Good news! My latest sci-fi eBook launches today at Eternal Press. Like Cafe at the Edge of Outer Space, it features two characters caught between the earth and the stars. It's the second story in my Earth orbit collection, and I'm especially proud of this one.
Grandiloquence - a lofty, extravagantly colorful, pompous, or bombastic style, manner, or quality especially in language
It is the distant future. A giant exoskeleton built around the earth permits anyone who can pay the price, access to the solitude of a space booth—the ultimate place to stargaze, get laid, or just escape for a while...
Benjamin Umbize recently lost his family to a Namibian genocide while he was studying in England. All he wants is a little quiet time to himself, to research a legendary writer...whose suicide is said to haunt Room 328. Bianca Burnett is a famous pop starlet scheduled to meet her boyfriend for a hot tryst miles above the earth. She hides her sophistication beneath a prickly for-the-cameras persona. But tonight, in Room 328, a friendship will develop that no one saw coming, least of all the student and the diva—a friendship that might just change both their lives forever...
“Who were you, Andrea Castor?” he whispered. “Why did you do it?”
Benjamin Umbize thumbed to the previous page of his scrapbook—a laminated excerpt from an old typed manuscript. The bottom left corner of the text was missing; in its place, the Xerox copier had left a blank black space. Benjamin slid his fingertips over the words and closed his eyes. But however hard he tried, he couldn’t feel her presence.
“Andrea, why did you do it?”
The grey sofa creaked as he leaned back with a sigh. He rummaged through his rucksack next to him on the seat, craving a ham, egg and cheese slice sandwich. Three left. Delicious in a way only he knew. And his last meal away from Earth.
The constellations never moved. Amazing things never do, he thought, we just move around them. During the ninety minutes he’d spent in booth three-two-eight above the atmosphere, the Perseus constellation had shifted from the left half of his window to the right. He finished his sandwich and wrote on his notepad: the cosmos doesn’t remember. The cosmos doesn’t care. We get to choose which of us are remembered. Will I be remembered?
He turned to the first page of his scrapbook—a photograph of his family taken on the day he’d left Namibia for his scholarship at Oxford University. It was the biggest smile his father, Simeon, a local schoolteacher, had ever given. His two sisters, Reba and Philomena, hugged his waist from either side. In the background, damp red sand and a sleek white cone-nosed jet left a lump in his throat. The contrast could not have been more blatant—his origins and his future in the same frame. It was the last time he’d seen any of them alive. He remembered Philomena’s Coca-Cola yoyo she used to take everywhere, and Reba’s incorrigible fascination with toy six-shooter revolvers. But he couldn’t quite hear their voices. Benjamin’s eyes misted as he glanced up into deep space. The Namibian genocide two years ago was a blank in his mind.
But I remember, Dad. I care.
Through the automatic sliding doors, a narrow blue-carpeted corridor wound to the left. It smelled of fresh ink, or some strange detergent. Transparent panels, set at equidistant points along the ceiling offered staggering glimpses of the elevator shaft—a gargantuan tower that rose above the atmosphere itself.
“Anyone afraid of heights?” she muttered.
One of only thirty-two on the planet, the giant tower was over sixty years old. Project Dreamcatcher—an exoskeletal framework over Earth had recently been completed to the tune of many trillions of dollars. In terms of interstellar freight and logistics, the project was expected to save corporations many times that amount in the long term. The amount of fuel required to pull a shuttle free of the earth’s gravitational pull was prohibitive, especially when multiplied by tens of thousands of shuttles per year. Despite global opposition, the exoskeleton did constitute a sound long-term investment. Entire industries had emerged on the giant framework over the planet. A cooperative venture hitherto unprecedented in human history, the Dreamcatcher itself had required the exhaustive mining of eleven planets in neighbouring systems.
In the olden days, this would all be science-fiction, she thought. Too bad all I’m using it for is to get laid.
She adjusted her handbag strap on her shoulder and untangled the other two straps—one belonging to her black tank top, the other to her purple bra. Rummaging in the pocket of her denim skirt, she retrieved a stick of gum. Bland flavour. I wonder if it’ll last me to the top, she thought, glancing up to where the tower met the clouds in a vague, blue hue.
eBook priced $2.50 at