Monday, January 11, 2016

Excerpt from Kid Sensation #5: Coronation

For those interested, I'm close to being finished with the next Kid Sensation novel, tentatively entitled Coronation.  In anticipation of that, I've decided to go ahead and post a short excerpt.  (As before, my editor hasn't had a look at this yet, so it's raw and unpolished.)

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     Mabazol stared at the symbols intently, and a moment later they began scrolling up on the holographic display, like a teleprompter. It only took me a second to figure it out that this was some type of medical chart showcasing information about the state of my health. From the way Mabazol studied the information – accompanied by occasional grunts of interest (or surprise) – it wasn’t clear whether there was a problem or not.

     After about a minute, I began to grow a little concerned. Maybe I wasn’t as healthy as I felt.

     “What’s the verdict?” I finally asked.

     “Wh-what?” Mabazol asked, my question seemingly catching him off-guard. Apparently, he had become so engrossed in the display that he’d forgotten that he had an actual patient present. That said, he recovered quickly.

     The physician took a moment to clear his throat before speaking. “My apologies. From what I can tell, there are numerous genetic markers which are indicative not only of Caelesian heredity, but also high lineage and exalted pedigree.”

     I frowned, slightly confused. “Meaning?”

    One corner of Berran’s mouth tilted up into a slight smile. “Meaning that you are what you purport to be – a member of the Royal House.”

     I grunted in annoyance. “I hadn’t realized it was up for debate.” 

     Although neither of the two men chose to comment on my statement, I picked up feelings of stress and anxiety – particularly from the doctor. Apparently he was concerned that he had vexed me in some way.

     I let out a long sigh, and then – hoping to put him at ease – said, “I’m sorry, Mabazol. Please continue.”

     “Of course, Prince,” the physician replied, relief flooding through him. “In addition to Caelesian traits, there is also sufficient evidence in your anatomical structure to identify your Terran origins.” 

     “Wait,” I said, brow crinkling in thought. “You’re familiar with human anatomy?”

     “Of course,” Mabazol announced matter-of-factly. “We studied the people of Earth centuries ago and have a complete understanding of them biologically.”

     “So your expertise extends to both Caelesians and Earthlings,” I said deductively. “Well, bearing in mind that you haven’t called for a crash cart, is it safe to assume that there’s nothing wrong with me?”

     The physician hesitated for a moment, then said, “I don’t know.”

     I’m sure the incredulity showed on my face, and I certainly didn’t try to keep it out of my voice as I thundered, “What do you mean you don’t know?!”

     Mabazol winced slightly at my tone, but responded in a steady voice. 

     “Frankly speaking, I’m not qualified to answer the question,” he said. “I’m not sure anyone is.”

     I shook my head in disbelief. “You’re going to have to explain that.”

     “Your physiology is singular, to say the least,” the physician said. “The synthesis of Caelesian genes and Terran DNA has resulted in an amalgam that diverges in significant ways from either autochthonous species.” 

     “Such as?” I asked.

     “For starters,” Mabazol answered, “you have organs and systems that I can’t discern the purpose of. I don’t know if their functions help or hinder, if they make you sick or make you well, if they shorten your lifespan or lengthen it.”

     “In other words,” I concluded, “you don’t know if I’m going to drop dead in the next ten seconds or live forever.”

     “In essence, yes,” the doctor said with a nod. “I have no standard or baseline to serve as an exemplar. That being the case, I can’t even determine what is rare or common with respect to this type of hybridization.”

     Amalgam… Hybridization… I was really starting to dislike the way this guy kept referring to me in the abstract, and it took quite an amount of effort to keep a civil tongue in my head.

     “Forgive me,” Berran interjected, “but are you saying that, should he require medical attention, you wouldn’t be able to treat Prince J’h’dgo?”

     “I could treat him,” the doctor countered. “I simply don’t know if I could treat him effectively because – in his case – I simply don’t know what constitutes the norm.”

     “So what you’re saying is that you’re useless,” I concluded. “At least when it comes to me.”

     “I wouldn’t characterize it in that manner,” Mabazol said, frowning. “However, the entire discussion becomes moot if we could establish benchmark criteria for what constitutes your normal physical condition, Prince.”

     “What would that entail?” Berran asked.

     “Extensive observation of Prince J’h’dgo, to begin with,” the doctor answered.

     Alarm bells started going off in my brain. “You mean like a study?”

     Mabazol nodded. “Very much so.”

     “Forget it,” I said flatly. I wouldn’t even truck with human physicians – whom I’d be much more comfortable with – back on Earth. There was no way I was letting some alien sawbones get his hands on me for a prolonged period of time.

     “Please, my Prince,” Berran said pleadingly, exuding uncertainty and concern. “I beg you to reconsider.”

     It didn’t take a genius to figure out the source of the courier’s unease: he was worried that, should I be injured, no one would know how to treat me. 

     “Berran, you are to be commended for your sentiments,” I said. “Nevertheless, this is something I can’t agree to.”

     Still broadcasting mild misgivings, the courier nodded in acquiescence. “As you wish.”

     I turned to Mabazol. “Are we done?”

     “If you will indulge me once more, my Prince,” the doctor replied, after taking a few seconds to mull things over. “While I can’t treat you with respect to those things I don’t understand, I can certainly address issues that are plainly problematic and primarily cosmetic.”

