Enslavement #SampleSunday #SideshowInTheCenterRing

One of the reasons I write speculative fiction is to encourage people to think about–to feel about–concepts and situations they wouldn’t or couldn’t bear to think and feel about more immediately.

In case you aren’t aware of it, people all over the world are being held in slavery. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved people from the African continent being brought to my country, the United States of America, where they are technically now free but systemically still held in bondage to the White narrative.

If you visit this blog after 3:00 PM EDT, when the National Park Service is honoring the coming of the African diaspora, I’ll be adding my bells to others all over the country in acknowledgement of America’s second original sin. The first, of course, is the white settlers’ treatment of the people who were already here.

ANYWAY, here’s a sample from SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, my science fiction comedy of bad manners, which takes place during a visit by rich Terrans (people of Earth, in case you don’t know) to the planet Marner, where slavery is legal.


by Marian Allen

I remembered Tosun telling me that some Marneri, ones who renounce their worldly goods (like Religious, I had said), cancel their papers. That meant they were anybody’s who took them. Tosun was one.

“Budhi could have claimed you as well as me.”

Tosun nodded. “If he’d wanted to, although goliards–” he grinned wickedly, “–are in less demand than Terrans. But I wouldn’t have stopped him. The Yol–”

“When you’re quite through,” said Darryl. “Let me see that paper.”

“What’s to stop me from selling you to somebody else, if I accepted you, just like any other slave?”


“What’s to stop me from buying you and giving you to yourself?”

“My vows. Yolan can’t own slaves.”

“I have vows of my own. Don’t they matter?”you can say what matters to you. As for me: it’s you or them.”

Darryl snatched at Tosun’s paper. “Let me see that.”

“Just a minute. Don’t be so grabby.”

Where did principles and backbone come into this? Was it principled to own another person? Was it principled to let Darryl own him? But what was I going to do–run around after Darryl all Season, and dash out with a fistful of credits every time he looked like buying somebody?

No, but….

Tosun watched me, waiting for my decision. He didn’t understand. He didn’t care. He wasn’t afraid. He wasn’t asking me to be afraid for him, either. Why should I–

Darryl grabbed for the paper again.

I whipped out a pen and put my scrawl on the dotted line. To the glee of everyone who’d yawned in my face when I’d moralized on the evils of slavery, I bought a man, and paid for him with a token credit.

Probably worth about thirty pieces of silver.

Now I was really part of the gang. Christians aren’t as joyful when a lost lamb returns to the fold as villains are when the lamb turns out to have been a wolf all the time.



From your friendly neighborhood indie through Indiebound http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780989971140

In print and for Kindle and Kindle apps at Amazon http://bookshow.me/0989971147

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: Someone must choose between good and right.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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