a good time. In order to mark this occasion, we are announcing new lower pricing on his previous novels and a book give-a-way on Goodreads of his forthcoming novel Starflake. This time the Peggy Sue II is off to the Pleiades to find the elusive and mysterious T'aafhal. Of course things never go as planed when exploring the galaxy. Enter the contest today and pick up a copy of the preceding novels at a bargain price.

Dr. Hoffman published his first science fiction novel, Parker's Folly, in 2012. The success of that book prompted him to write the T'aafhal Inheritance trilogy, following the adventures of Captain Jack Sutton and the crew of the starship Peggy Sue. Since then he has been chronicling the continued adventures of the crew under a new captain, Billy Ray Vincent, as they explore the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Doug writes stories that remind him of old time SF by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke, Issac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Heinlein and E.E. “Doc” Smith. Each new adventure contains new star systems, new aliens, and the famous talking polar bears introduced in Parker's Folly.

In order to entice as many SF fans as possible to read his novels, the good doctor has decided to lower the pricing on his existing novels: Parker's Folly, Peggy Sue, M'tak Ka'fek, Ghosts Of Orion, and The Queen's Daemon. The price may vary from country to country but the US price is now $2.99 each for Kindle ebooks. These titles may also be read for free on Amazon Prime.

We are also pleased to announce that Doug's latest novel, Starflake, will be published in both trade paperback and Kindle ebook formats on May 1, 2016. In the third book in the T'aafhal Legacy series—the continued adventures of the officers and crew of the starship Peggy Sue. Once again we find Captain Billy Ray Vincent in command of the Honorable Orion Arm Trading Company's vessel Peggy Sue. After being bushwhacked in the Alpha Phoenicis system, chronicled in The Queen's Daemon, more than a year has passed and the merchant explorers are about to take delivery of a new starship, the Peggy Sue II. After becoming embroiled in war and revolution far from home they realized they need a stouter ship and more Marines, many more Marines.

This time they are going far afield, headed for the Pleiades, a star nursery with a number of blue-white giant stars. They are following a hint from the T'aafhal AI they found on the planet of the Ant Queen, telling them to “find the missing Pleiad.” With their new ship and expanded crew they head out on a journey that will take them more than 400 light-years from home. A journey far beyond human space and the protection of the fleet. Naturally, things do not go as planned. Here is is the prologue of Starflake.

Hyades Open Cluster

Starlight glinted off the station's faceted exterior. Faint glimmers of orange with hints of red, reflecting the spectrum of the orange K-type giant that was this system's central star and the much smaller M-type red dwarf that closely orbited it. In all, an empty system in a scattered open cluster of similar stars. Here, far from its sun, orbited the reason for the Fleet's presence—a space station keeping a lonely vigil on the edge of nowhere.

The Fleet Commander watched the mopping up from the bridge of her flagship. They had come to this otherwise useless system for the specific purpose of reducing the population of it's only habitation to servitude. That phase of the operation was complete. The few space borne assets of the station inhabitants were scattered, drifting atoms, and the creatures who sent them decimated. They could have at least made it a challenge for us.

The warriors of Uxoreeza faced little real opposition when they boarded the station. The motley collection of races who opposed them mounted only feeble resistance—in the Fleet Commander's mind they were pathetic. At least one species had been totally eradicated and several others severely reduced in number. Reduced to the point their continued survival was questionable. It didn't matter, they were all animals, with no purpose except to provide food. Many were not even good for that.

A light on the console indicated an incoming call.

“Fleet Commander. Report.”

“Hail, Fleet Commander. Sub-commander Fzixeera reporting that we have cleared a habitable section and the station is ready to receive the occupation force.”

“Acknowledged. Proceed with the transfer from the transport ship.” This part was distasteful. The Fleet Commander would have preferred totally depopulating the station but the Dark Lords said no. And we all have our masters.

“Commencing the transfer of the vermin, Fleet Commander,” reported the Sub-commander, disgust in her voice. “We are withdrawing by sections. A number of the warriors are bringing fresh carcases with them, will you allow this?”

Sigh. Vat grown protein is just as nourishing and arguably safer, but there is no substitute for something that you killed with your own claws. A poor replacement for decent plunder but better than nothing. “It is allowed.”

