Teaser Tuesday: “Redemption Ark” (Still!)

So this week I’ve had a couple of other (non-work-, non-writing-, non-cat-, and non-dog-related) projects keeping me a little busy, so once again it’s back-to-back Teaser Tuesdays! And it’s also still Redemption Ark, by Alastair Reynolds, on account of this is a pretty long book, although not nearly as long as some others I’ve read.

“I wouldn’t try that again,” Remontoire said.

Scorpio glared at him. “Try what?”

“You had a go at strangling me. It didn’t work, and I’m afraid it never will. We put an implant in your skull, Scorpio—a very small one, around your carotid artery. Its only function is to constrict the artery in response to a signal from another implant in my head. I can send that signal voluntarily if you threaten me, but I don’t have to. The implant will emit a distress code if I suffer sudden unconsciousness or death. You will die shortly afterwards.”

“I’m not dead now.”

“That’s because I was nice enough to let you off with a warning.”

Alastair Reynolds, Redemption Ark

Hmm, yes, well, around here, we know how it goes when something interferes with the proper operation of one’s carotid artery, don’t we? Although I, too, got let off with a warning. A pretty stern one, but still.

As I mentioned in last week’s Teaser Tuesday, I don’t really remember the previous book, Revelation Space, very well, because I read it so long ago that not only did I never rate it on Goodreads, but also, I apparently read it in dead tree form like some kind of barbarian. It’s not in my ebook library, anyway, which means I couldn’t go back and brush up on the goings-on even if I wanted to. But at least I was right about the general plot, i.e., that there’s Something Lurking Out In Space* just waiting for some intelligent life to show up so that it can open fire and destroy it. Arrayed against this Something are several factions, some of which are planning to fight back, others of which are planning to run away really fast. It’s currently an open question which is the better approach. Meanwhile, and speaking of running away, work does indeed continue on Blue Roses!

Baxter sighted up the length of the stony palisade at their backs. “It’s awfully tall. What if it wears off before we reach the top?”

“What if what wears off?” Felix said.

“The spell for turning us into rats.”

Carol said: “Turning us into what?”

“It’ll last longer here,” the squirrel said. “Less environmental interference. I think.”

Baxter said: “You think?”

“I’m pretty sure.”

“I don’t want to be a rat,” Carol said.

“Rats get a bad rap,” Felix said. “They’re actually really smart, friendly, and clean.”

“Eww,” Carol said.**

“We’re not talking about adopting them, just turning into them long enough to escape,” Baxter said.

James V. Viscosi, Blue Roses

Incidentally, Felix is 100% correct about rats; the only real problem with them is that they live for just a couple of years. Just ask our little friend from many years ago, Feathers:

O hai. Got treats?

* Or “Lurking in the Distance”, if you will, a phrase which I’m told used to give me the willies when I was little.
** Dialogue inspired by an actual recent conversation about rats with some friends.

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