Crossroad Press’ own PATRICIA LEE MACOMBER will be curating a storybundle of COZY MYSTERY titles for Storybundle.com starting today. These storybundles are a great way to discover new books and authors at a very reasonable price, while also supporting some worthwhile charities. What follows is the actual blog post that will appear at Storybundle.com – I couldn’t say it better – starting with a note from Patricia Lee Macomber:
I can think of no better cure for the winter blues than curling up with a good book. In that vein, here are fourteen great books by nine great authors. This Cozy Mystery Bundle offers a variety of books to appeal to a broad range of readers, each of them hand-picked by me. And as always, you decide the price you pay. And please keep in mind that a portion of the proceeds goes to charity.
Here there are happy characters and dark, humor and suspense. You can get a good dose of ah-ha moments and a few prickles of fear. The bundle includes my own book, Murder, Sometimes, the first book in the Jason Callahan supernatural mystery series. It also includes books by perennial favorites, Bill Crider and Ed Gorman, as well as some new and rising stars. There are two boxed sets included in this bundle, as well, bringing the total number of books to fourteen.
This bundle only runs for three weeks, so you’d better get ’em while they’re hot. There is no better way to give the gift of reading to your friends, too. The first five books are available for the nominal price of $5 (or more if you’re in a charitable mood) and for $14 (or more if you’re in a charitable mood) you will receive the four bonus books. – Patricia Lee Macomber
The initial titles in the bundle (minimum $5 to purchase) are:
- A Minor Case of Murder by Jeff Markowitz
- Deadly Blessings by Julie Hyzy
- The Kewpie Killer by Falafel Jones
- Lexy Baker Cozy Mysteries Boxed Set 1-4 by Leighann Dobbs
- Murder, Sometimes by Patricia Lee Macomber
If you pay more than the bonus price of just $14, you’ll get another four books:
- One Dead Dean by Bill Crider
- The McKinleys Mystery Series Boxed Set 1-3 by Carolyn Arnold
- New Improved Murder by Ed Gorman
- Death is a Cabaret by Deborah Morgan
The bundle is available for a very limited time only, via http://www.storybundle.com. It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!
It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.
Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.
- Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
- Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
- Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
- Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. We’re currently featuring Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.
- Receive extra books: If you beat our bonus price, you’re you’re getting fourteen total books (which includes two boxed sets)!
StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.
We’ve started out busy in 2015 with a lot of new books and a lot more in the works. Here’s a small sample:
The bundles are still live – savings of up to $70 on some of them. New bundles are been added, and later this week we will be working on a Western bundle, a Thriller Bundle, and possibly Romance. We will also be introducing more single-author box sets.
The DeChance Chronicles Volumes 1-4 – David Niall Wilson – Including Heart of a Dragon, Vintage Soul, My Soul to Keep, Kali’s Tale and two related novellas – The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs & The Currently Accepted Habits of Nature and The Preacher’s Marsh – Now available in a single collection for only $4.99 – save more than $8 off retail. Book V is coming soon – now’s your time to catch up on the entire series… Amazon.com / Barnes & Noble / Crossroad Press
Two new trilogies for your reading pleasure… The Ciniverse Cycle – indluding Slaves of the Volcano God, Bride of the Slime Monster & Revenge of the Fluffy Bunnies – by Craig Shaw Gardner Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Crossroad Press is happy to announce that Four Holiday eBook Bundles have been released. There are more than 70 books across the four titles with a possible savings of more than $250!
If you have friends who read SF/F – Horrror – or Mysteries, pass the links along. Spread the word far and wide! Visit our site and sign up for our e-mail Newsletter (infrequent and as little bother as we can make it) to stay abreast of new deals!
