I know some people have enjoyed the first Reality War book. If that’s you, you might be interested to hear that today I’m busy working on tidying my conclusion to The Reality War. The second book will be about 110,000 words, and the paperback edition will be 370 pages. I’ve finished revising the first 220 pages, which my trusty calculator tells me is 60% through. I expect to send it off to my copy-editor, James D. Kelker, around the middle of next week.
Here’s a little teaser from the book.
“We’re late,” said Radlan. “It’s 23:16”
“Damn. Our pickup is tracking the beacon I placed in the toilet near our cabin. They’ve no way of tracking us directly, they’ll have to—”
Radlan punched him in the shoulder to shut him up, and then gestured toward the stern. Radlan peered around the plastic chair. Seconds later, the girl Radlan had first seen at Nelly’s came into view. She slowed to a jog, briefly scanning the seating but didn’t appear to spot them because she accelerated into a run. Seconds later and she had passed their hiding place.
Radlan let his shoulders slump and tried to bring his short, gasping breath under control.
Saravanan stood up, and shot the girl in the back.
She gave a piercing cry, and collapsed to the deck. Radlan watched as she twitched a while, then lay still.
“Is she…? Did you kill her?” he asked.
“We can’t afford to be squeamish.” Shouts from the other side of the ship were growing steadily closer. “She might be the distraction we need.” He pocketed the weapon, and then set off, retracing their steps around the side of the ship. “We’ve got to leave this ship now, or we’ll never be found. It’s a cold night to drown.”
“Agreed,” said Radlan, grateful that Saravanan had stopped as soon as they were safely out of sight of the stern. He bent over, hands on knees, gasping for breath. The night wasn’t over yet and he was already exhausted. “How — how do we get off?”
“Follow me,” said Saravanan. He climbed to the top of the deck rail. For a moment he tottered there, his feet sliding on the top of the rail, arms windmilling. Then he jumped off into the night and was swallowed by the North Sea.
Radlan heard voices at the stern. His pursuers were moments away.
The ship was travelling at 30 knots. He would be sucked under the hull, ripped to shreds by barnacles, and then diced into fish food by the propellers. Except… Saravanan had deliberately selected a ship that used an implosion engine. There were no propellers.
He stepped onto the first horizontal bar of the railing, and then crouched on the top rail. The smooth tube of metal was covered in sea spray. It was impossible to keep his balance. He slipped… and fell!
As he tumbled down the side of the ship, he managed to push off with his legs. He curled into a ball, gripping the snorkel tightly, and prayed for Jill’s sake that he would survive.
This story concludes in the second book, but the Universe (or, perhaps, universes) that the story is set in contain many more stories. In fact, I’ve already had several short stories and a novella published that share the setting. One that grew from a scene in Book2 is called Welcome Home, Janissary and was published by NewCon Press in their anthology Further Conflicts. They produced it as a separate eBook, which is available for free from some retailers.
This is an animated advert I produced for the Further Conflicts anthology. If it doesn’t animate, click on it. I remember being very pleased with this at the time.