As I was saying yesterday, last summer I re-published Thrace, and I’m spending three days telling you about the three novellas the anthology comprises. Yesterday, you got information on Let Tsygons Be Tsygons. Today, we’re looking at Electric High. (And I’m still terrible at synopses.)
Background, for anyone who didn’t read it yesterday:
Thrace is a science fiction anthology, consisting of three novella length stories. It is definitely one of the favourite things I’ve ever written, and has had a lot of positive reviews and pretty much no readers, which is very very sad. It is set on the planet Gielgud, which is home to an indigenous (and androgynous) species called Tsygons, but which has been colonised by humans, who have pretty much taken over the place. The stories are very plotty, especially the first and third, but with a certain amount of sexual content as well (because, well, it’s me, and that tends to be how my stories come). But I honestly think it’s quite good…
So. Electric High. Are you ready for this? 🙂 Electric High is the ‘odd one out’ in the trilogy in that it focuses on the relationship between two humans, rather than between a human and a Tsygon. Rayme, a human, works in a Tsygon bar (and pick up joint) as a dance-bar operative, and provider of (legal) electric highs (the equivalent of alcohol). Rayme ended up on Gielgud after he got into trouble on his home planet Earth (you might have heard of it?), and he’s now trying to put his life back on track. Whilst at work, he meets a very attractive man called Zeth, who comes into the bar and for whom he falls very quickly. They get together, but is Zeth really the sort of person Rayme needs in his life…?
“What’s your name?”
The Guy had followed him and was leaning on the bar. Things were looking hopeful.
Zeth. Cute name, too. Cute everything, in fact, Rayme thought.
“Where ya from?” Rayme asked.
“Gamma forty-two, originally.”
“Staying for a while?”
It’d be just Rayme’s luck if Zeth had just come in for a quick blast of something before his shuttle took him elsewhere. That was the trouble with Gielgud: nobody with half a brain wanted to stay there more than five minutes, in Rayme’s experience.
“What do you mean, staying?”
Was the guy an idiot? That would explain a lot. “When’s your shuttle out?”
“Wha…? Oh!” Zeth grinned. “I’m a local.”
“You live here?” Rayme was surprised. “What’re you doing in the outskirts if you’re a local? We don’t get many Gielgud humans out as far as this.”
Zeth gave an embarrassed shrug. “Fancied a change,” he said evasively. “So, can I have a canister while I’m here? What’ve you got on offer?”
Rayme went through the list, from gentle MoodNhancers to BaseBlack, but when he’d finished, Zeth wrinkled his nose. “You’ve not got anything stronger?”
“BaseBlack is the strongest there is,” Rayme pointed out.
“Yeah, in theory, but everyone knows there are other things on offer,” Zeth said suggestively.
Ah. That was what Zeth was doing out here: he was an electric-head. Bloody typical. Rayme had got out of all that sort of scene when he left Earth and now the first guy he really liked on Gielgud was into illegal highs.