REALMS OF WONDER – Fourteen novels of SF/F – each the first in an ongoing series. This is a savings of nearly $50 off the retail value on these books, an a great way to discover new and classic series novels from Crossroad Press: Buy at Amazon.com / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Crossroad Press
Titles included in this collection: The Birth of the Dread Remora – by Aaron Rosenberg – Book I of The Tales of the Scattered Earth / The Parting – by David Niall Wilson – Book I of the Novels of the O.C.L.T. / Haydn of Mars – By Al Sarrantonio – Book I of The Masters of Mars Trilogy / City of Iron – By Chet Williamson – Book I of The Searchers Series / Exile – By Al Sarrantonio – Book One of The Five Worlds Trilogy / Blood River Down – By Charles L. Grant – Book I of The Quest for the White Duck Trilogy / A Malady of Magicks – By Craig Shaw Gardner – Book I of The Ebenezum Series / Symphony – By Charles L. Grant – Book I of The Millennium Quartet / Lost Things – By Melissa Scott & Jo Graham – Book I of The Order of the Air / The Phoenix Bells – By Kathryn Ptacek – Book I of The Land of Ten Thousand Willows / Heart of a Dragon – By David Niall Wilson – Book I of The DeChance Chronicles / No Small Bills – By Aaron Rosenberg – Book I of The Adventures of DuckBob / Five-Twelfths of Heaven – By Melissa Scott – Book I of The Roads of Heaven Trilogy / The Quest of the Thirteen – By John DeFilippis – Book I of The Medallion of Mavinor Series
A MURDER OF MYSTERIES – Featuring twenty novels of mystery and suspense by various award-winning and bestselling authors. For $2.99, you’re getting twenty novels, each the first book in a continuing series, containing almost 1.5 million words in total, and a savings of more than $70. Buy at Amazon.com / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Crossroad Press
Titles included in this collection: Too Late to Die – by Bill Crider – Book 1 of the Dan Rhodes Mysteries / Death is a Cabaret – by Deborah Morgan – Book 1 of the Antique Lover’s Mysteries / P. B. – by Dave Pedneau – Book 1 of the Whit Pynchon Mysteries / Switch – by William Bayer – Book 1 of the Janek Series / Blood Moon – by Ed Gorman – Book 1 of the Robert Payne Mystery Series / The Turner Journals – by Robert J. Randisi – Book 1 of the Detective McQueen Series / The Hanged Man – by T.J. MacGregor – Book 1 of the Mira Morales Series / Pink Vodka Blues – by Neal Barrett, Jr. – Book 1 of the Blues Series / Dead on the Island – by Bill Crider – Book 1 of the Truman Smith Mysteries / A Hard Day’s Death – by Raymond Benson – Book 1 of the Spike Berenger Rock ‘N’ Roll Mysteries / Prophecy Rock – by Rob MacGregor – Book 1 of the Will Lansa Mysteries / The Changing – by T.M. Wright – Book 1 of the Biergarten Series / A Minor Case of Murder – by Jeff Markowitz – Book 1 of the Cassie O’Malley Mysteries / Sins of the Flash – by David Niall Wilson / Case File – by Bill Pronzini – part of the Bill Pronzini Mystery Collection / Rough Cut – by Ed Gorman – Book 1 of the Jack Dwyer Mystery Series / Murder, Sometimes – by Patricia Lee Macomber – Book 1 of the Jason Callahan Mysteries / Tango Key – by T.J. MacGregor – Book 1 of the Tango Key Mysteries / One Dead Dean – by Bill Crider – Book 1 of the Carl Burns Mysteries / Tangier – by William Bayer – Book 1 of the Foreign Detective Series
A HAUNTING OF HORRORS – Featuring twenty novels of horror and the occult by various award-winning and bestselling authors. For $2.99, you’re getting twenty novels containing over two million words in total, and a savings of more than $70. Buy at Amazon.com / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Crossroad Press
Titles included in this collection: Horrorween – Al Sarrantonio – Book 1 of the Orangefield Series / It’s Loose – B.W. Battin / Ash Wednesday – Chet Williamson / The Kill Riff – David J. Schow / Wire Mesh Mothers – Elizabeth Massie / The Beast That Was Max – Gerard Houarner – Book 1 of the Resurrection Cycle / The Evil – Hugh B. Cave – Book 1 of the Evil Trilogy / Blood of the Impaler – Jeffrey Sackett / The Fury – John Farris – Book 1 of the Fury Series /’ The Light at the End – John Skipp & Craig Spector / Lake Monsters – Joseph A. Citro / Prodigal – Melanie Tem / AfterAge – Yvonne Navarro / Ancient Eyes – David Niall Wilson / Child of the Night – Nancy Kilpatrick – Book 1 in the Power of the Blood world / The Dark’Un – Ronald Kelly / Gnelfs – Sidney Williams / Excavation – Steve Rasnic Tem / Thunder Rise – G. Wayne Miller – Book 1 of the Thunder Rise Trilogy / Hexes – Tom Piccirilli
