It is a hot summer’s day on the pampas of central Ancòn some twenty kloms inland from the briny sea. A herd of small, horse-like animals are grazing peacefully in the warm sun. None of the animals are aware of the vigilant creature lurking fifty meters away in the tall grass. This creature — the female of the species — is an aggressive hunter. She is presently hidden from view by the lush vegetation that blankets the lower elevations.
The she-hunter is a carnivore, one that resembles a giant, oversized parrot, though much more dangerous. She is equipped with a trim, feathered body, a pair of reptilian eyes, and a massive beak she uses to gulp down huge swaths of flesh. The eyes are set far apart on opposite sides of her disproportionately large head. They remain fixed at all times on the grazing herd.
The creature’s immense head sits atop a long and powerful neck. The head swings from side to side in rapid jerks. This is a reflex habit. It permits the predator to keep a fix on her prey, even without benefit of stereoscopic vision.
Before long the head drops down to the level of the grass. The creature edges forward. But, after several meters, she seems to change her mind. She stops, again raises her oversized head and renews her surveillance. With cold, reptilian eyes the female bird-beast scans the herd for any sign that she has been spotted. Seeing none, she puts her head back down again and advances further. At a distance of perhaps thirty meters, the carnivore is ready to strike.
The creature scratches at the ground now with her claw. She lowers her head to a large rock close by her feet. Then she rubs her cavernous snout against the boulder. This is instinctual behavior. Such rubbing sharpens the beak’s bladelike edges and completes her preparations for the impending attack. Back and forth she goes, until the beak’s edges are razor sharp.
Now the terrible bird-like beast bristles her short feathers and springs from the tall grass. She dashes forward toward the herd at high speed propelled by a pair of long, muscular legs. Within seconds, she is bearing down on her prey at close to seventy kloms per hour. Her small wings, useless for flight, are extended out to the sides for balance and maneuverability.
Stricken with fright, the herd bolts in disarray as the predator bears down upon them. Undeterred, the attacker fixes her attention on an old male. He is lagging behind the rest of the fleeing animals. Although the old male is running desperately fast to escape annihilation, the she-beast quickly gains on him. Only moments later, she is at his side.
Now, with a stunning sideswipe of her powerful left foot, the attacker knocks her prey off balance. She seizes the fallen male in her massive beak and beats the hapless animal against the ground with repeated swinging motions of her giant head. All too quickly the victim succumbs and the attacker swallows the limp body whole. It is an impressive feat, even when one considers the bird-beast’s meter-long head and nearly as wide gape of her beak.
With stomach bulging, the gorged predator lumbers slowly back to her round nest of twigs in the nearby grass, where she resumes incubating her eggs. There are two eggs in the nest, each roughly the size of a basketball.
She squats down upon the eggs and, like a good mother, grunts with satisfaction. Something approaching a contented smile erupts on her giant, parrotlike face.
“In this brilliant science fiction adventure, veteran storyteller Steven Burgauer weaves an intricate narrative bristling with technological insights and historical detail. He spins a good old-fashioned space opera about a stranded trio of female clones, a man with a mission rooted in the past, and a sweeping journey across time and space to put an end to a genetic curse. Five stars toThe Grandfather Paradox — a saga worth savoring, from beginning to end.”
— Publishers Daily Reviews, January 21, 2017
4 stars out of 5
“I really should not have started to read this gripping novel late at night . . . Packed with explosive imagery woven through an enticing plot, The Grandfather Paradox was hard to put down — and still is. The blurb and prologue alone paint incredibly vivid backdrops, merely only providing stepping stones for each reader’s imagination to draw upon. Caught between enjoying every last drop of evocative descriptions Burgauer has to offer, and a riveting, dynamic story, this novel hasn’t ceased to surprise and delight.”
— Lilly, GoodReads Reviewer, January 09, 2017
Burgauer’s The Road to War: Duty & Drill, Courage & Capture is based on the journals of an American WWII infantryman who landed at Normandy, was wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis. Publishers Daily Reviews says of it: Five-plus unequivocal stars . . . an extraordinary read that everyone should enjoy.
Some of his SF titles include The Grandfather Paradox, The Railguns of Luna, The Fornax Drive, and SKULLCAP. Other books of his include The Night of the Eleventh Sun, a Neanderthal’s first encounter with man, and The Wealth Builder’s Guide: An Investment Primer. Steven contributed to the zany, serial mystery, Naked Came the Farmer, headlined by Philip Jose Farmer.
His work has been reviewed in many places, including LOCUS, the EUREKA LITERARY MAGAZINE, PUBLISHERS DAILY REVIEWS, MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW, THE BOOK REVIEWERS, BOOKVIRAL, and PROMETHEUS, the journal of the Libertarian Futurist Society. Science Fiction Chronicle (June 2001) says of his The Railguns of Luna: Steven Burgauer writes old style science fiction in which heroes and villains are easily identified, the action is fast and furious, and the plot twists and turns uncontrollably . . . This is action adventure written straight-forwardly and not meant to be heavily literary or provide pithy commentary on the state of humanity.
Of his book Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou, The Book Reviewers write: “An engaging, slow-burning wartime thriller with an epic feel and a large cast of characters.” Midwest Book Review writes: “In a war that rips apart entire worlds, who can truly be the winner? Add a dash of romance to the intrigue for a solid World War II thriller that’s intricate, frighteningly realistic, and hard to put down.”
When Steven lived in Illinois, the State of Illinois Library included him in a select group of authors invited to the state’s Authors’ Day. He has often been a speaker and panel member at public library events and science-fiction conventions all across the country.
His websites are: