Dec 9, 2016

Society Agent Series Installments

In December 2016, author Shaun J. McLaughlin published the first novelette, Final Exam, of a new science fiction series. All novelettes in the series are available on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iTunes and Smashwords and its affiliates. Look for reviews at Amazon and Goodreads.

In October 2017, Final Exam became a perma-free ebook at the major ebook retailers.

For his final exam, Shane and his student partner visit a snowy vacation planet to solve a mystery--how could a sub-intelligent species leap 50,000 years in evolution in months to harness fire and develop a language. Their investigation leads them into deadly conflict with a sophisticated gang trying to gain control of the planet for its mineral riches.

Shane and his secret fraternity investigate infractions of the colonization charter that protects vulnerable intelligent species and their planets. They risk their lives to make sure that the tragic aftermath of 1492 in the Americas never happens again anywhere humans go. Some people want them stopped.

Final Exam begins the Society Agent series, written in the classic sci-fi visions of Asimov and Heinlein, that examines human society as people expand through our galaxy. Humanity faces its historic enemy, humankind, but under different skies. Even as civility and civilization advance through the millennia, greed, gangs and malice remain as wolves chasing down the weak and vulnerable.

Life and Death in the Stone Forest continues Shane's adventures. For his first assignment as a graduate agent, the Society sends him to a dusty planet deep in the M4 globular cluster. An ancient race of alien artists is dying out. The scientist sent to discover why disappeared. Shane’s assignment: solve both mysteries and try not to get killed. This novelette is available on Amazon, and on Smashwords and its affiliates.

Flawed Pearl (#3) takes undercover agent Shane O’Ryan to New Tahiti. Tourist ads describe it as a perfect pearl. Shane’s mission: expose the planet’s impure, gritty core. Every pearl has one. Mysterious investors built the colony in defiance of laws designed to protect intelligent indigenous species. The one man who gathered evidence died of a knife in his heart. Shane needs to prove two aquatic species deserve protection and he must identify the main conspirators before he becomes the next victim. This novelette is available on Amazon now and soon on Smashwords and its affiliates.

In Like Bedbugs, Only Much, Much Worse, Shane teams up with an attractive and quirky scientist, Dr. Chloe Kelly, to solve a legal conundrum. Individual members of a low-level organism deserve no Charter protection, but in groups, the bugs become a distributed computer network. Their collective intelligence is a square of their numbers. They have only one goal—eat anything that moves. Intellect without morality is terrifying but it is still intelligence that must be protected. How can Shane defeat the bugs that have decimated a farm colony without wiping out the species and do it before the military resorts to mundicide? This novelette is available on Amazon now and soon on Smashwords and its affiliates.

In Turing Test Girlfriend (#5, pending) Shane allows himself to be imprisoned by the leader of the amber-eyed gang, a mysterious group that has twice tried to kill him. Shane needs to uncover the gang’s origins and its home planet. 

His partner is Ainsley, a shape-shifting android created for undercover work. Legally she is just property, though she is a sentient being who can rationalize, moralize and experience pleasure. Her attraction to Shane snaps her out of her lonely, one-of-a-kind isolation. Her growing emotional spectrum defies her programming. She begins forming an emotional bond. Shane decides that Ainsley is a species of one, a person entitled to the same Charter rights as any intelligent entity. He must first escape the clutches of the gang, and then somehow convince the four leaders of the Confederation to emancipate Ainsley. 

Episodes 6 and 7 are in the works. Chloe Kelly and Ainsley, characters from episodes 4 and 5, join Shane in an armed assault on the headquarters of the amber-eyed gang. 

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