18 Wheels of Science Fiction:
A Long Haul into the Fantastic
Genre: Science Fiction Anthology
with Stories by
Eric Miller, editor, John DeChancie, Del Howison, Bond Elam, Lisa Morton, Paul Carlson, Janet Joyce Holden, Michael Bailey, Carla Robinson, Jeff Seeman, Kate Jonez, Gary Phillips, Lucio Rodriguez, Terry Bisson, Eric Miller, Edward M. Erdelac, Michael Paul Gonzalez, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Sean Patrick Traver
“…Definitely fun.” –Analog Science Fiction and Fact
Take a trip through the imaginations of 18 visionary writers as they explore the future of trucking in this new science fiction anthology! There’s something for every genre fiction fan in this follow-up to the hit “18 wheels of Horror – a Trailer Full of Trucking Terrors.”
From the back cover: An alien fuel additive shows just how fast a big rig can go… A disembodied driver wages war on self-driving trucks… A haul through time takes an unexpected turn… Reality shatters for a trucker using an experimental delivery device… Stargazing gives an overweight driver a new lease on life… A young girl risks her life to hitch a ride out of an apocalyptic wasteland…
The highways of the universe will never be the same!
THE WRECKERS by JOHN DECHANCIE
“The Wreckers” is a continuation of DeChancie’s highly popular “Skyways” trucking Science Fiction novel series, in which legendary driver Jake McGraw (now an AI) and his son Sammy find new adventures on the mysterious skyway between worlds.
SPEED TRAP by JEFF SEEMAN
In “Speed Trap,” a chicken hauler’s misfit co-driver buys an exotic alien fuel additive at a truck stop, and the two find out just how fast their Big Rig will go.
THIN ICE by BOND ELAM
In “Thin Ice,” A trucker running mineral ore on an ice planet gets caught in a rebellion, and learns a terrible secret about her past that affects not only hers and her beloved daughter’s lives, but threatens humanity itself.
Q-BITS by LUCIO RODRIGUEZ
A trucker’s reality fractures in “Q-Bits” due to an experimental quantum delivery device, and has to make a choice that could re-unite him with his son, or take him to a unknown future.
I, TRUCK by GARY PHILLIPS
“I, Truck” features an unemployed trucker who signs up for an experimental driving program, but a cyber-attack by hackers turns him into an revenge-fueled ghost in the machine.
OVER FLAT MOUNTAIN by TERRY BISSON
In the classic SF story “Over Flat Mountain,” which appeared in OMNI Magazine, a trucker helps out a young hitchhiker as they travel over the miles-high mountain that an apocalyptic seismic event has thrust through the heart of America.
WHEELS OF WRATH by JANET JOYCE HOLDEN
In “Wheels of Wrath,” a breakdown stops the massive train carrying hundreds of trucks through the blasted wasteland of middle America, and a group of drivers discover a secret that could change the world—if it doesn’t get them killed first.
SHOTGUN SEAT by PAUL CARLSON
In “Shotgun Seat,” a trucker and his new trainee learn to cope with the robot drivers that threaten to take over human jobs—and who also yearn for freedom.
JOB NO. 34264 by LISA MORTON
“Job #34264” features two truckers who travel back through time to find water for a droughtriddled future, but encounter a time paradox threatens to destroy everything they know.
ESSENTIAL OILS by MICHAEL BAILEY
In “Essential Oils,” a trucker hauling tankers full of essential oils deep into the Arctic tries to find out what the Canadian government is doing with the odd cargo.
BIG RIG, BIG RIP by ALVARO ZINOS-AMARO
The pilot of a long-haul space cargo carrier in “Big Rig, Big Rip” flies through a hidden wormhole and winds up thousands of light years from home. Scared and lost, he struggles to find a way back to his family.
A FLICKER OF BRIGHT LIGHT by DEL HOWISON
“A Flicker of Bright Light,” is about a young girl living in an apocalyptic wasteland, who risks her life to stow away on a truck that could carry her to freedom.
HIT/RUN by EDWARD M. ERDELAC
In “Hit/Run,” a trucker runs from two mysterious men who are chasing him years after he committed a hit and run accident. But things are far from what they seem…
EVERYTHING LOOKS SO SMALL by CARLA ROBINSON
An overweight trucker in “Everything Looks so Small” gets a new lease on life thanks to the fantastic things he sees while looking at the stars.
SILENT PASSENGER by KATE JONEZ
In “Silent Passenger,” a driver on her last run finds the experimental technology propelling her truck has somehow brought back a ghost from her past.
INDICA ASTERION & THE WIZARD OF OZYMANIDAS by SEAN PATRICK TRAVER
In “Indica Asterion & The Wizard of Ozymandias,” a trucker falls afoul of a government agent when he tries to smuggle contraband alien technology, and his fugitive sister in-law works to save him with a seemingly magical interdimensional artifact.
HUMAN, TRAFFICKING by MICHAEL PAUL GONZALES
“Human, Trafficking” is about a trucker who signs his life—and body-—away when he goes to work for a high-tech autonomous trucking company.
DRIVE by ERIC MILLER
“Drive” follows the Greatest Driver Alive as he takes a tanker full of volatile rocket fuel through gang-war torn Los Angeles, and nothing, not bullets, bombs, or bad luck, will stop him from delivering his incendiary cargo.
Excerpt from “Speed Trap” By Jeff Seeman
…The g-force slams us back in our seats as the truck shoots out of the parking lot like a rocket sled on rails. Tires squealing. Sparks flying out from under the hood. Burning rubber in the air. We blast down I-20 at 90 miles an hour. 100. 110. Other drivers blaring their horns. Slamming on screeching brakes. Police sirens Dopplering behind us. Donnie whooping and hollering like a drunken lunatic on a mechanical bull. Me gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles and raw terror.
“Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit.”
- 130. 140. I don’t know how fast we’re going now—the speedometer’s run out of numbers. I’m pumping the brake but it ain’t doing shit. Fighting with the wheel just to keep us on the road. Like trying to steer while strapped to the front bumper of a rollercoaster.
Going even faster now. Faster. Faster. We’re barreling past cities and towns that shoot by in a blur. I’m struggling like hell to control the wheel, but my reflexes—any human’s reflexes—aren’t that fast. Crashing through guard rails, toll booths, billboards. Objects smash off our bumper and windshield—traffic signs, mailboxes, God knows what else. I feel like a human pinball in an arcade machine gone berserk…
Excerpt from “Everything Looks so Small” By Carla Robinson
…Within a minute, the first strike hit the ground several miles from Hugh’s position, but he felt the rumble and saw the red and orange fires rise from the ground. Another strike hit somewhere far up north, and a third strike hit close enough to sever Interstate-94 and send huge slabs of pavement into the air. Hugh tried to get back into his truck when the cab lurched upward, like a bucking bronco. The trailer was hit next, and the concrete sewer pipes broke their steel chains and flew high in every direction. One pipe hit the pavement and began to cartwheel directly toward Hugh, but he managed to duck just before it decapitated him. He watched the pipe continue its downward roll, until it came to rest in a ditch that bordered the highway…
Excerpt from “Wheels of Wrath” By Janet Joyce Holden
…Back at the escape hatch, others were emerging, and her current perspective allowed her to see not just one girder, but three. They formed a tripod with the disk- shaped object balanced on top. She wasn’t the only one staring at it, either. Others stood, transfixed.
With a shudder, the giant tripod began to move. Everyone scattered. Missy, Ed and Luis hid in the shadow of the tunnel wall, while others ran in all directions. She pressed her back against concrete and watched one of the articulated girders lift high in the air. It came down again with a thud and the ground shook.
“It’s War of the god-damned Worlds,” Ed said…
Excerpt from “Drive” By Eric Miller
…Parked off by itself, as no one was brave or stupid enough to park near it, Jimmy’s rig was a monster. The massive triple-axle tractor seemed to melt into the sixty-foot long tanker trailer, swooping slabs of Kevlar and titanium fairings protecting both front and rear units from the fuel-robbing forces of aerodynamic drag as well as
more aggressive threats such as bullets and bombs. A flexible section of molding stretched between tractor and trailer, hiding the serpentine mix of thick cables and hoses and hydraulic lines that joined the two together in an almost holy mechanical matrimony.
The rig towered high in the air, every section covered with sinister bulges, access panels, remote control doors, insulated pipes, and strange-looking antennae. What was visible of the eighteen tires revealed great chunks of Kevlar-reinforced rubber with treads that looked as if they would be as comfortable climbing a mountain made of broken glass and barb wire as they were chewing on the baby soft asphalt of a newly- paved freeway.
The basic color of the truck was black, but bright yellow warning labels covered the skin front to back; the familiar icons for Biohazard and Nuclear Waste and High Explosive were enough to make normal people keep their distance, but the distinctive sign for the Hi-Test usually cleared the area quicker than a pin-free hand grenade…
Excerpt from “Q-Bits” By Lucio Rodriguez
…There was a horrible shriek, like the first grinding whine of a dial-up modem, the doctor’s last word drawn out. Phil grasped frantically at his headset, muted it.
A strange blur in his eyes and consciousness, an alternate-truck pulling through and veering right. This time he felt the elation at the doctor’s joke split in half along with the quantum division.
This wasn’t right.
Phil slowed, watched the other truck in his side-view mirror—no, not the other truck, he corrected himself. That wasn’t the terminology Q-bits wanted their drivers using. They’d explained it to him, he did the reading. It was the same truck, the exact same truck he was in, just not the one he was in. Inside, alternate-him was working the steering wheel. The alternate-truck slowed to less than five miles an hour, veered deliberately across the road and over the grassy median, and worked its way onto the opposite road, heading west…
Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!
About the Authors
**scroll through the slideshow to find out more about the authors!!**