Thursday, January 04, 2007


The Voyage of Night Shining White

Yesterday I received my comp copies of The Voyage of Night Shining White, the novella from PS Publishing. This is another in my Celestial Empire sequence, which includes a rash of short stories (like "O One" and "Gold Mountain") and the forthcoming novels The Dragon's Nine Sons and Iron Jaw & Hummingbird.

The book has a nifty cover by Tomislav Tikulin, and a terrifically flattering introduction by John Meaney. But what's the story about, you ask?
In an alternate history dominated by Imperial China, the forces of the Dragon Throne control most of the Earth, and now turn their attentions to the heavens. In the tradition of its great fifteenth century admiral, Zheng He, the Chinese Empire constructs a massive Treasure Fleet. But unlike the dragon boats which coursed across terrestrial seas, the ships of this new armada are ceramic and steel, fuelled by nuclear reactors and spun against tethered counterweights to provide a semblance of gravity for their crews. Rather than sailing to open new trade routes to foreign shores, this new fleet sails interplanetary gulfs, to the red planet fourth from the sun, in search of mineral wealth and territorial claims.

The least of the ships of the Treasure Fleet is Night Shining White, one of many water tenders. It will be the last to reach the red planet, and the first to return, its hold emptied of precious water and filled with mineral samples and ores to be milled and studied back on Earth. The ship's captain, a eunuch who has sacrificed much in the service of his emperor, has never ventured beyond the bounds of Earth before, much less in command of a ship and her crew.

Before it reaches its destination, Night Shining White's reactor coolant system fails, and the crew is faced with the prospect of a quick death by runaway nuclear meltdown, or a slow painful demise by radiation poisoning. Their only hope of salvation is the captain, but will his inexperience only ensure their demise?
It's an alternate history hard sf story of interplanetary survival, centered around the platonic love between a Muslim eunuch captain and the ship's physician. How can you refuse?

The Voyage of Night Shining White, published in both trade paperback and hardcover editions, is available direct from PS Publishing, and from various online outlets (Clarkesworld, Shocklines, and Camelot, to name just three).

Sweet! Looking forward to reading it, Chris.

Jess N.
Congrats! I ordered it, along with a renewal of my Postscripts sub and two other new novellae (ah, Latin!) just recently, and can't wait to receive it. I've loved all the Celestial Empire stuff so far - who's publishing those two novels, and when? Ah - don't worry, found 'em on your main site. More than a year to wait, damn the publishing world and its realistic schedules!

On another note, I see from Locus that you're publishing Jay Lake's Death of a Starship - yay! The first draft I read was excellent, and I'm glad there'll be some more sf-Lake out there in novel form.
Thanks, Jess!
And thanks, Peter! I hope you like it (and the other novellae, naturally).

And we're very pleased to be publishing Death of a Starship. It's a terrific story, and I'm looking forward to seeing what other readers make of it.
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