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An ardent missionary beams to another galaxy--but finds his convictions and personality altered in transmission. A bounty hunter pursues a replicant from out of history. This is not called termination. It is called “impeachment.” Aliens invade a globally depressed Earth with a sinister weapon: A new line of curiously addictive consumer products. Superheroes must control the An ardent missionary beams to another galaxy--but finds his convictions and personality altered in transmission. A bounty hunter pursues a replicant from out of history. This is not called termination. It is called “impeachment.” Aliens invade a globally depressed Earth with a sinister weapon: A new line of curiously addictive consumer products. Superheroes must control their powers. Or a shadowy government agency will do it for them. Plus the Second Coming, with a special guest appearance by the Patron Saint of Television. Welcome to seven adventures in space, time, and from under the floorboards. These stories were previously published in Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, Rosebud, Science Fiction Age, and other respected venues. "In ASTRONAUTS AND HERETICS, author Tom Marcinko takes us on science-fictional journeys that have the special knack of making us think, dread and laugh, often at the same time. From the dystopic possibilities of superhuman powers and a real-world return of Christ, to the comedic mashup of 'Seinfeld' with 'Deep Space Nine,' to a truly original tale about interstellar Catholic missionaries, Marcinko's collection is sure to engage your mind, funny bone, and heart."--Mark A. Rayner, author of MARVELLOUS HAIRY and THE AMADEUS NET. “Witty and unflinching…sharp and entertaining…If you’re craving dark humor and a twist on Armageddon, ‘A Close Personal Relationship’ is the perfect fix."—Maggie Jamison, TANGENT ONLINE "I had really weird dreams I don't remember last night after reading 'Whiter Teeth, Fresher Breath' before I went to bed. Nice work.  Seriously.  I think I read the majority of these in one form or another way back when … but the whole "collected works" thing really brings out the tone and humor(s) in them."--Hop Wechsler, co-author, THE HUMAN MUSEUM


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An ardent missionary beams to another galaxy--but finds his convictions and personality altered in transmission. A bounty hunter pursues a replicant from out of history. This is not called termination. It is called “impeachment.” Aliens invade a globally depressed Earth with a sinister weapon: A new line of curiously addictive consumer products. Superheroes must control the An ardent missionary beams to another galaxy--but finds his convictions and personality altered in transmission. A bounty hunter pursues a replicant from out of history. This is not called termination. It is called “impeachment.” Aliens invade a globally depressed Earth with a sinister weapon: A new line of curiously addictive consumer products. Superheroes must control their powers. Or a shadowy government agency will do it for them. Plus the Second Coming, with a special guest appearance by the Patron Saint of Television. Welcome to seven adventures in space, time, and from under the floorboards. These stories were previously published in Realms of Fantasy, Interzone, Rosebud, Science Fiction Age, and other respected venues. "In ASTRONAUTS AND HERETICS, author Tom Marcinko takes us on science-fictional journeys that have the special knack of making us think, dread and laugh, often at the same time. From the dystopic possibilities of superhuman powers and a real-world return of Christ, to the comedic mashup of 'Seinfeld' with 'Deep Space Nine,' to a truly original tale about interstellar Catholic missionaries, Marcinko's collection is sure to engage your mind, funny bone, and heart."--Mark A. Rayner, author of MARVELLOUS HAIRY and THE AMADEUS NET. “Witty and unflinching…sharp and entertaining…If you’re craving dark humor and a twist on Armageddon, ‘A Close Personal Relationship’ is the perfect fix."—Maggie Jamison, TANGENT ONLINE "I had really weird dreams I don't remember last night after reading 'Whiter Teeth, Fresher Breath' before I went to bed. Nice work.  Seriously.  I think I read the majority of these in one form or another way back when … but the whole "collected works" thing really brings out the tone and humor(s) in them."--Hop Wechsler, co-author, THE HUMAN MUSEUM

30 review for Astronauts and Heretics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tom Marcinko

