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This is a WIP, NaNoWriMo 2016, currently called River, Tree, Mountain. It’s science fiction, set on a colony planet, six generations in–with about 10% of the population born “marvels,” who have special abilities like dowsing, healing, or creating fire. The protagonist, Rekka, is a spark (fire), signed a contract with Brenton to provide him a child, and traveled to be met with an empty apartment and a message saying he’s away on business–a few days later he returns,makes breakfast, and promises to take her to testing after work


He knew what he was doing, more or less, and already had a little girl through a branch contract two and a half years ago, though he and the mother hadn’t gotten along all that well, and he’d moved out of their place several months before approaching Rekka about their contract.

The woman was another Sofian, and had little interest in spending time with him, he’d told Rekka. In the companies, children were raised mostly in nursery schools or by caretakers, and less by their parents. She’d made sure the children came out fine regardless, and that she would be able to spend plenty of time with her baby, and that was enough. They were far from neglected, or deprived of long-term attachments, and the children she had met had all been well-fed, clean, polite, and happy.

“Breakfast is ready. Would you like to pour yourself a drink? And I’ll take tea, if you don’t mind,” Brenton flipped one pan, stirred another, and then plated two omelets and a side of crispy potatoes.

“Here you are, my dear,” he set a plate in front of her, and took a seat next to her, “Enjoy.”

*    *    *

Life on the colony planet of Kaibou was going uneventfully until the second generation of colonists was born on the planet, at some, at a young age, began showing various psychic abilities. When those people, called marvels, grew up, many of them formed companies, building compounds to live in and raise their children.  Due to population diversity issues, many colonists have children using genetic bank material, or choose a succession of partners. Now on the seventh generation, marvels are born both within and without company walls, and all must work together to use their gifts and make a living on a still wild land. Some of these outsider marvels sign contracts with company marvels, agreeing to give them a child raised within the company, in return for a permanent home in the company compound, a stipend, and other concessions.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

24 responses »

  1. Now I’m really wondering what happened with the last mother. He seems nice so far, but it’s early days!

  2. Kim Magennis says:

    Interesting world building, Caitlin. Does your society have any limits on the number of children someone can have?

  3. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Wow, this society seems perfect. Too perfect. I’m curious as to what Rekka will uncover.

  4. Rekka appears to have different plans for said baby. What a world you’ve created here, Caitlin.

  5. He seems too nice and too matter of fact, if anything. Always interesting to be in a world you’ve created! I never know what might happen next. Enjoyed the snippet.

    • He is a nice guy, really. But this is a very different world from ours–I can’t imagine treating raising a child as a business transaction, but that’s what they do!
      Thanks! 🙂

  6. Love the world building. Sure to be a fabulous setting for adventure and intrigue.

  7. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I’m glad he’s the one making breakfast. Other wise coming home after being away for days and expecting brekkie would’ve started the relationship on the wrong footing.

  8. He seems very nice, and she wants to be a part of her baby’s life. I guess they’re off to a good start.

  9. Diane Burton says:

    Fascinating world you’ve built. I keep wondering about the first contract. Maybe I’m just suspicious.

  10. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Interesting arrangements. Very businesslike.Will it continue to be so?

  11. Interesting world building! 😀

  12. What an intriguing world. His term of endearment–I wonder how heartfelt it was, or was it just an acceptable reference. Good snippet, Caitlin!

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