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Friday, April 5, 2013



The world outside Pepperland was bleak that spring. Nixon invaded Cambodia – although he insisted it was merely an “incursion.” National Guard troops fired on student demonstrators at Kent State, killing four kids. The Powers That Be blamed the students, saying they were throwing rocks, requiring the soldiers to retaliate with bullets. This was followed by huge demonstrations all over the country, including a march on Washington by 100,000 protesters.

In short, the crazy state of the planet very much resembled the movie that was making its revival at the Venice Fox Theater: "Monde Cane." Translation - A Dog's World. And, in the manner of such things, some of that dog shit flowed downhill to stink up Pepperland.

The week of the movie's revival, I got the goods on a Santa Monica judge who was stealing firearms that were confiscated from felons who appeared before him. He then sold those weapons to line his own pockets. To my chagrin the Funks used my evidence (including damning in flagrante photographs) to force the judge’s resignation, promising that in return there’d be no embarrassing story and he could retire with a full pension and all the honors that go with being a judge.

On the day I learned about the deal I split early, cursing the Funk brothers all the way to the Santa Monica city limits. I was ready to throttle someone, preferably a Funk, or get rip roaring drunk – or maybe even both. But once I crossed into Venice I felt a great weight lift from my shoulders and cursing no longer seemed necessary and the violent images drained from my mind as if someone had pulled some kind of cosmic plug.

Venice always had that affect on me and I suspect it was the same for most Venice rats, as we called ourselves. It was as if the very air you breathed was suddenly charged with molecules of freedom and that magically made you feel lighter, and your cares small. If you rolled down your car windows the salty sea breeze was always heavy with the scent of incense, spice gardens and marijuana.

On the street, people didn’t avoid your eyes and were quick to smile. A request for help rarely went unheeded and sometimes drew so many people that they got in each other’s way. Venice was also the most non-judgmental place on earth – in my view, at least. Black, white, Hispanic, red Indian, right wing, left wing, Christian, Jew or Hari Krishna, the attitude was: whatever floats your boat, man. And if that boat springs a leak, we’ll help you plug it. Venice changed people. No one who moved there was the same when they left. It was a place that healed, or at the very least, unraveled the knots.

That’s how I felt that day; my nerves taut from my Funk Brothers mad-on, suddenly relaxed as I drove past the Santa Monica city limits sign. Instead of stopping at the Oar House to anesthetize my piss off with dollar-a-pitcher beer, I kept my foot on the gas and cut up from Main Street to West Washington, heading home.

In those days West Washington (later, Abbott Kinney Drive) was an eclectic mix of used furniture stores, shabby antique shops, bars, a couple of youth centers – one sponsored by the actor James Earl Jones (for whom I'd later write a TV script) – liquor stores stocked with half pints and pony jugs and a number of studios run by local artists and crafts people. 

In an incredibly rare bit of wisdom the LA City Council had just made West Washington an arts and crafts zone, meaning artists could live on the same premises as their businesses. This made the street particularly interesting at night, when the shops/homes would be all lit up with people firing pots in their backyard kilns, or crouched in their front rooms, creating out of wood, leather, glass, metals and stones both rare and common. 

You could see artists and musicians holding forth in their living rooms, waving jugs of wine as they made their points. Playwrights tried out their latest one-acts in their living rooms and puppeteers tested the limits of comedic and dramatic strings.

I had friends on that street and sometimes I stopped by to see what they were up to, drinking their wine, smoking their dope, and soaking up their art, hoping like hell that I would someday be able to join them.

As for the junk shops, I often paused to peruse their goods, reliving my own life in the exotic junk scattered across the floor, heaped on tables and tacked to walls. I bought glassware and dishes that my folks used to get as prizes for buying gasoline in Clearwater, Florida. When my parents were my age, gas was maybe ten cents, or less, a gallon. And the gas stations were competing so hard for those dimes that they kept towering racks outside that displayed glasses and dishes and cups and saucers, all ready to be yours when you filled up a coupon slip.

Anyway, the Venice shops were crammed with old rugs that looked better than my tile floor; as well as lovely old bedspreads, suitable for curtains, covering faded couches, a canopy over a mattress love nest, or even a dress suitable for the Renaissance Faire.

