Posts Tagged ‘Kimball’s Kiss sequel’

The Most Dangerous Woman in the Galaxy (the next ‘Gray’ story) has gone for beta-reading. I hope I’ve caught all the spelling mistakes … Now I need a logo for the cover.


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Template cover Dbfosa

Concept cover, awaiting an appropriate centrepiece.

It was all the fault of Tiana-riane Dbfosa. She started the Rationalist political party that was the source of all the trouble. Luckily Gray had recruited Jane, who always knew that Tiana was Bad News; and Madi Porter and her sons also played their part in unravelling the mess. Penny and Trace headed the key investigative work, auditors unfazed by the threat of interstellar war and galactic destruction. Part of the problem was that Gray was too soft-hearted, although Tiana realised when it was almost too late that his heart could be hard enough when it mattered …

… I’ve just completed the first draft of the next ‘Gray’ book. After a spell check it will be on its way to my friend who reads, for her comments.

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… because there is very little science in it. There’s the interstellar drive (but no one understands how it works, so that hardly counts) and the Rhuaans’ wonderful link-into-the-mind computers, but what else is new? Why not set the Graham Bradley stories in the modern world?

It’s infuriating that ideas which were ultra-modern when I first thought of them, like the carry-about callers (now mobile or cell phones) are now everyday items. But I decided to leave the Gray stories in a distant future, because this allows me to explore human interaction with other intelligent species. In the Gray stories, humans are the most numerous intelligent race but they are not the dominant race. How would humans interact with creatures that are more intelligent than them in some areas, although possibly not in others — and how would the other intelligent species interact with humans?

The running joke in the Gray stories is that even in this distant future, a lot of old technology still exists and is used every day. This is a reflection on humans’ refusal to give up tried-and-tested means of doing things, even when there is a more technologically advanced way of doing it; and sometimes the old method does actually work best. So when Gray needs an effective means of transporting bulky and fragile industrial products across post-war Cray planet, he constructs canals.

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Chapters 10 and 12 of Kimball’s Kiss mention a weapon called a ‘star blaster’, which ‘absorbed energy from the star, then sent it back … it blew the star up using the star’s own energy. They destroyed dozens of our stars’.

I encountered this hideous weapon in the pages of Michael Shaara’s brilliant short story ‘All the Way Back’, first published in 1952. (There is an introduction to it here.) I read it in the early 1970s in an anthology of science fiction stories, and was immediately hooked by the concept of the super-race destroyed in a terrible war, that then comes ‘all the way back’.

Kimball’s Kiss is different from Shaara’s story. Shaara’s long-destroyed ruling race were the Antha, who turn out to have been humans. The long-lost rulers in Kimball’s Kiss were not human and the war was not a nuclear war.  But in Shaara’s story the war began because of a decimation, and in Kimball’s Kiss Aoan’s decimation of the Gustu rebels is traditionally blamed for the war. As in Shaara’s story, the rebels won through destroying the rulers’ star systems by blasting their stars.

So far as I remember — and as it’s over forty years since I read ‘All the Way Back’, my memory may be wrong — the central message of Shaara’s story was the innate violence and destructiveness of humanity, which made them unfit to colonise the rest of the galaxy. They had to be confined to Earth forever. Shaara wrote against the background of the Second World War, when it appeared that humanity was about to destroy the whole species and even the whole planet. Now humanity’s dreams of reaching Mars are looking less like a dream and more like the future. The horror of the star blaster ( = the nuclear bomb?) seem far in the past.

But discussions this week in the UK Parliament about the need to renew Trident and retain the UK’s nuclear capability remind us that there are still violent and destructive humans on the planet, whom we may need to fight in the future. And more recently I have returned to the star blaster in a story of Gray, Aoan and their friends in their new Empire. Violent and destructive humans are often called ‘mindless’ — so how come human violence and destructiveness is so often linked to idealism?

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One of the subplots in Dragon Girls is the civil war in Volyn, which Gray tells Susie is between Poland and the Ukraine. No, I didn’t make it up: Volyn or Volhynia is a real place. It used to be a kingdom in eastern Europe, and at the time of writing it’s a region straddling the frontiers of eastern Poland and western Belarus and the Ukraine. You can read about it here.

The war in Volyn was a late addition into Dragon Girls. When I was writing the final version of the story in the first decade of this millennium, it was clear that the eastern frontier of Europe was likely to be an area of future unrest. Parts of Belarus have historic links with Europe, while other parts look east rather than west. The eastern part of the Ukraine is more Asian in culture; the western part has historic links to Europe. It is just the sort of area in which bandits like Gray Bradley would get involved.

Dragon Girls was all ready to go when civil war broke out in the Ukraine! Honestly, I had nothing to do with it … I held the story back in hopes that matters might settle down, but the issues are too complex to settle quickly, and eventually I decided to publish anyway. In Dragon Girls, Gray manages to settle Volyn through trade and economic development. I wish it were so easy to settle the deep and bitter divisions in the Ukraine.

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Yes, the sequel to Kimball’s Kiss is on Amazon at last!
Here it is on Amazon.com;
and here it is on Amazon.co.uk.
only 99 cents for 720 pages — read the free sample first …

and from Tuesday 21 June through to Thursday 23 June it’s free! — as are the other two books in the series, Kimball’s Kiss and Gray Matters.

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Dragon Girls base plus three

The Priestess — and two other Dragon Girls. Design by Helen Lerewth.

I have AT LAST uploaded the sequel to Kimball’s Kiss on to Amazon. It’s only taken around thirty years.

Here’s the blurb:
Sophie is in love with a dream of a boy – he’s handsome, exciting and seriously cool. Problem number one: all her friends are after him too. Problem number two: so is Federal Security … but Sophie’s determined to get Graham Bradley whatever it takes, even if she has to cross the Galaxy to do it.
Unless the Head of Federal Security gets him first!

And on the left is the cover!
It’s only $0.99 on Amazon … not bad value for nearly 287,000 words.


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