Monday, November 25, 2019

"Starship Alchemon"

Christopher Hinz is the author of seven novels. Liege-Killer won the Compton Crook award for best first novel and was nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer. He has written screenplay adaptations, short stories and a graphic novel, as well as scripting comics for DC and Marvel. His latest publications are the novel Starship Alchemon and the co-written novelette Duchamp Versus Einstein.

Hinz applied the Page 69 Test to Starship Alchemon and reported the following:
Starship Alchemon presents ten intelligences – nine human and one AI – on a mission to investigate an “anomalous biosignature” on a distant planet. Included among the crew are a troubled psychic, a narcissistic researcher and an increasingly unhinged bridge officer.

What could go wrong?

Here is Page 69 in its entirety. The scene occurs between the psychic, LeaMarsa, and the mission’s tech trainee, Alexei, in the Alchemon’s versatile natatorium. Multiple story purposes are served. LeaMarsa’s emotional disconnectedness is spotlighted as are the repercussions of Alexei’s earlier, less-than-subtle sexual advances. The location also serves as our introduction to a locale that all too soon will play a pivotal role in the ship’s troubles.
The male voice emanated from the water and was followed by a loud splash. She ambled back to the rim, stared at the two figures swimming toward her.

Alexei Two Guns hopped from the pool and shook his head, sending a fine spray of water from reddish hair styled unfashionably long like her own. The tech trainee was a bit taller than LeaMarsa. Slim and deeply tanned, he was naked except for a yellow crotchpad.

“We need a third for waterball,” Alexei said, gesturing to Faye in the water. “Come in and get wet.”

“No thanks.”

“Don’t think about it, LeaMarsa. Just do it!”

Alexei was pleasant enough, but she didn’t understand how a person could be so relentlessly exuberant. And since yesterday he seemed to be hanging around her an awful lot, pushing her toward doing physical exercise with him.

Did he want more than that? Sex? She couldn’t be sure. His intentions remained unclear. Odder than that, they seemed to have come out of the blue, as if he was following some mandate rather than his feelings.

Yesterday, during a random encounter in the updeck corridor near her cabin, he’d complimented her for wearing a simple skirt and blouse. The apparel, outputted from a PYG receptacle, was a generic ensemble she’d selected from among the thousands of fashion templates stored in the primary genesis complex. It wasn’t even smart clothing. As usual, and against PYG’s recommendation, she’d chosen the nano-free option.

Alexei had seen her dressed in such attire since the outset of the voyage and had never before said a word, which made the praise all the more bizarre, as did his subsequent proposal...
Visit Christopher Hinz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue