WIP: “A Winter in Starlight” (An Excerpt)

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I’ve been working on a post-cyberpunk space battle type story for Bryan Schmidt, who has an anthology coming out soon called Space Battles (presumably that’s the final title).  The following is connected, distantly, to a cyberpunk universe I’ve been semi-developing via short stories.  Those of you who have read my short fiction will know that “Once a Dream Did Weave a Shade,” “The Decisions of Gods” (which is supposed to be published at some point), and a few incomplete stories are all part of the same universe as “A Winter in Starlight.”  The current project, however, is set several hundred years after the events in “Once a Dream Did Weave a Shade” (and even further distant than “The Decisions of Gods,” which is the more fantasy-oriented of all the stories).  I should note that not all of the stories in this universe are cyberpunk.  Many use features common to cyberpunk, but they lack the internal elements which make cyberpunk a politically-oriented subgenre.

Anywho.  I’ll shut up now.

Feel free to let me know what you think:

Forming up, she follows the other symbio-soldiers around Earth’s wide belly, admiring the wide green patches of forest, and the enormous, multi-colored oblong farmlands with their genetic stock. Fifteen billion mouths to feed. Twenty-two star systems to run.  

And then it happens: the lights flicker in her mind, warnings building up the tension in her muscles and stims filling her tongue with the faint taste of sugar. Two dots appear in her vision, red against a sea of greens and blues, closing in on her position. She flinches, pulling Castor into a wide arc, rolling her down and under to avoid the other symbio-soldiers engaged in similar evasive maneuvers. Castor’s external cameras track the energy blasts until one of the blue bulges crashes into a symbio-soldier, collapsing the inner chamber and ejecting part of a leg and entire walls of organic sinew. Ashland can feel it. Bright hot paint ripping into her spinal cord. A whimper sounding her mind, in all of their minds at once. And then Castor cuts it off with a jolt of stims. She licks her teeth and flicks to the subchannels.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

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