    Is there some way I could identify myself as the person who wrote the stories in this book, and thank everybody who posted a review? It's a bracing thing to read comments on your work, positive or negative, from strangers. They tend to tell you what they really think. A hand, please, for my very talented friend Richard Laugharn, who designed the cover. And thanks to the several and sundry editors who published these stories, and actually gave me money for them. Is there some way I could identify myself as the person who wrote the stories in this book, and thank everybody who posted a review? It's a bracing thing to read comments on your work, positive or negative, from strangers. They tend to tell you what they really think. A hand, please, for my very talented friend Richard Laugharn, who designed the cover. And thanks to the several and sundry editors who published these stories, and actually gave me money for them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv

    I saw the recommendation on Boing Boing and just had to read this collection of short stories. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the overall quality of the stories. The descriptions were written masterfully, drawing readers in with succinct teasers. The stories themselves felt jumbled however, and they lacked the quality of the teasers that drew me in. There are wonderful concepts hiding in the stories, but they are muddled by poor editing. The pacing and characterizations need work; the I saw the recommendation on Boing Boing and just had to read this collection of short stories. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the overall quality of the stories. The descriptions were written masterfully, drawing readers in with succinct teasers. The stories themselves felt jumbled however, and they lacked the quality of the teasers that drew me in. There are wonderful concepts hiding in the stories, but they are muddled by poor editing. The pacing and characterizations need work; there were some typos in there as well. The stories themselves were quite imaginative though. You will never look at a toothbrush the same way again. Religion, science, superheroes, and aliens are handled very well. The story I liked the most was about "Junior". You will understand when you read it. Simply put, the stories are offbeat and some are fantastic, though they lack the expected polish. If you're looking for good science fiction that pushes boundaries then this is it. Be aware that you'll have to contend with what seems like drafts of stories rather than the finished products.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    This collection of sci-fi short stories was offered free in the Kindle store. A few of them were really fun or thought-provoking. My favorite was Deep Space Sein - a Star Trek/Seinfeld mash-up. It made me laugh out loud a couple of times. A couple I thought were too short; I wished they were a little longer. I look forward to reading more by this author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    The seven stories in this collection showcase a writer fully in command of his craft and talent. They range from the comic (Deep Space Sein - seriously, a mash-up of DS9 and Seinfeld, it's just genius) to the darkly creepy (Whiter Teeth, Fresher Breath) to the hopeful (everything else). My one, single, complaint is that Marcinko seems to be a writer who values brevity above all else. Yet his characters are so real, and his ideas so intriguing that I find that each story ends long before I'm read The seven stories in this collection showcase a writer fully in command of his craft and talent. They range from the comic (Deep Space Sein - seriously, a mash-up of DS9 and Seinfeld, it's just genius) to the darkly creepy (Whiter Teeth, Fresher Breath) to the hopeful (everything else). My one, single, complaint is that Marcinko seems to be a writer who values brevity above all else. Yet his characters are so real, and his ideas so intriguing that I find that each story ends long before I'm ready. This is a great collection and I'm looking forward to finding anything else Marcinko has ever written. The stories are: Faith in a Higher Power (4/5 stars) Whiter Teeth, Fresher Breath (5/5 stars) Henry the Human Flea (3/5 stars) Deep Space Sein (5/5 stars) The Nixon Wrangler's Tale (5/5 stars) A Close Personal Relationship (4/5 stars) Heretics (3/5 stars)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eveh

    These seven stories are loaded with SF goodness: they are gritty, bleak, losing-my-religion, often-hilarious, wag-the-alien, Seinfeld-loving targeted missiles. (You won’t look at your toothbrush or skyscrapers or the Pope the same way—unless you’re too busy wondering which version of you was retrieved and reassembled today.) I've read entire novels that contain fewer ideas and less world-building than one of these finely crafted short stories (although "Henry the Human Flea" did not seem as fles These seven stories are loaded with SF goodness: they are gritty, bleak, losing-my-religion, often-hilarious, wag-the-alien, Seinfeld-loving targeted missiles. (You won’t look at your toothbrush or skyscrapers or the Pope the same way—unless you’re too busy wondering which version of you was retrieved and reassembled today.) I've read entire novels that contain fewer ideas and less world-building than one of these finely crafted short stories (although "Henry the Human Flea" did not seem as fleshed out as all the others--no pun intended). This guy’s laser-sharp humor, cynicism tempered with a battered optimism, and just plain wonderful, tightly packed writing made me want to duck for cover: what the frak could he do to my head if let loose at full length?

