I’m still shilling for pre-publication reviews for my science fiction collection, OTHER EARTH, OTHER STARS. If you’re interested, drop me a request at ma @ marianallen.com (minus the spaces) and tell me what format you prefer; I’ll send you an electronic uncorrected proof.
I’ve sent in my corrections, and the book should be available for pre-order in a day or so. Meanwhile, you can have a sneak peek and review it before anybody can even buy it! How cool is that! Way, that’s how!
And here’s a snippet from “Solo For Multiple Instruments,” the first story in the collection.
“Solo For Multiple Instruments”
by Marian Allen
Anouk had gone to use the “water box”, as she insisted on calling it, and to bring them an afternoon snack. Gale worked her way toward the end of the row, trimming and packing dill for the commissary.
The closer she came to the dome surface, the stronger the feeling of being watched became. Her own reflection startled her, the apprehensive eyes so much wider than usual, the features blurred by the panel’s semi-matte finish, colors leeched by the dull silver tint. It’s only me. Gale met her own hazy gaze in the gray panel. Or is it?
She stared at her image on the thin barrier between the inside and the outside, at herself-that-was-not-herself, and her heart pounded, reveling in the presence of another consciousness.
“Hello,” she said, suddenly fiercely curious about this new acquaintance. “Pleased to meet you. I would offer to trade profile locations with you, but that’s a thing of the past, isn’t it?”
“Ah, Dieu!” Anouk called from the doorway. “Don’t start talking to yourself, my friend. That way lies madness.” She handed Gale a thermal glass sipping mug of black coffee and a freshbag of three ginger snaps.
Embarrassed, Gale said, “I wasn’t talking to myself. I was talking to the gremlins.”
“I see.” Anouk nodded and took a careful sip of the hot coffee. “Now, does that make you less mad, or more mad? And will you tell Toby Barnes, or do I have to… What is the phrase? ‘rat you out’?”
“Tell Toby? Why?” But she knew why. Anouk didn’t even bother to answer. They couldn’t afford to have anybody go off the rails in a pioneer site. One lunatic in a closed environment with such a limited population, so few of whom were expendable, could be a disaster. “Projecting oneself as a separate entity” was one of the things the counselor had specifically warned them about. Any instance–any suspected instance–was to be reported to one of the mental health staff or the Project Facilitator. She wasn’t certain that one creepy moment meant her brains were scrambled, but nobody could afford to take that chance. She would have to tell Toby.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about a character who begins talking to him or herself.