That her race existed at all was because the Dark Ones occasionally need proxies to keep other warm-life species from rising. The Fleet Commander had no illusions, if the galaxy stopped creating new warm-life species, or the masters simply grew tired of them, her race would be eradicated as thoroughly as any her kind had exterminated. She might not feel reverence for the Dark Lords, but she could admire their thoroughness.

The thought of turning the station over the miserable little grubs in the “occupation force” churned the Leader's stomach. Puny, weak and totally lacking in honor, the occupiers were only strong enough to keep the other inhabitants in line. That they gladly preyed on each other was proof they were soulless scum. But the masters did not want the station left empty, allowing some new race of parasites to claim it for their own. With the occupying scum in place the station would remain in a miserable stasis for the foreseeable future.

The Fleet Commander longed for the day when her warriors could rid the Universe of this particularly loathsome species.

The Spirits of the Void know this was not a glorious battle of the kind true warriors dream of—a battle for the ages that would assure our souls admission to the great beyond. Instead of glory we have slaughtered weaklings and infest the conquered ground with vermin of our masters' choosing. If only a race worthy of battle could be found, but that was the one thing the Dark Lords are at pains to prevent.

Unknown to the alien commander, another battle was about to take place. A battle fought with unsophisticated weapons and on a much smaller scale than the Fleet Commander longed for.

* * * * *

Forty seven parsecs away, on an insignificant planet orbiting an unremarkable star, a war party worked its way silently toward their enemy's encampment. In the camp there were twenty-nine in all: thirteen males, ten females and six young. Gathered around a central fire, the interlopers were bedded down for the night, with one distracted guard staring at the embers.

They had chosen a site on the edge of the great lake. Not a bad location for a band of hunter-gatherers, close to water and with plentiful game nearby. The only problem was that another tribe already claimed this hunting ground, the tribe whose warriors surrounded the slumbering trespassers.

The warriors waited patiently in the darkness, using the same skills they used to hunt wild beasts. The leader of the band trilled a bird call, the signal to attack. Clutching wooden clubs and spears tipped with razor sharp blades of obsidian, the war band rose as one in the darkness and descended on the unsuspecting sleepers. Spears thrust and clubs bludgeoned. Several of the victims cried out in pain, but it was done quickly.

The interloping tribe lay dead or dying; twenty seven men, women, and children slaughtered, including a babe in arms. A few moaned or moved feebly. They died where they lay, given the mercy of a quick death. Better a crushed skull than lingering pain and the inevitable arrival of predators. Only two young girls survived, taken as mates by attacking warriors.

The war band quickly gathered any items of worth—a few weapons, a string of beads, several water gourds. A basket of fish was kicked over, its contents spilled around the legs of one of the female victims. The leader of the war band signaled and as quietly as they had come, the warriors departed, leaving only the dead behind.

Both the victims and the attackers were animals. Phylum Chordata, Class Primates, Family Hominidae, Genus Homo. Eventually they would call themselves Homo sapiens, or more informally, human. They were in the process of subjugating the planet of their birth and all the creatures that dwelled there.

They were smart, adaptable, and aggressive. Makers and users of tools, able to communicate and cooperate, they hunted everything large and small, fierce and meek. Deadly and avaricious, they were the most dangerous creatures on the planet. They were so savage that the only real threat they faced was each other. So it was fighting each other that honed their skill at organized violence, to the point that they gave such violence a name. War.

One of the members of the band looked up at the clear night sky and saw a scattering of bright orange stars that someday his descendants would place in the constellation of Taurus. One of the stars, Delta 1 Tauri, was the star that the lonely space station orbited.

It was in that distant star system where the bored Uxoreezan Fleet Commander beseeched her gods for a race of great warriors to contest with. Perhaps the Fleet Commander didn't realize: One should be careful when asking a favor of the gods—they might grant your request.

If you would like to enter a drawing for one of ten copies of Starflake in trade paperback (6x9) use the link below. The books given away are absolutely free, even shipping. In the meanwhile, if you haven't caught up with the adventures of Captain Billy Ray, Beth Mekalu, Mizuki Ogawa, Bobby Danner and the rest of the crew now is your chance at a new lower price.

[ Sorry, the givaway is over. Find out more about the release of Starflake here. ]