I thought about stopping to pick up something for our apartment – a piece to go with the cable-spool table that had formerly been inhabited by termites. I also thought about maybe scrounging a few glasses of free wine and tokes of free dope from the resident artists. 

Full disclosure: I had supported their cause in the newspaper for the Arts and Crafts Zone and they were maybe not exactly eternally grateful, but limitedly thankful enough to slip me the odd joint and glass of wine. It was against my journalistic ethics to be too greedy. But when did a glass of wine or two, or nice little pipe of the peaceful stuff get in the way of journalistic truth?

However, as I made my way home I suddenly realized I felt no need for such inducements. Venice had worked its magic and I’d successfully shaken off the Funk Brothers blues. Besides, there was business to be attended to. Serious shit, that Mr. Cohen had been bugging me about.

During the past few weeks a flurry of new tenants had taken up residence in Pepperland and there was a lot of work to do. A musician had fallen for Alita and she with him. They moved into one of the larger two-bedroom apartments next to Kerry’s place. Alita's roommate - Jan - didn’t want to pay for a two-bedroom apartment solo,  so she took up residence in the Blue Meanie’s old single unit. Her former apartment became the home of Jay Tompkins and his roommate, Leigh, who was also fresh out of the Navy. 

Leigh, a former corpsman, became one of the first paramedics in LA’s brand new program. They had a pet  – Old Weird Harold. Harold was a very large black boa constrictor who lived in a glass aquarium and fed happily on white mice that Jay bought for a few bucks a dozen at a giant fish/pet shop by the name of Alan’s Pet Emporium.

Jay mooned over Jan and even coaxed her up to his apartment once for a private party. Unfortunately for Jay,  Harold had escaped his happy home several days before and his hiding place had as yet been discovered.

Imagine Jay’s chagrin after he plumped pretty Jan into his very best chair, an Akron throne basket chair with a high back. Old Weird Harold smelled her lovely scent, stirring in the depths of that chair. So then, just as everything was getting cozy – there may have even been a little cuddling going on -  Old Weird Harold made his appearance. 

He slithered out of the back of the chair across Jan’s shoulders and when she realized what it was she shrieked and fled the apartment, never to return. Weird Harold, however, went on to live another thirty years and Jay had to seek feminine companionship elsewhere.

Meanwhile, a nice Mexican-American couple, with two teenage kids, rented the large corner unit that faced Washington Boulevard. In the big green building next door, a Filipino waiter had moved into the upstairs single; and in our own complex the lady artist moved and was replaced by a woman who came to be known to us as the “Cat Lady.” More on all of that later.

Into this social mix, the upstairs junkie had added a new girlfriend, which was amazing, when you consider that the amount of drugs he ingested would normally unman a Gold’s Gym testosterone freak. But I’d heard that she’d been casting moony eyes at the Mad Bomber - to the growing annoyance of Mrs. Mad Bomber – so maybe it wasn’t that amazing after all.

On that particular day, the first item of business on my plate was what I’d come to think of as “The Traveling Salesman Matter.” It was a tale right out of the old “Johnny Dollar” radio show.

The tenant in question was a traveling salesman who lived directly across from the Blue Meanie’s old place, now occupied by Jan. Normally he was regular as clockwork with the rent. He usually paid by mail, but two months had gone by and I hadn’t seen a penny of the $75 a month he paid for the large single he inhabited. Jan said she hadn’t seen a light on in the place for weeks.

There were those who wondered if maybe the Blue Meanie had returned to eliminate a particularly loathsome (to the Blue Meanie) “lurker.” Roger was a passionate adherent to that theory, as was the Mad Bomber, who had never met the Blue Meanie, but was enthralled with his legend.

A trained newsman, I had no opinion whatsoever. My sole concertn was that Mr. Cohen was on my case to do something about the non-paid-rent problem. The difficulty being that there was no information on file about the salesman – he was one of the tenants Mr. Cohen had inherited from the previous owners. In other words, I didn’t know who the salesman worked for, what he sold – if anything - or what bank he used – if any. He always paid his rent on time via postal money order.

As I parked in front of our apartment I was running through some reportorial tricks of the trade I might employ to ferret out the mystery of the missing tenant. But when I walked into our house I was brought up short by the sight of Carol sitting with a young woman, who was inappropriately dressed (for Venice) in a business suit. There were cups of tea and a teapot on the table and at first I thought Carol was interviewing a potential tenant.

