Lucas Bale

Award-Winning Speculative Fiction Author

Chukotka Solo Release and a New Cover for an Old Friend

Short one today. Chukotka will be released as a standalone short story next week. Some of you may remember it first appeared in David Gatewood's Tales of Tinfoil anthology. However, with a  revised Afterword and a brand-new cover designed by the fantastic Adam Hall, I am releasing it on its own.

By turns gripping, heartbreaking, and inspiring, Chukotka is a tale of survival against the elements—and of a fragile trust formed between two men from vastly different worlds. Bale’s characters come to life, and they will stay with you long after the final paragraph.
— David Gatewood, bestselling editor of The Robot Chronicles and Tales of Tinfoil

Chukotka could hardly be said to be science fiction. The conspiracy theory element within the story is supportive rather than central. Indeed, the story is less about whether the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) was ever a facility that could control weather, and more about people affected by the blind, unfeeling reach of government, in all its guises. HAARP was a useful symbolic device to portray that reach. For me this story is an allegory for the themes that surround most, if not all, conspiracy theories. It is about fear of the unknown; mistrust and paranoia born from a lack of understanding. It is about prejudice and lack of communication. It is as much about tension between young and old, and between individuals from different cultures, as it is about tension between the United States and Russia.

Here's the blurb, in case you don't know anything about this story. It's a short story which could be read in an hour or so. It runs to around 50 ordinary paperback pages.

Two Alaskan cold-water surfers sail the Bering Strait in search of the gnarliest waves. A dying Chukchi hunter leaves his village for the desolate Siberian tundra, seeking to prove his usefulness to the wayward youth of his people. When the perfect man-made storm provokes the towering black waves of the Bering, and surges over the frozen Russian wilderness, it throws together old and young, East and West, forcing them to confront their prejudices in a desperate fight for survival.

Courage is thrust upon us by necessity. Gripping and realistic, Chukotka captures the bitter struggle and confusion that arises as the Bering Strait reels beneath an unnatural storm. It is both engrossing and compelling.
— Peter Cawdron, bestselling author of Anomaly and Xenophobia

At the same time as releasing Chukotka, I'll be updating the cover for What It Means To Survive. Again, Adam Hall has done amazing work on this cover and I absolutely love it. Let me know what you think. (And click on it to be taken to the book's Amazon page.)

Here's the blurb for good measure.

McArthur's World is a frozen planet which has been bled dry by mineral mining corporations for three decades. When there is nothing left but ice and snow, the last freighter lifts off carrying away every remaining human being. When it crashes in a wilderness no one has ever returned from, there are only two survivors: a miner who wants to get back to the children he has not seen for two years, and the woman who forced him to come to McArthur's World in the first place.

They think they're alone, until the shrieks in the darkness come.

This story means a lot to me, and it's been well-received. I wrote it when my fiancée was diagnosed with cancer. So I thought it was high-time it deserved a decent cover.


All words copyright Lucas Bale, 2015