Newsletter Subscribe

Blog & Comments

Arriving Soon


Woman in the Sea: Classic Science Fiction Novel (DarkSF Book 1)

by John Argo on 2019-04-06

Zoë Calla, 28, is bright, attractive, happy-go-lucky, and ambitious—but struggling with a ton of radioactive karma. She wants to be the next hot-shot news reporter in the small California coastal town of San Tomas. Her elderly mother is seeing alien ghosts, her young son Max may have bone cancer, a sinister but seductive detective named Vic Lara seems to read Zoë's mind, and handsome zoo curator Roger Chatfield is widowed and available (with a few strings attached).

Can Zoë Calla save the world? Will her mother forgive her? Will her soul mate be Roger or Vic? Will Dr. Boutros save Max? Will her ex-husband, the late, violent biker and murderer, Frank, stay dead? Can she get on with life? What happens next? Read the story of Zoë Calla to find out the answers.

A primordial invasion fleet from the Lesser Magellanic Cloud lies sleeping at the bottom of the sea off San Tomas—and its pilot-avatar has begun communicating with Zoë by means of a Cold Thing that lives in a metaphoric pool at the back of her brain.

When it rains, it pours. Sinister Detective Vic Lara starts circling around like a shark in the sea--and Zoë starts to realize that not only does he have a dark, overpowering romantic (dangerous) hold on her, but he knows the truth about her terrifying past, a life so horrible that she has blocked everything out.

Will she continue to be drawn into the orbit of Det. Vic Lara, or will she instead gravitate toward the handsome, enigmatic zoo curator. Dr. Roger Chatfield is a widower with two children that Max befriended at school—stunning Elisa, 13, and boisterous Rudy, 9. She doesn’t trust Chatfield. He is part of the conspiratorial Burtongale family. What does he know about the six dead employees and visitors at the zoo, and who's next?

As Zoë would tell it, maybe her life is best summed up by the story of her modeling job. She was called to audition, and told she was beautiful—but alas, a foot too short and ten pounds too ‘full.’ However, they would be delighted to call her to model her gorgeous eyes, hands, feet, teeth, even her golden curly hair. And then nobody ever called.

She has been married, widowed, gone steady, almost fallen in love again, and never made it back to the altar. It’s not even on her radar as she copes with life in the small city by the big sea, a shoal of vast and eternal space. Just how close the infinite void is becomes dangerously clear as everything starts going wrong--and a long-dead invasion fleet from deep space awakens to finish killing off life on Earth, making way for scary creatures with an alien agenda that asks no questions and takes no prisoners.

Zoë tries her best to take things in stride. She's at the bottom of the ladder--typing obituaries at the town newspaper and hoping for a break. Her young son Max, 10, is in remission from bone cancer. Now the doctors have found a blip in his femur, and she’s worried sick. Her mother is a capital pain, her library books are overdue, and her love life is about as shiny as the Coal Sack Nebula (not a star in sight).

One day, researching a deceased person’s bio in the morgue (newspaper library), she stumbles on a covered-up string of murders at the town zoo. Like the newspaper, the banks, and everything else in San Tomas, the zoo is owned by the wealthy Burtongales, whose 19th century ancestor brought back a very strange, powerful set of artifacts from an African expedition. Now bodies are piling up, violently deceased, probably by a serial killer who mimics zoo animals--or an unearthly ghost from far away and long ago? This must be her big break, or what?

Call it Slipstream, New Weird, or DarkSF. John Argo explains that DarkSF is the Dark Chocolate of SF, like Blade Runner or Dark City. This was an early VR novel before The Matrix. More info at It's a literate, atmospheric, original, and creative read for thoughtful readers.