Then I double-checked the business wear and paranoia shot various chemicals into my veins and I started wondering if the woman was maybe a collector for the Phone Company. I had more old Ma Bell issues in those day then a drugstore magazine rack. Issues I’d rather not discuss. Then I thought maybe she was a front for the Draft Board, members of which I’d maligned in the newspaper for so long that surely they wanted to draft my butt and send me directly to the nearest American base under mortar attack by the Viet Cong. And fuck my medical deferment for getting the shit shot out of me a few years before.

But when the two women looked up at me I could see that both had been crying. There was no artifice here. No posing. The young lady was clearly as upset as Carol, who burst into tears when she saw me.

“Oh, Allan,” she wailed, “poor Mrs. Williams has… has… passed on.”

I hate that term. Passed on? What the hell does that mean? Dead? Okay, if somebody is dead, just say so. They are dead. There’s no shame in being dead. We all get there eventually. I’m dead. She’s dead. We’re all dead. Big surprise.

But then it sank in. She was saying that Mrs. Williams, an old hide – as Roger called her – I’d grown quite fond of, was the person she’d described as having “passed on.” Everyone in the whole city block of apartments that I managed was of the opinion that Mrs. Williams tottered on water. She’d become sort of the unofficial great-grand-mother of Pepperland and was always doing people little favors. In turn, we all looked out for her, fetching groceries, waiting at the bus stop with her and flagging down rude drivers who loved nothing better than to blow past elderly passengers.

The young woman, I learned, was Mrs. Williams’ social worker. “I found her this morning,” she said, using yet another of those euphemisms I despise.

Generally speaking, when a person dies they are discovered – not found – in the same spot where they expired. When that rule is broken, the police start looking for a killer. But this lady appeared to be a very nice girl about our age and she was clearly concerned. Mrs. Williams, she said, rarely answered her door when she knocked, so she frequently had to let herself in with a key provided by the social service agency.

She was embarrassed about that and I took pity on her and gave her a sympathetic nod. Encouraged, she went on to say that when entered the apartment she’d immediately discovered Mrs. Williams lying on the floor, next to her bed.

“I think she died last night,” the young lady said, holding back tears.

“The ambulance has already taken her away,” Carol put in, wiping her eyes. “Now we’re waiting to hear from her brother about funeral arrangements.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Her brother?” I didn’t know that Mrs. Williams had a soul in the world. “She never mentioned a brother,” I added.

“He’s a priest,” the nice social worker said. “He lives in a church retirement home in Michigan.” She gave me a measuring look. “You won’t go into her place until he arrives, correct?”

I shrugged. I was getting used to people assuming that all apartment managers were cold-hearted devils. “I wouldn’t dream of it,” I said.

At the same time, a few black-hearted questions came into my mind. Mrs. Williams’ rent was due on the 15th of the month – which was tomorrow. She had no last month’s deposit, or a deposit of any kind. This meant that Mr. Cohen was going to be out her rent as well as the missing salesman’s. I felt a little ashamed of myself for thinking of those things. Maybe this cold-hearted business was catching.

After the lady left and Carol and I commiserated about poor Mrs. Williams, I got on the phone and started hunting down the salesman. Nearly two hours later I’d tracked down his employer – he was an office supply salesman for the Papermate Company, whose new headquarters were in the Marina. To my chagrin, I learned that Mr. Traveling Salesman had left the company a few weeks before. His boss refused to give me any details except to say that the poor slob “is no longer with us.”

The frosty, disapproving tone did not bode well for Mr. Cohen’s rent. It was also one I was quite familiar with. I started calling cop shops. This turned out to be a surprisingly long, involved process. Days passed before I had the answer: the salesman was in LA County Jail, waiting trial for doing nasty things to little boys.


I called a friend at the DA’s office, who told me what had happened in explicit – and unsolicited – detail.

Double Yech.

Bottom line (sorry) the guy was looking at a minimum of five years in prison. His chances of acquittal were about the same as any pedophile had of eventually emerging from the prison system with a normal size rectum.

I phoned Mr. Cohen and gave him the good news, the bad news and the not-so-bad news. The good news was that Mrs. Williams’ brother was expected soon, meaning the apartment would be released in a day or so. The bad news was the traveling salesman’s plight. The less grim news was that if we acted quickly we ought to be able to rid ourselves of the salesman, with no cost other than the lost rent.

