Science Fiction Trails #6

My contributor copies of Science Fiction Trails #6 arrived at the house today. Unfortunately, I’m at Kitt Peak this week and won’t get to hold them in my hot little hands for a few days. Still, I’ve been looking forward to seeing this issue. It features my Western/Steampunk story “The Pirates of Baja”.

For those who have been following my progress on the novel Owl Dance and are curious about it, this story offers you a sneak peak. Not only is this a standalone short story, it’s also chapter 8 of the novel. In the story, Ramon Morales and Fatemeh Karimi find themselves looking for work in Los Angeles in 1877. Ramon finds a job as a gunslinger aboard a ship hunting pirates. Of course, Fatemeh isn’t likely to allow Ramon to have all the fun.

The story was inspired after I read Walter James Miller’s and Frederick Paul Walter’s wonderful translation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea published by the Naval Institute Press. After rediscovering Verne’s classic, I looked up real submarines of the period and learned about a Spanish submarine called the Ictineo II invented by Narcís Monturiol i Estarriol. In many ways, the real submarine Ictineo II was superior to Verne’s Nautilus. Among other things, the Ictineo II used a chemical reaction engine that produced oxygen. No other submarine like it was built until World War II. In the story, the pirates have built a submarine much like the Ictineo II and use it in their raids.

In addition to my story, you’ll also find stories by Lee Clark Zumpe, Laura Givens, James R. Strickland and many more. I’m looking forward to reading my copy and hope you’ll take a look at the issue as well. I’ve enjoyed every issue I’ve read of Science Fiction Trails. Copies are available at and direct from the publisher at


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