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The Lampworks Lamplighter

In this issue:

  • A sale for our subscribers
  • A quick survey to help us improve the newsletter
  • Reflecting on Black Lives Matter
  • Setting the scene for the board game based on Sellenria
  • Promotions to help you find new authors to read

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Special Sale for Newsletter Readers!

This week only, ebooks on sale for 99¢*

Pick up a copy at Amazon and leave a review to let other people know you enjoyed them.

* If available in the Amazon store in your region

First Contact Book by Moud Adel
A Novel of Fractal Magic

Resche is trapped in a land not his own, where mages play a great Game with tiles larger than nations. His only way home is to play their Game.

The Starship and the Citadel

An epic science fiction tale of an archaeologist searching for his past on a strange planet, but finding courage and friendship instead.

Black Lives Matter

As we have reflected on the events of the last several weeks, we decided to celebrate Black contributions to science fiction by reading and reviewing several sci-fi books by Black authors for the newsletter this month. Here are four selections, each with a unique voice, each speaking to diversity and acceptance in their own way. We highly recommend this selection of groundbreaking stories.

First Contact Book by Moud Adel
The Fifth Season

N. K. Jemisin

The land has been shattered. Every century or so an extinction level event called a Fifth Season strikes again. In between the populace struggles. Humanity is divided into castes, some of whom have the powers to stabilize the earth or destroy it. The Orogenes have the lowest status, but gradually realize they have the greatest power over their fate.

Plan on reading all three novels in the trilogy in sequence; they pick up in the middle of the action with no recap, so you should have the previous ones fresh in your mind.


Samuel R. Delaney

Visionary when it was published in 1966, this tale is as relevant today, if not more. In the midst of a galactic war, the other side unleashes a new weapon — a language that undermines the convictions of those who hear it. Captain Rydra Wong, the finest poet in the galaxy, is the only one with the talents to uncover the secret of Babel-17, if she doesn't fall sway to it herself.

This is an intense exploration of the power of language to shape thought, relationships, and outcomes.

First Contact Book by Moud Adel
Midnight Robber

Nalo Hopkinson

On the Caribbean-settled world of Toussaint, life seems a paradise, though a well-monitored one. Everyone has a job, automatons do the thankless tasks. Criminals are banished to the alternate dimension of New Halfway Tree.

When Tan-Tan's father is banished, Tan-Tan impulsively goes with him. There, impoverished and abused, she takes refuge in the Midnight Robber persona, a character from legend.

Full of Caribbean patois, legends, Hopkinson has imagined a world richly different from our own.

Parable of the Sower

Octavia Butler

In her walled neighborhood near Los Angeles, protected from the horrors of a 21st century that sometimes seems almost too real, Lauren Olamina dreams and writes of a religion called Earthseed, which believes that God is represented on earth by change. 

Her story is presented through diary entries over several years as her world spirals down into apocalyptic darkness. After her home is destroyed and her family and friends are lost, she makes her way on foot toward an almost mythical better place in the north. 

Can she become the prophet and leader that her nascent movement needs to draw a group of people willing to embrace a different way and dare to hope for a better future? 

This is the first book in a duology.

Support other Indie authors
First Contact Book by Moud Adel
and the Spirit of the Storm

My father always believed they were connected: my powers, my mother's death, and the drought. He always believed he could bring an end to the drought through magic, but now he’s dead, and it's my turn to finish his mission.

Now available for pre-release review.

Star Wolf
Book One: Songs of Star and Winter

Five planets, and their entire species, are dead, nothing more than dust and ruin.

Some say that the mythical Space Krakens have returned, after countless millennia in hibernation.

The Winter Tiger has offered the Tiger’s expertise to deal with the threat, with only the Wolves unable to let go of the past. Star Wolf, the Wolf leader in waiting, cannot fathom how he is the only one who can see the Winter Tiger as false.

First Contact Book by Moud Adel
Assassin Reaper
Reapers of Veltuur: A Prequel

Obey. Kill. Collect.

For years, Aulow has served the underrealm as a Reaper.

The Councilspirits tell her who to kill and—although she sometimes feels guilty about it—she obeys her orders dutifully. No questions asked. Well, maybe one question: why doesn't she remember anything from before she became a Reaper?

Summer and Sunshine
SciFi & Fantasy KU

A collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy for your summer reading, all on Kindle Unlimited.

Game Design: Embers of the Empire

Dan is creating a board game set in the Sellenria universe. Here he sets the stage for us.

Millenia after events in the first Sellenria books, humanity is awakening from a dark age. On long-separated worlds, people have stories, myths, and even a rare few authentic records of the Old Empire. It is said that humanity lived in peaceful cooperation with an elder race of aliens and that humans could travel vast distances in a single step using their portals.

Those portals are lost, but as interstellar starship travel becomes possible again, factions begin exploring, expanding, and learning about their past. It is here that the game begins.

In Sellenria, we rooted the vast majority of the science and technology in our current understanding of the cosmos. From interstellar travel to animals that operate like gas bags to the oversized moon in Sellenria's sky, the books are as scientifically plausible as we could make them.

Carrying this into the Embers game differentiates it from other "space empire" board and video games and creates some different challenges. Starships are expensive. Having a shooting war with large numbers of ships is not practical. A central government over more than a very few neighboring worlds is not an option, and expenses associated with expansion grow astronomically. 

The defining aspects of the game are the wonder of exploring the unknown, accruing more sophistication and power over time, investigating mysteries, acquiring and allocating resources, and engaging in border skirmishes. A rich sense of place can be found on over thirty unique location cards, four distinct factions each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and at least 24 unique event cards and 35 scientific breakthroughs that can be acquired during the game.

But what of the "Old Empire," that semi-mythical golden age when humans and their alien allies ruled over hundreds of star systems? As in our books, history is often not what it seems!

Lampworks Publishing

Ithaca/Lansing, New York

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