The following afternoon Roger jimmied the guy’s door and we entered. Coming in from the bright California sun, we were temporarily blinded and I groped about for the light switch. I found it, but that was no good because jail had also prevented Mr. Traveling Salesman from paying his Department Of Water And Power bill. I noticed, however, that the place had a familiar, musty smell to it – reminding me of a used bookstore.

The door was only partly open – it seemed to be blocked by something. I pushed harder, the object blocking the door gave way with a strange kind of cascading crash and I found myself blinking in amazement at a room packed floor to eyeball level with towers of what appeared to be books and magazines.

Roger cranked the door the rest of the way and the sunlight spilled in to illuminate the tower I’d knocked over.

Then he giggled. “Shit and fall back in it, Al,” he said. “Would you look at all those fuck books.”

For a time my brain had trouble believing what Roger – and my eyes – were telling me, which was that the whole front room consisted of aisle after paper aisle of porn magazines.

Rog grabbed at some, leafing through them. I saw flashes of bare skin, genitals, you name it, posed in every imaginable position.

Laughing his head off, Roger kept sticking them under my nose, exclaiming, “Would you fuckin’ look at this, man. Look at it. Just look.”

I didn’t want to, but it was impossible not to see that every sex, race, age and, in some cases species, was represented on those pages. Some of the books were in black and white printed on paper so cheap you’d get splinters running your fingers across the pages. Others were in glorious color and on high glass paper. From what I could determine, the periodicals were in every conceivable language, except maybe Russian.

As we went through the apartment it soon became apparent that every nook and cranny was filled with pornography. There was space for a single bed near the kitchen, with blankets, sheet and a pillow on it. Beneath the bed were two large suitcases, which we later investigated, and found neatly stacked clothing that no doubt belonged to Mr. Traveling Salesman, who was quickly becoming known to us as The Perv. The rest of the apartment was devoted to his obsession. The two closets – including a large walk-in – were filled with filth. As were the kitchen cabinets and even the damned stove, which we discovered when Roger opened the door to the oven and magazines came tumbling out.

The refrigerator seemed to be the only appliance he used for its original purpose – witness the carton of spoiled milk and open can of tomato soup, overgrown with green mold. On the other hand, the built in ironing board had been removed and the tiny closet it concealed had been turned into storage space for porn.

“This guy is one seriously sick asshole,” Roger said, still chortling gleefully and leafing through one publication after another.

I heard Carol calling me and I poked my head around the corner and saw that she was standing just outside the front entrance, Jason on her hip. Behind her was an elderly man in priest’s getup.

My heart jumped and I hastily called out: “Hold on, honey. I’ll be right there.” I waved frantically at Roger to stay put and I came out just as Carol was starting to step inside. The priest was about to follow. “Don’t come in,” I warned. “I think I saw a rat.”

Instantly, she withdrew, the priest moving aside to let her by. I got to the front door fast, stepping out and closing it behind me.

“Roger’s dealing with it,” I said.

I smiled at the priest and held out my hand. Although he shook, he did not smile back. In fact, his look was suspicious, maybe even a little angry. I wondered if he’d seen the porn.

“Let me take you to your sister’s place,” I said and gave Carol a warning look. She made her excuses and returned home. I was an ex-Catholic kid and had some experience dealing with priests.

I took the priest up the rickety stairs, past the junkie’s apartment. Thank God he wasn’t home and the curtains were drawn. Sometimes the guy got careless and you’d see his blood-smeared works on the kitchen table.

As I let the priest in I realized he hadn’t mentioned his name. I had the mad desire to laugh – what if it were Father Williams? The lines from the Lewis Carroll poem popped into my unruly brain: “You are old, Father Williams,” The young man said,/ “And your hair has become very white;/ And yet you incessantly stand on your head - / Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

I pushed the silliness aside, realizing, of course, that priests usually assume another name when they take their vows. He was probably named, Father Kelly, or Aloysius, or something. I looked around the room, which was the first time I was seeing it. Mrs. Williams never let anyone in her house. The place was shabby, badly needed paint and the few pieces of furniture were rickety to the extreme. An unmade iron-framed bed sat in one corner and there were stacks of magazines and newspapers here and there – but nothing like the stacks in The Perv’s apartment. I noticed that the more the priest looked around, the angrier he was becoming. I followed him into the kitchen and saw that cans, with holes cut in their sides, had been upturned over the burners.

