QSFer Hugh Dudley has a new queer sci fi book out:
The Stortellers present another record of a human off-world settlement. Six colonies were placed on the planet named Glory. Each group connected by being human but separated by cultural differences.
Twenty years ago, one colony was destroyed by unseen forces. When Pete Garrick’s colony of St. Nicholas suffers the same fate, Pete undertakes the adventure of a lifetime. He meets Docelyn Frantzen, an extraordinary girl with many talents, then re-acquaints with old friends, and finally discovers Knowledge Keeper, the holder of all the wisdom from a indigenous culture that flourished on Glory before Earthers came.
The Storytellers, Book 2, raises questions about human societies, disparate worldviews, and social science experimentation. What future is there for human survival on this distant outpost?
Katrina stood up and approached Jaspara. “Well, now what do we do?”
“I will contact Aman and the rest of the government. You should contact Mary Thompson and let her know what is going on, then catch a shuttle and get up north as quickly as possible. Have them collect as much upahoo food as they can gather, along with human food. Get the scientists into the cave. Docelyn, dear, please get on your InfoNet and contact Knowledge Keeper. Try to explain the situation to it and once everyone is inside, and the upahoo are safe, have Knowledge Keeper close the cave entrance. Kat, dear, you are on your own once you get up there. Take along Pete as muscle, you might need it. I think that our good friend Travis might instigate a riot, unless we can give him something in return. Do your best dear. I will call you from Caravan once I get there. Sylie, Danner, we will keep you in the loop, in case we need re-enforcements. Okay everyone, let’s move.”
As Pete and his grandmother headed north and Docelyn chatted with Knowledge Keeper, Jaspara Kozik spoke with the government. The viewership of Freedom of Speech network was less than the other commercial networks throughout the Glory colonies, but the news soon spread. As quickly as they could manage, the government arranged a broadcast feed of their own and made a follow up announcement over the most-watched networks across the colonies.
“Ladies and gentlemen, youngsters and oldsters, this is Amare Korfu with your news of the news. I am sitting here this evening with Aman Azari, president of our government council with breaking news. Councilman Azari, what do you have for our audience tonight?”
As the camera turned his way, centering on his gentle features, Azari looked directly into the camera and spoke. “Good peoples of Glory, we are coming into your homes this evening with astounding news. The human race, us, you and me, the citizens of Glory have discovered and made contact with a sentient race living on Glory. I have no need to tell you what a profound and historic discovery this is. I wish to thank the Golden Bear Freedom of Speech Network for assisting our efforts in this matter.
“The people we found are called Upahoo. That is their own word for themselves. They have an evolutionary track that started millions of years ago on this planet. When our scientists discovered the upahoo, they were in suspended animation, frozen in time. With help, we have been able to revive our new “Brothers of Glory” and heard in their own words how they came to be where we found them. Hundreds of years ago, the upahoo faced extinction as Glory became an ice world. In order to survive, the upahoo built a fortress and placed themselves in suspension. But then they needed our assistance to revive them. The upahoo have been slowly dying off.”
After saying words that sounded tragic, the councilman looked away briefly. Acting as if he had lost his composure, Azari looked back into the camera and gave his famous ‘I am at peace and I am your friend’ look and continued.
“Good peoples of Glory, it is the duty of every life-loving civilization to help those in need. The upahoo needed help from the humans on this planet and we have come through. Let it go down in the history books that humans are not conquering, evil peoples. Instead, we are the compassionate children of our forbearers.”
Resting on the word forbearer, giving the audience a chance to let the word compassionate sink in, Aman went on with his speech.
“As human beings have expanded out from our old home Earth, we have encountered many new life forms. Our job, our responsibility, our assignment within the universe is to explore, to discover and to demonstrate a high level of compassion towards others that live in our galaxy. We have been granted this wonderful boon here on Glory. Now, we must show that we are worthy of this great gift.
“As I have mentioned, the upahoo are the native life of this planet. Humans should now consider themselves guests. However, we are welcomed guests. The upahoo are forever grateful that humans came to their rescue and are quite willing to share the bounties of this wonderful land.
“However, the stress of such a long rest has had a toll on our new-found friends. It would be most dangerous to impede on the progress our scientists have made introducing our kind to the upahoo. Therefore, we ask that you give us time. We will follow up this announcement with as much information as possible. Our leading priority at this point, is to assist in the recovery of the upahoo who are still waking from their long slumber. Your patience with authority is much appreciated. Amare?”
“Thank you, Mr. Councilman. There you have it folks. News of the news. We ask that you stay tuned for more developments in this breaking story.”
Katrina Garrick looked out over the crowd. “Why do you think they are here?” Pete asked.
