How far will you go to find home?
There is a planet on the scanners. It is large and round and red. The sun is yellow and warming, and the planet is in the sun’s life zone. The gravity is slightly stronger than Earth’s. The air is a bit richer, and there is abundant water under the surface.
The red coloring comes from two things. The surface of the planet is covered with red vegetation and their spores are everywhere. The ground is also red, although not with spores but with clay and slate like so faraway Connecticut.
The dog beside me raises his massive head and growls. I scratch behind his ears and his hind legs start thumping the cabin floor. I make him thump in time to songs I sing, switching legs as I go from chorus to lead and back.
“We’ll go down, see if this is the one.”
His ears go up slightly. I wonder how many of the words he understands.
“Take the dog,” my wife said. The cabin has room for me and one more. The taste of her lips is still on mine. The smell of her hair is here before me. I can delight in her touch and feel her sun-warmed and reddened skin.
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When wildlife respects you, you’re someone to be feared
My writing coach suggested I add a scene to The Augmented Man that demonstrates Trailer’s “alpha-ness” in the woods, basically that he’s the uberpredator and even top predators fear him.
But Trailer, in the woods among wildlife, isn’t feared in the way my coach wanted me to depict him. Animals in the wild acknowledge each other and little more. They do not threaten unless they are threatened, they do not attack unless there is no other choice. They won’t attack you unless you’re stupid and they are ravenously hungry or diseased.
So I wrote the following because it 1) depicts Trailer’s status in the wild, 2) shows relatively early on that he’s not the monster everybody assumes he is.
And then I pulled it because – even though I like it a lot – it didn’t fit. It added a scene that is demonstrated elsewhere in the book and at a better place in the narrative.
So what to do with it? As I wrote in Ripping Out the Pattern, I’m saving it for a sequel to The Augmented Man.
Meanwhile, here it is. Let me know what you think.
Continue reading “Trailer, Bear, and Jaguar”
The ultimate battlefield is the human heart
The US government is engaged in a South American war and losing badly. After years of standard and non-standard strategies and tactics failing, the government entertains an often-made suggestion: create supersoldiers. The suggestion is about to be dismissed when (then) Captain James Donaldson adds an outrageous modification: use horribly abused and already traumatized children as the source material. These individuals, Donaldson argues, are already hardened against anything they’ll experience on the battlefield and anything we’ll ask them to do.
Continue reading “The Augmented Man -Synopsis”
What do you do when the ultimate weapon falls in love?
What follows is the first chapter of The Augmented Man. Enjoy (and let me know what you think).
1 April 2053
Trailer closed his eyes and sat at the end of the bar where the cigarette-burned, cheap black Formica countertop met the wall. He eased himself onto the last stool, tucking into the corner in the dim light, a spider hiding out of sight at the edge of its web. His fingers hovered over the cigarette burns closest to him as if divining their cause, sensing them like small, unhealed wounds, seeing the people involved, learning if each burn was an accident or intentional.
The door opened and he smelled the cool April evening on his skin. It was followed by the alcoholic breath and sweat of two men and a woman they supported between them.
Trailer brought his attention back into the bar, collating the activity immediately around him. The barkeeper, a heavy smelling man gnawing a toothpick, his face somewhere between needing a shave and growing a beard, walked over to Trailer. “Yeah?”
Continue reading “The Augmented Man – Surface”
The terrible thing about sunlight is it shows the dirt. – Brigid Berlin
Across the Margin
has published my first work of fiction in…a long time. The story deals with relationships and betrayal.
A short story where a heartache that shirked in the shadows comes to light…
Please feel free to congratulate me.
Below is a teaser. Please head over to Across the Margin to read the whole piece (it’s a quick read. About 1,200 words).
“SolarMax Ten to Houston, come in please.”
“This is Houston. Go ahead, SolarMax.”
“Ted, you feeling okay today? You sound awfully froggy.”
“Guess again, Rachel.”
“Benny? Is that you?”
“It is indeed. Hi Rachel, long time no hear.”
“What are you doing riding bridesmaid, Benny? I heard that you’d gone civ.”
“I have, I have. Mission Control said the last few days had been rough on you and thought you’d like to hear a familiar voice on your last morning up.”
Hope you like it. Let me know.
Blog members can read the original version here.