A HAUNTING OF HORRORS Volume 2 – Featuring twenty novels of horror and the occult by various award-winning and bestselling authors. For $2.99, you’re getting twenty novels containing over two million words in total, and a savings of more than $70. Buy at Amazon.com / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Crossroad Press
Titles included in this collection: The Convulsion Factory – Brian Hodge / Dust of Eden – Thomas Sullivan / The Weird Ones – Steve Vernon / Scary Rednecks and Other Inbred Horrors – Weston Ochse & David Whitman / Blood Samples – Jay Bonansinga / Untcigahunk: The Complete Little Brothers – Rick Hautala / Kiss Me Like You Love Me – Wednesday Lee Friday / Red Dreams – Dennis Etchison / The Shadows, Kith & Kin – Joe R. Lansdale / Tryptych – Jack Ketchum / The Forbidden Zone – Whitley Strieber / The Last Call of Mourning – Charles L. Grant / Shadoweyes – Kathryn Ptacek / With Wounds Still Wet – Wayne Allen Sallee / Black Leather Required – David J. Schow / Defining Moments – David Niall Wilson / Delightful Agony – David Whitman / Less Than Human – Gary Raisor / Dark Ride – Michael Laimo / The Nightmare Frontier – Stephen Mark Rainey
ONLY $1.50 Through the holidays at CROSSROAD PRESS
A week before Christmas, Dr. Daniel Jackson discovers that archaeologists in Iceland are excavating a Norse burial site that might have connections to the recently encountered Asgard race.
Concerned about what they might uncover, Daniel persuades General Hammond to let SG-1 travel to Iceland – much to the annoyance of the field archaeologists. But as the weather closes in, tensions build at the remote dig site and it becomes apparent that the archaeologists are hiding something…
In the frozen night of an arctic winter, Colonel Jack O’Neill and his team must battle to contain a nightmare from the past that threatens the future of the entire human race.
ONLY $2.99 at:
The second of our series of holiday bundles, A Murder of Mysteries features twenty novels of mystery and suspense by various award-winning and bestselling authors. For $2.99, you’re getting twenty novels, each the first book in a continuing series, containing almost 1.5 million words in total, and a savings of more than $70 if each title was purchased separately. This bundle is only available for a limited time, so purchase your copy before it’s gone.
Titles included in this collection:
Too Late to Die – by Bill Crider – Book 1 of the Dan Rhodes Mysteries
Death is a Cabaret – by Deborah Morgan – Book 1 of the Antique Lover’s Mysteries
A. P. B. – by Dave Pedneau – Book 1 of the Whit Pynchon Mysteries
Switch – by William Bayer – Book 1 of the Janek Series
Blood Moon – by Ed Gorman – Book 1 of the Robert Payne Mystery Series
The Turner Journals – by Robert J. Randisi – Book 1 of the Detective McQueen Series
The Hanged Man – by T.J. MacGregor – Book 1 of the Mira Morales Series
Pink Vodka Blues – by Neal Barrett, Jr. – Book 1 of the Blues Series
Dead on the Island – by Bill Crider – Book 1 of the Truman Smith Mysteries
A Hard Day’s Death – by Raymond Benson – Book 1 of the Spike Berenger Rock ‘N’ Roll Mysteries
Prophecy Rock – by Rob MacGregor – Book 1 of the Will Lansa Mysteries
The Changing – by T.M. Wright – Book 1 of the Biergarten Series
A Minor Case of Murder – by Jeff Markowitz – Book 1 of the Cassie O’Malley Mysteries
Sins of the Flash – by David Niall Wilson
Case File – by Bill Pronzini – part of the Bill Pronzini Mystery Collection
Rough Cut – by Ed Gorman – Book 1 of the Jack Dwyer Mystery Series
Murder, Sometimes – by Patricia Lee Macomber – Book 1 of the Jason Callahan Mysteries
Tango Key – by T.J. MacGregor – Book 1 of the Tango Key Mysteries
One Dead Dean – by Bill Crider – Book 1 of the Carl Burns Mysteries
Tangier – by William Bayer – Book 1 of the Foreign Detective Series
The first of our series of holiday bundles, Realms of Wonder features fourteen novels of science fiction or fantasy by various award-winning and bestselling authors. For $2.99, you’re getting fourteen novels, each the first book in a continuing series, containing over 1.15 million words in total, and a savings of almost $50 if each title was purchased separately. This bundle is only available for a limited time, so purchase your copy before it’s gone.
