Before I post my snippet for the week, though, I have to express my sadness at the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett. He was one of the best writers of fantasy of our time. I was privileged to spend an hour in a pub in Brighton with him in 1987, at the World SF Convention, and I have read his books with considerable pleasure over the years.
My hope is that Death will have greeted him with some comment along the lines of "I'M YOUR GREATEST FAN."
Turning to SFFSat, my snippet this week is again from Korax Crisis, a novel I wrote over ten years ago and with which I was never happy. It had some good scenes, though. In this snippet, a group of foreign soldiers have taken over the town of Melmin, hunting for the missing Korax of the title.
Beris, a local engineer, is endeavouring to be a one-woman resistance force.
Two soldiers were making their way towards Nerik’s workshop, evidently planning to bang on his door. As usual, there was a pile of empty sea-shells towering untidily outside his doorway. The cream, three-quarter circle shells were each four feet across, the original occupants ripped out of their homes and cooked, while their tentacles were turned into the gripper-ropes that Nerik sold across half the Marches. Climbers and people with difficult cargoes swore by the sucker-ribbed hawsers that clung to whatever they were wrapped around. Nerik sold the empty nautilus shells in batches, loading a truck or two with them every few months. Until then, he left them as a menace to anyone who happened to brush into them. Beris grinned evilly. She had snagged a discarded short length of gripper-rope, and hooked one end, very cautiously, into the stack. As the soldiers approached, she hauled suddenly.
With a deeply satisfying series of crashes, the seven-foot high stack tumbled sideways, slamming down onto the luckless soldiers as they passed. Beris knew from helping shift the shells that they were heavy and brittle, and that when a shell cracked it tended to disintegrate into a host of viciously sharp shards. These were no exception to the rule, and she grinned more as the soldiers cried out in alarm and then in pain as the shells crashed around and over them like exploding wheels, rolling and crumpling dramatically. She hastily scrambled backwards, away from the scene of her escapade. She did not think either of her victims would be killed by her assault, but they would not make any more trouble for a while – or so she hoped.
She slid back into the alleyway beside the workshop, and looked around, wondering what she could try next.