But now I've pretty much joined them. For a writer and avid reader, editing as an occupation is akin to a gourmet foodie making a living as a cook at a greasy spoon: one's hunger increases even as one's stomach sours.
Thanks to recent conversations with a friend who recommended a couple science fiction novels, a fantasy featured in a blog tour last month, and a few more SF offerings written by acquaintances, my reading taste buds have been reawakened.
So, beginning at the bottom of my reading stack, with the volumes that have been longest in my queue, I offer as hors d'ouvres the first two books in Bryan Thomas Schmidt's science fiction series, The Saga of Davi Rhii: The Worker Prince and The Returning.
Excerpt from The Worker Prince:
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Yao muttered.
Davi turned to the cab-bot. “Please outrun that taxi and take us to the north shore.”
The cab-bot’s facial LEDs lit up in the shape of a smile. “I am
attempting to adjust our velocity, sir.”
The taxi jerked as Bordox rammed them again. Davi leapt over the safety bar and pulled the manual override lever, pushing the cab-bot to one side and placing himself at the controls.
“Do you know how to drive this?” Vivi said, alarmed.
“Davi’s the top pilot in our class,” Farien said and smiled.
“Let’s see what this thing is made of.” Davi began pushing buttons, bringing the air taxi to a much faster speed.
Bordox launched another run at them, but Davi braked, and then slid in behind him, taking an onramp back up onto the air highway overhead.
As he turned onto the onramp, Bordox’s frustrated face appeared in the rearview mirror. Bordox’s bulky body looked ridiculous behind the wheel of the air taxi. His dark beard couldn’t hide his aggravation as he struggled to turn the air taxi around.
As they merged into traffic, Davi couldn’t see Bordox behind them.
“Maybe we lost him,” Bela said.
“I doubt it,” Yao said as he and Davi exchanged looks.
In a moment, Davi saw another taxi racing up from behind. “Here he comes.”
Bryan takes the Old Testament story of Moses, sets it in the far future, and turns it into space opera -- with chase scenes. Some reviewers have complained about the overt Christian faith in the books, but I set those comments aside. After all, there are science fiction or fantasy novels with other religions, such as Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, pantheism, etc., as the dominant faiths, and I've read them just fine. (Hey, did any of those reviewers bother to point out that Moses is in the Old Testament, and therefore the faith of the workers/slaves would more closely associate with Judaism? Oh, well.)
Although my internal editor itched to break out the red pencil and go to crazy, fixing misplaced or missing punctuation and such, the story itself is a quick, easy read that will appeal to adult and young adult audiences alike.
Excerpt from The Returning:
ither his eyes were failing or the shadows were alive.
Dru blinked as he listened to his fellow cadets breathing and snoring around him. He lay at the center of a row of seven bunks with seven more lining the opposite wall. All twenty-eight were occupied and no one else seemed to be stirring.
As he lifted his head, he saw a dark shape like a shadow, slinking down the center aisle. The figure moved quickly, sliding between the bunks on the opposite wall and leaning over one of them. He saw a sharp movement. Did the shadow have four arms? Who could it be? His mind raced for answers. His clothes stuck to his body, an odd feeling. He never sweated at night. There was a gargling, then he watched as the shadow shot upright and ran back the way it had come. Dru heard wheezing coming from the bunk and sat up, planting his feet on the floor. What was happening with Cadet Kowl? He jumped up. “Kowl, are you ok?”
No sign of the shadow. A metallic smell filled his nostrils. Others stirred around him. He heard a click as reflector pads flicked on overhead.
Dru gasped and stepped back as he stared down at Cadet Kowl's slashed throat as blood drained from it into two pools on either side of his bunk on the floor. He shivered, a sudden chill coming over him.
“Gods! He's dead!” The cadet behind him sounded as shocked as Dru felt. Cadet Walz was it? Dru couldn't remember. Then chaos erupted as someone pulled the alarm and he was shoved aside by arriving instructors.
In Bryan’s second novel, The Returning, new challenges arise as Davi Rhii’s rival Bordox and his uncle, Xalivar, seek revenge for his actions in The Worker Prince, putting his life and those of his friends and family in constant danger. Meanwhile, politics as usual has the Borali Alliance split apart over questions of citizenship and freedom for the former slaves. Someone’s even killing them off. Davi’s involvement in the investigation turns his life upside down, including his relationship with his fiancée, Tela. The answers are not easy with his whole world at stake.