“Well, there could be many reasons, Petrov. Some are here for the sheer curiosity of the situation. Some are here because they have nothing more exciting in their lives and that newscaster Travis Teller has given them something to do. If you look closely, the people that are showing the most anger are the ones who haven’t bathed in a few days.”
It was true. After the newscast announcing that the upahoo had been found under the northern mountains, several people had gathered outside the government’s camp. The guards that Katrina had brought with her were holding back the small crowd. Not having the freedom to roam was causing some in the crowd to shout out. They wanted in and nothing was going to stop them.
Katrina continued “Oh, good. This is what I have been waiting for.” Pete observed what his grandmother meant by her statement. Coming in through the crowd was a man with a handheld camera. It was Travis Teller. Katrina walked down the hill and spoke with Teller and then told the guards to let him through. As they walked towards Pete, they continued their conversation.
Katrina was talking. “Look, Travis, I’m not trying to take anything away from you and I might have something to offer. But you have to stop this assault on the government. These are very difficult times, what with trying to get the new colonies built and getting people moved. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t publish your usual garbage about corruption and the inefficiencies of politicians. We’ve known each other too long and you know I’m on your side with all that. But damn it, Travis, leave the upahoo alone. Leave the government alone about it, too. No more saying the government was hiding, no more saying the upahoo are dangerous. This is bigger than you and me and bigger than this entire generation. We have got to give the upahoo a chance.”
Teller looked at his one-time friend and life-long adversary. “And what if I don’t? What if I say that the upahoo are the boogie-man? They were responsible for the destruction of St. Nicholas and Minar Lmbini. They are coming to steal our little children in the middle of the night. What if I say these things?”
Katrina glared at Teller. “Then I will reach down your throat, grab your testicles and pull them out through your nose. Give you a good sense of what your machoism smells like. Look Travis, our race has a duty to assist these people. For all the bad we have ever done, this one act might just be enough to save our souls in the eyes of God.”
“Katrina Garrick, have you found religion?”
“No, my erstwhile foe, I am still pushing the same brand I used to. Ever play poker, Travis?”
“Well, here’s the bet. I can give you and your foul-smelling network an exclusive look at the upahoo in exchange for your cooperation that you will toe the line and assist the government in introducing the upahoo to the people in a peaceful manner. Whole hog, Travis. No side-bets. And, to assure that you stay on our side, just about this one subject, I will assure you that…you got married, right? And have a daughter?”
“I can assure you that they will not find out about that little incident I accidentally walked in on at the New Vegas casino twelve years ago.”
“That’s ancient history!”
“That it is. And while you may have mentioned the event to your sweet, innocent daughter and loving, understanding wife, you probably didn’t give all the details. Remember Travis, I saw it. I saw it all. What the hell you were doing with two…oh, never mind. Just remember, I don’t say a thing and you paint the upahoo in a positive light.”
“How soon can I see them?”
“We can do this today. Even with that evil, blackened heart of yours, you may come to see the upahoo as I do–a sentient strange form of life that needs our help. This is the biggest event the people here on Glory will ever have. Don’t let your soul-sucking, profit minded, villainously normal nature take over and ruin it.”
“Katrina, you always said the sweetest things. I will do as you say. Let’s go!”
Hugh Dudley is the pen name of Ken Dudley and his spouse, Bear Kosik. Their published work to date:
• The Soul of Glory, bearly designed publications, July 2018 (novel)
• “Apricot” Ripples in Time, John Davis, ed. Spring 2018 (short story)
• “I Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly” Runcible Spoon, Katt Strafford, ed. April 2018 (flash fiction)
• “You Are What You Eat” AHF Magazine, Issue 3, Grey Wolf, ed. Wolfian Press, December 2017 (short story)
• “Johnny Forward Somehow Knows” Lose Yourself, David L. Repsher, ed., Scribes Valley, May 2017 (short story)
• Crossing Xavier, bearly designed publications, September 2016 (novel)
Ken, a retired information systems specialist, was born and raised in Batavia, NY. Before moving to the Albany, NY area, he served in the US Marine Corps. He is an avid science fiction fan and an even greater fan of Penn State and Buffalo Bills football, Buffalo Sabres hockey, Virginia Cavaliers basketball, and Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos) baseball. Ken created several computer-based sports that anticipated fantasy sports.
Bear Kosik is a playwright and author (or co-author) of four novels and a book on the current state of democracy in the USA. His short fiction, poetry, blogs, plays, and essays have been published in various reviews, websites, and anthologies. He also has ghostwritten three memoirs. Bear was raised in the Baltimore-Washington area. He has lived near Albany, NY since 1995. He spent over 30 years working in higher education as a professor of political science and a student success specialist. His hobbies include gardening, cooking, traveling, and reading books on natural science, religion, geography, and world history.