QSFer Aleksandr Voinov has a new gay/Bi sci fi book out:
Kyle Juenger and his lover, the Glyrinny currently known as Grimm, are home free. With Kyle’s transformation underway, they’re heading toward alien space so Kyle can meet “the family” and work out just what being a human-alien hybrid will mean. He certainly doesn’t have access to any of the promised Glyrinny powers yet.
On the way, however, they encounter a group of refugees who fled their home planet, Tamene, when the Doctrine moved in. A militaristic, collectivist power bloc, the Doctrine has been swallowing up planets and peoples in its mission to unite all of humanity in its own concept of “brotherhood.”
Kyle finds it impossible to ignore that the Doctrine is about to destroy the culture of his home planet.
But when they arrive on Tamene, the Doctrine officer in charge, Arkady Kidashell, is nothing like the “Doctrine zombies” of lore. A recent convert himself, Arkady gambles for nothing less than reform and peace, and Kyle and Grimm may be about to ruin his best-laid plans and intentions …
Exile is the sequel to Incursion and set in the Doctrine Wars universe.
Aleksandr is giving away an eBook copy of Exile and his book Incursion – for a chance to win, comment on this post.
It was hard to not feel lonelier after the call with his family had ended. Taisia needed to turn in for an early night, and Gerasim only had a few minutes, and even those were practically stolen, as it was the last weeks of boot camp for him. Who knew who he had traded or bartered with for the privilege—back when Arkady had been in boot camp, the isolation had been complete.
And Diana, well, she almost fell asleep at the terminal, and Arkady couldn’t blame her, either. Her sister had just given birth to twins, and Diana helped by holding the whole family of twelve together. Graces alone knew how she did that. Sometimes, Arkady joked with her that she should have been the colonel, and she’d joked back that then, at least, she might get a bit of sleep.
Once the screen had turned dark, Arkady turned away, too keenly aware that it had been just a projection and nothing more.
He regarded the food tray in front of him, and even though he didn’t feel like eating, it was breakfast, and any military academy in the explored universe focused on getting soldiers to the point where they ate when necessary, not when hungry. Dutifully, he shoveled some of the food inside. It was even pretty good. His new aide, Zoya, had quickly learned his preferences, and even though she didn’t understand or share Arkady’s appetite for spicy food, she never tried to get him to compromise on it.
A large mug of tea helped to wash down the spiced rice, and then Arkady pushed the tray away, took his peaked cap, and made his way to his superior.
The briefing room wasn’t exactly crowded—there was, of course, the ship’s captain, and the ship’s head Revisionist, as well as Arkady’s aide, and they all gave each other brief nods. After all that time in space, the snappy military decorum had seriously blunted.
Once Arkady had taken his place, the much larger, much crisper screen here came alive. The background was a view over Liberty’s capital, all the white, glistening buildings and pleasant blue sky.
In the foreground, however, stood General Renata Petrunin, her usual stiff-backed posture relaxing just a bit when the connection was established.
“Sister General.” Arkady straightened in a show of military respect.
“Brother Colonel.” She nodded to him and relaxed more visibly, giving him unspoken permission to do the same. “I have new orders for you.”
His pulse sped up enough to be felt against the stiff collar of his uniform. He’d submitted his preferences three weeks ago, but this was now the period when everybody not immediately involved in combat operations was moved around. Somebody in the Committee had really thought that it was a good idea for children to finish boot camp roughly at the same time when their parents and everybody else was taking up new posts. And no bright spark had yet realized that this gigantic reshuffle of roughly half the population taxed Doctrine space infrastructure to the limit.
If he were ever to plan an invasion against his own side, this was when he’d invade—when most people had left their posts but hadn’t yet arrived at their new ones, and when the new generation of young soldiers had left the protection of their academies and were home-bound, where, once they’d arrived, they’d do nothing but sleep and eat for two weeks at least. Meanwhile, the new intake of cadets had left home and was on the way to the academies, but while the academies were armed and equipped, none of the new cadets were trained to make any use of that fact. In short, it was complete mayhem, for weeks.
