Striders

As I mentioned in The Raping of Cyrynda Strong, in the early 1990s I wrote a triptych of stories in which women took the lead and not always to their benefit. Although not part of the triptych, my success with Cymodoce, spurred me into give a female lead/POV a whirl.… Read the rest

As I mentioned in The Raping of Cyrynda Strong, in the early 1990s I wrote a triptych of stories in which women took the lead and not always to their benefit. Although not part of the triptych, my success with Cymodoce, spurred me into give a female lead/POV a whirl.

The first story was Rachel, Above the Clouds, While Flying (and was recently published in Across the Margin). The Raping of Cyrynda Strong came next and this story, “Striders”, came last. I can’t tell if it still needs some polish.

Let me know what you think, and thanks.


Striders

 
Gladys stopped in the doorway between the comm and the ship’s claustrophobic living-room. She could see Dobrynin shuffling on his roll-bed and balanced herself in mid stride, the toe of one slipper not quite touching the floor, her tiny figure framed by the comm’s instrument lighting.

Dobrynin sat up and scratched his beard and gut. “Where’d’you go?”

“I…I had to go to the john.”

“You didn’t fuck anything up, did you?”

Alarms sounded.

“What in hell?” He glanced at her and rose. Instinctively she backed away as he hurried into the comm. “Coil chamber integrity, zero. Stabilization manifolds point-ten and dropping. Life-support viability,” Dobrynin toggled a switch which flipped the readout back and forth, “recycling heap and atmospheric plant, both failing. Well, Gladys, not even you could have done this.”

She sighed and her shoulders relaxed.

Dobrynin studied the instruments one more time. “It looks like we’re going down.”

Slowly the stars came back into view and the Venturer shook as the jump drive indicator lights died.

Gladys called up the maps and arranged them according to the emerging star patterns.

“Don’t touch that.” He slapped her hand away from the interface panel as he studied the maps for a landing site. “Emerson’s Planet or Nemel. Some choice.”.

She peered over his shoulder. “Nemel’s closer to trade routes this time of year.”

“I am trying to think.”

“Sorry.”

“We’ll go to Emerson’s Planet. It’s got breathable air and fresh water according to the map. It shows green, so there’s got to be vegetation down there, too. Computer, estimate time before system failure.”

A synthetic female voice replied, “15.7.25.”

He touched the planet’s image on the map. “Locate landing site on selected body.”

A panel lit up to Dobrynin’s right. The female voice said, “Working.”

Dobrynin moved his feet to the servos. They responded with little effort. “Good. At least we won’t crash.” He punched in a descending spiral orbit on the flight control computers, letting the planet pull them in until the computer came back with some findings.

“Landing site found,” the computer said a minute later. A series of crosshairs and circles formed on the map.

“Auto pilot,” Dobrynin said. The servos went limp as the computer assumed responsibility for the descent. Dobrynin went into the storage bay to check food, power, and weapons. Gladys followed him in. “I don’t want you in here, Gladys.”

She nodded, crossed her arms tightly over her chest and walked back to the comm.

An hour later they were on the ground. Dobrynin sent up a Caster then went back to finish checking on their supplies. Within a few minutes the Caster flew over a group of grazing quadrupedal creatures.

Gladys stood alone and observed the creatures in the Caster’s monitor. “Hmm. Morbid thorax and abdomen, at least by earth-standards. Hirsute, rounded mandibular structure, prehensile proboscis and osculates, bi-aural and ocular, apparently herbivores, three-hundred kilo by two-point-seven meter average.”

She flipped the Caster from automatic to manual and gently nudged the joystick.

The Caster flew lower and the creatures broke into a run. “Unguligrade perissodactyl tylopods, evolved for extended trotting and moving in 1-2,3-4 rhythm.”

Dobrynin came up behind her quietly. His hand snapped forward and crushed hers around the joystick, ramming it forward so that the Caster flew among the creatures, knocking some over and scything through the hides of others with its blades.


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The Raping of Cyrynda Strong

Back in the early 1990s I wrote a triptych of stories (I hoped) from a woman’s point of view. Cymodoce, written in the late 1980s and in limited 3rd, had a female main character and, when anonymously workshopped, people thought it the work of a female hand.… Read the rest

Back in the early 1990s I wrote a triptych of stories (I hoped) from a woman’s point of view. Cymodoce, written in the late 1980s and in limited 3rd, had a female main character and, when anonymously workshopped, people thought it the work of a female hand. It went on to receive a Nebula nomination in 1995 (Tomorrow Magazine).

