Tuesday, January 12, 2021

"Threader Origins"

Gerald Brandt is an international bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy, and the author of the cyberpunk San Angeles sci-fi trilogy: The Courier, The Operative, and The Rebel. The first of the trilogy was a finalist for the Aurora Award for Best Novel. His short story “Storm” appeared in the 2013 Prix Aurora Award-winning anthology Blood & Water. By day, he’s an IT professional and coding guru. In his limited spare time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, rock climbing, camping, and spending time with his family. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife Marnie, and their two sons Jared and Ryan.

Brandt applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Threader Origins - Book One of The Quantum Empirica, and reported the following:
Page 69 in Threader Origins shows the very first lesson Darwin (the main character) gets in using the Threads (quantum strings generated by a machine).
The harder he looked at them, the clearer they became. “Yes.”

“Good. I’m making the Threads stronger so you can See them. Watch the Threads. In which direction do they seem thicker? Is the thickest Thread pulling or pushing the stick in a particular direction?”

He watched the Threads as they wove around the stick. They all looked the same, thin and translucent, ethereal, like gauze pulled through liquid. He concentrated harder. The Threads partly disappeared as images flashed in their place. They were almost carbon copies of each other as the images of the stick split, and split again. Suddenly, in one, the stick fell to the right, while in another it fell to the left and in a third the stick remained upright. He raised his hand to his head, expecting the pain he’d felt earlier with his Coke can. Only a faint buzzing came through.

The images disappeared, and with it the faint background buzz.

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah . . . yeah. Last time that happened it felt like my head was going to explode, and I passed out.”

“And this time?”

“Nothing, just a small buzzing in my head.”

“Good! That’s the inhibitor doing its job. Even the noise will disappear as you get stronger. Let’s do it again. Concentrate on the Threads.”

It was easier this time. The Threads appeared as insubstantial as before, and then disappeared, replaced by the images. The image of the stick tipping left seemed stronger, brighter, more real than the one falling right and definitely more substantial than the balancing stick.

“It will go left.”

Bill let go of the stick and it fell to the left. “Excellent. Let’s do it again.”
I'd have to say this is almost a perfect page for a potential reader to land on. The only thing it could do better is name the speaking characters. It shows Darwin's interpretation and viewing of the Threads, and the first time he actually uses them on purpose. From this point on, Darwin's world changes in so many ways.

Darwin has no idea what's going to happen, and the book covers his journey in learning how to use the Threads, regaining something he has lost long ago and then losing it again, and realizing that no one can work in isolation. Friends and family, whether of blood or not, can make you stronger than you ever thought you could be.
Visit Gerald Brandt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue