Monday, May 16, 2016

Are You Hooked? Adult Genre Fiction #29

TITLE: Baneborn
GENRE: Adult - Science Fiction

Centuries after a biotech apocalypse bred Abomination and drove the survivors back to the Age of Steam, Pure folk and mutants must reach a truce to fight their common enemy. If they don’t, what’s left of humanity won’t last the summer.

It took Malcolm and the rangers a full day to hunt down the tuskers in the North Wild.

The tuskers had killed folk of the Territory--that couldn’t be left unanswered without looking weak and ripe for predation. And now they had them, caught dead to rights over breakfast with no idea Hell was about to rain down.

Malcolm squatted behind the birches above the tuskers’ camp while Sanjay and his rangers moved in to close the trap. Tuskers got their name from their piggish features. If they had a different one for themselves, Malcolm didn’t know it and didn’t care to ask. Pure folk and tuskers weren’t inclined to converse much before the killing started.

He plucked a juniper berry and crushed it under his nose. The evergreen smell was a damned sight better than the stench of burnt methane and saltpeter from the flamer crew behind him. He couldn’t abide that smell, not anymore, not after what he’d lost.

It made Malcolm feel a speck of sympathy for the tuskers. But that wasn’t something a Baneborn could afford--he had a duty, an obligation, to every soul in the Territory. People looked up to him, depended him. Hell, they even revered him like some prophet of old. Maybe that was why he preferred the Wild to more civilized places.

Sanjay and the rangers were in position. The five of them could slip through the forest like ghosts lost to a fog. But a Baneborn’s ears could hear them.


  1. I have no earthly idea how this doesn't have more comments. The logline is great, and the entry is amazing. I want to read the whole thing, ASAP. As in the whole freakin' book.

    It's like fantasy and steampunk and sci fi had a baby and the baby is the the holy child of a new genre cocktail I didn't know I wanted or needed until now, but now that I know it exists, I am praying to every available god you get an agent and get published so I can buy this and read it on a rainy day.

    Great names for the animals / names of people's job positions -- I really like the things you chose to capitalize, and I love the title of the book.

    Your writing style is also easy to ready.

  2. Interesting concept. I think you could tighten this first page a bit with more showing instead of telling. It's hard to avoid info dump with SF like this, but I don't think you would lose much by moving some of the info to later and moving more action up to the first page or so. I would keep reading.

  3. I'm probably going to skirt the fine line of cheerleading here, because I absolutely love this premise and excerpt. The logline kicks off with a few terms and ideas specific to the book. Yet, I don't care whether I know precisely what they mean. They're easy enough to sort out and set the tone of what to expect in the opening exceptionally well. Your use of punchy evocative phrasing that encapsulates a mood is spot on, especially in "biotech apocalypse" and "drove the survivors back to the Age of Steam". By the time you hit "what’s left of humanity won’t last the summer", I already have my grabby-hands fully deployed.

    The opening is just as evocative and chock full of voice and word-building tone. Phrases like "couldn’t be left unanswered without looking weak and ripe for predation" confirm I'm in good hands to follow up on the promising intrigue of the rangers with a believable soldier/guardian headspace. Even phrases like hell raining down, that could feel like clichés, worked well in the context because everything else around them felt authentic.

    Here and there, a snippet would pull away from the trajectory of the action, which could be distracting. You're quite effective at peppering it with some great evocative voice, like this section: "If they had a different one for themselves, Malcolm didn’t know it and didn’t care to ask. Pure folk and tuskers weren’t inclined to converse much before the killing started." While my action head wants to know what happens and see the rangers spring the trap, my world and character building head is excited to read more about Malcolm and his surroundings.

    Similarly, I wished I had more of an idea what flamers are, but hit: "He couldn’t abide that smell, not anymore, not after what he’d lost." The juicy intrigue counters any possible want for more data.

    By the time you get to Baneborn, I'm champing at the bit to know what they are and what makes them so different. You could toss in a tiny hint without losing flow. But, I'll be totally honest, you don't really need to add reader service if you don't want. The piece, as a whole, is so evocative, unique, and full of distinctive voice, you've built up more than enough faith to just coast and let you steer the ride.

    This is light years from my usual read. Yet, if this excerpt had a one-click buy button, I know what I'd be reading tonight (likely until I hit the last page).

    Thanks so much for sharing the excerpt. I can't wait to read the whole book. I AM SO COMPLETELY HOOKED.

  4. I'm really intrigued by the logline, and am wondering what or who the mutual enemy might be...It can't be the Tuskers because they're obviously a type of mutant.
    I didn't mind the exposition in this scene as it quickly gets me up to speed to the action that's about to happen, and tells me why I should care about Malcolm.

    One minor nitpick:
    Is time different or the Tuskers nocturnal? If Malcolm and co have been tracking them the whole day, shouldn't it now be night?

    I really liked the bit about the juniper berry. I thought it a good way to add sensory detail and more info on the tech in this story.

    I really enjoyed your writing here.

    I would read on as I'm curious to learn more about why the Baneborn are so revered, and who that enemy is!

  5. I'm hooked like a fish! I want more!

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