I haven’t shared a sample from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, my science fiction comedy of bad manners, in a while.
It isn’t wise to ignore Connie for too long.
Connie is the narrative character. She’s a human TerraNet holovision star, hoping to overcome her alley-born insecurity by becoming part of the inner core of an exclusive clique. The clique has gone, taking Connie along for entertainment, to a planet where people are furry and slavery is legal. She has taken a young man as a slave to keep him from being taken by a nasty piece of work. The nasty piece of work is being discussed in this sample.
Doesn’t He Know?
excerpt from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING
by Marian Allen
When we were alone, Captain Margent had trouble coming to the point. He drew his eyebrows into knots, as if speaking were an effort. He ran his claws through the smoky gray fur around his broad face and scratched his pale pink nose.
After a couple of harrumphs, he said, “I’m speaking out of turn, but…. The way you and the Shar go on, I’m hoping you won’t report my presumption, and you might be able to drop a hint where I couldn’t. –Hasn’t your friend with the slave read his owner’s manual?”
“He isn’t my friend, and I doubt if he has. I haven’t read mine, either, to tell you the truth. I plan to, though. I plan to make notes in the margins.”
“Good. That’s the way to do it. If you’re going to take on the responsibility of ownership, you owe it to yourself to know the law and what you face if you break it. My owners at Muimmea Transport are famous for going by the book, and they’ve never had an action against them, not in two hundred years of operation.”
He nodded, more to himself than to me, and continued, “I’ve carried many an owner in my years on this run, and I know the signs of one that’s heading straight for trouble.”
When I didn’t speak, he said, “I’m talking about your friend.”
That was good news. “I told you, he’s not my friend. What kind of trouble is he heading for?”
“For one thing, doesn’t he know…. Well, not to be indelicate, but…. Doesn’t he know a female when he sees one? Aren’t you a female? Same general shape as ours? Mem Moran’s slave, for example: she’s a female. Same as you?”
“Female meaning the one who bears the young?”
“Po– Ah, I get your meaning. They can, but they don’t have to. Same as here. But, because they can, and because the choice is theirs, aren’t your females revered, like ours are? I mean, the only source of people…. They bring us to life, deep in their bodies, and let us grow there, tucked away safe, and feed us with their flesh and blood, and bring us out when we’re ready, and guard us with their teeth and claws until we can fend for ourselves.”
The captain’s pale gray eyes shone; I made a mental note to teach him “‘M’ Is for the Many Things She Gave Me” before I left the resort.
“Our females,” he said, “are our Prime Citizens, the Powers that Be. Naturally. Aren’t yours?”
“Our females have the babies. The resemblance ends there. Don’t get me wrong; our females don’t take any guff. It isn’t because we’re given our due, though, it’s because we’ve made refusing to take any guff a habit.”
Buy SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING
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In multiple formats at Untreed Reads http://store.untreedreads.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7_49_689_691&products_id=2004
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: How does your main character’s culture — or the culture you grew up in — value women? Why?