A Summer in Amber

      C. Litka
A Summer in Amber

A young physicist is dispatched to a remote Scottish estate to secretly decipher the fragments of a manuscript that may hold the key to restoring the solar storm ravaged 21st century. Once there he finds whispers of a reincarnated wizard, strange forces linked to an eerie laboratory said to be a gate to the Otherworld, and a girl. A classic science fiction novel of adventure and romance.A Summer in Amber is set thirty-six years after the first of a series of powerful solar storms destroys the world's electrical grid – shorting out computers, and making radio, TV and mobile phones impossible. Within hours the world was thrust back into the 19th century. Those who survived the ensuing chaos gradually adopted to this new reality. This story takes place in an England and Scotland that have adopted to this new world using an eclectic mix of old and new technology. Steam engines pull carriages over lines once used by high speed trains. Electricity is generated locally using solar panels and windmills. The streets are filled with bicycles dodging horse drawn drays and pedestrians dressed like Victorians to protect their skin from the greatly increased ultraviolet light reaching the ground due to the solar storms' disruption of the earth's upper atmosphere. A Summer in Amber might be described as a "mirror image" steampunk novel. Instead of 21st century technology in a 19th century society, Edwardian technology had been adopted by a post-apocalyptic, late 21st century one, making for an out of the ordinary steampunk story. There are, for example, no zombies. Morlocks, yes, but no zombies, nor airships and air pirates. The story's steampunkness comes from a mix of Edwardian and 21st century technology and from its old-fashioned narrative style – a reflection of my fondness for the Scottish stories of John Buchan, and Compton Mackenzie. (And the 1959 movie remake of the 39 Steps starring Kenneth More.) Along with adventure, romance plays its part as well in A Summer in Amber. The story has been described in one review as a "Regency romance". I'm not sure what constitutes a Regency romance, but falling in love with a rather fey girl is certainly part of what makes this summer in the highlands so unforgettable for Sandy Say – a summer he hopes to keep forever preserved in the amber of memory.Current version 3.3 18 Sept 2016I have two other novels available wherever fine ebooks are sold. Some Day Days, a rather experimental romance novel set in this same never-never England, but before the storms. The Bright Black Sea, a long, sweeping, space opera of mystery and adventure set in the Nine Star Nebula.
Read online

    Some Day Days

      C. Litka
Some Day Days

Be careful what you wish for – wishes can come true, as Hugh Gallagher discovers when the girl of his dreams, the incomparable Selina Beri, comes seeking his expertise on a piece of technology she needs to understand for her last final exam. Can Hugh, the classic shy, geeky, university student, avoid making a fool of himself with the girl he's loved from afar? A romance set in the near future.(Ver 2 - 3 April 2016 updated version)Some Day Days is a novel of first love and friendship set in Oxford and Cambridge England. It reflects my taste for simplicity, understatement, humor, and clever writing (though that's a goal rather than a claim.) Raymond Chandler once wrote that there are two types of writers, writers who write stories and writers who write writing. I aspire to write writing. I started writing Some Day Days six years ago, and finished revising it this year, so this work spans my current writing phase.It is something of an experimental work, along the lines of Frankenstein. The original subtitle was a romance in an undetermined number of pieces of which this is the first twelve pieces. It began life as a novelette, to which I added a novella length sequel, and then, as my imagination raced ahead, I outlined a whole series of pieces until I had a memoir spanning four years. I use the word "pieces" to describe its parts because no one term describes them all. I have the original novelette, its longer sequel, several chapters of varying lengths, an essay, a gaming story and a ghost story, tied together as the memoir of Hugh Gallagher, a third year student reading Physics and Philosophy at Oxford University – let's say twenty years from now. It does, however, have a beginning, middle and an end, and thus, the essentials of a novel. The first piece, Kiss of the White Witch is a result of two challenges. The first arose in reading somewhere about a challenge to write a short story centered on the effects of a new technology in the future. I chose a device that records one's life in video as a "dynamic diary" or a "dyary". I wrote this before Google Glass, but after the first such limited devices were being talked about. The second challenge came from my dislike of stories that are told to the reader, rather than having the story play out on its own. Talk being cheap, it's easy to be a critic – so I decided to see if I could write a story that unfolds mostly in dialog. The result was Kiss of the White Witch.Several drafts later, I found myself wondering how I could bring the two characters together again, and eventually wrote a sequel, a novella called A Shattered Heart – the second piece in this work. I now had two pieces, both too short and too long for anything, leaving me no choice but to plow ahead and write more. Over the past six years I've written the ten other pieces that make up the rest of this work, which cover the first six months of the long romance I had dreamed up. One should never say never, so I won't. I am, however, unlikely, to write more pieces, so this is most likely a stand alone book. I considered adding an addenda outlining some of the subsequent events, but Hugh wouldn't stand for that, "It's my story to tell. Or not. I'll tell it my way, or not at all," (Artists! It seems that even a small literary effort sparks an artistic temperament!) Still, it is, after all, his story to tell. Or not. I've honored his wishes.Some Day Days – a little romance of first love set in the near future by the author of A Summer in Amber, is available at most fine ebook sellers. And coming late summer/early fall 2015 Planets of Call, a long space opera with a golden age of science fiction touch.
Read online

