WEST OF HEAVEN
Introduction by author Hugh Cook
WEST OF HEAVEN is the title of the first book in the OCEANS OF LIGHT trilogy but is a self-contained novel in its own right, available for purchase now from
What follows is a blurb plus a sample chapter, chapter ten, which gives something of the flavor of life in Chalakanesia.
Note: link to the free sample chapter is at the foot of this page. Read and enjoy!
This book focuses on Atlanta Ignatalina Jubiladilia, an ambitious young female lawyer in a society which is not altogether friendly to her ambition.
As a lawyer, she finds herself, in the course of the book, grappling with three different issues.
One is a problem concerning her financially irresponsible friend Soba who may be forced into slavery by the man to whom she owes money, Gorkindachina.
Gorkindachina is pressuring Soba for the money she owes him because Atlanta's family is putting Gorkindachina under pressure to repay debts owed.
Can Atlanta save Soba and, if so, how?
Gorkindachina is, it seems, for his own purposes, threatening to unlawfully disclose the sealed court records of a trial involving a pedophile.
What, if anything, is Atlanta going to do about this?
The sex crimes committed against children disgust her but, on the other hand, the perpetrator was forced from political office and was compelled to spend twenty years in exile. The crimes were the crimes of his youth, and he, her grandfather Zinjanthrop, is an old man now.
Atlanta's third issue is a product safety issue.
Her family hires out living organisms known as adaptive skins which function as diving suits, melding their blood supply with that of normal human beings and so making it possible for normal human beings to, in effect, breathe underwater, this in a society where scuba equipment is not the norm.
Under certain conditions the adaptive skins can become dangerous, and Atlanta hears familiar rumors that there are problems with her family's skins.
The rumors are familiar, but could it be the case that the rumors are true? If the rumors are true and lives are being placed at hazard then where does her duty lie?
These events play out against the ongoing turbulence caused to daily life by the effects of the metapsychic faultline, which leads to, amongst other things, the formation of ghosts which often have physical substance.
And not just ghosts but, at times, doppelgangers, short-lived but fully-featured duplicates of human beings.
And not just doppelgangers but, at times, golems, which are massively heavier than normative humans, and are perilously dangerous.
What follows (the linke is at the foot of this page) is the text of chapter ten of WEST OF HEAVEN.