#WIPpet Wednesday: An excerpt from Recontact and the first attempt at a cover

In the last week, I’ve switched from editing Island of Glass to Recontact, the SF novella I wrote with Jay Lake that I’ve mentioned before. So today, I would like to share an excerpt from that again. I’ve uploaded the first 9,000+ words to be critiqued at the next Villa Diodati workshop, but just in case anyone is so blown away that they want to read more, I intend to upload the complete novella as well. Not that I think it’s going to happen, but who knows, I might get lucky. *g*

Given some of the feedback I got from beta readers, I did some reorganizing and made part of the second section of the book into a prologue. Rog, the narrator of this section, is a pretty foul-mouthed guy, so if that offends you, you might want to skip it (and forgive the asterisks — I don’t want this site to end up indexed or anything). Since this is going to be the new beginning, I’m hoping it’s self-explanatory. So without further ado, here are 16 sentences for the 16th day of the month:

Rogelio Crandall-Yui

Hesperides loomed from the iron-gray waters of Naxos Bay, the rusting stub of her narrow neck a monument whose meaning had long been lost. Or transubstantiated, I suppose, if the old mission logs and current radio transmissions were to be believed. The people on this planet had hand-wound crystal sets and a lot of passion. Just no Tesla yet to get them firmly on the road.
They’d find their way.
Meanwhile forty billion jo-dollars worth of hardware from the Smith-Ayapurtam expedition had been rotting in saltwater for well over a hundred years. Even if we were interested in salvage, we wouldn’t be getting much more than materials reclamation.
Hesperides had become the door to the heavens, or the gates to a particularly dissonant h*ll, depending whose theology you believed. One side or the other was even now setting fire to something big farther west along the bay. I hadn’t had the opportunity to see a city burn before, but I suspected I was now.
By all the gods and martyrs, had we f***ed this thing up. I’d never seen a Recontact in such a mess. Not even Hy Wyoming, which was literally the textbook case in How Not To Handle Recontact. The broken-backed starship with the flowering vines growing all over her lee side, crewed now by pale yellow monkeys who fished from the blown hatches just above the waterline — she was the literalized metaphor of the state of relations between the world of Bonificium and the rest of humanity. Ruined, filled with monkey sh*t, with no way back to where things belonged.

My daughter and I have also come up with a first attempt at a cover:

Recontact by Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold

Very happy for any and all feedback on both the excerpt and the cover. 🙂

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

20 thoughts on “#WIPpet Wednesday: An excerpt from Recontact and the first attempt at a cover”

  1. Well, I didn’t find Rog’s voice that “foul-mouthed”. I’m assuming we’re in his thoughts, not some kind of official journal or documentation of what he’s observing. Sounds about right for the level of frustration and disbelief he seems to be experiencing.

    The cover is gorgeous, Ruth.

  2. Oh! I think I love it! It took a bit to get into what was clearly an involved scene, but this is a WIPpet, and I’m guessing it wouldn’t be that way, if I had access to more (which I would love, like, in June, when I’ve challenged all I can challenge, till July!).

    The cover is very nice – but, for some reason, although I really can’t say why, I would prefer the ship above and the people below the title. Maybe it’s a matter of feeling separated from them when above, but more intimately connected below.

    Or maybe it’s just that that’s the way the Pocket Star trek novels I loved in my teens and twenties presented covers, and I’m biased…

    It’s an intuitive thing, and it might be that no one else feels it, so please keep your salt handy when you consider it. =)

  3. Loved the excerpt. 😀

    The cover – the two faces suggest this is a romance novel. They are looking off in different directions so there’s no sense of connection between them, and there’s nothing that connects them to the spaceship. Are they necessary?
    A thought – get rid of them entirely, move the text to the top of the page and tell more of a story with the spaceship. Maybe make it a derelict with the spacesuited people more prominent. If a romance hint is needed, maybe the figures could be holding hands.

    1. The story of the screwed-up recontact is all tangled up with a “romance” between Rog and a woman on the planet. I’m afraid if all I have on the cover is your standard space ship, the SF readers who suffer from cooties when their space opera is cluttered up with relationship stuff will not be happy. The way the figures are gazing is reflected within the story, but of course if it doesn’t communicate that imbalance, the cover isn’t working.We’re also limited by the stock images we have. I can’t afford to spend a lot extra on this, unfortunately, with the way sales have been the last few months.

  4. You know I love Rog. 😀 I also love this beginning. Very clear, flows nice, gives a sense of Rog and some of the conflict.

    My first thought on the cover: third, third, third. Meaning, it’s three bars of very different visual information that aren’t really tied together in any way and don’t do anything to excite me. I like the ship. Having read the piece, I understand the faces but I’d like to see the ship between them somehow because that would have a symbolic impact. Also, I think the title needs more prominence.

  5. The cover isn’t bad but there’s just something bugging me about the middle 3rd. Maybe it’s how the title and the author info is squished in the middle of the cover?

  6. Oh, that wasn’t too bad! The use of language was totally appropriate given what had happened. He could’ve been dropping F-bombs and every other word!

    Gorgeous cover by the way! It turned out beautifully!

  7. Like Christina said, as sailor-mouths go, his wasn’t too bad. I had a good idea of what kind of shape the plot would take by the end of the excerpt. 🙂

    I definitely got the sci-fi romance impression from the cover. I agree the middle third is a little not-as-awesome as the top or bottom, though. Only, to me, it’s more in the transition than title positioning. We go from neutrals to brights with just a tiny bit of fading. I think it would be more eye-catching to have very distinct “stripes” or to tweak the fading somehow. That’s just me, though. 🙂

  8. Haven’t read the other comments yet but I found the excerpt well-written and intriguing but a little dense. It’s as though I read through one incredibly vivid, mind-altering paragraph and needed time to digest it and instead was dumped headlong into the next. Now, it might be easier to digest if I’d started from the beginning of the story, granted. Maybe a little dialogue to break it up? Just some initial impressions. I want to make clear that it’s a good excerpt – good writing definitely – so take what I’ve said with a grain of salt.

    The asterisks aren’t going to stay, are they? I’d much prefer the actual curse words since the asterisks are distracting.

    The spaceship on the cover is AWESOME! The faces are good, too. Not sure what that thing is between them though. I think it would look a bit more striking if you made the ship potion take up more of the cover and made the “Award-winning Authors and Names” and the faces smaller. That would give the viewer a stronger impression of sci fi. As if is now it looks like it’s 50/50 sci fi and romance or maybe even more romance than sci fi. If that’s what you want to convey it’s fine but I’m getting the initial impression that it isn’t.

    Also, wow the Villa Diodorti workshop looks amazing!

  9. I really like the WIPpet; it’s a really interesting set-up. I’m left wanting to know why this recontact was such a f*uck-up, and how they’re going to come out of it.

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