With that behind me, I went for it. Rachel, Above the Clouds, While Flying came first (and was recently published in Across the Margin). “The Raping of Cyrynda Strong” came next and I’ve hesitated sending it out due to the title (I explain the title at the end of this post). Next week I’ll share the last in the triptych, “Striders”, which I think is a great story and am still reviewing before sending it out.

Let me know what you think, and thanks.


The Raping of Cyrynda Strong

 
It was done and she felt herself relax.

***

 
“Care to go for a walk?” Michael asked.

She thought for a moment.

Pros slid into cons faster than she liked: she liked him, he was cute, he was a gentleman, he listened to her. It was their first date, there were some beach houses within screaming distance with lights on, the beach was deserted, he might turn into a monster — two arms, two legs, and a dick. She remembered a joke a friend told her, “…I’ve already got one asshole in my pants, I don’t need another.”

Another car entered the parking lot. A man and a woman got out, the man’s deep voice and the woman’s high laughter ran ahead of them as they made their way down to the sand. Not far onto the beach the man and woman kissed lightly, affectionately, then continued hand in hand.

Something in Cyrynda ached. “Sure. Maybe a short walk. I don’t want to go far.”

She and Michael walked from the parking lot down to the beach followed by a coterie of quietly clacking gulls. Behind them the late summer sun was setting. Red arms of dusk started in the west and reached along both north and south horizons. Above them the sky was dark. Waves licked up the beach and foamed briefly when they broke. Small pools collected in their footsteps as they walked along the sand. The ocean smelled of a rapidly cooling night, tidal pools, and sun-dried seaweed and skate-cases. When they stopped the gulls gathered ten feet from them, waiting for any scraps they might throw.

A slight breeze brought a hint of autumn and winter to come. The other couple ran past at a respectful distance, their laughter and whispers washing up and over Michael and Cyrynda like a gently tearing wake. Cyrynda took Michael’s hand and he kept his eyes on the sky.

“Do you know anything about the stars?” he asked her.

“I’m a Sagittarius, if that’s what you mean.”

He laughed. “Do you know which stars are in Sagittarius?”

“No. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen it before. Except in books, I mean.”

“May I?” He stood behind her and gently moved against her so that their bodies were touching, then rested his head on top of hers.

She felt her belly quiver at his touch. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Now, move your head with mine and look along my arms.” He framed part of the sky with his hands. “See that collection of stars between my hands?”

“Yes.”

“That’s Sagittarius.”

“It is?” She bobbed her head forward as if the extra inches would bring the stars closer.

“And that star at the tip of my finger?” He twitched his right index finger, “That’s called ‘Kaus Australis’.” He moved a finger on his other hand. “That one’s called ‘Nunki’.”

“What’s that kind of fog going through it?”

He laughed again. “That’s the Milky Way. The galaxy. Sagittarius – the constellation – is on the way to the center of the galaxy. The different stars aren’t, though. All those stars are different distances away. You’d eventually pass them all, but not all at once.”

“Sounds like you’ve gone out that way.”

“No,” he smiled. She felt herself getting used to him being there, behind her, wrapped in his arms. It was safe and protected. “Not out that way.”

“So what sign are you?”

“I don’t know. They don’t have zodiacal divination where I come from.”

“Zodiacal divination,” she repeated. “Sounds like some kind of disease. Where are you from that you never learned your Zodiac sign?”

“I’m from Siyo Sunka.”

He pulled away but she held his arms around her, letting him encircle her beneath her breasts.

“I never heard of Siyo…sunka? Where is it?”

“You really want to know?”

“Of course I do. I might have to go there on business someday.”

He laughed again. “Okay.” He turned them south and pointed to a bright star on the horizon. “See that?”

“Yep.”

“I’m from a little planet orbiting a star about sixty years behind that one.”

She felt herself go cold and wondered how to gently pull away from him. Her friend’s asshole joke echoed in her mind. Her breath caught tight in her chest, her belly’s excited trills stopped and her gut twisted slightly.

He released her before she said or thought any other thing. “You asked,” he said.

“You’re serious?”

He put his hand to his forehead and scrunched his face in concentration. “Uh? What? Jimmy? Janis? Is that you?” He stared into the sky, just overhead, then to the horizons. He spun on his heels then stared back overhead. “I’m coming,” he said and smiled at her.

She didn’t smile back.

He held his hands up, palms out. “Sorry. Acid flashback to the sixties. I didn’t mean to scare you.”

***

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Joseph Carrabis Signing and Reading The Augmented Man 17 Oct at the Nashua, NH, BookCellar

Come join the fun!

