Monday, June 4, 2018

Scene from StarDog #excerpt #amwriting

Happy Monday! I'm back today with another excerpt from my upcoming release, StarDog. This book is based on my original Pets in Space story, but it will be re-released this summer with new, expanded and revised scenes.

The following is an early scene in the book where the hero, Taro Shall, is sent on a mission by his captain--find an exterminator for their infested ship.

Outside the ship, Carduwa’s warm, herbal-scented air ruffled Taro’s hair and danced along the pavement in gentle eddies. A friendly sun lit the heavy greenery of tall trees and dense shrubbery just beyond the spaceport grounds. This planet was nothing like the bone-dry dustbowl of Dartis where they’d last made port. Thank the Island Spirits for that much.

Taro made his way to the nearest street just off the spaceport exit and glanced down an endless row of brightly-colored vendor tents. Where to start?

He ducked his head into the entrance of the first two pavilions with a questioning, “Exterminator?” The answer on both counts was a brisk shake of a keeper’s head. Somewhere around vendor twelve, he got a lead.

“No exterminator, but you wanna see Dini Kemm. Red and yellow striper. Tiharra Lane. Three streets west.”

Taro plucked a citrus drink tube from the vendor’s laboring chiller, tossing the elderly man five replas. “Many thanks.”

A couple of streetgirls gave him the eye as he reached an intersection and made his way west.

“You wanna give it a go, Tectolie?” the taller of the two women purred as he passed their corner.

Taro gave the woman a crooked smile and a friendly “I’ll pass” wave of his hand. Nav work was a lonely occupation, but he’d never been keen on paying for female companionship by the hour. Besides, Cap Jordan would have his hide if he got waylaid from his mission.

“Pity that,” the second woman teased, giving him a seductive wink. “We give a nice discount to pretty nav-boys.”

Taro threw a grin over his shoulder and lengthened his stride. They had his origins and occupation nailed at first glance—probably not a surprise considering they worked a spaceport and saw hundreds of crewmen daily. His Tectolian subspecies had a penchant for navigating the stars, and women in their line of work could probably zero in on a lonely crewie in a nanosecond. It’d been a long time since he and Lyra had called it quits, and he needed to put some quick distance between himself and the twin sirens before he got all weak-minded and hard-bodied.
Commentary on this Scene
As with most of my Inherited Stars Series or Universe stories there are subtle connections within the story to other books or to the backstory of the series.
In this scene, the hero, Taro Shall, is searching for a vendor who happens to be located on Tiharra Lane. If Tiharra has a slightly familiar ring to it, it might be because Tiharra is the name of the heroine in Farewell Andromeda--Captain Tiharra Bell, deep space charter pilot--and both she and the street in this story are named for the same thing, the elegant species of tree called the Tiharra Angel Willow.

There's a reference to Dartis as being the last planet Taro and his crew visited. Dartis is also the planet where readers first meet hero Sair in Inherit the Stars, and it's also the planet where an important family heirloom once believed lost was recovered in Courting Disaster.

But two more subtle references in the story are about Taro and his subspecies, who "had a penchant for navigating the stars." Taro is Tectolian of planet Tectol, a population who legends claimed were descended primarily from the Pacific Islanders of Old Earth--the Polynesians who had a talent and cultural history of navigating the oceans as Taro and his Tectolian counterparts do for navigating the stars thousands of years later.

His homage to the "Island Spirits" in this scene is a cultural reference that has been carried down through the generations on Tectol, though many are no longer aware of the meaning behind the term just as we today are ignorant of many of our cultural references or their origins. As an example, many of us may have no idea what the meaning of "between the devil and the deep blue sea" really is. (You can look it up under "devil seam" here.)

To give you a sense of the Polynesian skills for "wayfinding" here's a quick video about a modern day journey to recapture the ancient ways of the Polynesian voyagers and to train a new generation of navigators.

Wishing you good breezes and happy sailing this week.

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