QSFer Brian Yapko has a new gay sci-fi book out: El Nuevo Mondo.
In the year 2066, the artist haven of Santa Fe, New Mexico emerges as ground zero for the conquest and destruction of Earth by the evil Zolteots. Nick Clements and Daniel Vigil-Cruz — a writer and an artist still deeply in love after 12 years together — become the improbable fulcrum through which Earth might survive. As they weigh what must be done to save our planet, they are forced to confront shocking truths which will transform the Earth — as well as their future together — forever.
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Daniel seemed relieved that this painting was safe. He looked up at the ceiling and then back at me. “Yes, Nicky. Very much so. But I’ll tell you about it later. Anyway, get back to Astra and her journey from Mars or wherever she says she came from.”
I ignored Daniel’s snark and went back to the sofa.
“Astra’s not from Mars, Daniel. She’s not even from our solar system. Her home planet is located in the constellation Libra.” I suddenly realized what perfect sense that made. I blurted out, “Of course! The scales of justice!”
“What are you talking about, Nick?”
“Astra. Her homeworld was in the constellation of Libra.”
Daniel drank some wine. “Assuming for the sake of argument that Astra is telling the truth, does this planet have a name?”
“Tlaloc” I said. “The way she pronounced it sounded roughly like ‘Tlaloc.’”
Daniel’s expression was difficult to read. “Tlaloc” he repeated as he looked out the window. He spoke in a low voice and gave the name a slight Spanish lilt.
“Yes, that’s exactly how she said it. Tlaloc. A planet at war. That’s why she and other Tlaloceans had to flee. They were refugees from a horrible interplanetary war. Tlaloc was targeted by another planet – Zolteot. Astra described the Zolteots as muy malvados – very evil.”
Daniel stared into the fire and repeated the name “Zolteot” as well. I thought I heard a hint of disgust in his voice. This subject of interplanetary politics seemed to intrigue him. After a few seconds of staring at the fire, he cleared his throat and asked, “Why was Tlaloc targeted? What did these Zolteots want?”
“Stolen living space,” I answered. “The power to abuse. Pleasure in the pain of others. Astra was bitter. She said these were the same things that Earth people seek after.”
Brian Yapko is a lawyer in California, Oregon and New Mexico. To make up for it, he writes short stories and is presently hard at work on a space opera trilogy. He is also the author of over 100 poems published by approximately 45 literary journals. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his husband, Jerry, and their canine child, Bianca.