Today, a little snippet from my forthcoming contribution to the SFF multi-author anthology edited by Chris Butler, THE WORLD AND THE STARS, that I will be publishing next month.
You are the first people to see the cover!
I trained originally in life sciences, with specialised interest in genetics, so developments in gene-splicing and genetic modification (GM) are of particular interest to me, and that’s how this story came about.
Roz is a technician in the gene-splicing lab on board a worldship, travelling to set up a new colony. Unfortunately their arrival is long overdue, and the inhabitants are getting restless.
Excerpt from PERFECT FIT, a science fiction short story
Roz sidled in at the back of the crowded meeting hall and slid onto a chair in the hope that nobody would notice her arrival. The wooden seat creaked a protest as she perched on its front edge, and she drew a couple of deep breaths to settle her pounding heart. Accustomed to the sterile atmosphere in the lab, she almost choked on air thick with the smells of so many bodies.
She glanced from side to side to check who else was there, and met a pair of beautiful velvet brown eyes, almond-shaped above sculpted cheek bones. Sam’s lips curved up, and her stomach flip-flopped. She’d met him at her second meeting, and they’d made an instant connection, though under normal circumstances their paths would never have crossed. As a gardener, Sam’s was not a profession normally found in the social circle of a lab tech, but these secretive gatherings defied the usual conventions, and for that, she was glad. Their relationship was blossoming fast, and even as Sam smiled at her, Roz’s mind was darting ahead, imagining how his unique, fuzzy-tipped fingers might feel against her bare flesh. The tech side of her brain speculated what genes might have produced the specialised modification that allowed Sam to pollinate plants with just his finger tips.
Just then, Garth, the huge man responsible for instigating the budding revolution, rose to his feet at the front of the hall, towering over everyone else, even those still on their feet. Roz’s face snapped forward, severing the delicious promise in Sam’s gaze. The assembly—several hundred, by Roz’s reckoning—settled into reverent silence, overawed by the spectacle that was their leader. With the dense double muscling of his bovine GM bulging beneath his skin, Garth looked like he could take on the world and win. Charolais genes, a mutation that had proven fortuitous for the beef industry, supplied the tech side of Roz’s mind. Sometimes she wished she could switch it off.
She’d seen countless modifications, but few as visually impressive as Garth’s. Specially designed for heavy lifting, his super-manly physique had quite swept her off her feet when they’d first met, but things had not gone so well thereafter. She crossed her legs and squeezed her thighs together, recalling their embarrassing attempt at sex.
She’d heard all the jokes about ‘size matters’, but she didn’t think that was quite what they meant.