I met Dean Lombardo a year-and-a-half ago on the writers’ online website, Authonomy. We critiqued each other’s books while we were in the early stages of writing them, and we offered each other moral support along the way. I’m in the process of reading his book, and I hope to write a review of it soon. I’m very pleased to introduce you to Dean Lombardo and his exciting science fiction novel, Space Games.
Summary of Space Games
Say hello to Robin and Joe—contestants in 2034’s “Space Games,” a high-stakes reality TV show from Hollywood producer Sheldon J. Zimmer set aboard next-generation space station, ISS 2. The winner takes home a multimillion-dollar jackpot and a chance at stardom, while the loser faces the ultimate in public humiliation. Only former NASA astronaut Vince, acting as the station’s commander and the games’ sole referee, can separate sexy spitfire and martial artist, Robin Miller, from her brutal opponent, “Big Joe” O’Donnell, as the pair compete inside the cramped zero-g environs. Watched by millions of people back on Earth, the reality show rapidly degenerates into a deadly spectacle.
Excerpt from Space Games
Dennis Redford swayed drunkenly in front of the basement TV, waiting for Al Gennaro, host of ‘The After Show,’ to get through his opening schtick. Dennis had drained too many beers and gotten too little sleep. It was almost time to call it quits. And he planned to, too—right after the giant-jawed Gennaro announced tonight’s guests
“So have any of you been watching the new reality series, ‘Space Games’?” the comedian asked the audience.
The crowd responded with applause and a few whistles.
“And how about those two contestants, huh?”
More applause, a cackle mixed in.
Gennaro continued: “First, there’s that big, really dumb guy named Joe.”
The audience laughed.
“I mean this guy is about as stupid as they come. Have you heard the conflicting scientific studies on whether or not you and me have Neanderthal genes in us?” Gennaro paused to watch his audience. A graphic popped up on the TV screen featuring Joe’s head positioned side by side with a computer-generated caveman head. “Well, one look at this guy,” Gennaro said as the camera returned to him, “and you have to figure either the Neanderthal gene theory is correct or that this moronic ape thawed out of a block of Brooklyn ice.”
The crowd laughed. Dennis frowned.
“And then there’s that other contestant—what’s her name?” The comedian waited. Several members shouted out
Robin’s name, then someone whistled shrilly.
“Right, Robin,” Gennaro said, chuckling. He stiffened and stared into the crowd with an exaggeratedly serious expression. “Anyone else find her just a tad bit attractive?”
The audience erupted, clapping, shouting, more catcalls.
Dennis managed a smile. He folded his arms and nodded drunkenly.
“Damn, she’s hot,” Gennaro said. “Am I right? Am I right?”
“I might have her on the show when she comes back down to Earth.”
The crowd clapped, some shouting, others whistling. Dennis appreciated the brilliance of the joke. She was a star up there.
“But you better bet your family jewels I’ll be wearing a cup under my tux, right here.”
The audience laughed.
“Oh, this just in,” Gennaro said as the crowd quieted; Dennis reached for the remote, thinking the host was done talking about Space Games. “Robin is so blindingly hot that mothers on the distant planet of Super Inferno are warning their children never to stare up at the planet Earth.”
The crowd laughed politely.
Ain’t that the truth, Dennis thought.
“Seriously, folks, I was the electronics section at Macy’s and I swear to God you’ve got to trust me on this I saw an eight-year-old boy watching replay of Robin in one particularly provocative pose during the show, and he grew facial hair right in front of my eyes.”
The audience roared. Dennis waited for more about Robin.
“We’ve got a great show for you tonight,” Gennaro said. “Pro quarterback Robert Griffin the Fourth!”
Applause. “Actor Bilbo Daughterty!” A second, less intense round of applause. “And musical guest, The Hyperactives!”
A fucking what?” Joe howled.
He was cranky. He hadn’t slept much his first night in space, as he’d not been able to get used to the sensation of floating up against the bed straps, of not being able to lie flat against the mattress. And the throbbing pain in his nose where Robin had kicked him—twice—had spread into a vise-like grip upon his skull, a headache that neither the painkillers Vince had given him nor his own stash could alleviate.
“A handicap?” Clenching his teeth, Joe searched the room for something to break. “How fair is that?” He twisted in mid-air to face Vince.
“It’s in the rules,” Vince said calmly, “which you read and signed your consent.”
“Oh, so this is one of those fine-print things, then? But is it fair?”
“World-class women run one-hundred-meter high hurdles only slightly faster than world-class men run the hundred-and-ten.” Vince paused and in his most convincing, challenging voice said, “So if Robin runs the hundred and you run the hundred-and-ten, it should be a very exciting event. If it’s an exciting event and more than ten-million people tune in, you each get an extra three-hundred K. Remember?”
Joe calmed a little. “You think that could happen?”
Joe leaned back and inhaled deeply, his fingers once more locked behind his head, his biceps bulging obscenely for the cameras. “Three-hundred-thousand, right?”
“Right. We just need to make our numbers.”
“People are actually watching this shit?”
Vince pursed his lips, shrugged again. “Apparently, they are.”
About the Author
Born in Norwalk, CT in 1968, and now residing in northern Virginia, Dean Lombardo is an author and avid traveler who makes it a point to explore many of the same settings where his fictional characters can be found. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a natural curiosity about the universe and the many things in it. Dean is the author of two published novels: Vespa (Active Bladder, 2007), and Space Games (Kristell Ink, 2013).