     I shook my head, nonplussed. “I’m not sure I follow you.”

     The doctor looked a little nervous, as if afraid to speak. He glanced at Berran imploringly.

     “Your ears,” the courier said. “He’s speaking of your rounded ears, Highness.”


26 comments:

  1. YES! The end of the last novel made me so anxious to find out what would happen next... I didn't realize that a new Kid Sensation novel was going to be your next book so this just made my day :) I can hardly wait to read it!

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    1. Originally I had planned to finish the next Fringe Worlds novel next, but the ideas for KS #5 started coming at a fast and furious pace and I got so excited about it that I decided to make it the next book. Hopefully it will meet everyone's expectations.

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  2. I can't help it, that last sentence made me thing of some old Piers Anthony.

    A Roundear there Shall Surely be;

    Born to be Strong, Raised to be Free;

    Fighting Dragons in his Youth; Leading Armies, Nothing Loth;

    Ridding his Country of a Sore; Joining Two, then uniting Four;

    Until from Seven there be One; Only then will his Task be Done.


    Loved that series when I was growing up, at least until the last book. Really looking forward to KD #5. Keep up the good work and I'll keep on reading.

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    1. I don't think I know that series, although I've got a ton of Piers Anthony lying around the house (mostly Xanth novels - seems like he wrote a million of them). Sounds interesting, though; I may have to add it to my reading list.

      Thanks for the compliments. Hopefully I'll continue meeting expectations.

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    2. I know, right? I love reading Piers Anthony, Incarnations of Immortality; Apprentice Adept; Tarot; ChroMagic; and Jason Striker, but while I read the first few books in Xanth, it just never really caught me. I only read as many as I did because it was him.

      There are so many old authors out there with great paperbacks(yes paperbacks) who I feel like I need to go read again when I get these nostalgic flashes from reading something contemporary. Unfortunately their paperbacks in many cases were not printed on the best quality materials and have since fallen to pieces, and many of their books have not made the transition to eBook formats for one reason or another, which is disappointing in the extreme for me. I love my physical book collection, but I can't help but admit that digital saves me space to actually breathe in my room.

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  3. He can shapshift, so the ears are no problem

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    1. Psttttt, but they probably don't know that. Kid Sensations full power set isn't common knowledge and this courier probably doesn't know that much about him.

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  4. When I was a kid, I never asked my parents on car rides "Are we there yet?". That being said......"are you done yet?"

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    1. I have to give you the reply my parents always gave us: "We're gettin' close. Why don't you close your eyes and take a nap, and when you wake up we'll probably be there."

      In short, I'm closing in on the finish line, but not there yet.

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    2. That's not working. I go to sleep every night and when I wake up.....there's no new book waiting for me. This is the tooth fairy fiasco all over again.

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    3. As my parents used to say, "Were you really asleep, or were you just pretending to be asleep?"

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    4. Seeing as how I am not suffering from sleep deprivation I can confirm that I have really been sleeping.

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    5. In that case, I would posit that you are still asleep and haven't awakened yet, merely dreamed that you were awake.

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    6. That leads to an interesting thought. Butterfly or man? Or more on point, does Kid Sensation shapeshift in his sleep while dreaming? Falling dream -- grow some wings. Naked dream -- grow some fur. Actually, can he change his body's skin tone to simulate body paint / supertight clothing?

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  5. Replies
    1. No release date per se. Picking a date certain is always hard because even after I finish the book, there's still the editing process, the cover art, the formatting... In short, from the point in time where I finish the book to the actual release date there are a number of moving parts that just make it hard for a mook like me to make an accurate projection. That said, if I can get the book done as soon as I think I can, a February release date is quite possible.

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    2. Ughhhhhhhhh, I just cried a little on the inside

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    3. And that's why I've never asked him for a set date. His vauge answers steal enough of my soul as it is. But this? I'll be lucky to have an ounce of happiness through out the day.

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    4. So when do you think it's going to be finished, mid february or late february?

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    5. I'm thinking I can be done in a week.

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    6. I'm thinking I can be done in a week.

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  6. As someone who reads a lot, I believe that what we read greatly influences our writing style. I like the way you write so I was wondering; what books do you read the most? And which authors do you think have had the greatest impact on your writing?

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  7. Thanks for the compliments. With respect to the books I read the most (and assuming you mean genres), I'd probably say it's scifi/fantasy, followed by mysteries/thrillers. That said,I actually like books of all stripes, and have read everything from "Little Lord Fauntleroy" to "Lonesome Dove" to "Ender's Game." In my opinion, a good book is a good book, regardless of genre. However, I'm the odd duck who rarely ever reads the same book twice - even the ones I love.

    As to what authors had the greatest impact on my writing, that's hard to say. I would certainly cite Jack vance as a major influence, but I don't think I write like him. (In fact, I'd be hard-pressed to name anyone who does.) I'd love to have a writing career like Michael Crichton, who wrote bestsellers in multiple genres - "The Great Train Robbery," "Disclosure," "Jurassic Park" - not to mention creating the TV series "ER." Stephen King's another guy whose work sets the bar really high. In short, I could credit a number of writers as having an influence on me.

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