I just found out that not only is the Cloaked Press anthology “Spring Into SciFi 2020” available on Amazon for pre-order, but it will be delivered to your kindle device on April 3, 2020. That’s this coming Friday, folks.
The book features my science fiction short story “The Colonists,” which I’m absolutely thrilled about. This is a concept and a universe I’ve wanted to get out to readers for quite some time now, and I’m hoping SciFi fans will really enjoy it.
Previously, I mentioned that I would make free advanced digital (epub or MOBI) copies of the anthology available to anyone who requested one, as long as they agreed to write an Amazon review. So far, I’ve had no takers (which is surprising because, hey, free book).
The offer still stands. Contact me if you are interested. I’m extending the offer for another week, until Sunday, April 5, 2020 (which also happens to be First Contact Day), two days after the book becomes available for direct sale.
Here’s an excerpt I haven’t put online before:
“T-minus 45 seconds, colonists. Good luck.” Listening to Captain Weber, he remembered English and Spanish, still understood the words, but he knew he would never speak them again.
That was the last time Genaro heard Captain Weber’s voice while in the ship. The rest of the countdown was controlled by the vessel’s onboard computer. He could feel the vibration of the hatch panels opening at the bottom of the spacecraft, hear the metallic sounds of the latches that held the deployment module in place disengaging.
He tensed his muscles. Genaro and the others were told that there might be an initial jolt when they were released from the Vesper.
“…four, three, two, one…detachment initiated.”
For once Genaro was grateful he didn’t actually have a stomach or an inner ear, since otherwise he was sure the sensation of falling would have made him vomit. It still annoyed him that he thought of his former body, and his former life.
He felt the kick and heard the dull roar of the rocket thrusters used to slow its descent into the atmosphere of Venus. Then, when they were low enough, the module abruptly jerked as the parachutes deployed. There was another jolt as the chutes detached. He listened to the large aluminum and polymer envelope fill with helium, and imagined panels covering the solar cells fluttering away. Then he knew the module had been transformed into their airship.
The noise of Genaro’s pod detaching from the module was deafening. The entire outward facing half of the compartment, his home and coffin for three-and-a-half months, blew away. The pod was in free fall, the screeching of the air rushing past was like the bellowing of tormented spirits.
He twisted his body so he was facing the sky, then he pushed as hard as he could with his rear limbs against the wall behind him. He saw his forward limbs. The appendages at the end of ridiculously long, thin arms. They could adapt for gripping, but the membranes along their length were more suitable for atmospheric gliding.
“Push, you hijo de puta, push!” It didn’t come out as words but there was noise, a language, something akin to a porpoise or a whale.
Then, like escaping the womb, he struggled out of the pod as it continued to plummet. For an instant, Genaro’s five meter long frame, snout to tail, was free. The membranes along the length of his four limbs, now expanded out to his sides, each to their full three meters. A dorsal sail rose from his spine. His limbs and abdomen were filling with a buoyant gas, but he wasn’t rising.
“I’m being pulled down in the wake of the pod.” He looked up. Was that Jonathan coming down after him? “Get out of here. I’m diving too deep.” He could already feel the temperature rising, 30 degrees hotter than when the pod was detached a few minutes ago. It was approaching 150 degrees Fahrenheit. They weren’t designed to adapt to much above 165, plus the concentration of sulfuric acid was increasing.
“We’re not letting you go,” Jonathan cried after him, but he, as well as Latrisha and Herman trailing behind him, weren’t able to keep up with his rapid plunge into the depths.
“Go back.” He reflexively extended the airfoils between his appendages and manipulated them to ascend and maneuver. He was almost flying now, but still being carried downward.
It’s a deal you can’t refuse, and certainly, the price is right.