“Didn’t she even have a working heater?” the priest growled.

I felt guilty, although it certainly was no fault of mine. “I don’t know,” I said helplessly. “I asked her several times if I could check the place out so we could fix it up, but she insisted on her privacy.” I took a breath. “I understand what this looks like,” I said. “But you know, we all loved your sister. We would have done anything for her.” I shrugged. “Ask anyone,” I said. “Heck, Roger, our handyman, adored her. He’d fixed the place up for free and Mr. Cohen would have gladly paid for the materials.”

The priest just shook his head, far from satisfied. Uncharitably, I wondered why I’d never heard of him before. Had he abandoned his sister as an inconvenience? Was he laying his guilt off on me?

There came a tentative knock at the door. We looked up to see Jan and Alita standing there, pretty as ever, but dressed demurely. They were holding a decorated basket between them.

“This is for you, Father,” Jan said, presenting the basket, a good Italian Catholic girl to the core. “Everyone in the complex put something in there. We wanted to show you how much we all loved your sister - Mrs. Williams.”

The priest was immediately charmed and I soon discovered that he had quite a nice smile when presented with pretty girls. He thanked Jan and Alita profusely, then turned to me and said, “I’m afraid I’ve been rude to you, Allan and I want to offer my sincerest apologies.”

We shook, this time more warmly, and I invited him and the girls back to my house where Carol poured wine for us all and the priest fussed over the basket and Carol and the girls. I mumbled excuses, leaving them to their impromptu party, and beat feet back to The Perv’s lair.

By now the Mad Bomber had joined Roger and they were thumbing through the magazines, pointing out particularly difficult sexual feats and features to one another. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if anyone else was about to join the festivities.

“We have to do something about this, Rog,” I said. “And I mean right away.”

Roger didn’t see the big deal. “They’re just fuck books, Al,” he said. “Who gives a shit?”

To understand my nervousness, you have to realize that pornography was illegal in those days. Sure, things had lightened up the past few years, but not that much.

“The cops will give a shit if they check this place out,” I said. “If nothing else, they’ll seize it all for evidence against The Perv. They might even seal the apartment, then Mr. Cohen is out the rent, and you’re out whatever you’re going to charge to fix up the place.”

Roger’s attitude immediately changed. Since Nancy and little Chris had moved in, he was starting to take things more seriously. “That’s fucked,” he said.

“Maybe a little arson,” the Mad Bomber suggested, his eyes brightening at the thought. He looked around. “I can pretty well guarantee that the fire will stick to this apartment. Near enough, anyway.”

“No arson,” I said, to his immense piss-off.

“It was just a fucking suggestion,” he said,  grabbing a handful of porn and heading home.

“This is going to be tricky,” I told Roger. “Even though the guy’s in jail, he’s got rights, you know? We just can’t grab all his stuff.”

“Yeah, but he sure as shit don’t want the pigs to see it,” Roger pointed out. “He’ll be so far under the jail they’ll have to pipe in the fucking sun.”

“Let me see what I can do on that end,” I said. “You concentrate on this shit.”

Roger scratched his head. “The thing is,” he said, “there’s so much of it somebody’s bound to notice, no matter where we dump it. Maybe the Bomber was right and we ought to burn it all.”

“I repeat,” I said. “No arson.”

Roger sighed. “You sure make things hard sometimes,” he said.

The next day I tracked down The Perv’s attorney. At first he got shirty when I said I wanted to vacate the apartment and dispose of the contents.

“You can’t do that,” he said. “You’ll have to start eviction proceedings, which will take time. And even then you’ll have to put my client’s valuables into storage and hold them safely for him until he can dispose of his belongings in any manner he sees fit.”

The guy was obviously angling for some sort of money offer - to help pay his legal bill no doubt.

“It’s like this, Counselor,” I said. “The only valuables that I’ve made any note of consists of many thousands of volumes of pornography.”

“What did you say?” The attorney’s voice went up an octave.

“Pornography,” I said. “And I’m not exaggerating when I say that it numbers in the thousands.”

“No shit,” the attorney.

“I shit thee not,” I assured him.

“Let me get back to you, Mr. Cole,” he said.

