Monday, November 22, 2021

"You Sexy Thing"

Cat Rambo (they/them) is an American fantasy and science fiction writer whose work has appeared in, among others, Asimov's, Weird Tales, Chiaroscuro, Talebones, and Strange Horizons. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, where they studied with John Barth and Steve Dixon, they also attended the Clarion West Writers' Workshop. Their most recent works include And The Last Trump Shall Sound (co-written with James Morrow and Harry Turtledove), the fantasy novel Exiles of Tabat, and the space opera You Sexy Thing. They live, write, and teach somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. “Cat Rambo” is their real name.

Rambo applied the Page 69 Test to You Sexy Thing and reported the following:
From page 69:
Niko knew immediately what had happened.

“That son of a three-sided crystal gave us the wrong password!” she said. “Look, Ship, we do want to get you back to your owner. But we need to get to a place where we can track him down and arrange the exchange. He owes me a great deal of money.”

“Is the transaction witnessed?” the ship asked.

“Witnessed back on TwiceFar,” she said.

There was a pause. “TwiceFar systems are currently offline,” the ship finally said Niko could swear she heard suspicion in its voce.

“That is because the whole place was blown up by an Arranti, for who knows what reason!”

“That seems most unlikely,” the ship said.

“You saw the Arranti yourself!”

“I witnessed an Arranti in the vicinity, but was unable to discern what was causing damage to the station itself.”

“That’s what Arranti do!”

Sane species avoided the Arranti, one of the oldest, most powerful races, who were obsessed with the same that their species played They would not divulge the rules to outsiders -- although it was apparently specified that you had to be an Arranti to play -- and over the centuries, while many scholar had devoted themselves to trying to figure it out, only guesswork and wild theories served so far. The game -- and its participants -- were wholly unpredictable, and while the station had been destroyed as a move, apparently it could just as easily have been transformed, or
This page is the beginning of Chapter 8, so it at least starts in a coherent way, even if it does drop off mid-sentence at the end. Does it give a reader a good sense of the book? I think so -- this passage features two of the book’s main characters, captain Nicolette Larsen and the ship that gives the book its title, You Sexy Thing. These two must work together for the common good, but neither finds it easy at times.

It also showcases something that is one of the book’s strengths, as well as the most fun to write, the dialogue back and forth between characters. The ship is a character that let me be funny and I really enjoyed writing the humorous moments that come throughout. The action is serious, the peril is deadly and real for the protagonists, but those moments of humor give the reader a space to breath and enjoy, and to get to know the cast of characters.

What else does it do well? It provides a glimpse of the world of the book, a place full of space stations and mysterious alien races playing their own unguessable games. Space opera requires a vast backdrop, full of glitter and stars, and while this passage may not show the glitter, it does show some of the scope of things in both distance and time.

What doesn’t it do well? It doesn’t show the rest of the characters -- and since the book is about an ensemble, that’s a lack. I guess readers curious about that will have to pick it up!
Visit Cat Rambo's website.

Q&A with Cat Rambo.

My Book, The Movie: You Sexy Thing.

--Marshal Zeringue