I’ve been tagged by Heidi Ruby Miller for this year’s 777 Meme.
The rules are:
Go to the 7th line of the 7th page of your work in progress.
Post the first full 7 lines.
Then tag 7 friends.
My current project is a prequel to my novel The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes. Though it occurs before the events of that book, it really should be read after it, since the story in the prequel—called In a Suspect Universe—gains greater significance when read after the first book. It’s self-contained and can be read alone, but the prequel will begin with this message:
At the end of The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes, Pia Folinari asked Mykol Ranglen if he would ever tell her the “big story” she was sure he kept hidden in his past.
He never said he would.
But this is that story.
Ranglen—the protagonist of the first book—has just been rescued from a storm in the desert on another planet by an amateur archaeologist surveying the ruins of an extinct alien race. She’s working alone and she doesn’t trust him since she suspects he’s treasure-hunting at the site. In an attempt to learn more about him, she insists she’s not after treasure herself, and we then get these 7 lines:
He showed no change at all. “Neither am I, and you can believe that.”
She wasn’t assured but she didn’t feel as threatened by him now. His personality didn’t seem contentious or selfish. But she knew—she knew!—he had secrets, and his real focus seemed far away.
This disturbed her.
Still, she felt she couldn’t do much else. “All right,” she said.
He turned away from her and closed his eyes again. And this time, maybe overwhelmed by fatigue, he fell into a genuine sleep.
The two go on to have a tentative if difficult relationship. But she’s correct that he does carry secrets, and the rest of the novel gradually reveals them.
She will regret learning what they are.
The story will be an intricate brew of meetings in a desert, fighting on a tundra world against peculiar denizens of a “Blight,” and a frantic search across many planets. For anyone who wondered why Mykol Ranglen in The Man Who Loved Alien Landscapes is as withdrawn, guarded, and paranoid as he is, In a Suspect Universe will explain why.