Dave Creek is one of Hydra Publications talented writers of science fiction. Over the next four weeks, we are trying something new with the release of Chanda’s Awakening in serialized format, starting with Chanda’s Awakening Part 1 today. To celebrate the release, we asked Dave to tell us more about a character who will draw you in and keep you asking for more.
So I wanted to put my series character Chanda Kasmira into a difficult situation — after all, that’s how you get a good story started. And that depended upon the type of character she is.
And what a character she is! Her family background is unusual, to say the least. Her mother was Zambian and her father was Russian. Chandamukulu is a traditional title of mothers of kings of the Bemba people of northeastern Zambia and Kasmira is Old Slavic for “demands peace.”
Her parents were space explorers, a passion that didn’t dim when they became parents. They didn’t want to expose their daughter to the dangers of space travel, but they didn’t want to miss a moment of her growing up, either. So they left her in stasis back on Earth, asleep and safe for months and even years. As comforting as this was for her parents, though, for Chanda it was frightening for her to awaken and realize her parents had visibly aged. And it was frustrating to realize that the friends she’s made before going into stasis were also several years older than her. What 15-year-olds, after all, want to hang around with a nine-year-old?
This often gives Chanda an cynical outlook, and a sense that she views life from a skewed angle. By the time she reaches Splendor, for instance, she’s been alive for 69 years, but only 45 of them have been spent awake.
Splendor’s an unusual world where two intelligent, but primitive alien races live. One race, the valley dwellers, are vaguely reptilian in appearance and inhabit Splendor’s volcanically-heated valleys (thus their name!). They use the metal resources of those valley to create metal tools and weapons.
The valley dwellers use those tools to trade with the highlanders, who live in Splendor’s colder regions. They specialize in creating clothing out of furs, which is their stock in trade with the valley dwellers, who wear them as they explore beyond their valleys.
Splendor, however, is under a death sentence. Within several generations, the expanding gases from a nearby supernova will wash over the planet, killing all life on it. Chanda’s mission — find a way to evacuate the millions of valley dwellers and highlanders from the planet. Chanda’s problem — there’s no world duplicating Splendor’s specific ecology to move them to. The two races will have to find a way to survive on separate worlds.
I’d chronicled several of Chanda’s adventures on Splendor in several short stories, mostly published in ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION (and gathered together in my collection A GLIMPSE OF SPLENDOR).
Chanda often calls herself a “frontier diplomat.” She’s far away from her superiors on Earth, and ends up making a lot of life-and-death decisions on her own, sometimes even getting involved personally in violent confrontations.
Now her mission to save the valley dwellers and highlanders looks as if it’s about to fail, as neither Splendorian race wants to live without the other — a situation that’s turning violent.
A further complication — another alien race, the Sobrenians, has its own potentially violent plans for Splendor. To save the valley dwellers and highlanders, Chanda must travel to the most dangerous place possible — the Sobrenian homeworld.
I hope you enjoy CHANDA’S AWAKENING!