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Thursday, February 22, 2018

EXCERPT: The Lords of Creation

This is an excerpt from the first book in John C. Wright's astonishing new series, SUPERLUMINARY: The Lords of Creation. And I can testify that it is some of the most outrageous, creepiest, most mind-bending science fiction I have ever read.

Aeneas felt a chill in his soul.

This was the Cerberus.

He was aboard the dreadful, legendary ship.

The last time the ship had been seen, Aeneas had been a little boy playing the gardens of the Ishtar Plateau, in the fragrant shadow of Mount Freyja, overlooking the perfumed north polar sea of Snegurochka. The Cerberus, the ancient superdreadnought and spaceborne palace of his mad Grandfather, had taken up a menacing orbit about Venus. He remembered seeing his mother crying when no servants were around.

“I thought it would be more… luxurious. Harems. Gold. Wine centrifuges. Do you think grampa is here?”

I cannot imagine. 

Once inside the airlock, the hatch shut, atmosphere was pumped in. Weight slowly returned. The heat, the oxygen, the moisture revived him.

Aeneas found a modern First Aid kit and broke the seal with a swing of his periscope. Inside the kit were ampoules of blood and bone marrow, totipotent cells and other biological materials. He opened one ampoule after another, absorbing the materials directly into his center of mass.

Restoring himself to his earth body was easy, since the cell memories yearned to return to their wonted shapes.  Soon Aeneas stood on the deck in human shape: He was nine foot tall, a layer of convincingly human skin over his hidden layer of armored scales. With his metal bones and muscles of ultradense fiber, he was over four hundred pounds in earth-normal gravity.

Working the airlock might alert Lord Pluto.

“Maybe he went to the conclave at Everest. And he keeps no servants.”

 Do not be at ease. It is forbidden to be on this world. It is death.

The inner airlock hatch was round, and a sideways ladder led to it, designed to be climbed out of, not crawled through.

On the far side, Aeneas straightened up and stared in astonishment.

He now stood on an unrailed circular balcony overlooking a wide well. It was a five hundred foot drop. Whatever was at the bottom, Aeneas could not see at this angle. But a reddish light was splashed along the undersides of the balconies.

In a circle with him were cryocoffins with transparent lids. Had the ship been under spin, the sleepers would have been prone. But the ship stood on her nose. The men inside the coffins were hanging head-downward.

All were unmodified. Some were greyhaired, or wrinkled, or scarred, or blemished like characters from a history lesson. Oddly, the coffins were chained shut.

There were fifteen of the nudes upside-down in coffins on this balcony. There were ten balconies below, nine above.

Three hundred crewmen.

“Stars in heaven!” said Aeneas in a hoarse whisper. “These are the three hundred. Were they asleep this whole time?”

Not asleep, sir.

“Grandfather said none of them survived!”

Nor did they, sir.

All the eyes of the upside-down crewmen flicked open. The eyes were dead, their faces, expressionless. A sensation of weakness, faintness, dying, washed over Aeneas. He staggered, but did not fall. He clamped shut the scales of his subcutaneous armor, blocking the death-energies. An unarmored man would have been killed instantly.

Their pallor was not due to cryonic suspension. Their cells had been adjusted into the negative bands of the life-energy spectrum. They were not alive, but absorbed life.

These had been turned to zombies, just as Thoon had done to his guards, but at the same time refashioned into vampires, as Thoon had been. They were necromatic automatons, soulless soul-eaters, creatures of negative-life.

Just then, a hand fell on his shoulder, and spun him around.

“Who dares trespass on my keep?”

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8 Comments:

Blogger LP999-16 February 22, 2018 9:24 PM  

Wow, I simply adores the Wrights. Wonderful excerpt, thank you.

Blogger State Estimation February 22, 2018 9:47 PM  

I can testify that it is some of the most outrageous, creepiest, most mind-bending science fiction I have ever read.

Seconded. Mr. Wright turns on the firehose and it's a blast, no pun intended. I'm hooked on this story already. Chicken soup with ghost pepper for the sci-fi soul.

Blogger Fenris Wulf February 22, 2018 11:18 PM  

Sophisticated.
Unironic.
Pulp.

Three words I never thought I'd see together in my lifetime. This is a great time for SF.

Blogger weka February 23, 2018 12:10 AM  

Finished reading it today... And that pantheon need to be burned with fire

Blogger K1 February 23, 2018 12:20 AM  

Tremendous!!!! Read it last night, can't wait for the next one. I did notice a number of spelling errors. But that doesn't take away from an excellent story!
While reading it, this popped it my head as a theme song. https://youtu.be/l5-gja10qkw

Blogger Snidely Whiplash February 23, 2018 1:39 AM  

I bought and read it in one go yesterday. amazing book.

Helps to know your Roman history, though.

Blogger CoolHand February 23, 2018 3:16 AM  

This was an excellent, if mindbending read.

And I second Vox's suspicion that many of the technical and scientific terms were constructed from whole cloth. Doesn't detract from the story though.

The KU version I read had many typos from editing left in it though. Not a big deal, but ought to be fixed when possible.

If nobody else can get to it, I'll go through and tally them all up in an email when I get a chance.

Blogger Brick Hardslab February 23, 2018 2:41 PM  

If you don't read it, you're missing out. This is a great sci-fi story and if you know your mythology it is richer but that is by no means necessary to enjoy this kick-ass story all by itself. I can't wait for the next one.

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