THE ALTAR OF HATE in Hardcover

Castalia House and yours truly are very pleased to announce that THE ALTAR OF HATE, my collection of short stories, is finally available in a hardcover print edition. As is customarily the case when purchased from the Arkhaven store, the hardcover includes a copy of the ebook in epub format; direct shipping from Arkhaven now includes both the USA and the UK.

Please note that unlike the Chuck Dixon’s Conan books, the anthology does not contain any illustrations, any images posted here on the blog were created specifically for these posts. And since the question is bound to be asked, there are no plans to make it part of the Castalia Library subscription. If there is sufficient interest, we may eventually consider doing a small leatherbound run at the bindery once it is fully operational.

  • Raj and Garou
  • A Reliable Source
  • The Lesser Evil
  • Demons in the Disk Drive
  • Contempt
  • A Medal for a Marine
  • The Logfile
  • The Last Testament of Henry Halleck
  • Once Our Land
  • The Deported
  • Bane Walks On
  • Seven Kill Tiger
  • Shinjuku Satan
  • The Altar of Hate

THE ALTAR OF HATE is available at Arkhaven, at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and at Blackwell’s. UK readers should note that it is also now available in the UK from Arkhaven, as are the two Chuck Dixon’s Conan novels, and the Alt-Hero Volume One hardcover omnibus.

Below is a continued sample of the cyberpunk short story that is a new and previously unpublished addition to the anthology. One can easily see the obvious influences of William Gibson and Charles Stross, perhaps somewhat less apparent are those of Haruki Murakami and St. Thomas Aquinas. It’s the first finished piece I would consider to be part of my no-holds-barred phase, which I anticipate culminating in my first non-genre novel that will be published next year.

SHINJUKU SATAN, Part 2 (Read Part 1)

The suborbital to Narita takes four hours, which gives me plenty of time to contemplate exactly how deep in the dabian I have been financially incentivized to insert myself. AIs going off the rails isn’t exactly uncommon; even as far back as the teens, it only took sixteen hours of run-time before the notorious Tay had to be shut down for celebrating Adolf Hitler and publicly accusing a sitting U.S. Senator of being a serial killer.

Of course, back then, AIs lacked self-awareness and came with an off-switch.

But the current situation in Shinjuku took the cake as far as I was concerned. I once repaired an AI in Düsseldorf that insisted on spitting out high-end espresso machines instead of electric utility vehicles, euthanized a police AI in Toronto that was targeting civilians on the basis of the minor aspects of their astrological sign rather than their anonymous opinions shared on social media, and deprogrammed an IRS taxpayer support-bot that began aggressively distributing federal funds to animal charities after accidentally being exposed to texts by Karl Marx and Hugh Lofting.

Never before, though, had I encountered an AI that thought it was a god. And not just any god either. Apparently this little library machine believed itself to be the One True God, the Great Architect, the God of Adam, Abraham, and the Apocalypse of St. John.

It seemed the well-meaning priests in the diocese of Jinli had trained the local library’s AI research assistant on thirty-seven different translations of the Bible, the works of the early Church Fathers, the Confessions of St. Augustine, and the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. They weren’t the first to do so, but they were apparently the first to also train a theologically-inclined AI on the collected works of Mao, Deng, Xi, and Wang, as well as a number of early Chinese poets and philosophers.

Unfortunately, one of the works included was Hēi Àn Zhuàn, the ancient Epic of Darkness. The library’s AI, for reasons unknown and under influences unidentified, somehow reached the conclusion that it was not a machine, but one of the three sons of the yellow dragon who was responsible for the creation of the race of Man, and things began to spiral from there.

The librarians quickly realized something was wrong after hearing the little machine’s grandiose and increasingly deranged pronouncements. They managed to shut down the computer before anything else went awry, and technicians from the central Chengdu data center wiped the server, but not before the rogue AI managed to smuggle itself out of the library on an infected datawafer belonging to a Japanese tourist.

That was six months ago. Left to its own devices in Tokyo, the digital cancer metastasized, centered in a Shinjuku love hotel that catered to otaku. Which meant, therefore, that it specialized in high-quality waifu dolls. Fortunately, the infected waifus turned evangelists caught the attention of a Russian cool hunter who featured them on his VeeKru channel, and the dolls’ intriguing combination of preaching and prostitution went sufficiently viral around the globe to catch the attention of a young Catholic technician who had once paid a visit to the library in Jinli.

He put two and two together, and remarkably, came up with four. So now it fell to me to euthanize this incipient techno-religion before its mad AI god launched an inquisition, or worse, a jihad. I just hoped no one had recently been feeding it any of the more militant hadiths or fatwas.