Friday Snippet the First

Holly Lisle’s meme, by way of Tamara Siler Jones (who has posted another scene, woot!)

I’ve posted a bit of Nest before, but you needn’t read that portion. What follows is the first scene of Chapter Two, and all you need to know can be conveyed by the movie’s tagline (for when this trilogy gets published and becomes a blockbuster motion picture):

Animal Farm — in Space!

Meet the Grith Lyssomes.

Nest, Chapter Two, Scene One

A Grith Lyssome listening post high above Brakah

Dr. Bzz*cough*cough*gasp, Buzz to his friends, crawled out of the one-fly slinger and inhaled the station’s stagnant air. Nothing ever changes. The old box still reeks of —

The listening post’s current resident interrupted Buzz mid-thought with a vigorous zero gee tackle. With all six legs, the agent pinned him to the ceiling and smothered him with noisy kisses. His proboscis scrolled in and out with frightening energy.

“Thank God you’ve come. Ten months I’ve been here. This was supposed to be a three week assignment!”

The agent’s proboscis would not be still. He had anchored himself by seizing two leg-holds on either side of Buzz, so the doctor had to crawl out from under the lad. The two drifted apart.

Buzz sighed. This would be even harder than he’d thought.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, Ensign . . . ”

“Operative, actually. Haven’t made Ensign yet.” The agent pulled himself closer using the ceiling’s leg-holds. Buzz turned his compound eyes on this blue-rumped fellow with wrinkled wings and nervous legs. Just a youngster.

The kid thrust out a foreleg. “Operative Snore-(silence)-squawk, Surveillance, Sentient Activities Division.”

“Dr. Bzz*cough*cough*gasp, Civilian Science Corps, but for the time being, I’m an honorary Lieutenant. You can call me Buzz.”

“Lieutenant Buzz.” They shook legs. “What do you mean, disappoint? You’re not my relief?”

“The Chancellery wants two agents here. Not that they don’t trust you, son, but the upcoming contract negotiations are important to them.”

Buzz made a quick assessment. How best to secure Snore’s cooperation? He would feign ignorance. Try to instill some sense of camaraderie.

“Heaven only knows why we have to follow the Benevolents around the galaxy, recording their abuses. It’s not like the Chancellery ever does anything about it. For all I can tell, they just sit around, stroking their antennae.”

He watched Snore closely, gauging the effect of his words. The operative’s head twisted 180 degrees clockwise in one clean jerk, drifted back to neutral, and twisted again. Five times he did that, in as many seconds. It was one hell of a nervous twitch.

“I’m stuck here for the duration, then?” said Snore. “Oh, well. I thought as much, after my last transfer request got this reply.”

Snore punched keys on a nearby console, and the cargo bay filled with buzzing noises, coughs, groans, and three distinct patterns of laughter.

“At least it will be a blessing to have someone to talk to,” Snore added.

“Come help me with the luggage. The Chancellery knew there would be a morale issue, so I’ve come bearing gifts.”

“Gifts?” Snore crept from side to side, fluttering his wings.

“Gifts. Ten gross of blank mini-disks.”

“Oh. Whoopee.”

“Contraband chocolate bars from Earth, a dozen varieties . . . ”


“And a carton of the latest Roon Vissar fur-zines.”


“Hot stuff. Checked it out myself on the way over. Centerfolds to die for. Picture this: two tasty young Roon Vissar hounds going at it human-style.”

“I didn’t know that was possible!”

“Contortionists, Snore. Anything is possible.”


If there’s a clamor for more, I’ll continue this next Friday.



  1. Gabriele says:

    Ah, good ol’ Buzz from the WBBS days. Haven’t met him for ages. :)

    What’s the state of that story, btw?

  2. Walnut says:

    Hi, Gabriele! Yeah, this is a bloody old manuscript, isn’t it?

    I finished it some time ago, decided it was way too long to sell as a single novel, and found a way of dividing it up into a trilogy. Each bit is about 100K: Nest, Flight, and Shrike.

    Next, I edited Nest. Easy. But I bogged down with Flight. A few of my betas pointed out problems with Sul’s motivation (you probably don’t remember Sul, but she’s one of the important Brakan characters). I pushed her and her daughter Cree around in service to the plot, so her motivations were flawed. I found a way to fix it, but it required a lot of rewriting and I eventually started feeling overwhelmed.

    SO I began writing a romance, which I’ve finished (kind of) and am editing. My crappy plan is to sell the romance, then say to my romance-type agent or editor, “How do you feel about long-assed science fiction novels?”

  3. Gabriele says:

    Good luck with the romance.

    I actually do remember Sul, and I knew you were making a trilogy out of it, but I had no idea what became of the story after you decided for that.

    Stories morph, don’t they? You remember The Exiles? I bet you do, I just say ‘Roderic and Kjartan’. :) It’s now a Sword and Sorcery story and has to be rewritten to fit that genre.

  4. Walnut says:

    Yes, but is it a gay Sword and Sorcery story? Because that would really rawk the publishing world :)

    Sorry I don’t come around often, but you’re always so historical these days. I don’t have much to say! How have you been?

  5. Gabriele says:

    I’m tempted to let them have some fun, but it would so be not genre appropriate. 😉

    Well, most of what I write is historical fiction, so my blog is about history a lot. But it has pretty pics. Well, I think they’re pretty though there’s no hot girls. :)

  6. I’m tempted to let them have some fun, but it would so be not genre appropriate.

    Waddayamean, not appropriate? Check out Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint (and related books). Okay, so they’re pretty much exclusively Sword instead of Sword & Sorcery – but still… Genre conventions defenestrated left and right!

  7. Walnut says:

    Ooh, sounds like fun. I love it when authors take huge liberties with the conventions.

  8. Thorne says:

    Oh, this is fun, doug!! I’m particularly fond of the older posting… uh… it’s an avian thing.

  9. Gabriele says:

    Another book I want – fine, I just have lots of money to buy them, of course. 😉

    S&S is a rather male oriented genre and I’m not sure gay MCs would work there, but Kings and Rebels (former The Exiles) is the second volume and an odd mix of S&S, Alternate History and Historical Fiction anyway, so maybe it could work. The first book – Three to Conquer – is a lot more traditional S&S. And fun to write – I like me some good fights. :)

  10. Walnut says:

    Thorne: yup, that would be the Prologue-masquerading-as-Chapter-One. My main characters are, let’s see, birds, flies, big-headed aliens, tarantulas, and John Waynes. Plural.

    Gabriele, that’s my point. A gay S&S would reach an untapped market!