  6. 5 out of 5

    SR

    This is a really thoughtful collection of stories. I loved Deep Space Sein despite having watched full episodes of NEITHER Star Trek NOR Seinfeld, which goes to show either Marcinko's writing abilities or the pervasiveness of trek & seinfeld in pop culture today... Recommended to anyone who's a fan of comic book superheroes, American Gods, and China Miéville. This is a really thoughtful collection of stories. I loved Deep Space Sein despite having watched full episodes of NEITHER Star Trek NOR Seinfeld, which goes to show either Marcinko's writing abilities or the pervasiveness of trek & seinfeld in pop culture today... Recommended to anyone who's a fan of comic book superheroes, American Gods, and China Miéville.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephane

    Very interesting collections of short stories, each with a unique little spin on some "sci fi" trope. Each reads more as well written thought experiments, with some comedy thrown in (Deep Space Sein: a mash up of Seinfeld and Star Trek; A Closer Personal Relationship: the second coming is not quite what we expected). The story are short, interesting and well written. A very fast, very clever, very good read. Very interesting collections of short stories, each with a unique little spin on some "sci fi" trope. Each reads more as well written thought experiments, with some comedy thrown in (Deep Space Sein: a mash up of Seinfeld and Star Trek; A Closer Personal Relationship: the second coming is not quite what we expected). The story are short, interesting and well written. A very fast, very clever, very good read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ed Hammerbeck

    Decent sci-fi with some interesting ideas.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    A collection of good sci-fi short stories from what I understand to be new author. I'd like to see a couple of these turned into longer works. A collection of good sci-fi short stories from what I understand to be new author. I'd like to see a couple of these turned into longer works.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Allison Lara

    I enjoyed the Star Trek/Seinfeld crossover and the "oh crap fundies were right" horror story. I enjoyed the Star Trek/Seinfeld crossover and the "oh crap fundies were right" horror story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Justin Tappan

    A mixed bag of short sci-fi/fantasy tales. Some hit, some didn't. One in particular downright confused me. A short and sweet read. A mixed bag of short sci-fi/fantasy tales. Some hit, some didn't. One in particular downright confused me. A short and sweet read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lynette Aspey

    My first disclaimer is that I love the short-story format, and I'm a dedicated and avid SF&F reader. I fall very firmly in the audience bracket for this collection and I was not only surprised but delighted by what I found therein. A humanist theme resonates through all of the stories, and the writer demonstrates a keen eye for observation and a wry sense of humour. So, on one hand I recognise that this collection will not suit everyone, I also unreservedly recommend it to readers who look for mo My first disclaimer is that I love the short-story format, and I'm a dedicated and avid SF&F reader. I fall very firmly in the audience bracket for this collection and I was not only surprised but delighted by what I found therein. A humanist theme resonates through all of the stories, and the writer demonstrates a keen eye for observation and a wry sense of humour. So, on one hand I recognise that this collection will not suit everyone, I also unreservedly recommend it to readers who look for more than light entertainment in their short fiction. I very rarely give 5-stars, but Marcinko's originality won me over.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Onionboy

    This was a collection of short sci-fi stories. If there was a theme, I didn’t quite catch it. The stories were odd, and didn’t pay off for me. I prefer my sci-fi short stories to have a twist or interesting ending, which I did not find here. I didn’t enjoy this much at all.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Very hook-y short sf, but the hooks just aren't that compelling. Still not sure I know what's the deal with the story about the toothpaste. ::shrug:: I read it on a plane. Very hook-y short sf, but the hooks just aren't that compelling. Still not sure I know what's the deal with the story about the toothpaste. ::shrug:: I read it on a plane.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Mildly entertaining and immediately forgotten.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  17. 5 out of 5

    Max

  18. 5 out of 5

    Erik O'Shaughnessy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna

  20. 4 out of 5

    Eva Whitley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim Pallister

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laurence

  23. 4 out of 5

    Keith Cornell

  24. 4 out of 5

    Larry Kollar

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joel Nichols

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bradley Nash

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aethelberga

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tim C

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

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