QSFer Gideon Marcus has a new bi YA sci-fi book out: Kitra.
There is a lot of YA out there. There is a bit of SF YA out there. There is very little out there quite like Kitra:
Stranded in space: no fuel, no way home… and no one coming to help.
Nineteen-year-old Kitra Yilmaz dreams of traveling the galaxy like her Ambassador mother. But soaring in her glider is the closest she can get to touching the stars — until she stakes her inheritance on a salvage Navy spaceship.
On its shakedown cruise, Kitra’s ship plunges into hyperspace, stranding Kitra and her crew light years away. Tensions rise between Kitra and her shipmates: the handsome programmer, Fareedh; Marta, biologist and Kitra’s ex-girlfriend; Peter, the panicking engineer; and the oddball alien navigator, Pinky.
Now, running low on air and food, it’ll take all of them working together to get back home.
Kitra originally came out in April 2020. By modern standards, that’s ancient. Yet it’s still going strong. In April 2021, it got not one but two ringing endorsements in bookshop.org’s newsletter. Just the other week, Robin Rose Graves had this to say about Kitra in Issue #21 of Parallel Worlds Magazine: Kitra has a lot to offer: a diverse crew, convincing alien worlds, and an overall sense of adventure and companionship — with all the ups and downs it comes with. This book was given the often difficult duty of setting the tone and serving as an introduction to the rest of the series, which it does well. I, for one, look forward to reading more. – Robin Rose Graves
Get It At Amazon | Publisher | B&N | Kobo | Bookshop.Org
The carafe heated as I grabbed it from the galley counter. By the time I poured the coffee, it was steaming. Taking a seat, I tucked into my piece of cake. It was amazing, carrot spice cake with dried purples. I chewed contentedly, admiring our little meeting room with its sky blue ceiling and grass-colored floor. There was real green, too, since Marta had set up containers at the room’s corners, and they all had big broadleaf plants spilling out of them. Seeing them, I breathed deeply. The air seemed fresher than in the Bridge, though it might have just been my imagination.
“So, what’s the plan, Kitra?” Peter set down his plate. He’d already finished. “Why’d you pick Four for the first stop?”
I swallowed my current bite and shrugged. “It seemed as good a spot as any. I’m open to other ideas.” I dug in my pocket for my sayar. Tapping the device, I projected a map of the two stars in our system: Vatan’s golden sun, Yeni Izmir, and its distant little red companion, Tuncay. There were six circles around the first, two around the second— planetary orbits..
“What have we got for options, Pinky?” Peter asked.
“Well…” The alien spread out a hand and started counting on his fingers. “Four’s got a couple of moons we could visit. I think there’s a big botanical garden on one of them.” He looked over at Marta, but she didn’t seem interested. “There’s Lananina,” he said, gesturing toward the fifth planet. “That’s fun if you like ice sculptures. Some rocks in the asteroid belt might be worth visiting, especially if the Games are on. Three’s got those luxury Ring Hotels.”
“Which we can’t afford,” Fareedh noted.
“Right. Let’s see…” He was out of fingers, so he grew a new one. “We could do a trip out to Garrison Station around Six, just to say we did. If the Navy’d let us land.”
Marta looked doubtful. “None of those sound like exotic, exciting places. Isn’t it kind of a waste of a starship not to, you know, go to another star?” She took a small bite of cake, swallowed, and added, “I wanted to get a Sennetian.”
I looked at Marta blankly.
“It’s a handbag,” she explained. I shrugged.
Peter spoke up. “I don’t think we should try the Drive just yet. The ship is untested, and besides, the in-system places don’t sound so bad.” He looked at Marta and said, “If we want to see another star, could we make it all the way to Tuncay? Just on engines, I mean.”
I could tell Peter was having second thoughts, being his usual cautious self. “That’s a long way,” I said. “How long would that take, Pinky? Assuming Peter can keep us at two gees the whole way?”
“64 standard days,” Pinky answered swiftly.
“Yeah,” I said. “Nine standard weeks. That’s too long. We’d probably run out of fuel.”“We’d certainly be out of food,” Marta said. “Eight weeks is about our limit when we’re fully stocked, and we’re not.”
We were all quiet for a bit. Fareedh’s soft voice cut in. “So, the stars are out. Unless we use the Drive.” He looked at me, eyes glowing. “The question is, will we on this trip?”I thought about that for a second. As happy as I was to have gotten a ship with a Drive already installed, I hadn’t really considered going on an interstellar trip the first time out. But now that we were talking about it…
I looked at the ceiling again and zoomed out the star map’s scale to three parsecs, the safe range of our drive. There were twenty yellow, orange and red dots, stars, in fifteen systems including the big one representing Sennet, the province’s capital. They winked at me temptingly. All of them were within reach of a single Jump once we got far enough from Vatan to switch on the Drive. Why not?
I bit my lip. No. We weren’t ready. A million things can go wrong on a spaceship, and it didn’t make sense to try to do everything at once. Besides, Peter was right. There were plenty of fine places to visit right here in our home system. What could it hurt to see the local sights before galloping off into the unknown? Or at least the less known. Adventure could wait a week.
I cleared my throat. “I think we should stay close to home for now. Let’s learn to walk before we r—”
Red lights came on and klaxons sounded deafeningly in my ears, cutting off my answer. There was a lurch followed by the sound of creaking metal, as if the ship were groaning in pain. Out of nowhere, I felt a sharp punch to the gut. Marta and Fareedh doubled over, their faces contorted. Pinky belched a cloud of white gas. Peter had the worst of it. He threw up all over the table.
Moments later, the cramps left as suddenly as they’d come. I sat there for a moment, puzzled. Then my throat went dry as I realized what had just happened.
Founder of Journey Press and three time Hugo Finalist Galactic Journey, Gideon is also a professional space historian.
Gideon lives in San Diego with his writer/editor wife, Janice, and their polymath artist daughter, Lorelei. He’s currently hard at work on Hyvilma, third book in the Kitra Saga.