Archive for February 14, 2014

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Do I belong here? I write science fiction, and I know some regulars here have seen my writing, both in Science Fiction and Fantasy Saturday and in Weekend Writing Warriors. Romance? Not always, by any means, but there are bits of romance, sweet rather than spicy, in my writing.

This excerpt is from the second book of the trilogy I’m writing, at the moment called Both Sides Now. (It was Horizon War, but I decided to save that for the whole trilogy.) Here Coralie, the first to speak, is talking with her brother Mik in advance of the yearly trek to new pastures undertaken by their horse nomad clan. Coralie has been nursing Kevi, who is an injured off-worlder in hiding. Bethe was the group’s midwife, who died during the last winter.

“Is anyone able to take Bethe’s place?”

“Tried to talk Doc into it, with the usual luck. He suggested we take Kevi.”

“Kevi? Mik, that’s a wonderful idea! But is he up to it? He’s made a very fast recovery, but he still tires quickly, and he can’t walk any distance.” She shivered a little, remembering the condition Kevi had been in when he had first arrived at the cave.

“He says he can ride. And he was balancing even when he was unconscious.”

“Well, he gets along with Joker. And he’s a good doctor and vet. Certainly he knows more than old Bethe did, and he’s good with animals and people both. Nonie, would you feel safe coming along on summer trek if Kevi comes too? You’d have to ride some. I can’t carry you double all the time! Mik, can we manage a gentle pony? Kevi’s been giving her lessons on Joker, but she really needs something smaller.”

The child came forward a step. “Kevi’s coming too?” she asked eagerly.

Mik looked as if a horse had kicked him in the head. “You’d feel safer with Kevi along?” he asked.

Nonie, by the way, is a little girl who has been raped and left for dead, and is panicky around most men.

Year 9 Day 235

If I had a distort, I thought, I could take Songbird to watch the northern hunters without worry that they might see us. Provided I could convince her to be quiet.

Not that she couldn’t be quiet. That was something children of the People learned early, when stalking small animals. Songbird might not hunt large animals, but I’ve seen her capture enough fish and small rodents to know how silent she could be. But that wouldn’t top her from being seen, and I was certain the hunters had much better vision than most animals.

The computer had the instructions for making warnoffs, I thought, and I still had a number of un-programmed chips. Could a distort possibly be as easy to make as a warnoff was?

I tried asking the computer for “distort.” Nothing. I tried describing it. How do you describe something like a distort? Finally I remembered someone – I don’t even remember who – saying that the effect was caused by bending light rays around an object. The computer gave me an explanation of mirages, which I didn’t really need, but there was a footnote at the end of the article that referred to “artificial mirages.” It was a long shot, but I tried it.

Turned out that was it. Invisibility took two chips, with different programs. The first would cause electromagnetic radiation in a relatively limited band of wavelengths to bend around an object, producing a semitransparent effect. That would affect a recording device, but it wouldn’t confer complete invisibility – anyone looking (or an optical recorder) would see a rather wavery image with odd color fringes but there would still be something there. The second would be programmed similarly to a warnoff, but the message would be closer to “nothing there,” instead of “I’m harmless and I’ll make you sick if you try to eat me.”

It took several days but it worked. Somewhat more to my surprise, Rainbow took it for granted. Was I not a god?