Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Superluminal by Vonda N. McIntyre

When I was much younger, a novella by the name of Transit appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and it blew my mind.  To go faster than light, a spaceship has to enter transit, and normal humans cannot survive that.  Pilots need to have their hearts removed to prevent them from feeling any sense of time, then they can live and control the ship.  The rest of the crew stays in a drugged sleep.  But along comes a fellow named Radu who has this uncanny ability to know what time it is, no matter what planet he’s on, no matter when he wakes up.  What would happen if he stayed awake during transit?  If he survived, how would the pilots react to this possible threat to their livelihood?

Radu has no intention of having such radical effects on space travel.  It’s just that during his enforced sleep in transit, he dreams that a pilot friend of his is in trouble.  Such tragic dreams of his have come true before, with his friends dying in real life.  His only ally is Orca, a woman genetically modified to be a swimmer—far stronger than a normal human, she can actually swim in Earth’s oceans unaided.  But will the pilots listen to his concern for his pilot friend?

The novella Transit is now chapters 4 - 10 of the novel Superluminal.  The first three chapters were originally a novella named Aztecs that had also been previously published.  A few chapters have been added to the end to round out the novel.  Either read the whole novel, or read only the middle chapters, but you can order it from Vonda M. McIntyre’s website, either as a hardback or an e-book.  

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