content by

Michael Cassutt

Fiction and Excerpts [4]

Fiction and Excerpts [4]

Lowball (Excerpt)

Decades after an alien virus changed the course of history, the surviving population of Manhattan still struggles to understand the new world left in its wake. Natural humans share the rough city with those given extraordinary—and sometimes terrifying—traits.

While most manage to coexist in an uneasy peace, not everyone is willing to adapt. Down in the seedy underbelly of Jokertown, residents are going missing.

The authorities are unwilling to investigate, except for a fresh lieutenant looking to prove himself and a collection of unlikely jokers forced to take matters into their own hands—or tentacles. The deeper into the kidnapping case these misfits and miscreants get, the higher the stakes are raised.

Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and acclaimed author Melinda M. Snodgrass, Lowball is the latest mosaic novel in the acclaimed Wild Cards universe—available November 4th from Tor Books! Perfect for old fans and new readers alike, Lowball delves deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and mystery. Below, read an excerpt featuring Michael Cassutt’s “The Big Bleed” and David Anthony Durham’s “Those About to Die…”

[Read an Excerpt]

Heaven’s War (Excerpt)

Check out Heaven’s War, the second book in a science-fiction thriller series by David S Goyer and Michael Cassutt. Heaven’s War is available now from Tor (UK) and Ace (US). You can also read an excerpt from the first novel in the series, Heaven’s Shadow, here.

When an unidentified object is spotted hurtling towards Earth, two rival teams race to claim it. But the affectionately-named “Keanu” conceals dangerous secrets. Instead of barren rock, astronauts discover a giant ship with an extra-terrestrial crew. A ship with a mission and a message: help us. A brave new frontier beckons, but it comes at a price.

Without explanation, small groups of humans are transported from earth’s scientific communities to Keanu’s interior. Their first task is to stay alive. Their second, to explore their new home and locate their keepers. But above all, as the ship starts to break down around them, they must figure out why they were brought here and forge a path home.

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Heaven’s Shadow (Excerpt)

Check out Heaven’s Shadow, the first book in a science-fiction thriller series by David S Goyer and Michael Cassutt. Heaven’s Shadow is available now from Tor (UK) and Ace (US).

In 2016 a pair of amateur astronomers spot an unidentified object—an object one hundred kilometres across and heading towards Earth. As it approaches, NASA and the Russian-Indian-Brazilian Coalition race to land vehicles on the unexplored surface. With power, money and politics behind each mission, both crews have orders to stop at nothing to get there first.

Zack Stewart, NASA’s team leader, is determined to succeed. But as they’re about to land, violent explosions from the meteorite’s surface propel it directly into Earth’s orbit. Analysis shows the explosions were timed and deliberate—but by whom and why? As the world holds its breath, Zack makes a discovery that will change the course of humanity… forever.

[Read more.]

Wild Cards Author Q&A: Michael Cassutt

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience with Wild Cards.

A. Born in Minnesota, raised in Wisconsin, schooled in Arizona. My father was a coach and teacher, mother an English teacher who introduced me to SF.

Like most of the Wild Cards team, I am an SF writer who also loved comic books. I had the great fortune to start reading them just as Marvel’s 1960s Golden Age commenced… AVENGERS #3 was my first. I was a huge fan of SPIDERMAN, HULK, X-MEN and others. Occasionally I even lowered my standards to read D.C. books.

My first published works were SF stories, in such magazines and anthologies as AMAZING, FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, and UNIVERSE. I’ve also published five novels, beginning with THE STAR COUNTRY in 1986, and most recently, TANGO MIDNIGHT in 2003.

I have written a considerable amount of non-fiction, most of it dealing with space flight—three editions of a massive biographical encyclopedia, WHO’S WHO IN SPACE, and collaborations with astronauts Deke Slayton and Tom Stafford on their autobiographies (DEKE! and WE HAVE CAPTURE).

Most of my writing, however, has been for television, from the 1980s version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE through MAX HEADROOM and EERIE, INDIANA and other genre (and non-genre) series, most recently THE DEAD ZONE.

My association with WILD CARDS goes back twenty years—I was not part of the original discussions between George, Melinda, Walter Jon and the others, but George and I became friends while working on TZ together in 1986. It was George, no doubt influenced by my wit and way with words—as well as the fact that I showed him how to snake a studio?office out from under more senior writers—who encouraged me to develop a story for Volume IV, ACES ABROAD, using my knowledge of espionage and the USSR.

Later stories, in DUECES DOWN and CARD SHARKS, grew out of my interest in space flight.

So it was inevitable that a WILD CARDS book about a reality television series would suit me.

Q. Tell us about the inspiration behind your story for Inside Straight.

Stuntman is the type of young man—Wild Card to one side—that I have seen for years in the entertainment business. He’s bright, talented, but frustrated at the way he is pigeon-holed. Throw in a little of my own history with my father, the gifted athlete, and you have a character.


Series: Wild Cards on

Yuri Gagarin: The First Man in Space

It was a spring morning on the arid, hot steppes of Kazakhstan, the morning of April 12, 1961—fifty years ago today. A breeze was blowing across the strange girders and blocky buildings of the secret Scientific-Technical Range #5, carved out of the grim stepped by conscripts and prisoners over the past five years.

At the base of a silvery cone-shaped rocket now covered with frost, a bus pulled up and several men emerged, including two wearing white fishbowl helmets and bulky orange-colored pressure suits—Gherman Titov and Yuri Gagarin. As Titov stood by in case of a last-minute hitch, Gagarin ascended to the top of this rocket, where he was strapped into the Vostok spacecraft for the first attempt a human spaceflight.

Once the hatch closed, Gagarin had nothing to do but wait. His radio link was a fellow cosmonaut, Pavel Popovich, who asked if he wanted anything. “A little music would be nice.” So the communications team fed him some music.

Imagine what it must have been like… wrapped in a bulky suit and helmet, strapped to an ejection seat, lying on your back, waiting to do something no human had ever done.

[Read more]

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