Upcoming SF at Carina Press: Cyber Sparks

I’m a big fan of mystery elements in SF stories. One of my all-time favourites is Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, in which an intrepid human crew enters a giant, hollow alien cylinder adrift in our solar system. They know absolutely nothing about its origin or contents, and little by little, you could say step by tentative step, Clarke teases out the cylinder’s fascinating secret. It’s a masterpiece of plotting and ideas, as you never quite know what’s going to happen next.

In Cyber Sparks,  I wanted to introduce readers to a hi-tech future Earth, and then peel back the layers with a mystery that goes right to the heart of man’s relationship with technology. That the heroine of the story is a cyber tenderfoot who’s knocked for a loop during her virgin upload, well, let’s just say it gives her ample opportunity to throw her caustic observations around. She doesn’t know what the #!@k’s going on, but she’s damn well gonna find out.

The story’s classified as F/F, but it isn’t a romance (the romantic elements don’t drive the plot) and there’s very little sensuality. Instead it’s a tale involving mutual but undeclared love between best friends wary of taking it any further. In this future world, the issue isn’t a social resistence to same-sex relationships—they’ve been accepted long since—it’s one of real-world-versus-cyber intimacy. The more connected we all are, the more isloated we feel.

Introducing Cyber Sparks…

Cyber SparksMy name is Allegra Mondebay, and this is the story of my last days on Earth…

Unlike my sparsely populated home, on Earth everything and everyone is plugged in. As a blacklisted model who needs to reboot my career, I can no longer resist the ultimate in virtual-reality networking: the omnipod. At first, altering the sights, sounds and scents around me seems harmless. Then I hear the voice.

Do not adjust your headset. You are in danger…

He says I must help him warn the public about the perils of the omnipod. I think he’s just a hacker—until innocent people start dying, and the police want to hold me responsible. Now, I’m on the run in a stolen shuttle, trying to figure out why he needs me. And if I don’t do as he says, he’ll kill the woman I love.

32,000 words

***

Currently scheduled for a late August release, Cyber Sparks is the latest book in my Cosmic Sparks collection at Carina Press:

Sparks in Cosmic Dust

Alien Velocity

Pyro Canyon

Find all these and more SF books at my website:

www.robertappleton.co.uk

 

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12 comments

  1. Dammit, Robert, stop writing so many awesome books! How do you do it? I can’t keep up. And I was just thinking YESTERDAY that there needed to be more F/F stories, in general. I can’t wait to read yours. (btw Pyro Canyon has one of the most beautiful covers — I want a poster!) Is Cyber Sparks set in the same universe as Sparks in Cosmic Dust?

    1. LOL Thanks, Jen! I wish I could keep this momentum up. Cyber Sparks will be the last release for quite a while–the two books I’m working on are taking forever.

      Yes, it’s set in the same universe as Sparks in Cosmic Dust, at the opposite end of the galaxy. You’ve seen the border colonies; this time it’s the big city at the heart of all commerce.

      Oh, I’d love a Pyro poster. Carina should absolutely make those available…for all our favourites.

  2. Thomas Evans · · Reply

    please letme know when this is released. It sounds interesting and I’d love to read it for review, though I warn you I can be a bit harsh at times.

    1. Thanks, Thomas. It’s scheduled for release in the last week of August, so it should be available for review on netgalley a few weeks before that.

  3. This sounds pretty darn awesome. I love tech, mystery, and the ticking clock. All in one story?!?! Coolness.
    And another great Carina cover!

    1. Thanks, Ella. I’d planned this as a short story but the idea proved too rich–I had to explore it fully. Always a good sign, I guess.

  4. Congrats! What an awesome cover!

    1. Isn’t it striking? And I finally have a Carina cover with hot women. ::ticks item off wishlist::

      1. LOL

        And, btw, I had the opportunity to introduce someone to your new book at ConCarolinas, this weekend. She stopped by my author table, read my promo poster, and asked if Duin (a lead alien character in the Stellarnet Series) was female, and I said no. She was disappointed and looking for F/F sci-fi, so I pulled up this post on my android phone. I also told her about Cathy Pegau’s “Rulebreaker,” which she’d already heard of. I thought there were other F/F SF titles at CP, but I couldn’t find them on the website.

      2. You’re a star, Jen! Thanks for thinking of us at ConCarolinas–hope you had a blast. Cathy’s Rulebreaker (ace book)concentrates more on its F/F relationship than I do in Cyber Sparks, which is more about the SF mystery. But I’m glad to be adding to the (sadly limited) F/F subgenre in SF.

  5. Sounds and looks great!

    1. Thanks, Diane!

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