Short Fiction Friday: “Cornhusker: Demon Gene” by Timothy C. Ward

This week for Short Fiction Friday I review the first published work of one of our own SF Signal Irregulars, Timothy C. Ward.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Geoffrey is a high school student with a peculiar diet, made necessary because of the suspicion that within his make-up he may harbor the gene that will turn him from a young man into a monster. On what may turn out to be the most important day of his life thus far, will Geoffrey find answers to the questions plaguing his existense? And if the answers are revealed, will he like what he discovers?

PROS: Strong characterization; interesting idea to merge faith and horror; good build up of tension; story ends on a satisfying note.
CONS: Cornhusker mythology could be more deeply explored; a couple of sentence structure issues;
BOTTOM LINE: Cornhusker: Demon Gene was selected for publication by A Flame in the Dark for a book featuring Christian horror with monsters. Timothy C. Ward has taken that premise to explore the struggles of a young man whose destiny may put him on a path to destruction. As his protagonist Geoffrey balances normal teenage angst against the pain of losing one’s faith, the reader gets to experience standard horror tropes used in a different way. There is a lot of potential revealed in Ward’s debut short story and it will be a pleasure to see where he goes from here.

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BOOK REVIEW: Shift Omnibus by Hugh Howey

REVIEW SUMMARY: The sequel trilogy to the best seller, Wool Omnibus, which takes a leap back in time to show how the chaos started.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A silo architect finds out too late what he’s been building, loses track of his wife and memories, and must uncover the secret behind the silo in order to make everything right.


PROS: Strong beginning; empathy for major characters; challenging philosophical themes about war and sacrifice to survive as a human race.
CONS: Third Shift (Book Three) slowed the story way down with minor revelations and sparse action.
BOTTOM LINE: While the first half gave hope that this sequel could surpass Wool Omnibus, the story went downhill from there. Shift is still recommended for Wool fans, and it will not kill interest in reading the concluding volume although but it did not meet expectations.

(Spoiler Warning: This review will have spoilers for people who have not read Wool, and only general spoilers for those who have yet to read Shift. Reviews for First Shift: Legacy and Second Shift: Order can be seen at the reviewer’s home page.)
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SF Signal Welcomes Timothy C. Ward!

SF Signal is pleased to welcome Timothy C. Ward to the team!

We asked Tim to describe himself in the third person:

Timothy C. Ward wakes up at 3am for kickboxing, writes SF/F/and Horror during his day job, and podcasts in the evening as AudioTim. His first short story publication will be in the Monsters! anthology by A Flame in the Dark. His first non-trunked novel, Kaimerus, is described as “Firefly crashes on Avatar and wakes up 28 Days Later.” His dream is writing full-time where he can snowboard and play with Huskies. Currently, he lives in Des Moines and his wife lets him have a Husky wall calendar, so he’s “this” close.

Another bit of interesting trivia: Tim’s first job was as a baker for Einstein Bros. Bagels, so we are expecting big things from him. Big, round, doughy, everything-flavored things with holes in the middle. Just sayin’…

Welcome aboard, Tim! We’re thrilled to have you on our team!

While Tim is contacting his network of bagel makers, check out his new post: a review of A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King.

And please join me in welcoming Tim to the team!

Hugh Howey is as kind as he is a talented writer, and this live reading of The Walk Up Nameless Ridge will prove that I mean that as a compliment. Recorded from his reading at ChiCon7, this story is a Science Fiction adventure inspired by his ride to the top of publishing. Instead of Kindle charts, his unnamed narrator is striving to be the first to summit a 60,000 foot mountain on a distant planet. “The Walk…” has made it to #7 on the Kindle Singles chart. Now, let’s see how far our narrator makes it.
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In episode 140 of the Hugo Nominated SF Signal Podcast, Timothy C. Ward sits down with Compton Crook Award winning author, T.C. McCarthy about his books and career.

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