Titles included in this collection:
The Birth of the Dread Remora – by Aaron Rosenberg – Book I of The Tales of the Scattered Earth
The Parting – by David Niall Wilson – Book I of the Novels of the O.C.L.T.
Haydn of Mars – By Al Sarrantonio – Book I of The Masters of Mars Trilogy
City of Iron – By Chet Williamson – Book I of The Searchers Series
Exile – By Al Sarrantonio – Book One of The Five Worlds Trilogy
Blood River Down – By Charles L. Grant – Book I of The Quest for the White Duck Trilogy
A Malady of Magicks – By Craig Shaw Gardner – Book I of The Ebenezum Series
Symphony – By Charles L. Grant – Book I of The Millennium Quartet
Lost Things – By Melissa Scott & Jo Graham – Book I of The Order of the Air
The Phoenix Bells – By Kathryn Ptacek – Book I of The Land of Ten Thousand Willows
Heart of a Dragon – By David Niall Wilson – Book I of The DeChance Chronicles
No Small Bills – By Aaron Rosenberg – Book I of The Adventures of DuckBob
Five-Twelfths of Heaven – By Melissa Scott – Book I of The Roads of Heaven Trilogy
The Quest of the Thirteen – By John DeFilippis – Book I of The Medallion of Mavinor Series
PULL NO PUNCHES
By Christopher Golden
Compared to John McIlveen, I’m a lightweight. Over the years I’ve written my share of gruesome scenes, not to mention my share of scenes in which I set out to inflict emotional pain on both characters and readers. The darkness awaits us all, and I never flinch from pointing out the doorway that leads into it. Sometimes I’ll open the door and show you what lies beyond. Occasionally I’ll step over the threshold and take a few tentative steps beyond, shine a light into the worst of it just to let you know how bad it can get. After that, I retreat as quickly as I came, but I don’t do that just for me. It’s not purely out of cowardice. I retreat because I know that’s what most of you want me to do. It’s the best thing for us all.
John McIlveen never retreats. I won’t say he lives in the darkness. Anyone who has met him will realize that’s impossible, that a man as kind and aw-shucks genial as John McIlveen can’t possibly live in the darkness.
But he does rent a little apartment there.
Just a cute little two bedroom place, a fourth floor walkup with hot and cold running sorrow and a lovely view of the fiery rivers of Hell. He likes it there. It’s his getaway from the world, a quiet place where he can forget about his troubles and ruminate on the ugliness so many of us encounter—or carry beneath our skins—every day. John’s not afraid, you see. He pulls no punches. He doesn’t turn his back on the horrors that spring from humanity, he forges mirrors and holds them up, forcing us to look.
You need go no further than my favorite story in this collection, the vengeance tale “Paint it Black,” or the apocalyptic “Desolation” to understand what I mean. The author is never afraid to gaze into the abyss. It may gaze back, but John is unflinching. In all of those horrific news stories, reporters interview neighbors who say “He seemed like such a nice man.” If any of John’s neighbors dare to read this collection, they will most certainly be saying the same thing. He seems like such a nice man.
