Wednesday, June 13, 2007


The Dragon's Nine Sons

I totally forgot to mention this on Monday, but I've started writing the next Celestial Empire novel, The Dragon's Nine Sons. I actually did a couple hundred words on Monday, in between writing a short story pitch for an anthology and a few thousand words about Mark Gruenwald and Squadron Supreme for RevolutionSF, and then was forced by circumstance to spend yesterday at a Starbucks reading Brian Francis Slattery's very excellent Spaceman Blues. So today was the first full day of writing on the novel, and I managed to hit my goal, both word-count and chapter-wise, coming to the end of the introductory chapter.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,982 / 90,000

And here's a little sampling, the first few paragraphs of chapter one. There's a brief prologue before this, but just sets up the idea of the Celestial Empire alternate history, which is obvious to anyone who's read one of the stories before (short version: "China wins.")
On the bridge of the Exhortation, Captain Zhuan Jie grips the armrests of his seat, and fights to keep from voiding his bowels when the Mexica’s first salvo splashes across the nose of his spacecraft. A low-mass, high-velocity explosive projectile, the shot doesn’t have enough momentum to push the Exhortation off course, but its payload is hot enough to pit and crack the ship’s ferroceramic hull, and burns so brightly that Zhuan is forced to squint, the bridge bathed in the blinding white radiance pouring through the forward viewports.

Over the sound of the ship’s air-circulation system and the rattle and hum of the bridge controls, a groaning can be heard, as the kinetic energy of the impact is distributed through the ship’s hull, a low-frequency squeal of metal on metal that reminds Zhuan of nothing so much as the growl of a caged bear, trained but never tamed. A lifetime spent running from the life he never wanted, and still he can’t escape the memories.

“Orders, my captain?” From his station along the bridge’s forward wall, the steersman glances over his shoulder, teeth gritted, searching for strength.
This may change a bit, as I've sent this first chapter to my editor to look over, to make sure he's happy with the voice before I continue. But as it stands this is how it sounds.

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