Alien Dimensions Science Fiction Short Stories Anthology Series #17 is now available in digital and in print formats

Issue #17Digital | Print

Alien Dimensions is a science fiction short stories anthology series featuring amazing authors from around the world.

Previous issues have featured stories about extraterrestrials, clones, robots and androids, invasion and colonization, cyberpunk and space opera, first contact, genetic manipulation, starship exploration, time travel and more.

From seriousness to humorous, high octane to slow burn, from back-story heavy to present tense dialogue-driven adventures, Alien Dimensions explores the far future.

Enjoy a much more alien experience with Alien Dimensions.

In Alien Dimensions #17:

Space Case by Tom Howard

Sky Tears by Mike Adamson

Tomorrow’s Children by James Armer

Pests by Francis W. Alexander

Mothermind by Robert Walton

Guardians of the Treasure by Gustavo Bondoni

Strange Lands by Neil A. Hogan

Issue #17 Digital | Print

Subscribe to be updated when the next issue is due out here

Intermittent Fasting, Senescent Cells and Living Forever

One of my long time passions is to read the latest on life extension research. I plan to live to at least 300, but there’s no point in doing that if my whole body turns into a pile of unmovable sticks, and I have to transfer my consciousness into a box. Not quite ideal. So, on the look out for simple ways to live longer without dramatically changing my lifestyle.

A number of research papers have been released over the past few years about senescent cells and how the accumulation of these in the body is what causes aging and mental decline. So, I looked up the latest research on removing these. You can read about senescent cells and experiments on mice here.

Sadly, I found one of the biggest ways to reduce them is intensive exercise, daily. Read the research paper here. But, I don’t want to waste three hours of potential writing time going to a gym, exercising and having a second shower. If I wanted to waste time, I’d sleep more! So, I wasn’t happy with that finding. I’ll get my basic exercise doing the necessary daily cleaning and washing chores, and keep looking.

The next thing I found was that senescent cells can be reduced with a new family of drugs and supplements called senolytics. The most promising of these is fisetin. Read the research paper summary here.

As buying supplements on a writer’s income is a bit difficult, I was able to confirm that you can get small amounts of fisetin from a number of sources including onions and cucumbers. Onions also contain another senolytic flavonoid polyphenol called Quercetin, so I can get double the senolytic effect by eating onions. I’m not a big fan of onions though, and I don’t know whether they have to be raw, cooked or sauteed. Still, my local sells ready chopped frozen bags of onions, so I might be on to something.

But by far the best thing I found was intermittent fasting. When I’m in the writing zone I have no reason to be eating. It’s only when I’m stuck that I might reach for a packet of chips or a glass of whiskey. Certainly, when the muse takes me, sitting and typing for 6 hours straight sometimes isn’t a problem. Not to mention the money I could save by not eating! So, I researched this further. Intermittent fasting not only stimulates the removal of senescent cells from the body (autophagy) at around 18 hours into the fast, it also induces ketosis, enabling the body to begin burning its fat stores. So I can start getting rid of that tire around the stomach as well. How exciting! Info here.

However, while not eating for 12 hours has never been a problem for me (sleep period included, so just skip breakfast), how on Earth could I get the fasting to go as far as 18 hours? I would have to take a day off, or apologize to anyone around for my incredibly loud stomach. (And no Skype calls, either. Microphones pick up everything!) So back onto Google to find how others have been able to increase their fasting period.

Some took walks, or exercised. I still wouldn’t want to be taken away from whatever I was doing. Some suggested brushing their teeth as the toothpaste mint would reduce their hunger. Not for me. I’d start thinking about Mohitos or spearmint lollies.

And then I found many were drinking black coffee.

What?

That’s not fasting. Fasting is not eating at all. Zero food and drink, apart from water. But then I read that it depends on what you want. If you want the full beneficial effect of fasting, where all your organs get to get a rest, then water fast or, if you can do it, skip the water, too. But, if you’re just wanting autophagy and khetosis, you can drink black coffee! (Of course, that amount of mildly acidic liquid on an empty stomach can cause problems for some people, so perhaps just one?) In any case, I love black coffee and I drink two to three cups a day, so I have found my solution.

I’ve only got afternoon appointments for the next week, so I could conceivably stop eating at 7pm and start again at 1pm, and potentially get younger!

Let’s see how long I last!

Fantasy Short Stories Book Two. Available in Digital and in Print.

Fantasy Short Stories Book Two is now available.

Fantasy Short Stories Digital Version

Fantasy Short Stories Print Version

Featuring amazing stories by authors from around the world

In Book Two:

Foe by Francis W. Alexander

Fresh Start by Gustavo Bondoni

Flypaper by Tom Howard

The Backup by Hannah Steenbock

Layers by Neil A. Hogan

Enjoy more fantasy with Fantasy Short Stories Anthology Series Book Two

Fantasy Short Stories Book One is still available

Available in digital and in print formats

Fantasy Short Stories is currently planned to be released every few months, so you’ll always have something fantastic to look forward to.

