The Deep Sky Saga Book 2
by Greg Boose
Genre: YA Sci-fi Fantasy
Pub Date: 10/8/18
Blind and broken, orphaned teenager Jonah Lincoln reluctantly boards a rescue ship bound for the planet Thetis, but not before it picks up a few more surprising and dangerous survivors from the massacre on the moon Achilles. After regaining his sight, Jonah sees the gated colony on Thetis is just as he feared–cloaked in mystery and under an oppressive rule with no one to trust–and that outside the walls, it’s even worse. Surrounded by terrifying new landscapes and creatures, Jonah and his friends fight to save the colony and restore order to the planet.
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“We found the yellow jacket right over there,” the woman says, pointing to the bottom of a large, twisted tree. “Showed up in our headlights while we’re headed back to camp.”
Jonah stares at the tree and the blood on its trunk, wondering why they didn’t leave the jacket where it was for evidence, or immediately investigate once they found it. He also wonders whose blood it is. Did Paul wake up and attack Dr. Z, ripping her jacket off and then chasing her into the forest? Or did Dr. Z carve up Paul’s skin with some new message to warn the others?
He stumbles past everyone, making his own path, and soon finds himself standing on the edge of a cliff. Half a mile below, thousands of geysers erupt in the valley, creating an enormous cloud of green mist that hovers overhead, blocking out the sun. The cliff Jonah stands on goes on for miles and miles, almost completely circling the valley. Way off on his right, a series of waterfalls descend the cliff into a giant pool that narrows and funnels into a twisting stream, cutting right through the geysers on the valley floor.
“You see those little black dots in all those waterfalls?” the woman asks as she comes up behind him.
Jonah thinks he might see some black specks in the water when he squints but can’t be sure.
The woman holds her sheaf out in front of Jonah’s face and turns on the camera. She raises her chin, triggering the zoom function, and suddenly it’s as if they’re hovering right above a waterfall halfway up the cliff. On her screen, small horned animals with squashed, pig-like faces bob up and down in the water above one of the falls. There are hundreds of them, maybe thousands. And they go over the falls seemingly without worry, plummeting with their short arms held above their heads. The woman zooms in even closer on a couple of the animals, following them all the way down the cliff, down waterfall after waterfall, and when they finally reach the giant pool at the bottom, they go underwater and never resurface, disappearing without a trace. Her sheaf scans the pool’s surface and then follows the stream cutting through the valley. Not one of the animals floats through. Thousands keep coming down the falls, and then they’re gone.
“Are they…Dying? Are they killing themselves?” Jonah asks.
“Maybe,” the woman answers. “But we don’t know for sure because we can’t find any bodies. They just,” she snaps her fingers, “go away. Even with our drones, we can’t figure it out. Yet.”
Jonah watches for a few more seconds before his eyes are drawn to a splattering of blood near his feet. There’s more to his left, and he quickly starts to follow it down a ridge that hugs the cliff’s edge.
“Yo, Firstie,” Vespa says behind him. “Wait up.”
The man with the ponytail suddenly pushes past Vespa and then Jonah, descending the ridge in a jog with series of loud, hacking coughs, his head still nodding, his rifle bouncing on his back.
“He lives for this kind of stuff,” the woman says as she drops in line behind Vespa. The bald man takes up the rear, whistling and clicking his tongue as if this is just a walk in the park.
“Does he keep nodding because of the…What’s wrong?” Vespa asks.
“It’s from the wormhole,” the woman says. “He hasn’t been able to stop moving his head ever since we went through two years ago. Even does it in his sleep, from what I’ve heard.”
The ridge continues to descend and curve left, ending at a large, circular space dotted with cave entrances. As Jonah comes down the final steps of the ridge, he doesn’t know where to look: at the half-circle of black doorways punched into the stone, or at the small sculptures all around him; rocks of all sizes and shapes are stacked on top of each other, balancing and wobbling in the swirling wind that sweeps through the area.
“Who the hell made those?” Vespa asks.
A low groan comes from one of the caves. The man with the ponytail whips his gun off his back and looks through his scope, nodding and bobbing the barrel of the rifle from cave to cave until pointing at one on the left. “He’s in there.”
