Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A word from Karen A. Wyle :]

“Kati is very kindly letting me follow up on last month’s author interview with a little update. My science fiction novel Twin-Bred is FREE today and tomorrow on! What’s more, members of Amazon Prime can borrow the book for free, any time.”

Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb?  After seventy years on Tofarn, the human colonists and the native Tofa still know very little about each other.  Misunderstanding breed conflict, and the conflicts are escalating.  Scientist Mara Cadell’s radical proposal: that host mothers of either species carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species.  Mara lost her own twin, Levi, in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.

Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas.  Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee.  Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?”

-Karen A. Wyle


Mara lay back in the recliner, stretched mightily, and heaved a great groaning sigh.
“Long day at the office?”
“More like long three months at the office. Interminable months. Oh, Levi. How did I get myself into this? When have I ever been any good as an administrator?”
“As I recall, until now you’ve avoided any such obligation, so your abilities in that area have been, shall we say, untested.”
Mara reached over toward the lamp, then let her arm fall again. “I’d forgotten what it felt like, to be so unsure. It’s been years since I was — incompetent at anything.”
“Let’s not jump to conclusions. Or labels. So the interviews have been exhausting, as well as exhaustive. That doesn’t make them unproductive.”
“Oh, we’re finding good candidates. It’s surprising, in a way, how many women we’ve found who are ready to put their lives on hold and more or less disappear. Either we have a rather public-spirited generation of young women, or a restless and dissatisfied one. . . . Even a few of the applicants with political connections are promising. But some of them! That last one today — Veda something, Councilman Channing’s daughter. She’s one of those people who never seem to mean anything.” Mara glanced at the cartoon she had drawn after Veda’s interview: an unnaturally slim figure with clasped hands, eyes uplifted toward heaven, and price tags hanging from her clothing. “She rattles along about the joy of selflessness and devotion to public service, and I doubt she even hears herself. And I can’t remotely picture her as nurturing.”
“Don’t write Veda off, Mara. I think there’s something there. Beneath the admittedly disquieting surface. As a subterranean creature myself, I may have a feeling for people with unsuspected depths.”

The short cool season was over. The shades of purple were once again yielding to shades of yellow and ivory and brown. With the return of warmer weather, the parks were becoming more crowded.
The picnic area at First Landing Park was occupied. Children at the playground smelled cooking and wondered if the food would be, at some point, unguarded and accessible. The young men playing soccer were distracted by the crowd of young women, all notably healthy and many of them attractive. There was no banner or sign to indicate what had brought them together. It could have been a reunion of some kind, but few of the women seemed to know each other. The small groups shuffled and reshuffled, and the prevailing mood seemed to be one of uncertainty, almost embarrassment.
Laura Hanson fetched herself a beer and stood watching one of the more animated groups. One woman, petite and well-toned, with expensive hair, seemed to be the center. She was asking questions, drawing people out, and occasionally nodding to herself as though collecting information that gave her satisfaction. The high clear voice was familiar — and the last voice Laura had expected to hear. She put down her beer and came closer.
“Veda? Veda Seeling?”
The woman turned and was raising an inquiring eyebrow when she saw Laura. Her eyes went wide, and the expression of amused control fell away for a moment.
Laura rushed forward and held out her arms. “Veda, I’m so glad to see you again!”
Veda looked around at the crowd, now full of smiles and clearly expecting a touching scene. She walked quickly into Laura’s hug and as quickly led the way to a more isolated spot. “Let’s sit here and catch up.” She sat on a stone bench and patted the spot next to her. Laura obeyed.
“Dear Laura. It’s been so long. What have you been doing? The last I heard, you were getting another degree in something.”
“I was. Sociology. Terran Literature is all very well, but I wasn’t sure how I would use it. And then I heard about the Project, and I thought, this is a way that I can do something that matters, instead of just learning about it. And what about you? I remember! You got married! Congratulations! His name’s Brian, isn’t it?”
Veda preened. “Yes, we’ve been married a year now. He’s in the Bureau of Financial Relations. It’s all very difficult and complicated, finding ways to trade with the Tofa. It’d be so much easier if they could understand each other better. And whenever things get — nasty, well, you can guess what that does to the markets . . . . So he’s very interested in the Project. And Daddy too, of course. Even more so. What about your father? Did he — well, was he hoping you’d get involved?”
Laura looked down. “Well, he’s not so sure about it. He’d like to be hopeful, and he certainly thinks something needs to be done, but he’s a little concerned about trying something so — experimental. But if it’s going to happen, he wants to know all about it.”
“I might have known you’d be here. You were always so — so interested in our Tofa neighbors.”
Veda had a way of saying things — a hint of mockery or threat, hovering behind the words. Or so it was now, with this older and harder Veda. Was her friend still there somewhere, stifled and helpless? She wanted to call her forth, to lure her out.
She started to say, “Remember —” and stopped herself. She was sure that Veda remembered. That was the trouble.

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