Seduced by Story

Addicted to story.  That’s me in a nutshell.  I am addicted to story in all forms: written, spoken, acted out, thought about.  Movies, books, tv shows, comic books, web articles—all of it is equally satisfying, because it’s equally story.

But I’ve recently realized that story is more than just an addiction.  It’s the very base building block of life.  Story is a doctor diagnosing a disease: what happened to this person, and how?  Story is a cop solving a murder: who did it and why?  How do we answer these questions?  With a story.  Story is who you are and how you live your life.  

Story is life. Long live story.

When Fahrenheit 451 Comes True

This is really scary.  

The book "Into the River" by Ted Dawe has been (temporarily) banned in New Zealand because of the complaints lodged by the "Family First Coalition", for having--gasp!--mention of sex and drugs in its pages.  Obviously this is a good thing! If teenagers read about sex and drugs, they'll go out and do sex and drugs!

Wait, what?

For the last twenty years, I've been reading about people kidnapping other people, raping them, murdering them, plotting revenge, plotting assassination, plotting government overthrow.  I have yet to murder, rape, kidnap, assassinate, or overthrow anyone.  I'm sure I'm not alone.  

I mean, these kids can go on Facebook and see pictures of the wild party from Friday night where sex and drugs were apparent and available, assuming they weren't there in person.  They can play GTA 7 where they're encouraged to kill, maim, and destroy everything they encounter, both living and inanimate.  They can sign on with their friends and run missions where their kill rate could be over 200 by the end of Call of Duty.  But they can't read a book?

So what's the real harm here?  Well, aside from the fact that encouraging reading means encouraging new ways to think, feel, grow, and learn, encourages freedom and tolerance, and allows an environment to experience things without actually doing them?  Aside from that?  Oh.  Then nothing.  No harm no foul.  Teenagers already barely read.  What's it matter if we take away one more choice?

The part that most scares me is that New Zealanders can't buy this book, not even online, not even on the US version of Amazon.  Several of my fellow authors have tried, and the site must read their IP and know they shouldn't be allowed, so they're not.  No, it hasn't been banned yet, but if it is, this restriction remains permanent.  Do we live in 1984?  Is this Fahrenheit 451?  I mean, I thought those books had taught us something.  

Apparently, only those few of us who read them.

SciFi Romance Brigade Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the SciFi Romance Brigade blog hop!

SFRB-ShowcaseBanner

Today, I thought I’d give you a little taste of Dreamclock, the second book in the Darkwalk series and my newest release. The series is a dystopian scifi with just a hint of romance, set in a world where Darkwalk, a shadowy secret government agency, has genetically engineered supersoldiers called Darklings.  Although the Darklings have wrested control of the organization for themselves, they still have to contend with their past.

In the scene below, our heroine, Wraith, is exploring the government facility where they were genetically engineered, with her team: Rogue, Sin, Prime, Nadia, and Slayer.

Without further ado, here’s the excerpt:


The instant the elevator doors opened on level seven, Wraith knew they had found what they were looking for. The elevator alcove was an airlock.

A memory of sneaking through the nighttime halls slammed into her, the airlock they had found. The excitement and fear balanced equally, the curiosity and training that had made them bold enough to risk it.  Beyond the airlock had been labs, and in the labs they had seen… What?

Nothing came to her mind but a light-blasted image of a human fetus. Without context, that image made no sense, but it was creepy as hell. Shaking off the goosebumps, she forced herself back to the present, and back into the airlock.

It was dimly lit with the emergency lighting, darker than it had been then. Wraith pushed at the door, expecting it to swing open, but it was locked. A careful probe of the locking mechanism showed her the hidden panel where the controls were.

She clicked the lever over to ‘open’ and the hiss of gas equalizing pressure sounded through the claustrophobic room.  It should have been filling with sharp medicinal air, but instead she smelled dusty fish mushrooms again.

“What the hell is going on?” Nadia asked behind her.

“Shh.” Raising her plaster, Wraith watched as the pressure equalized and the locks thudded open.

She motioned for Nadia to open the door and then get back. When she had done so, Wraith nudged the door open with her foot and went through fast.

A white corridor, empty when the lights clicked on. It seemed to run into the distance forever. If she had discovered a corridor to Hell, she wouldn’t have expected it to look more ominous.

Still, they had no choice but to search it.

The smell was stronger here.  The first several rooms they looked into were empty and dead, as everything else had been, but there were more of the sticky water stains on the floors. These were the labs Wraith remembered, but empty now of even a clue to their previous contents. Certainly she found no fetuses there.

