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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 06.06.18] book scifi

I'm currently reading an advance copy of Alex White's upcoming sci-fi novel, "A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe" (humble brag) and I'm really digging it. A true genre bender of a space opera, it introduces a unique magic system into what would otherwise be a grounded sci-fi tale about a ragtag team of fortune hunters.

Fans of Cowboy Beebop and Firefly will both recognize and rejoice in the cast of colorful rogues.

The book comes from UK publisher Orbit who have revealed the first three chapters of the book on their website. I recommend giving them a read if you haven't already pre-ordered the book.

Furious and fun, the first book in this bold, new science fiction adventure series follows a crew of outcasts as they try to find a legendary ship that just might be the key to savings themselves-and the universe.

White's most recent novel was Alien: The Cold Forge, the latest Alien tie-in novel from Titan Books.

*** *** ***

Chapter One

The straight opened before the two race cars: an oily river, speckled yellow by the evening sun. They shot down the tarmac in succession like sapphire fish, streamers of wild magic billowing from their exhausts. They roared toward the turn, precision movements bringing them within centimeters of one another.

The following car veered to the inside. The leader attempted the same.

Their tires only touched for a moment. They interlocked, and sheer torque threw the leader into the air. Jagged chunks of duraplast glittered in the dusk as the follower’s car passed underneath, unharmed but for a fractured front wing. The lead race car came down hard, twisting eruptions of elemental magic spewing from its wounded power unit. One of its tires exploded into a hail of spinning cords, whipping the road.

In the background, the other blue car slipped away down the chicane—Nilah’s car.

The replay lost focus and reset.

The crash played out again and again on the holoprojection in front of them, and Nilah Brio tried not to sigh. She had seen plenty of wrecks before and caused more than her share of them.

“Crashes happen,” she said.

“Not when the cars are on the same bloody team, Nilah!”

Claire Asby, the Lang Autosport team principal, stood at her mahogany desk, hands folded behind her back. The office looked less like the sort of ultramodern workspace Nilah had seen on other teams and more like one of the mansions of Origin, replete with antique furniture, incandescent lighting, stuffed big-game heads (which Nilah hated), and gargantuan landscapes from planets she had never seen. She supposed the decor favored a pale woman like Claire, but it did nothing for Nilah’s dark brown complexion. The office didn’t have any of the bright, human-centric design and ergonomic beauty of her home, but team bosses had to be forgiven their eccentricities—especially when that boss had led them to as many victories as Claire had.

Her teammate, Kristof Kater, chuckled and rocked back on his heels. Nilah rolled her eyes at the pretty boy’s pleasure. They should’ve been checking in with the pit crews, not wasting precious time at a last-minute dressing down.

The cars hovering over Claire’s desk reset and moved through their slow-motion calamity. Claire had already made them watch the footage a few dozen times after the incident: Nilah’s car dove for the inside and Kristof moved to block. The incident had cost her half her front wing, but Kristof’s track weekend had ended right there.

“I want you both to run a clean race today. I am begging you to bring those cars home intact at all costs.”

Nilah shrugged and smiled. “That’ll be fine, provided Kristof follows a decent racing line.”

“We were racing! I made a legal play and the stewards sided with me!”

Read more of this sample at Orbit Books

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