Friday, July 13, 2018

"A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe"

Alex White was born and raised in the American south. He takes photos, writes music, and spends hours on YouTube watching other people blacksmith. He values challenging and subversive writing, but he’ll settle for a good time.

White lives in the shadow of Huntsville, Alabama’s rockets with his wife, son, two dogs and a cat named Grim. Favored pastimes include Legos and racecars. He takes his whiskey neat and his espresso black.

White applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Ranger rested a heavy, sharp claw on Boots’s shoulder. Its hiss dripped with malice, like steam through a long steel pipe. Ahead of her, human death. Behind her, a walking blender.

“So, uh, how long have you been with the captain?”

“I’ve been on this ship since I was a little girl. Came aboard after you deserted the captain.”
Orna looked to be in her mid-twenties, so Boots did the math and ignored the jab. “Yeah, so I’m guessing that’s about fifteen years?”

“Yes. No more questions about me.”

Behind Orna’s back, Boots silently mocked the quartermaster’s gruff delivery.

Orna paused. “You know I can see everything Ranger sees.”

They wound through the ship’s foredecks until they came to the bridge. It was precisely as Boots had left it almost twenty years ago, with a fresh coat of paint over all the bits that made it an ADF ship. Unlike Cordell’s office, which had essentially been gutted and rebuilt, the bridge was a spotless, frozen set piece from the Famine War. Three terraces, each taller than a large man, housed stations and readouts. Overhead, starlight slipped through a tremendous bubble dome. Boots’s favorite shift on the bridge had always been the night cycle, when the lights were dimmed and she was alone with the vastness of space.

She immediately recognized the marksman from the bazaar sitting in the pilot’s chair three terraces down. The pilot stood up and ascended the stairs at their entry.

“Aisha,” said Orna. “This is Boots Elsworth. You’ve met.”

The pilot smiled and took Boots’s hand in both of hers. “Aisha Jan. It is my utmost pleasure. Sorry for shooting you.”

Up close, she was far prettier than Boots remembered in the bazaar, with smoky eyes and long brown hair that faded to pink at the tips like some bird of paradise.
First off, this is 100% representative of the rest of the book!

We've just been introduced to Ranger, a walking AI battle armor that follows Orna Sokol, the quartermaster, around like a pet. Orna and Ranger are a tough combo, and they steal almost every scene they're in from here on out.

Opposite them, we have one of our two main characters, Boots Elsworth. She’s smart-mouthed and salty as hell, and this scene is no exception. Boots is a con artist by trade, and she’s on the ship because she’s swindled them out of a considerable amount of cash. In retaliation, they’ve kidnapped her, and they plan to squeeze every last asset they can out of her.

The one way in which this scene differs from the rest of the book is its lack of mortal peril. A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe keeps time through spectacular setpiece action scenes, from high-octane races on a space station to pitched gun battles. So, if this scene had colorful characters, sass and action, I’d say it was more representative.

Fear not, dear readers, for within the next twenty pages, we’ll be blowing enemy ships out of the stars and getting a taste of just what they’re up against!
Visit Alex White's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.

--Marshal Zeringue