“The sacrifice is getting your hands dirty so somebody else’s get to stay clean. That’s what a soldier is: Not the guy who gets shot at, but the guy who shoots.
“So if you tell me this thing going on inside you is necessary and you tell me you don’t get off on it, that you know why it is gross, then who am I to tell you anything about it? You don’t know me well enough to presume that I would ever judge you.
“You saw me under pressure and you cut corners you didn’t need to, to make sure I wasn’t just safe, but so I wouldn’t lose my shit. I saw you doing that.
“I won’t tell anybody. But I did see it.”
Theodore travels the network of Outriding, digitally fast-forwarding and replaying time as he becomes accustomed to his new, bodiless senses. Meanwhile, Theodore also plays pawn to a game of chess the crew is playing with their own police force: And learning just how seriously they take their work aboard the station, and how far they’re willing to go in her service.
But—as Theodore and the Outriding AI soon discover—there’s more to this mass-murdering virus than meets the eye: Someone aboard the station is editing their memories and conversations whenever they get too close to finding the truth. How do you solve a problem that undoes itself when you ask the right questions, and how can the two Theodores work together without speaking, to save a new race from exctinction?
In one moment of insubordination, the military-bred. corporate-sponsored librarian Theodore Castelline is exiled to an incalculably old archive on the rim of the galaxy. Bonding with the station’s batty ancient AI, serving as diplomat to the billion known races of the galactic Union, and navigating Outriding’s crew of pirates, celebrity terrorists, graduate students and cloned police: none of these things were in the job description, but Theodore’s flexible. By the end of his first day in his new home, he’ll become a wanted man, a digital copy of himself, witness to an impossible murder, and the key to stopping a deadly virus before it takes the ship—and he hasn’t even started work yet.
Outriding is a glitchy and infinite intelligence in desperate need of a tuneup. The center of her crew’s world and a powerful force in the galaxy, her history is a palimpsest of wonders and horrors that only Theodore can help decode.
A feral child raised by an alien race, Shen B was her people’s last shaman before their extinction. Her brief career as a terrorist, taking anarchic vengeance on the corporation of her birth, made her a galactic pop hero—and her devotion to Outriding gives her a last chance at redemption.
Bobby Greener serves as cruise director, ambassador, and nanny to the entire crew at Outriding. He’s also the meanest boy Theodore’s ever met: an identity thief and an underworld criminal… when he has to be.
Captain Annaliese Bellar was a cybernetic merc in another life, but along with her second—All-American rocketship war hero and general tool Bryce Dexter—she’ll use Outriding and its crew to protect the galaxy from any threat, by any means.
While the day-to-day workings of the station are best left to the experts—her twisted and kind majordomo, the army of academics studying her societies and infrastructure, a living five-body problem for a medic and a private police force spliced together from the best and most uncanny DNA—Outriding’s place in the center of galactic politics means the stakes never drop and the dangers are hyperevolving. Theodore will become her steward, her lover and her eventual captain. Future saint and war criminal, kind librarian and brutal survivor, Theodore’s future with Outriding may just outlast them all. It begins here.
For Fans Of: Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Farscape; CJ Cherryh, Genevieve M. Bujold, Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison; Prophet, Saga.
Former Gawker editor and Television Without Pity staff writer Jacob Clifton presents a new take on self-publishing with a wide array of novels, definitive recaps from the last fifteen years of television, and serial works of science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Jacob’s fiction has been published in Clarkesworld and at Tor.com. Visit jacobclifton.com for more info and join the mailing list.
|Goodreads reviews||Amazon reviews|
|Outriding||Mailing List||Tumblr||Why Gumroad?|