Of course, there were enough combat-ready troops to protect Doctrine space, but a man had to wonder whether there might not be a better way to handle this. One more thing to work on once he’d made general.
She picked up a pad from an aide. “How’s the family?”
“Thank you. Everything’s perfectly in order.”
“I’m hearing good things about your son.”
“Thank you.” There wasn’t really much else to say. Gerasim would be a good Doctrine citizen-soldier, a useful, contributing member of society.
“Now, your orders.” She glanced at the pad and then met his gaze across the distance of many, many light years. “You applied for Cirokko, and I have no doubt we could have used a man like you there, Brother Colonel. Can I ask why that posting?”
So the request hadn’t been granted. “It’s not far away from my home world, Sister General. There are some striking similarities, and I have an interest in complex tribal cultures.”
“I thought that was a sound decision, but the Revision has still earmarked that planet’s general and higher command staff for appointment.” She kept a straight face, but the sarcastic tone carried her meaning well enough.
“I was aware that Cirokko is a more political posting.”
“It is, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change while we’re in active service. The causa Stolkov has not yet been resolved, and there’s at least one Committee General who’s very interested in Cirokko.”
Yeah, family could be a liability, nobody had to say so. A Committee General whose near and close family had defected to the Alliance because of something that had happened on Cirokko—no wonder Revision sat on the planet and couldn’t be dislodged, regardless of how interesting the posting was. Cirokko wasn’t just interesting, of course. It was also a career-maker. A deadly, dusty capstone for anybody who dared reach for it. They didn’t call it “Fool’s Gambit” for nothing.
“That’s a pity.”
“Isn’t it just.” She crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I’m sorry. The Cirokko posting would have entailed a full generalship.”
“That wasn’t my primary objective.”
“But it’s a good thought, and it couldn’t have been anybody more deserving than you. After your exemplary service, Cirokko would have been a good logical next step.”
“Yes.” He shrugged slightly. “So what’s the alternative?”
“Well. Considering this disappointment, I have something that will hopefully also pique your interest.” She took a step toward the screen. “Are you familiar with the planet of Tamene?”
He must have given away his surprise, because she smiled.
“I am, Sister General. That is, I never visited, but I did do academic work on the Tamenean Expansion.” And how long ago was that? Twenty … no, twenty-five years. He’d labored over the military tactics and short, brutal wars of an entirely inconsequential tribal federation whose heydays were arguably long over and which clung on to just one planet out of five—Tamene itself.
“Considering your understanding of that culture, and considering that it’s time for Tamene and its population to come home into the embrace of the Doctrine, we felt that you should be responsible for guiding them.”
Arkady lifted his eyebrows. “I’m not sure if I should be more flattered or surprised.”
“I’m glad you accept, Brother General. This is on the understanding that, depending on the outcome, the Committee will accept your petition for retirement on any Doctrine planet you choose, of course, with a choice of civil occupations.”
Ah, there was the carrot of the carrot-and-stick ensemble. Fair enough, though. He’d always wanted to see Tamene with his own eyes, ever since immersing himself so much in its culture that he must have fallen a little in love with it. It was pity that finally seeing it also meant having to destroy it.
EPIC Award winner and Lambda Award finalist Aleksandr Voinov is an emigrant German author living near London, where he works as an editor in financial services. His genres range from science fiction and fantasy to thriller, historical, contemporary, and erotica. His books were/are published by Random House Germany, Samhain Publishing, and others.
If he isn’t writing, he studies alternative therapies, explores historical sites, and meets other writers. He single-handedly sustains three London bookstores with his ever-changing research projects. His current interests include European magical traditions, the history of chess, military strategies of the crusaders, and the Golden Age of Piracy.
Visit Aleksandr’s website at http://www.aleksandrvoinov.com, his blog at http://www.aleksandrvoinov.blogspot.com, follow him on Twitter, where he tweets as @aleksandrvoinov, and/or subscribe to his newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/71jNz.