Thursday, June 4, 2015

Excerpt: Novel in progress - Tuy inside the Eye

I have mentioned that I am writing - or attempting to write - a novel at the moment. The working title is The True Size of the Universe, and it's a sort-of sci fi. It's set on a spaceship, anyway - the Queen Parysatis, which is a cargo ship, freighting commercial loads around the stars. In my version, the distances between stars are traversed via "charting", which is sort of like hyperspace jumps but not quite. I'm not a physicist, so there is a fair bit of mumble-mumble-LOOK-A-BIG-SPACEY-THING going on :-)

This scene is one I am having trouble with. It's a dream / coma / altered state sequence, told in the intimate third person with the focus on the dreamer, who is the astrogator Tuy (one of the three main characters). It's meant to be suggestive and somewhat opaque, but I don't think it's quite working though and I'm not sure why.

Anyway, see what you think...


it is dark
                        where where where
                                    where are my feet
                                                where is my inner eye I am blind blind
Tuy felt, rather than heard, amusement rippling through the air towards her. She grasped at it with fingers that weren’t there.
- you ask where is your inner eye the lady tuy asks this –
Who are you? I cannot see –
- don’t you know lady oh lady of the starstream oh charter of worlds piercer of voids -
Where is my crew? Where is the Parysatis? I can’t, I don’t know –
            - the queen floats placid in the void she is safe she is safe –
Tuy gasped in pain as memory flashed through her.
Where have I sent my crew? I charted blind, I charted into the stream and I didn’t – Did I put us in the heart of a sun? Is this what death is, am I, are we
            - you are not dead lady though you will be soon enough –
            - the crew of the queen lives insofar as you seem to grasp the term –
            - the queen swims gently in space between stars not exploded not in a sun -
Tuy drew a shaking breath. Testing her voice, in a rusty whisper, she said, “But where? Where am I, and where is the Parysatis?”
            - the silver-tailed queen flicks her fins at the pillars of creation –
“We’re at the Eagle Nebula?”
            - indeed yes lady oh lady of the bright and brittle mind oh lady of the night –
“Am I on board, still? Or did I – have I been –“
The sense of amusement was strong.
            - you lie in state attended by your myrmidon your face is pale as milk –
“I’m in sick bay?”
- lady –
Tuy tried to collect her thoughts. It was difficult; they were scattering away as fast as cockroaches with a light shined on them. Where was her inner eye? Why couldn’t she find the starstream? The familiar sick panic started to rise. It is dark it is dark I cannot see a way out a way forward the whole world is the ship and the ship is too small
            - peace lady the world is wide the world is infinite there are no walls –
Will I wake?
            - you will wake lady tuy you shall wake to chaos soon enough –
            - when it is time star diver when it is time –
“And until then, I am…?”
            - do you not know –
Tuy slowed her breathing with an effort of will, and allowed the muted sense impressions, trickling around her like coloured sand, to penetrate. Dark, yes, but not black; dim, and out of focus, like a myopic’s early dawn. Cold, but with the sharpness of a raw second-phase Demoae morning, not with the absolute zero of space. No odours at all. No light, but not total absence of light. She could not feel the existence of her feet, but she stood on something, and it was soft, feathered. Like – it was like being –
“I am inside the inner eye.”
The amusement was tinged with approval now.
            - you are held within the eye safely held cradled within –
“That’s why I can’t sense it! Because I’m within it…”
            - but you can lady open the gates and you will feel where you stand you will see –
I will see
Tuy unclenched her mind, and let it all rush in.

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