As they moved further from the elevator, the silence was broken by a quiet shush-slush, shush-slush overlaid by random bubbling gurgles. Curiosity pushed her to move faster, but Wraith forced herself to explore all of the rooms between the elevator and whatever was making those noises.

They finally reached the room behind the empty main labs, and the plasticoncrete floor changed to metal grating at the door. This room was the source of the sounds. Wraith hardly registered the change in tone of her footfalls from thud to clink, because the room was gigantic, and not remotely empty.

Even in the dim yellow light, she could see identical shapes lined up in rows, almost seeming to disappear into the distance. This room wasn’t like the warehouse upstairs; its ceiling was probably only twelve feet high, and seemed a lot lower because the room was so long and wide.

The shapes it held were roughly cylindrical, spaced evenly, and with the hoses or cords snaking out of their tops, reached almost to the ceiling. They were made of what looked like actual real metal, rarer than fossuel, with identical smooth outer skins and those puzzling collections of cords at their tops. Each one quietly slushed to itself in a rhythmic song that merged together like the whispering of a crowd of people in the huge underground room.

Nothing moved. Warily, Wraith stepped closer to the nearest tank. The dim lighting was enough for her eyes to pick up even fine detail, but there was some kind of film or dust coating the surface and blocking her view of what they held. She scrubbed a spot clear on the trueplastic window of the nearest tank, pulled a gun torch out of her pocket, and clipped it to her plaster with a solid click. When she aimed again at the tank, she heard Nadia’s sharp gasp.

Her own breath seemed to have gone away on vacation. Tahiti, perhaps, or Maui. Something tropical, to combat the vicious chill that had settled into her lungs in its place.

Finally, she unlocked her throat. “Rogue, you need to get down here right now.”

He didn’t mention her lapse in using his name rather than his code. “What did you find?”

“Now, Rogue.”

“Copy. We’ve just got holding cells here. I’ll be there in a minute.”

Forcing her mind to record details regardless of its shock, Wraith touched the tank’s smooth black surface. A touchscreen and several odd dials sprouted to the left of the window, along with a readout screen showing vital statistics which she now understood.

Swallowing hard, she looked again through the clear trueplastic window. Inside, floating serenely in the kind of fluid which had almost certainly left the smelly, tacky stains they had found on the floors both here and above, was Sin.

 

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt!  If you want to learn more, you can check it out on the books page.  Or feel free to click over to the next spot on the tour below, or head back to the link list.  Thanks for stopping by!


Participants:

1. KG Stutts                   9. Rachel Leigh Smith  

2. Pippa Jay                  10. C.E. Kilgore  

3. Pauline Baird Jones   11. Cassy Campbell  

4. Ed Hoornaert            12. ML Skye  

5. Aurora Springer        13. Shona Husk  

6. E J Frost                    14. Sue Ann Bowling  

7. Belinda McBride        15. Misa Buckley  

8. Eva Caye

  

New Cover!

Here is my new cover for Dreamclock, book 2 of the Darkwalk trilogy.  Like it?  Hate it?  Let me know!

Dreamclock cover

Welcome to the Fall

dreamstimefree 41011 Mval Tree in fog

Fall fell fast this year, didn't it, cutting September in half with the speed of a guillotine whickering down?  Summer it was two days ago, but on a blustery day with rain spitting from the sky and the wind swiping at the windows like an angry cat that hunts a mouse, fall is closer than summer is.

The last crop of hay will soon be harvested.  The leaves are already beginning to turn. Soon the hills will be on fire with red and orange and yellow trees burning until they are consumed and all the colors die like the season.

Grass grows scarcely, then not at all.  Seed pods rustle in the relentless wind.  It is possible to be the only person on earth when you walk in a day like this.  Tall grass turns brown.  Leaves on the ground turn brown.  Flowers die and turn brown.  And Halloween comes ‘round again, orange pumpkins and orange lights, brown straw and corn sheaves, sticky ghosts and stuffy guys, a ritual to close out the harvest as old as reap. 

Silos are filled with the last of the corn and grain.  Cupboards are lined with canned vegetables and preserves in an attempt to prepare for the harsh winter ahead.

Rain pounds the windows like a winter-fat bear battering its way inside to find a warm place to hole up for the winter.  The wind roars like a bear denied.

Darkness falls on the pewter day, and yellow light melts out from windows like butter, warm comfort and a winter blanket to wrap tight around and burrow down in.

This is September. Welcome to the fall.



Copyright 2015 by Cassy Campbell.                                                                                                                                  All rights reserved.