Moon Jockeys


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Details:

Published: Pending
Pages:
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Dimensions (inches): 4.25 wide x 6.88 tall

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This is a short novella and supplemental title that slots into The Quantum Series between book 6 and 7 (designated 6.2). To read more about the settings and characters of this series, visit About The Quantum Series and Characters & Plot Devices. To find out about Christina Engela’s main writing focus, read No LGBT Stereotypes Here! To get a better idea of what this story is about, read What Readers Can Expect In “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks”, “Fortitude” & “The Last Hurrah”.

Back Cover:

“With the Deannan Uncivil War taking up most newspaper headlines and TV airtime lately, it came as no surprise to the Resistance that morale seemed at an all-time low.

The people of Deanna needed a symbol that would inspire them to fight to depose the fascists, but not a flag. Rather than a mere scrap of polyester cotton, the third-rate often overlooked Terran colony of Deanna had something better – the small moon Ding which had fallen down again at the start of the war – and hadn’t been put back up yet.

Ding, recognized by every Deannan (and most visiting loderunner crews, albeit frequently too late) would be that symbol – but with the small platinum orb lying in fascist D.R.A.-held territory, it was out of reach of General Smythe’s volunteer Army – but not for the Resistance! The only problem was, they needed the right kind of pilot for the job.

It was up to Atro City space tug pilots James “Jimbo” Hardcastle and Piotr “Wrong Side Up” Frankmeister to return Ding to orbit over Deanna.

The already familiar regular characters in “the Quantum Series” continue their adventures in this latest book!”

Engela’s latest work is packed with humour, challenging ideas, and science-fiction on a grand scale. It transports readers to a truly original world, filled with bizarre and memorable characters. It tackles social issues while reading like a Terry Pratchett, with some western and sci-fi elements to boot.” – Matthew ‘Sand-Storm’ Fick.

Synopsis:

“Moon Jockeys” is a short novella and supplemental title that slots between book 6 and 7 (designated 6.2) in The Quantum Series by Christina Engela – a writer described as “that rarest of authors – able to seamlessly blend together elements of dark horror and sci-fi to create stories that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.” (Mark Woods, author of ‘Time of Tides’ and ‘Fear of the Dark‘). Her writing in the sci-fi genre has been described as “one of the most unique and captivating styles I’ve encountered in science fiction.” (Alex S. Johnson, author of The Doom Hippies.)

Of her characterizations, Sarah Rutledge Fischer of Focus Mid-South Magazine said “Like many of us, Engela has been frustrated with the representation of LGBT characters in mainstream fiction, where gay characters are often nothing more than superficially portrayed plot devices or worse, the object of satire and ridicule. Engela’s work breaks the trend. In her stories, a gay man may be the anti-hero or villain, but not because he is gay. A transwoman may fall in love with a cisgender straight man, and their relationship doesn’t revolve around her gender identity. LGBT characters, in Engela’s work, follow narrative arcs that occasionally intersect with their sexual or gender identity, but are more often driven by the human characteristics shared by all people—hope, fear, ambition, humor, and love.

Set immediately after the sixth novel (“High Steaks”) and #6.1 “Underground Movement” , “Moon Jockeys” continues the saga of the ‘third rate’ Terran colony on the planet Deanna, and the diverse characters the reader has no doubt by now become familiar with. Old familiar faces rub elbows with brand new characters in “Prodigal Sun”, some heroes, and some villains. Readers will already know the vampire Marla De Bris, and of course remember Fred the Arborian. Some other familiar faces will feature in this story, such as villain Brandon Carver – and who could forget the terrifying Sergeant-Major Krant? This story sees the introduction of new characters – Atro City space tug pilots James “Jimbo” Hardcastle and Piotr “Wrong Side Up” Frankmeister.

The story so far:

The narrative begun in “Prodigal Sun”, “High Steaks” and “Underground Movement” continues in “Moon Jockeys”. Troubled times have come to the small backwater Terran Colony planet of Deanna, as the story goes – and having amusing names for its sun (Ramalama) and two moons (Ding and Dong) have not made the people of this quaint little world immune to bad things – not even having a small moon famous for falling down occasionally… and bad things are afoot indeed.

A powerful and very well organized, er – organization has taken over the colony in order to wrest it away from the Terran Empire! The fascists have an army, which immediately sets about targeting and rounding up minority groups on Deanna – LGBT folks, local aliens – typically Jim-waian’s – and it begins to get uglier. As the fascist DSL and their paramilitary wing, the Deannan Republican Army (D.R.A) work to consolidate their hold on the sparsely populated planet, undesirables are sent to a concentration camp called “Xanadu” which has been set up between the three largest cities on Deanna – Atro City, San Fedora and Fortitude.

Xanadu

As the cordon of darkness begins to goose-step its way across the landscape of Deanna, and as the chain of events described in the Anals of History (no, not a typo) prepare the heretofore pleasant and peaceful colony for a thoroughly unpleasant setting for the Deannan Un-civil War, one of Deanna’s most famous sons – Gary Beck (a.k.a. Beck the Badfeller – the bounty hunter whose reputation has it he was so good he could find the missing day in a leap-year) and his fiance’e Cindy-Mei Winter (former agent of the Colonial Intelligence Agency) are unwittingly enlisted by the Time Saving Agency to help smooth things over and get it over with as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, the Deannan Resistance, organized and run by the Vampire Underground, has set about making daily life into a waking nightmare for the fascists. Marla De Bris is a young vampire lass of just 20 going on 200 who for all intents and purposes, is the leader and chief shot-caller of the Resistance.

[*** SPOILER ALERT! ***]

Having already established the Resistance and more-or-less whipped it into a fighting frenzy in “Underground Movement“, Marla is faced with the reality that without the support of the general population of Deanna, their fight is basically doomed. Lied to on practically an hourly basis by fascist-run media and bombarded with fake news and propaganda, the ordinary folk of Deanna begin to suffer from poor morale. Some even begin to buy into the fake new propaganda-created reality sold by the fascists. Something has to be done!

Marla ponders all possible solutions. The flag of the Terran Empire, and the flag of the Colony don’t seem to hold much promise, given all the propaganda – which in all honesty, Marla realized – tended to come from both sides. What was needed was something that transcended mere images screen-printed onto polyester and flown from a pole outside buildings people were forced to pay for – a reminder of what people truly loved about Deanna, of what made Deanna home!

The small moon Ding, which tended to be knocked out of orbit by visiting space craft – and tended to fall down occasionally – had vanished from Deanna’s night skies right at the start of the Uncivil War. Ding used to be located and polished up by the Tourism Office – and then returned to orbit by a specially dedicated tug from the Atro City Space Port, every time. Deanna had become famous for it. This time however, with the Space Port on lock-down by the fascists – and frankly, with all the political and economic uncertainty, this had not been possible. After all, when people worried whether the cops were going to break down their door at any moment, who cared a toss if the moon had fallen down again?

With the return of  the fallen moon Ding to its proper place becoming an imperative for the Resistance, Marla has to overcome several problems: Where is Ding? What happened to the usual tug pilots who used to put Ding back in place? It wasn’t a job for any ordinary pilot after all, and anyway, they needed someone who knew what they were doing.

Which is where James “Jimbo” Hardcastle and Piotr “Wrong Side Up” Frankmeister come in. More or less.

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