Colonists take a one-way trip to Mars. They may have made a mistake. They must build a foothold on the cold barren planet, but troubles follow them from Earth and threaten them from space.
Here’s the opening of my new novel.
Standard writing advice says the first few hundred words must grab readers. I’d love to know what you think, what you like and what you don’t, so please comment. I’ll post the first few chapters over the coming weeks. Thanks for the read. — Kate —
Chapter One: Incident
The seaside resort of Noordwijk was a strange place to train for a mission to the barren deserts of Mars, but Colony Mars had its tidy headquarters north of the Dutch city, inland from the deep dunes of the beach. Sightseers hurried through the visitors’ center to join guided tours of a Martian colony mockup and settler-candidates stopped between austere block buildings to admire the beds of summer flowers that replaced spring tulips.
Emma was about to start her last English-language tour when her link beeped an incoming message – the tone for “urgent”. One family was still coming up the ramp, two young boys ricocheting among signs diagramming the mockup of the colony they were about to enter. Emma turned discreetly to one side and tapped her headset.
“There’s a mission problem.” Emma didn’t check her contact lens for metadata – that was the mission lead’s voice. “Come to the control room as soon as duties allow.”
A chill ran through Emma. Maybe her launch date had slipped. Maybe they’d miss the window entirely and she’d remain on Earth, temporarily reprieved. Why was that the first thought that came to her? Must be pre-launch jitters.
Balancing the planets’ orbital dance with fuel requirements, Colony Mars could launch a mission every twenty-six months. Emma was about to fly on Settler Mission Three and her ship’s fuel and engines were tailored to an especially narrow launch window. If they missed it, there’d be a two year delay. But Emma excelled at focusing on the task at hand, so she turned her attention back to her tour group… Continue reading…