You’ll find Fantasy Short Stories on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

Each issue will feature stories exploring fantastic and magical realms with interesting characters and compelling stories.

If you’d like to be updated as to when the next issue is released, please subscribe to our mailing list.

If you’d like to write for the series, please visit our submission guidelines page for details.

Thank you for your interest in Fantasy Short Stories.

Neil A.

Fantasy Short Stories Anthology Series Book Two is available for pre-order!

Happy New Year! I’m very pleased to announce that the ebook of Fantasy Short Stories Anthology Series Book Two is now available for pre-order here . The release date is 8th January 2019. The ebook version will become available around then (USA time) and the print version not long after. Pdfs will be emailed to contributors within the week of release.

More about Book Two

Fantasy Short Stories is an anthology series featuring amazing stories by authors from around the world.

In Book Two:

Foe by Francis W. Alexander

Fresh Start by Gustavo Bondoni 

Flypaper by Tom Howard

The Backup by Hannah Steenbock

Layers by Neil A. Hogan

Enjoy more fantasy with Fantasy Short Stories Anthology Series Book Two

I’ll have more news about Alien Dimensions #17 due out in February, very soon!

Splinter. Science Fiction Weekly #26. Stellar Flash Prequel II by Neil A. Hogan. Short Reads Series

Available from Amazon

When Raj Kumar investigates Pluto for possible life signs – standard procedure before adding a manned space station – he is surprised to find them. He’s even more surprised that they want to communicate with him.

What do they want? 
Why him?
And what does Doctor John Patel of Space Station X-1a have to do with all this?

Find out more in Splinter. #26 in the Science Fiction Short Reads Series, and a prequel to the introduction of a character at the end of the Stellar Flash novel The Andromeda Effect. Splinter is a short story of about 4600 words.

Gene-Reality by Neil A. Hogan

“Ji. This does not look like a bio lab.”

Ji swept his arms wide to encompass the microscope that filled the room. “Maggie, you’ve got to admit, it’s pretty impressive. Imagine what you could do with this.”

Maggie shrugged. “To see genes, I need something a bit smaller. That monstrosity will just give me atoms.”

Ji pointed at a bank of screens in front of the tube-shaped structure. “It’s not an electron microscope. Something much better. We can actually see superstrings with it!”

She looked about, not quite hearing him. “You don’t even have any centrifuges in here.” She put her hands on her hips and turned to him. “What’s going on? I thought you needed my help splicing genes!”

Ji grinned. “The genes of the universe, Maggie. I want you to splice the very substance of reality!”

Maggie gaped. “I’m a molecular biologist, not a physicist. I’m not so sure about playing with reality.” She walked around the machine. A large spherical ball was where a slide might be on a normal microscope, with a LED panel on the outside. “Faraday cage?”

“Something similar. Paradoxically holding two isolated superstrings in a vacuum.” Ji pointed at one of the screens in front of it. “The first one has an interesting vibration at this range. Multiple colours cascading from top to bottom. It looks almost like a chromosome. I guess our bodies express the fundamental shapes of the universe.”

“Fibonacci spirals, golden ratios in everything. Sounds legit.” Then she looked shrewdly at him, still not willing to get closer. “There’s nothing in the journals about this research. Is this military?”

Ji shrugged. “No idea. Contracted out to us. I don’t deal with the funding. I just get paid. My latest project is to find someone who can join them together.”

“Wait. What?”

He pointed at the screen again and she came over to have a closer look. The screen was divided into two. On the left side flickered the superstring, with four legs splayed out like a deformed insect. The right side of the screen was black. “Strings are influenced by our thoughts and observations,” said Ji. “You only need to direct your thoughts at it to influence it. My problem is I can’t influence it enough to connect with the other one. Maybe you could try…”

“Ji. You do know what gene splicing is, yes? It’s all biological. We use enzymes to snip out pieces of DNA inside genes, then mix the broken DNA with snipped DNA from other genes, then put the useful recombinant DNA into bacteria that will replicate it. There are other processes involved, but it’s completely unlike the fundamental building blocks of the universe. For a start, I’m pretty sure superstrings don’t have DNA.”

“Well, at this level, superstrings are everything. They are DNA and genes and chromosomes, if you like. Just take a bit from that superstring and add it to this one, and the energy field will replicate it. Think of it like your gene-splicing experiments but with everything purely energy. The universe will take care of the rest on the other dimensions.”

Maggie pointed at the dark side of the screen. “Well, I need to see the other one to know if this is possible.”

“I’m afraid our equipment is not compatible.”