He is, my darlings. That’s why it’s called fiction.
He’s also got a wicked sense of humor, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Back to the pain. “Infliction” is an brutal tale about dark secrets, a theme which recurs throughout this collection. “Roundabout” is a haunting story that puts the telescope onto the worst sins of the father, and “Portraits” is a close cousin. The darkness in these stories bleeds over into the twisted sexuality of “Succumb” and “Make a Choice,” the latter of which also blurs the lines between horror and humor.
“Jerks” is full of humor and horror, tragedy and comedy. “Playing the Huddys” and “Saddled Vengeance” are just all kinds of wrong. They say that comedy is seeing someone slip on a banana peel and tragedy is when it happens to you. “The Bore” walks on the razor edge between them quite artfully, making you laugh even as it fills you with a sense of real sadness. It’s one of the most sorrowful stories I’ve ever read.
I’d not intended this introduction to tick off the stories one by one, but the urge to do so is almost overwhelming, because what makes John McIlveen a terrific writer is not just his skill as a storyteller but his range. “A Mother’s Love” and “Smokey” and “Nina” all have themes of abuse, of broken people and a culpability that echoes through their lives. There is love and humanity underlying the horror of these stories. But in these pages you’ll also find masterfully clever short shorts like “Simon Says,” the beautiful sweetness of “Hope,” the perfectly executed be-careful-what-you-wish-for warning of “Finding Forever.”
Some of these stories will make you laugh and some will hurt you, possibly at the same time. Little parts of you, tender bits deep inside, may be broken. But they’ll heal. If you need any help healing them, save the heartfelt and lovely “Devotion” for last. I won’t say it isn’t a sad story—it’s about love and family and a plane crash—but somehow McIlveen makes it all okay.
Which makes me wonder if that isn’t what he’s been doing all along as he’s written these stories for magazines and anthologies over the years. He may hold up the mirror to show us the darkest, ugliest parts of humanity and ourselves—and sometimes it can be so hard to look into that mirror—but maybe it’s that he knows someone has to do it. Someone has to have the courage not to look away so we never forget how vicious the darkness can be…but also so that we know that even when things are at their darkest, we’re not alone.
It’s all going to be okay. Trust me.
Trust John McIlveen.
He won’t protect you. Not really. But he’ll pick you up when you fall and he’ll put you back together again if you break.
The best writers always do.
October 11th, 2014
There’s a lot going on at Crossroad Press. There will be more news following, holiday sales, a contest, and more – for now, here are four new releases for yoru Halloween pleasure… OCTOBER 10th NEVERMORE will be featured at Bookbub. From now until then you can buy it for only .99
NEVERMORE – A NOVEL OF LOVE, LOSS & EDGAR ALLAN POE – by DAVID NIALL WILSON – .99 through October 17 – On the banks of Lake Drummond, on the edge of The Great Dismal Swamp, there is a tree in the shape of a woman. One dark, moonlit night, two artists met at The Lake Drummond Hotel, built directly on the borderline of North Carolina and Virginia. One was a young woman with the ability to see spirits trapped in trees and stone, anchored to the earth beyond their years. Her gift was to draw them, and then to set them free. The other was a dark man, haunted by dreams and visions that brought him stories of sadness and pain, and trapped in a life between the powers he sensed all around him, and a mundane existence attended by failure. They were Eleanore MacReady, Lenore, to her friends, and a young poet named Edgar Allan Poe, who traveled with a crow that was his secret, and almost constant companion, a bird named Grimm for the talented brothers of fairy-tale fame. Their meeting drew them together in vision, and legend, and pitted their strange powers and quick minds against the depths of the Dismal Swamp itself, ancient legends, and time. Once, upon a shoreline dreary, there was a tree. This is her story.
BUMP IN THE NIGHT – by ROB MacGREGOR – If you’re captivated by the spookiness of Halloween, when the veils between worlds are the thinnest, then BUMP IN THE NIGHT offers you the chance to explore the realm of ghosts and spirits and even alien encounters any day of the year.
