This is a synopsis and sample chapter of my book "First Light"
A story of hope in a grey world.
On the harsh militant world of Sindorus, where even colours are considered sinful, three people living very separate lives are about to have those lives change forever. As deceptions are torn away, and ancient secrets brought to light, they each must struggle to find the missing pieces to the puzzle...answers that will unlock their true destiny.
The Art of Penguin SF is a beautiful thumbnail gallery of the covers of every (?) science fiction novel published by Penguin UK, starting with the 1935 edition of Butler's Erewhon. I grew up on these, and just seeing them there makes me want to tile my bathroom with them.
The party had traveled on lower paw for over seven days, the relatively short journey to the nearby Raestall made longer by off-road travels and lack of necessity. The group was in no hurry; Raestall herself, however, would wait for them no longer.
I've been trying to find two short stories that I read years ago, so far with little success. AFAIR they were both in paperback anthologies published around the mid-1960s:
1. The first is set in the world as we know it, but someone discovers that our universe is shrinking. No one noticies anything because of course everything is shrinking at the same pace - except the speed of light, so by the end of the story everything takes on a red-shift and eventually vanishes altogether.
Happiness was found in the lonely wilderness over the next few days. Off the beaten track, the traveling Savages (Portia and Fayre, sister felinekin, and Velius, a harekin and former monk) progressed slowly, hampered by rough terrain and undergrowth. Their moods, however, were light and exuberant, not angered but gladdened by the obstacles of the wilds. On their own for the first time, the two felinekin had never before been inside a forest, and neither had the silent monk traveled so far from home.
Before any of them knew it, Hazel lunged onto Velius, knocking the wind from him, throttling him with her claws. The vicious foxkin had her paws clamped down around the monk's neck, strangling the life from him. It took both Fayre and Portia's combined strength to pry the mad foxkin off.
The dawn had broke over the land once more, marking the beginning of her second day of freedom. Fayre greeted the sun with eyes open, same as the night prior, after awaking from a sound slumber. Their trek through unpaved wilderness alone was an exercise on her legs so used to comfort and convenience. But to also help burden the body of a young foxkin was nearly more than her frame could bear. At the day's end, she had fallen into slumber as soon as she had put head to dirt.
Everman stepped into a world that was not his own, a world which hell had consumed. He stood, looking about with the wide-eyed curiosity of a newborn, thrust for the first time into a strange and frightful new world. He stood slack jawed, his arms hanging limp at his sides. At the sight, he was left without thought, without speech, without even a breath until the ache of his lungs reminded his brain of that essential function.
The soldier’s barracks was contained within the massive castle. Past a single short corridor, built near the king’s chambers for his own protection, the barracks was a series of lengthy rooms linked together. Together they held enough cots and shelving for every soldier in the employ of the city. Massive hearths, now standing cold and empty, kept warm the entire barracks during the cold season. A hundred torches, set at intervals along the walls, lit the living area and the arching wooden ceiling above. Rugs and pelts of the local wildlife adorned the walls and flooring, providing much-needed shielding against the seeping cold of the stone floor.
Velius worked in a frenzy, dumping out all his possessions from his pack as the nearby crowd, drunk with blood lust, screamed for slaughter. The lunatic chanting of 'Death to the Savages' pounded rhythmically through his head like the beating of a dull, rusty nail. Forcing himself to concentrate as best he could, he prepped his mind with instructions for the task ahead, taking inventory of all he had brought. Never did he think he would have to be using these ingredients so soon, or in this manner.