Friday, November 02, 2012

Excerpt from my book: I Choose Mars

Hi! I'm writing a science fiction novellette for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a new novel during the month of November.

Participants all over the world are competing to finish this challenge.

I have a pretty good start! You can check in with my progress on the widget I've installed on the right.

Here is an excerpt from my book. (reformatted for easy online reading)

*** Chapter 3 ***

“I totally can’t believe you did this,” I said to Turbo, our beloved science officer, psychotherapist, and all around great guy. Turbo presented me with a beaker full of homemade hooch. “Is this going to make me blind,” I asked, teasingly. He laughed and clinked his beaker to mine and we both drank it up.

“I’ve been experimenting with different recipes on myself for weeks,” he said slyly, “And I can still see just fine.”
“You’re so bad!” I giggle, and hold out my beaker for more.
“It’s my special way to keep busy on this long haul,” he mused.
“Time well spent,” I said with an air of serious professionalism that made him grin.

At least he found something constructive to do. I was going batshit crazy trying to find something to do with my personal time. I tried journaling, writing stories, reading, building little robots out of scraps. Nothing was able to keep my attention, though. I hated going to the gym, which was Fabio’s domain. One of his many duties is personal trainer to the crew. Our mutual dislike made our sessions tense, and it seemed like every time I went there for a workout, he was there, too.

Turbo snapped me out of my thought wander with, “Just don’t tell Lakshmi.”
I blinked up at him, reminding myself that we were in the middle of a conversation.

“She’ll be all over my ass. You know,” he said with a wink.

Yeah, I knew, alright. Lakshmi never touched alcohol or anything else that wasn’t “all natural.” And, she managed to worm her way into Turbo’s heart before I could. Who could blame him, with her long, flowing black hair, her gorgeous almond eyes, her calm personality, wickedly immense intelligence, and a laugh that tinkled like bells.

I envied almost everything about Lakshmi Haryana, PhD biologist, with an M.D. earned from the Joshua Tree University of Medicine, the best in the country. She was round in all of the right places where I was scrawny. Her speech was methodical and deliberate, where mine was brief, kind of gruff, and all over the place.

She could concoct an herbal remedy that would not only promote the natural healing processes of your body, but also calm you to the point where stress no longer contributed to your ills. I could fix your network connections or your communications assembly, usually with a lot of cussing involved.

Or, I could concoct for you an encrypted data storage “warehouse” as intangible as an idea using interlinked holocubes, which sounds way more impressive than it actually is. In fact, I think an augmented chimp could do it.

Everything about Lakshmi was high quality, and everything about me was geeky and jumbled. I couldn’t blame Turbo for falling in love with her. I made sure to keep our talk light and “buddy-like,” so that I could still have a place in his personal life.

Earlier on in the mission, things got very personal between us. I think it was purely animal. Nobody in the training program had much skin-on-skin interactions with other humans. And, I’m not just talking about sex, here. I’m talking about human touch. For 24 months, just about everyone we came into contact with was suited up, or we were. ...