Maggie stared at Ji for a moment, uncomprehending. “Is it faulty?”

Ji grinned. “This is the exciting part. The other string is not from our reality. It was taken from a wormhole we opened inside a micro-black hole in the Collider.”

“But, if it is not compatible with the instruments, then it can’t be compatible with our universe. What the hell have they asked you to do?”

“Look. If we splice it with a piece of our universe, we’d be able to find out what it’s like! What it can do!”

Maggie looked incredulously at him. “No. I flat out refuse. I don’t care if your project loses funding. I’m not merging the underlying foundations of two universes just for your research.”

“Come on. A simple thought, and it’s done. If you won’t do it, there are plenty of other gene doctors out there that could. Why not be the first?”

“No.” Maggie folded her arms.

Ji looked sadly down at the floor. “Well, look. Alright. I understand. But, just for me. How would you do it, if you wanted to? Like, what would your procedure be? Obviously, I can’t do it myself.”

Maggie sighed. “I don’t know the shape of the other one to know how for sure, but I’d imagine moving one on top of the other, and then allowing the vibration of ours to influence the vibration of the other one. As they synchronized I’d be able to see what the other one looked like, then work out how I could join them together. If the other universe’s superstrings had eight extensions, for example, I could take one and add it to this one and see what happens. I mean, it’s really…what is it?”

Ji was staring at the screen as the right side began flickering. “It worked. You’re a genius.”

Maggie’s hand flew to her mouth. “No, no, no. You tricked me!”

Ji was ignoring her. “Look, look. The other string has six legs. And it’s slightly larger. Wait, what’s it doing?”

Maggie pushed him away and looked at the strings. One was on top of the other and seemed to be vibrating faster. “Oh no!” She quickly reached for her mobile phone.

“What? What are you doing?”

“Calling my mum to say goodbye.”

“What? Why?” Ji’s face paled as he realized she was serious.

“They’re not merging. They’re mating,” cried Maggie.

But it was far too late.

There was a momentary flash as the combined strings quickly replicated, and a new universe exploded from the laboratory at a billion times the speed of light.

###

Hi Friends. Thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate the 200+ daily unique visitors and hope you find something useful and/or entertaining in my writings and missives.

If you haven’t checked them out yet, the Science Fiction Weekly Series for 2018 is almost complete. The final release, #26, will be out on the 25th December. Science Fiction Weekly will hopefully then return in 2020.

Wishing you Happy Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Holidays and for those of you on the Gregorian calendar, I hope you have a fantastic New Year. Here’s to another orbit around Sol.

Mate. Science Fiction Weekly #25 by Neil A. Hogan. Short Reads Series

Available in digital format from Amazon

When Dex suddenly feels one of his body segments becoming swollen and painful, he asks his egg-brother Emo for help.

Unexpectedly, he is thrust into a journey across a wasteland of acid pools and other dangers to find a female who can help him.

With the risk of death at every turn, can Dex find what he seeks before the light returns?

Find out more in Mate. #25 in the Science Fiction Short Reads Series. A short story of about 4100 words.

The Opposition. Science Fiction Weekly #24: Short Reads Series

The Opposition by Neil A. Hogan

Available via Amazon

When Ro-bet’s ship jumps near a black hole, he believes he is the victim of an assassination attempt. But he soon discovers that Earth is gone, and he’s already lost 30 years.

Will he be able to escape the event horizon, get back to ProxiBee and start a new life?

And what secret has his one night hook up, Ju-Na, left for him?

Find out more in The Opposition. #24 in the Science Fiction Short Reads Series. A short story of about 4700 words.

The Florans Are Here!

The Florans Are Here!

In August I released The Andromeda Effect. Book Two in the Stellar Flash series. You can find out more at the link. One of the story lines explored the Floran race, a race of intelligent plants that made use of biomechanoid plant appliances. The metallic plants would scuttle about, or sit still and be holographic screens or monitors using gases to generate images.

While we have poked a few electrodes into plants over the years to use their electricity, I never thought we were even close to getting a biomechanoid plant.

But, one already exists!

Check out this article on Gizmodo:

Cyborg Houseplant Can Drive Itself Toward the Light It Craves

And here’s the video. How awesome!

I for one, welcome our new Floran overlords. As long as they don’t plan to mulch us.

Cosmic Joke. Science Fiction Weekly #23 by Neil A. Hogan. Short Reads Series

Cosmic Joke. Science Fiction Weekly #23: Short Reads Series

Available in digital format

When Rosa hires Jacob to help her discover alternate realities not detectable from this universe, she hardly expects him to find a way so quickly.

But then she discovers that Jacob has been one step ahead of her the whole time. And his solution to the experiment may affect the entire human race across all of space and time.

Cosmic Joke is #23 in the Science Fiction Weekly Series. A short reads story of about 4900 words.