Today on Sci-Fi & Scary we are happy to offer up an exclusive excerpt from Brendan Myer’s Flight of the Siren. Flight is a hard sci-fi novel with a female lead, and Brendan has kindly given us chapter three to show to everyone.
About Flight of the Siren
Lorelei Verlassen took the first job she could get after finishing her PhD: installing comm relays in the ice belt. There she found a crashed alien space probe, containing blueprints for a faster-than-light engine. Without knowing if the probe’s creators still exist, she and her crewmates persuade The Conference of Nations to build a starship, to launch a new era of space exploration for all humanity. But various factions conspire to subvert the project for themselves. To protect her ship, Lorelei must navigate a political whirlwind of ambition and deceit, without losing her moral integrity. But the clash of corporations, military juntas, and fanatical religious groups could destroy her planet before her ship is ready to fly. FLIGHT OF THE SIREN is about the tension between cooperation and paranoia in a civilization preparing to explore interstellar space, while at the same time on the edge of collapse.
Flight of the Siren Review Snippet from Goodreads:
Flight of the Siren Excerpt (Chapter 3)
In the NavCom Seven’s lab, Lorelei showed Jiandong and Sitara the footage from her spacesuit’s body camera.
“There’s nothing obviously alien about this, Lorelei,” said Sitara.
“The big dish antennae looks like the one on the Traveller probes. The third? Or maybe the fourth?” said Jiandong.
“It’s none of them,” said Lorelei. “Look at the core. And the spheres at the two ends. They’re different. We didn’t make this.” When the video came to the plaque, Lorelei froze the picture and said, “This is the reason the lieutenant made me swear on my life not to tell anyone. But I’m telling you anyway. It’s too important to keep secret. And when we get back home, we have to tell the world.”
The crew examined the image. Lorelei zoomed into the three humanoid shapes at the bottom of the plaque, and then scrolled up to the diagram at the top.
When Sitara realized what she was looking at, she spilled her coffee on the floor.
“It’s a fake,” said Jiandong. “No other explanation.”
“If it’s a fake, why try to scare us away from seeing it?” asked Lorelei.
“Maybe it’s a distraction,” said Jiandong. “It’s there to let the Arethusans test their secret new technology, and blame any sightings on aliens.”
“It’s not a fake,” Lorelei insisted, her anger mounting. “Look at the density of the micro-meteor damage. It must be hundreds of years old. I’m telling you what I saw!”
Jiandong shook his head. “I cannot understand why you find this paper tiger so convincing. We found more than ten thousand planets orbiting other stars, all within a hundred light-years. None of them show evidence of civilization. You know this.”
“Ten thousand planets within a hundred light years,” said Lorelei. “That’s— how many planets in the galaxy as a whole? And you say none of them with intelligent life? As an ecologist, I can tell you that’s impossible. Life always appears when the conditions are right for it.”
“I’m not saying no other planets have intelligent life,” Jiandong defended himself. “I’m saying we’ve never found any.”
“We’ve found microbes and bacteria on three other bodies in our own solar system.”
“But nothing that can build a rocket. Nothing with a brain!”
Lorelei pursed her lips. Then she looked at Sitara. “You’re the card-player. What are the odds?”
Sitara rubbed her forehead for a moment, to think. “I’m with the captain, on this one,” she said. “If there are any aliens out there, it’s mathematically very likely that some disaster collapses their society before they can launch anything that we will ever find. Their resources run out, or they pollute their climate, or they blow themselves up in a nuclear war. So, I’m sorry. You’re right when you say that life is probably common, throughout the galaxy. But Jiandong is also right when he says that probably none of it has come to the same level as us. If I had to bet on one of you, I’d bet on him.”
“But what about this,” said Lorelei, as she pulled her own hair and searched for the words. “The limits of one planet don’t have to be the limits of all civilization. What if that limit is the whole galaxy?”
“If that were true,” said Jiandong, “then we would see signs of intelligent life everywhere. But we don’t.”
“And where there appears to be nothing, there’s always something,” said Lorelei, smiling as though she had won a small victory. “We could be looking at a galactic civilization that has only now begun. And our world, and the world that created this machine, are only the first two of billions of planets, each of them with billions of people.”
“I want you to be right, Lorelei,” said Sitara. “But wanting something to be true doesn’t make it so.”
Lorelei pursed her lips. Then she said, “The Arethusans are sure the probe is alien.”
“If that’s true, then we should expect to hear from them, any moment now.” said Jiandong. “They’re going to want some assurance that you kept their secret.”
A polite chime sounded in the lab: the ASDF Scavenger wanted to talk. Jiandong moved to a comms panel, but looked at Lorelei before he took the call. “It feels good when I’m right about these things,” he said, though his frustrated tone revealed his true meaning.
Lorelei made an exasperated face, but Jiandong opened the comm channel before she could reply to him. “NavCom Seven, receiving your signal,” he said into the radio.
“NavCom Seven: Lieutenant Glaive. I need to board you.”
“Negative, Lieutenant,” said Jiandong. “We are burning for home. I’d rather not have to do our orbital calculations all over again.”
A heartbeat after Jiandong spoke, red alarm lights lit up on every panel and monitor in the lab, and an alarm rang. Jiandong checked the panel nearest him and said, “They’ve put a weapons lock on us!”
“It won’t kill you to do those calculations twice,” said the lieutenant.
Check out Flight of the Siren now on Amazon:
About the Author
Brendan is the author of eighteen books in philosophy, environmental ethics, history of ideas, spirituality, urban fantasy fiction, science fiction, and game design.
His ideas have been featured by the Pacific Business and Law Institute, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the BC Civil Liberties Association, and the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. He’s run four successful fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter, chaired a labour union, presented a TED talk, and hunted for fairy tales in seven European countries.
Originally from Elora, Ontario, Brendan holds a PhD in philosophy from NUI Galway, and now serves as professor at CEGEP Heritage College, in Gatineau, Quebec. Through his publishing imprint, Northwest Passage Books, Brendan also provides self-publishing assistance and ethics consulting services to private clients. (https://www.brendanmyers.net/about/)
Brendan’s Twitter is: https://twitter.com/Fellwater
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Kali Krew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.
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