Tag Archives: science fiction

Slightly Frustrated Self-Promotion (Day 3)

So, on to Day 3 of promoting Thrace. We’ve had Let Tsygons Be Tsygons and Electric High, so now let me introduce you to An Equal Opportunity Murderer.

 

The obligatory quick reminder of what Thrace is about:

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…

 

Although it’s the third story – and rightly so – in the anthology, An Equal Opportunity Murderer is, in fact, the first story set in Thrace which I wrote. It’s about a couple of crime operatives, Nick and X7612, and their attempt to track down a murderer who is killing both humans and Tsygons across the city. (And, incidentally – because I am that sort of a writer – deal with their attraction towards each other.)

 

You have no idea how difficult it was to find a suitable snippet from this story. Weird. It just doesn’t seem to have ‘snippetable’ sections. (But it does mean that I have just invented the word snippetable, which has to be worth something, yes?) So… to lead you up to this segment, Nick and X have been instructed by their boss to pick up an ‘ultra-reader’ (‘useful piece of tech’ to you and me) from Nick’s home. But they’re about to find out that their problems, chasing down a violent killer, have just got worse…

 

Nick’s rooms were on the first floor of the building. He had three; good going for a single guy. X7612 had never been there before, but then he’d never visited X’s place either. Even when they socialised, they tended to meet in the city. There was something a bit too personal about rooms. They were for established lovers, not friends. And X and Nick were nothing more than friends, he reiterated to himself.

X7612 pulled the bike to a kicking stop. “Here okay?”

“Yeah. Won’t be a second.” Nick was up the stairs before he had finished speaking. At his front door, he pressed his palm to the scanner and the door slid up. He took one step forward and then stopped dead. “X!” he yelled, leaving his rooms wide open as he dashed back down the steps. “X, for fuck’s sake…”

X7612 was sitting so still on the bike that zie almost looked as if zie was part of the machinery, hir dark gheil-dress blending nicely with the leather seat. Zie shut hir eyes, leaving only the middle one open and gleaming in the darkness.

“What?”

Nick swallowed, wondering whether he’d sprinted back to X for hir professional view or because he just needed to have someone he knew he could rely on around. Someone for support, not to mention comfort. “We’ve got problems.”

 

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Slightly Frustrated Self-Promotion (Day 2)

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…?

 

Snippet time:

 

“What’s your name?”

The Guy had followed him and was leaning on the bar. Things were looking hopeful.

“Rayme. Yours?”

“Zeth.”

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.

Slightly Frustrated Self-Promotion (Day 1)

So, I was trying to update my ‘novels, novellas and anthologies’ page to catch up with all the things I’ve published/are coming out/have had re-published of late. I really shouldn’t be allowed a website – I’m horrible at keeping it up to date.

(Which reminds me… do tell me, as readers – what do people want from authorly websites? What do you want? And does it really matter – is anyone reading mine anyway?)

Anyway, last summer I re-published Thrace, which is… well, this is what I’ve just put on my website:

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, I’m going to spend the next three days giving you a little bit more detail about each of the three novellas which comprise Thrace. (And forgive me: I am terrible at synopses.)

Ready? Let’s go…

Let Tsygons By Tsygons (oh, come on, I bet you couldn’t have resisted that pun any more than I could!), focuses on Jed Wilson, a medi-supporter (newly qualified doctor, pretty much) who has landed a job on Gielgud’s central city, Thrace. Tsygons keep coming into the hospital with mysterious symptoms, and Jed and his Tsygon colleague, V367L (you get used to the Tsygon names; zie’s called ‘V’ for short) have to try and find out why. Things are made more complicated by the fact that Jed, despite knowing much less about medicine, is V’s boss – because V is a Tsygon, and Jed is human – and that Jed is rather attracted to V, but unable for many reasons to act on this attraction. And it seems that there is much more going on than first meets the eye…

Meet the characters in a snippet of the story:

V367L gave him a considering look, then plunged into a detailed technical description of hir job, of which Jed understood about a quarter. Bad-tempered or not, the Tsygon clearly knew a hell of a lot about what they were doing here. In order to stop the flow of brain-hurting information, Jed interrupted.

“You’re my boss, right?”

V367L gave Jed an inscrutable look. “No,” zie said. “You’re mine.”

“Huh? But… but you know about ten times more than I do,” objected Jed. “Or did you not want the job?”

“I’m a Tsygon,” V said, as if that explained everything. “Nevertheless, you’ll be working with me a lot. Does that bother you?”

“Should it?” Jed asked, startled.

“Some humans,” shrugged the Tsygon, “aren’t too keen.”

“What, because you’re a… a…” Jed hit the tact barrier and bounced off it. “Because you’re not human?”

V raised an eyebrow. “You noticed?”

Somewhat to Jed’s surprise, it seemed V367L had a sense of humour. He leaned in close to hir, and whispered, “I guessed.”

V laughed suddenly. “Jed Wilson, I might like you.”

 

 

 

Satisfied Saturday Six

The SSS celebrates six things that have gone well, or at least okay, in the past week. It is the creation of Terry Egan, who is all things wonderful.

^ I forgot to post this heading last week: huge apologies to Terry for that.

  1. It was my lovely son’s 10th birthday on Monday, which was quite the most important thing which happened this week. Double figures and everything – he’s getting very grown up!
  2. I met Rachael Hale, the History Magpie, this week for a chat, which was ever so pleasing! She’s writing a piece about local writers with an interest in history, and I was gabbling on at top speed about Georgian and Regency things. It’ll be amazing if she caught a single word, but it was really great to talk to her.
  3. Ooh, ooh, ooh, Thrace has been republished this week!  It’s a sci fi anthology of 3 novellas, each between 10,000 and 15,000 words and I consider it one of the best things I’ve written (as do the reviewers who have commented on Good Reads about it). Sadly it got very little sales first time around so I’m hoping for better this time. If you’re in to non-gendered aliens with tails (and if you aren’t, why on earth not?!), take a look at it. (More on this in a different post soon, I hope.)
  4. I also managed to type up a whole screed of the new novel, The Sisterhood, and write another couple of thousand words this week. I keep finding more things I need to research, but I am enjoying the story very much! I know I’m not writing for ‘me’ exactly, but it doesn’t half help confidence if I feel happy about what I’m writing.
  5. I went to the bookshops at the two universities local to me (Kent University, at which I studied many moons ago, and Christ Church University, at which I worked for more than a decade until I became too ill this year) and they’ve both agreed to stock Petticoats and Promises, which is splendid news.
  6. We’ve had a couple of days of sunny weather, which is lovely when we’re on the cusp of autumn.