Less than a hundred years in the future, pollution, economic disaster, and the rapacious greed of the corporate oligarchy has brought America to its knees and created dystopian urban nightmares, of which L.A. may be the worst.
Curtis, Japh, and Jool are film extras, whowith the help of a couple of very gutsy womensurvived being anonymous players in a "live-action" film in which getting killed on-screen meant getting killed for real. Surviving the shoot made them rich enough to escape the post-apocalyptic Hell that L.A. has become. But their survival was not what Panoply Studios' CEO Val Margolian had in mind, especially since it cost his company millions.
Now he's taking his revenge. After several plainclothes police are found dead in the former extras' new home, the bucolic, peaceful town of Sunrise, California, the entire town is subjected to Margolian's invidious plan to punish the entire town…and make a fortune doing it. Margolian has created toxic, murderous wasp-like mechanical creatures to set upon the people of Sunrise, while his film crew captures the carnage in what promises to be the bloodiest "live-action" film yet. With their haven from L.A. besieged by the deadly assault, the former extrasand their fellow townspeopleare faced with a grim task: to defeat the creatures and take back their town and their freedom. Michael Shea's Assault on Sunrise is a saga of courage and sacrifice in a world gone mad.
About the Author
MICHAEL SHEA is the World Fantasy Award–winning author of Nifft the Lean and other novels. He has written many short stories for major fantasy and science fiction magazines.
Read an Excerpt
As the late summer sun neared setting, Jool was working on their winter garden. Curtis came back up from town, two rolls of chicken wire in the little bed of their three-wheeler. He paused just shy of their house, an A-frame cabin they’d finished at last in just under two years. Paused because, in town, he’d heard news he didn’t want to tell her.
She was weeding, her face profiled in the golden light that shadowed the honey-colored slant of her cheekbones. He could see the low swelling of her belly, like the curve of a crescent moon. Four months along. Their baby would be a beautiful blend—his black with her buckskin hues; his frame solid, hers slender.
“Guess what.” she called. “We’ve got a visitor.” Though she said it smiling, there was something sad in her eyes.
“Someone I know?”
“I think so. In a way.” And here the visitor came, loping down the path behind her: a rangy dog, vaguely Lab-shaped with longish blond fur. A big, affable fellow, all tongue and enthusiasm.
And the moment Curtis saw it, he understood what he’d seen in Jool’s face. In a heartbeat he was projected back to that morning in L.A., sitting with thousands of other extras-to-be in the bleachers outside Panoply Studio’s great wall, watching a demo of the monsters they would be facing on the set inside that wall. They’d watched a dog that looked very much like this one come to a gruesome end.
“Damn,” he said.
Faces and memories. Their thoughts went inward to fugues of nightmare and adrenalized turmoil they would never forget. It came naturally, then, for Curtis to tell her what he had just learned in town.
She stroked his face and sighed. The sun was just set. Below them Sunrise, in its tree line, had its streetlights on. “I’ll tell Momma and your Auntie Drew,” she said. The house they had built for those two ladies was just in the next vale over from their own. “You go up and tell Chops and Gillian. We’ll meet you for the meeting down in the hall. And this guy? We’ll keep him, right?”
She smiled. “You sure now? He’s a big eater—already finished the rest of last night’s roast.”
He smiled back. “What do you want to call him?”
“Well, he was lucky to find us,” she said. “Let’s call him Chance.”
Copyright © 2013 by Michael Shea