I’m tremendously excited to announce that I’ve sold a novel, Finders, to Athena Andreadis at Candlemark & Gleam. It’s expanded from the short story of the same name, which first appeared in Andreadis’s The Other Half of the Sky (and subsequently in Year’s Best Science Fiction 31) and from a second story, “Firstborn, Lastborn,” which appeared in Andreadis’s To Shape the Dark (and in Year’s Best Science Fiction 34), and it’s been a joy to get back to far future, high science SF.
The hardest part about doing the short story (which wasn’t all that short, at 12,000 words) was trying to keep it from turning into a novel. That felt like trying to fit an octopus into a too-small tin can, all flailing limbs and much effusion of ink, but I did it; however, letting it out to it proper length was an enormous relief. It has also been a great pleasure to work with Athena, who manages to be that rare creature, an intensive, hands-on editor who is also able to see a story’s full structure, and who wants to serve the author’s vision. Looking over the current round of edits, I’m actually eager to get to work on them, and that’s vanishingly rare.
What’s it about, you say? A trio of salvage operators trying to regain their prickly relationship, science lost and found, dead history that won’t stay dead…
Cassilde Sam is a barely solvent salvage operator, hunting for relics in the ruins left by the mysterious Ancestors—particularly the color-coded Elements that power most of humanity’s current technology, including the ability to navigate through hyperspace. Cassilde is also steadily fading under the onslaught of Lightman’s, an incurable, inevitably fatal disease. She needs one last find big enough to leave a legacy for her partner and fellow salvor Dai Winter.
When their lover and former colleague Summerlad Ashe reappears, offering them a chance to salvage part of an orbiting palace that he claims contains potentially immense riches, Cassilde is desperate enough to take the gamble, even though Ashe had left them both to fight on the opposite side of the interplanetary war that only ended seven years ago. The find is everything Ashe promised. But when pirates attack the claim, Cassilde receives the rarest of the Ancestors’ Gifts: a change to her biochemistry that confers near-instant healing and seems to promise immortality.
But the change also drags her into an underworld where Gifts are traded in blood, and powerful Gifts bring equally powerful enemies. Hunted for her Gift and determined to find Gifts for her lovers, Cassilde discovers that an old enemy is searching for the greatest of the Ancestral artifacts: the power that the Ancestors created and were able to barely contain after it almost destroyed them, plunging humanity into the first Long Dark. Haunted by dream-visions of this power whispering its own version of what happened, Cassilde must find it first, before her enemy frees it to destroy her own civilization.
Coming from Candlemark and Gleam at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019.