10. The Smart Creatures of the Wood

May 29th, 2016 § Comments Off on 10. The Smart Creatures of the Wood § permalink

Chapter ten of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


Henry Jacobs and Sophie von Embers, like all kids their age who spent a lot of their time around adults, felt the need to keep their own secrets. It was nothing conscious. There was no children’s summit at which it was decided that certain things would not be shared with their parents or their parents’ friends, but every night when they were supposed to be in bed, they’d Facetime each other. Neither of them had siblings, but they saw each other often enough that they had developed that brand of kinship over the years, and if the virtual world had done one thing for them, it allowed them to have whispered, conspiratorial meetings in the virtual hallway outside their parents’ bedrooms even as they were tucked into beds miles away from each other.

Only now they whispered about more than jerks at school and mean teachers and new video-game theories. Now they planned what they were going to do later, when they met in the forest. Because every night since the Star Event, they’d had dreams—distinctive dreams that were vivid and entertaining and, they’d discovered, exactly the same as each other’s. They both remembered the same conversations from the dreams, the same locations, the same landmarks, and the same overwhelming sense of dread and awe. » Read the rest of this entry «

9. Ladder Logic

May 23rd, 2016 § Comments Off on 9. Ladder Logic § permalink

Chapter nine of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


General Rauchbach was quite proud of the message they intended to send back. You couldn’t assume any amount of intelligence, so pictures were certainly the way to go. He wasn’t entirely convinced that whatever received it would be able to use the circle and representative equation to establish that they, the Earthlings, understood pi, nor that they could use the same equation to establish the average height of a human being (or would care), but Dr. Angelo Moore had assured him it was the best way, and it certainly made more sense to General Rauchbach than the near-lunatic ravings of Dr. Fobell.

“That’s the problem with genius,” the general had commiserated with Admiral Thomas when they’d read Howard’s letter of resignation. “They’re one tiny stumble away from insanity.” » Read the rest of this entry «

8. RadialShade

May 15th, 2016 § Comments Off on 8. RadialShade § permalink

Chapter eight of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


It was so subtle, not even those watching noticed it. The ruddy pink surface of Mars shimmered to a paler pink in three specific spots for only a second. Somewhere, in some laboratory, a computer clicked and chattered, recording the change in the surface features of the planet. But the detection, though logged, would not be seen as anomalous. After all, the shifting dust on the planet’s surface often revealed and covered shinier spots of the rocky crust. No one noticed because science, with its massive telescopes and most powerful microscopes, is only able to register what can be seen and can be reproduced. The pale pink flashes of light would not happen again, would not be seen, and would not be able to be reproduced.

To mainstream science, they had never happened. » Read the rest of this entry «

7. Wooing Luci

May 7th, 2016 § Comments Off on 7. Wooing Luci § permalink

Chapter seven of Unknown North, a novel that will be published chapter-by-chapter until it’s done. All chapters so far: Unknown North.


“I just don’t understand why you’d want me to go to Mars,” Luci von Embers said for the umpteenth time. She’d been flattered by his charming explanations, but the scientist in her was still extremely skeptical.

And, of course, Bransen couldn’t really answer, “Because of a dream I had.” The real reason didn’t seem too compelling even to himself, but he’d hoped that dinner on him in the city’s finest restaurant would earn him a few points—and if he could somehow convince Luci to join his team, then he’d just trust her judgment and stop trying to convince himself.

He grinned sweetly because he was beginning to think he may have convinced her—she’d stayed for dessert, after all. » Read the rest of this entry «