The Deep Sky Saga Book 1
The year is 2221, and humans have colonized a planet called Thetis in the Silver Foot Galaxy. After a tragic accident kills dozens of teenage colonists, Thetis’s leaders are desperate to repopulate. So Earth sends the Mayflower 2--a state-of-the-art spaceship—across the universe to bring new homesteaders to the colony.
For orphaned teen Jonah Lincoln, the move to Thetis is a chance to reinvent himself, to be strong and independent and brave, the way he could never be on Earth. But his dreams go up in smoke when their ship crash-lands, killing half the passengers and leaving the rest stranded—not on Thetis, but on its cruel and unpopulated moon, Achilles.
Between its bloodthirsty alien life forms and its distance from their intended location, Achilles is a harrowing landing place. When all of the adult survivors suddenly disappear, leaving the teenage passengers to fend for themselves, Jonah doubts they’ll survive at all, much less reach Thetis—especially when it appears Achilles isn’t as uninhabited as they were led to believe.
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If could have been the original author of any book, it would have to be The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. My first love is satire and my second would be science fiction, so to be able to put them together so deftly and creatively would be a badge of honor. Douglas Adams got to not only got to put humanity under a microscope through Ford Prefect’s alien eyes and then answer the ultimate question of life, but he also reminded us of the importance of carrying a towel.
2. What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
I write dystopian young adult novels because they’re honestly fun to work on. I not only get to try to predict the future—like in my last book, Achilles: The Deep Sky Saga—but I also get to reflect on the past. What did 15-year-old me want to read? I wanted to be a quiet hero, if only given the chance. So, with the main character, Jonah, in Achilles, I throw this introverted kid into an extremely chaotic situation where he has to react, or else people die. A lot of us have dreams of great heroics in a world gone wrong, and that’s why we keep reading the stuff.
But what makes the dystopian young adult genre so special--or young adult fiction, in general--are the readers. They’re passionate, curious and hungry for more. If you’ve ever seen a popular young adult reader speak, you’ve also seen chairs packed with excited readers who probably know more about the book’s characters than the author does her or himself.
3. How important is research to you when writing a book?
When I started writing Achilles, I was absolutely terrified a reader would call out obvious mistakes in the science or in the details of the world I built. So, in an attempt to thwart that, I met with the head of the astrophysics department at USC and peppered him with questions about black holes and space travel and other things I didn’t know enough about. I also interviewed a NASA employee about the effects of different gravities, and then I met with a systems director in the Civil and Commercial Launch Projects group at Aerospace to discuss space crafts. One of my favorite moments when conducting all this research was being invited to watch a Mars rover launch from the Aerospace control room.
I think research is terribly important. It not only helps you follow the rules of science and law, but it also helps you figure out the best way to bend these rules and make them your own. The best fiction is rooted in fact, I think.
4. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
When I started writing creatively, I became one of those guys always carrying a moleskine notebook and a pen, even after getting a smartphone. Note-taking apps are fine, but it takes too long to open them and get a new note ready. My ideas are fleeting and fast, so I need to get them scrawled out as soon as I can.
My process from the past five years: Brainstorm in notebooks in the evening, write on a computer in the morning. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
5. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?/What inspires you to write?
I’ve never taken myself too seriously, and so in high school I would write snappy answers to boring questions from our teachers, making other kids laugh and the teacher shaking his or her head. Having something I came up with that made people laugh made me feel pretty good about myself, and so I started writing goofy short stories and funny lists, always chasing that high.
It wasn’t until my Freshman year in college when my neighbor’s face showed up in the school newspaper with his own column, did I think that maybe more people would enjoy my stupid ideas. So, I submitted a few essays, and soon enough I had my own editorial column every two weeks, and that’s when I really caught the bug. From that time on, I have constantly been writing and brainstorming and trying out new ideas and finding my voice.
I’m an extremely competitive person, so I get inspired by other writers, from the past and present, constantly trying to get on their level. I have a quiet need to be recognized as someone who works hard and gives it everything he’s got, so that keeps me pecking away on the keyboard.
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