Read the rest

Come join the fun!

Thursday, October 17th, 6:00pm at the


34 Northwest Blvd
(in the Westside Plaza on 101A / Amherst St, next to Marshalls)
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 881-5570

Local author, Joseph Carrabis, will read from his novel, The Augmented Man, answer questions, and sign copies!

 
What do you do with a deadly weapon when it's no longer needed?
Nicholas Trailer is the last of The Augmented Men, beings created first by society and completed by a political group the public can't even imagine exists. Captain James Donaldson takes severely abused and traumatized children and modifies them into monsters capable of the most horrifying deeds without feeling any remorse or regret.

But the horrors of war never stay on the battlefield. They always come home.

Joseph Carrabis signs and discusses The Augmented Man at The Barnes&Noble in Manchester, NH

I’m on a roll, folks.

The good folks at the Manchester, NH, Barnes&Noble bookstore invited me to do a book signing on Saturday November 02, 2019 1:00 PM.

It would be crackers wonderful if all of you attend.

 
I mean, heck, I plan on being there…

A bit about The Augmented Man
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.… Read the rest

I’m on a roll, folks.

The good folks at the Manchester, NH, Barnes&Noble bookstore invited me to do a book signing on Saturday November 02, 2019 1:00 PM.

It would be crackers wonderful if all of you attend.

 
I mean, heck, I plan on being there…

A bit about The Augmented Man
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.

The solution is to find individuals who are already so psychologically damaged the most horrendous combat experience will seem trivial by comparison. Better, find individuals psychologically damaged who’ve also experienced massive physical insult and trauma. Best, individuals psychologically damaged, physically traumatized, and emotionally vacant.

But where to find such individuals?

Captain James Donaldson suggests using massively abused and traumatized children as the basis, arguing “…they’ve already experienced more at home than they’ll ever experience in the field. All we need to is help their bodies catch up to where their psyches and emotions already are.

Nine individuals are selected for Augmentation and entered into combat.

One survives.

And comes home.

The backstory
I’m finding people’s reactions fascinating. Yes, the book reads like a military sci-fi thriller, and intentionally so. However, the real story is in the metaphor of the abused child.

Children from abusive families tend to think of themselves as monsters unworthy of love, hence the suffering they go through – often without even being aware that what’s happening to them isn’t normal, a “fish don’t know they live in water” kind of thing.

This monster self-concept is often reinforced by society which, not being able to recognize the child’s trauma, blames the child for its behaviors and problems.

So for me, the real meat of the story occurs when Trailer (the main character) uses everything he’s been taught (to be a monster) to heal himself from trauma, and then further when he realizes how much monsterhood he must retain in order to survive in a normal world.

About me
You can find out more than you need to know at my About page.

The Toadstool Bookshop in Keene Welcomes Joseph Carrabis Reading and Signing The Augmented Man

That’s right, you bet’cha, I’ll be at Keene’s Toadstool Bookstore on Saturday, 14 Sept 2019, 2-4pmET, reading and signing copies of The Augmented Man

 
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.… Read the rest

That’s right, you bet’cha, I’ll be at Keene’s Toadstool Bookstore on Saturday, 14 Sept 2019, 2-4pmET, reading and signing copies of The Augmented Man

 
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.

The solution is to find individuals who are already so psychologically damaged the most horrendous combat experience will seem trivial by comparison. Better, find individuals psychologically damaged who’ve also experienced massive physical insult and trauma. Best, individuals psychologically damaged, physically traumatized, and emotionally vacant.

But where to find such individuals?

Captain James Donaldson suggests using massively abused and traumatized children as the basis, arguing “…they’ve already experienced more at home than they’ll ever experience in the field. All we need to is help their bodies catch up to where their psyches and emotions already are.

Nine individuals are selected for Augmentation and entered into combat.

One survives.

And comes home.

The Story Behind the Story
People’s reactions to The Augmented Man fascinate me. Yes, the book reads like a military sci-fi thriller, and intentionally so. However, the real story is in the metaphor of the abused child.

Children from abusive families tend to think of themselves as monsters unworthy of love, hence the suffering they go through – often without even being aware that what’s happening to them isn’t normal, a “fish don’t know they live in water” kind of thing.

This monster self-concept is often reinforced by society which, not being able to recognize the child’s trauma, blames the child for its behaviors and problems.

So for me, the real meat of the story occurs when Trailer (the main character) uses everything he’s been taught (to be a monster) to heal himself from trauma, and then further when he realizes how much monsterhood he must retain in order to survive in a normal world.

About me
You can find out more than you need to know at my About page.