“I’d like to clear this up by tomorrow,” I said.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he replied.

The following day I met Roger at Shanahan’s Market. He was hefting a case of beer. “I’m all set,” he said. “How about you?”

“The lawyer said go for it,” I replied, stuffing money for the beer in Roger’s shirt pocket.

We carried it down Washington Boulevard until we came to the Right Wing Biker’s place, with the flag waving proudly overhead.

“Here goes nothing,” Roger said, unlimbering a single beer from the case.

He strolled over to the stairs leading up to the biker’s domain. He went up a few steps, slid the beer in front of the door and very tentatively tapped on the wall. The idea was, if the Bikers were feeling super paranoid they would shoot at the sound of the tap. The door was thin, the walls thick. Hence, Roger tapped on the walls.

After tapping, he returned to where I stood, guarding the case of brew.

A moment later a bearded figure opened the door, peered suspiciously around, then noted the beer. He picked it up, almost sniffing it like a dog. Then he popped it, drank, burped, rubbed his belly and returned inside.

He reappeared a few minutes later, looking across the field at where we stood. Roger indicated the case of brew at his feet. The biker waved for him to come on.

Roger picked up the beer. “Those who are about to get fucked up salute you,” he said. He farted, laughed and  then strode across the field and disappeared into the house.

Late that night I heard motorcycles roaring back and forth in the alley outside our apartment. Carol stirred, murmuring something.

“Go back to sleep, honey,” I said. “It’s just the bikers on a mission of mercy.”

The next day the porn was gone. A few weeks later the bikers were all sporting brand new chromed parts on their choppers from the sale of all that porn and I was posting a “For Rent” sign on the Traveling Salesman's apartment door.




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During the Vietnam war, GIs who managed to survive their tour of duty were flown home in chartered airliners, which they called “Freedom Birds.” This is the story of three young men – from  wildly different backgrounds – who meet on such a plane and make a pact to spend three days together in San Francisco. Their goal: to spend every cent of  their mustering out money in a party of  a lifetime. And they’ll get more than they bargained for: because when they land, it is July 1967 – in a time that would come to be known as “The Summer Of Love.” A place and time where each young man will have to confront the ghosts who followed them home from the jungles of Vietnam and contemplate a future none of them had imagined. 


The entire 8-novel landmark science fiction series is now being presented in three three giant omnibus editions from Orbit Books.  The First - BATTLECRY - features the first three books in the series: Sten #1; Sten #2 -The Wolf Worlds; and Sten #3, The Court Of A Thousand Suns. Next: JUGGERNAUT, which features Sten #4, Fleet Of The Damned; Sten #5, Revenge Of The Damned; and Sten #6, The Return Of The Emperor. Finally, there's DEATHMATCH, which contains Sten #6, Vortex; and Sten #7, End Of Empire. Click on the highlighted titles to buy the books. Plus, if you are a resident of The United Kingdom, you can download Kindle versions of the Omnibus editions. Which is one clot of a deal!

Here's the Kindle link for BATTLECRY
Here's the Kindle link for JUGGERNAUT
Here's the Kindle link for DEATHMATCH



Two new companion editions to the international best-selling Sten series. In the first, learn the Emperor's most closely held  cooking secrets. In the other, Sten unleashes his shaggy-dog joke cracking sidekick, Alex Kilgour. Both available as trade paperbacks or in all major e-book flavors. Click here to tickle your funny bone or sizzle your palate.  



Venice Boardwalk Circa 1969
In the depths of the Sixties and The Days Of Rage, a young newsman, accompanied by his pregnant wife and orphaned teenage brother, creates a Paradise of sorts in a sprawling Venice Beach community of apartments, populated by students, artists, budding scientists and engineers lifeguards, poets, bikers with  a few junkies thrown in for good measure. The inhabitants come to call the place “Pepperland,” after the Beatles movie, “Yellow Submarine.” Threatening this paradise is  "The Blue Meanie,"  a crazy giant of a man so frightening that he eventually even scares himself. Here's where to buy the book. 


Diaspar Magazine - the best SF magazine in South America - is publishing the first novel in the Sten series in four 
episodes. Part One and Part Two appeared in back-to-back issues. And now Part Three has hit the virtual book stands.  Stay tuned, for the grand conclusion. Meanwhile, here are the links to the first three parts. Remember, it's free!

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