CASE WHITE – by THOMAS SULLIVAN – No work of fiction or nonfiction has done what CASE WHITE does in this monumental new novel by USA Today Best-selling author Thomas Sullivan. Set in the era of two world wars, this comprehensive work weaves together the bizarre mythology and eccentric beliefs that explain how a nation went insane for 12 years. Told through the compelling lives and loves of a pair of very unique characters, this tour de force will take you into a radical blend of religion and myth frighteningly similar to what is going on in parts of the world today. Certain to be a benchmark work of elegantly written fiction and historical perspective, CASE WHITE delivers a poignant people story played out on a grand stage.
THE SKELETON INSIDE ME – by DAVID NIALL WILSON – A young girl receives a fright when her father brings home a new Halloween decoration. As the story progresses, she learns more about the “monster” in the box and her own body, and comes to grips with her fears. An amusing story for Halloween, rendered in clever rhyme and beautifully illustrated by Dan Monroe.
Available in Hardcover, paperback, eBook and Unabridged Audio – narrated by Gigi Shane (The Audiobook comes with a PDF copy of the book so you can show the pictures to your kids and follow along)
AMERI-SCARES: ILLINOIS – THE CEMETERY CLUB – by ELIZABETH MASSIE – When twelve-year-old Hilary Wilson’s family moves from Pennsylvania to Justice, Illinois, she finds herself feeling angry, frustrated, and lonely. To make matters worse, bully Frank Simmons, whose favorite pastime is scaring people, decides Hilary should be his next victim. Along with his friends Audrey and Todd, Frank challenges Hilary to join his “Cemetery Club,” which meets inside the huge, imposing Resurrection Cemetery and consists of a series of creepy pranks. Hilary is determined to prove her courage and not let Frank’s spooky tricks scare her. Then Marjorie, a very strange girl Hilary befriends in the cemetery, comes to Hilary’s defense with even creepier tricks to play on Frank. But when Marjorie’s pranks become terrifying and seemingly impossible, Hilary has to convince Marjorie to stop. And she must find out once and for all who Marjorie really is.
THE ENTIRE AMERI-SCARES SERIES IS PERFECT FOR YOUNGER READERS AT HALLOWEEN!
MISTER GLOW-BONES and OTHER HALLOWEEN TALES – by RONALD – KELLY – Halloween is more than a holiday; more than a fun time of candy and costumes for the young. It is inoculated into our very being at an early age and there it remains. As we grow old, it grows dormant… but it is still there. For the lucky ones, such as us, it emerges every year, like a reanimated corpse digging its way out of graveyard earth to shamble across our souls. And we rejoice… oh, if we are the fortunate ones, we most certainly rejoice.
Stories included in this collection:
Pins & Needles
Mister Mack & the Monster Mobile
The Halloween Train
The Candy in the Ditch Gang
Halloweens: Past & Present
Monsters in a Box
THREE SMALL COINKYDINKS – A DuckBob Spinowitz Adventure – By AARON ROSENBERG – (If you don’t think this is scary enough for Halloween, try having a duck’s hyead…) Bob Spinowitz was an average guy—until aliens abducted him and gave him the head of a duck. Then they asked “DuckBob” to save the universe, since their modifications meant he could. Talk about a backhanded compliment!
Amazingly, though, DuckBob did it. And thus became Guardian of the Matrix, which protects the cosmos from further invasion—as long as he’s plugged in. Literally.
But alien techie pal Ned just made the Matrix User Interface wireless. Suddenly, DuckBob is free again—the whole universe is at his alien-altered, webbed feet! Only problem is, could being unplugged mean he’s out of a job?
As a pick-me-up, Ned takes DuckBob to his homeworld—which looks just like Brooklyn. Odd changes are afoot, there, however—ones with potentially cosmic repercussions. Soon DuckBob finds himself struggling to stay alive. And to find lunch, which is equally important.
Can DuckBob conquer his doubt, rein in his freedom, and help save Ned’s world? Or will our avian-esque hero’s first unrestricted flight be the last—not just for him but for us all?