This excerpt is from about half way through. Maria and Delta are important secondary characters. This is where the story starts to show its true size.
HE SECOND PLANET was the fourth from its main sequence star on the Sagittarius arm. Unlike the soft amber sunlight-painted villages and fields of the previous specimen, this one prickled with the jagged black edges of super-tower structures and bristled with artificial light.
There appeared to be one ocean. The rest looked like one mega-city, a mono-culture spanning a globe.
“We have to be careful here,” Delta admonished.
“I noticed the different Ship design.”
“It’s our latest model. The cloaking abilities of the saucer beings are not up to the job out here. We needed something more robust.”
“Are they better? In your view?”
“A little like Jared’s dog-being, but I have a fondness, yes.”
Maria surveyed the planet in front of them. It didn’t look like Delta was going anywhere near the surface this time; they were still a few thousand miles in orbit. “Another exception. Robots destroyed biologicals?”
“Why show me? Why not just pass me a vector, or fork a memory, or describe it around a campfire while we drink cosmic whiskey or smoke a stardust spliff late into the night?”
Delta’s face glowed with a straight line from ear to ear. “Because storytelling is very Earth-human so it didn’t occur to me. Because, if you see, it stays with you, haunts you. It delights and torments. It informs, and it guides. It does many things, but it never goes away. If I show you data, you’ll have information. If I tell you stories, you’ll have knowledge. If you see it for yourself, you’ll have wisdom.”
Maria stared at the planet. It looked dark. Sinister. Evil. What sunlight played across its surface somehow got sucked in by the insatiable-seeming blackness of the mega-city’s pointy cancerous growth—a hungry demon in red stilettos.
Praise for Trevor Barton
From an industry insider: “I was quite impressed” (emphasis theirs).
“Trevor gives a voice, heart and soul to all his characters regardless of their genesis or their specific species or origins.” “Gay or straight, robot, human, AI and alien alike will be in awe of the brilliance that is Trevor Barton, who is quickly making it to the top of my favorites list.” – W.C. Bitner, Jr. (a Netgalley reviewer)
“Mr. Barton’s writing [is] crisp, well-crafted, and to the point. It’s not florid and it doesn’t go into a lot of needless detail. Yeah, it’s a tad geeky… [T]hat’s part of what makes [it] so enjoyable.” – OJHeSay
RRP $21.92 / €19.03 / £16.99
Recommended: direct from the publisher.
If you request it ahead of time, you should also be able to get one from your local bookshop.
Other options exist, such as bookshops with online stores (like Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, or Blackwell’s).