    The Bright Black Sea

      C. Litka
The Bright Black Sea

The tramp space ship Lost Star is a ship with a mysterious and very dangerous past. Its future is looking pretty iffy as well. Join the crew of the Lost Star as they cross orbits with cruel assassins, homicidal robots, deadly pirates, and the mythical dragons of space in this long, sweeping space opera which revisits, and reinvents, the golden age of science fiction space adventure.Wil Litang, first mate of the tramp freighter Lost Star, reluctantly accepts the job as acting captain for a voyage, replacing the dying Captain Miccall. Unknown to him, the Lost Star has a mysterious and dangerous past. A past that has caught up with it. Haunted by this deadly past and driven by economic necessity, Litang and the crew of the Lost Star must venture far from their comfortable orbit – out into the lawless asteroid drifts of the Nine Star Nebula.The Bright Black Sea is not your typical space opera. While it has space battles, it's not military SF. And while it's a tale full of mystery and danger, star empires are not falling and the fate of the galaxy is not hanging in the balance. Rather, The Bright Black Sea is a lighthearted, character-focused adventure novel. Set in a small nebula of nine stars, hundreds of planets and vast lawless asteroid belts, it takes classic space opera motifs – space pirates, sentient robots, and rockets – and incorporates them into a rich, episodic adventure. For mystery, danger, and romance, join Captain Wil Litang and the crew of the Lost Star as they sail the black and bright space of the Nine Star Nebula in this first volume of the Lost Star Stories.The adventures and misadventures of Wil Litang continue in volume two of the Lost Star Stories – The Lost Star's Sea, which takes as its model the planetary romance, the type of story made famous by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and fondly reinvents the classic story of a stranger stranded in a strange land for the 21st century. Also available from this ebook store.Other books by C. Litka:A Summer in Amber A post-apocalyptic, steampunkish adventure/romance set in Scotland after a series of powerful solar storms has thrown the modern world back into the 19th century.Some Day Days A new adult romance/science fiction story set in Oxford and Cambridge prior to the solar storms that set the stage for A Summer in Amber.Available from this ebook store
Read online

    The Lost Star's Sea

      C. Litka
The Lost Star's Sea

The Lost Star's Sea is the complete sequel to The Bright Black Sea. Captain Wil Litang, shipwrecked on a floating island in the Archipelago of the Tenth Star, must survive its many perils -- storms, dragons, pirates, and the fabled Dragon Kings. Like the first volume of the Lost Star Stories, this is a rich, character-driven novel that celebrates and reinvents the classic planetary romance .The adventures and misadventures of Captain Wil Litang continue in this second and concluding volume of The Lost Star. Litang finds himself shipwrecked along with his nemesis, the St Bleyth assassin, Naylea Cin in the Archipelago of the Tenth Star. And that is only the desperate beginning of his adventures as he strives to stay alive and build a new life among the floating islands of the Archipelago. Along the way he must survive storms, pirates, bandits, dragons and the Dragon Kings themselves as he makes his way through the floating islands in the atmospheric ocean of the Nine Star Nebula's fabled, Tenth Star – the Lost Star.Like the Bright Black Sea, the Lost Star's Sea takes the classic first cousin of space operas, the planetary romance. and reinvents it as a long, episodic, character-driven novel of adventure and discovery. Join Wil Litang on his journey through the islands of the Pela. Share the danger, romance, humor, mystery, and good companions he discovers along his way.Readers please note: The first section of the Lost Star's Sea, Castaways, was originally published in 2016 as a standalone novel, Castaways of the Lost Star. The remaining 80% of The Lost Star's Sea is new, never before published material.
Read online