Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brenda Cooper's "Wings of Creation"

Brenda Cooper is a futurist who works with Glen Hiemstra at Futurist.com. She’s the co-author of the novel Building Harlequin's Moon, which she wrote with Larry Niven. Her novel The Silver Ship and the Sea won the 2008 Endeavour Award. Her solo and collaborative short fiction has appeared in multiple magazines, including Analog, Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Oceans of the Mind, and The Salal Review.

Cooper applied the “Page 99 Test” to Wings of Creation, the third book in the The Silver Ship trilogy, and reported the following:
On page 99 of 381, our heroes, Chelo, Joseph, and Kayleen, are sitting with the exotic winged-human couple Matriana and Daniel, and the doctor Chance. They are discovering the peculiar cultural difficulties that plague the flying humans:
Chance is speaking. “The mod for fliers is very painful.” A bitter anger boiled lightly under his words and showed in his eyes. “The infant fliers-to-be are drugged so they forget the pain of growing wings. Many die.”

Kayleen grimaced. “So why do it at all? If it kills so easily, why make flier? And worse, why let kids try it? They haven’t chosen.”

Chance nodded, his face softening, but his words were matter-of-fact. “The death rate for infants is far lower than adults.”

She shivered. “It seems…wrong.”

“It is wrong,” Chelo snapped.

The table fell silent. Chance’s fingers did a short dance over the data-button reader, and in front of us, the fliers flew. They morphed from the simplistic holograms we had been looking at to the beautiful beings that had taken our breath away, from sketch to real video, the men and women riding on air, smiles filling their faces. After we’d all watched for a few moments, Matriana echoed Alicia’s words from this morning. “Because to be us is the most beautiful thing in the universe.”
This passage is the first deep dive our characters get into the core of the book’s central plot, which is that our young and partially-trained heroes must solve a very big problem in order to, hopefully, stop a very big war. In Wings of Creation, I deal with beauty and the concepts related to the link between suffering and spirituality through the fliers, and with the pitfalls inherent in the idea of ownership related to the design of anything biological and sentient though other parts of the book. There is also love and betrayal, and the dog Sasha.

So far the early comments I’ve had back on the book are quite good, and I hope it is the best so far in the series that stated with Endeavor Award Winning novel, The Silver Ship and the Sea.
Read an excerpt from Wings of Creation, and learn more about the book and author at Brenda Cooper's website and her LiveJournal.

--Marshal Zeringue