Tuesday, June 09, 2009

OUT NOW: The Rites of Spring

What do you get when you cross weird science fiction, bawdy adventure, sideways humor, and delightful strangeness?

Frankly, I haven't the faintest idea, but my serial story, The Rites of Spring, might be pretty damned close.

So, if you like your science fiction weird, your adventure stories bawdy, your humor tilted, and your strangeness delightful then head on over to the great Paper Bag Press site and download the first chapter of my fun new project.

And, naturally, if you want to write a review then drop me a line and I'll send you over a copy.

Here's a quickie taste:

"Sweat, a runner’s thing and not a girlish thing, pooled in her valleys and streamed down her creases. Salt stung her eyes and her shoes. The miraculous devices were wet and heavy; liquid gently surged between her cramped toes. Some of Gazelle’s sweat cooled on the top of her head -- natural air-conditioning made from the run itself and her soaked dreadlocks.
Her belt jumped and wore at her hips, chiming and jingling, adding a sharp downward tug to each step. The tube, the reason for this whole thing, jumped and tapped her back with each step -- a high-pitched feeling compared to the trembling bass of the belt on her itching hips. Her kit, the bag, wasn’t heavy because there wasn’t much in it. But anything, no matter now slight, was an ache as she ran: Her breasts -- hills and valleys -- pulled against her chest; sandbags tied to her lungs and her back.
Despite the fuzzy wonderfulness of endorphins, everything hurt. Painful, sure, yes, damned straight -- but even it was a pain she was used to, trained for, bred for. It was a natural kind of pain, one that was intimate and close to most of her memories: she was a runner from a tribe of runners, and pain was something that was a part of doing anything -- because running was everything.
She was a Messenger: hours, hours, days, days she’d run the track around the ancient fort (from the Age of Slavery), the Runnerdrome. Mile after mile on the crunching and hissing gravel had made her friendly, intimate, bored with the long run. The burning of her lungs, the jumping with a kick of her strong, strong legs (miles and miles and miles on that track) put her over the wall, gave her the high medicine -- the reward of natural drugs.
Excitement, thrill was cinnamon in her mouth. This was her trip. Who cared if her breasts hurt? Who cared if her legs ached? This was her run, the prize. She wouldn’t turn back until she’d completed her task, and then, when she did return, she’d be a woman, a Messenger with merit.
Gazelle ran, absorbed in the action of her arms and her legs, blurred by the chant of her natural stride. She ran through the City, pumping and pounding, proud full to bursting -- after all, she’d won, she’d emerged victorious from the Rivalry. She’d passed all their tests (no matter how weird), she’d run their course (no matter how hard), and she’d emerged the winner and claimed the prize: the honor of the run, this run, her run.
One thing bothered her, though, cutting through the fog of endorphins, the glow of accomplishment, the blister that may or may not have been forming on her left heel:
Spoke had smiled, had wished her well.

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