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Friday, June 5, 2020
BLOG TOUR: The Second Star by Alma Alexander
Welcome to the Official Blog Tour for Alma Alexander's The Second Star! Today, on our tour stop, we have a guest post featuring 10 Quotes from The Second Star! Plus, there's a tour-wide giveaway, too! So... Be sure to check it out and pre-order your copy now! Follow the tour, HERE!
The Parada had been lost for almost two hundred years before they recovered the ship, drifting in stygian interstellar darkness, and brought her home again.
But that was not the miracle.
The miracle was that the crew was still alive.
That was also the problem.
Six crew members went out on the Parada, Earth’s first starship. All contact was lost, and the ship vanished for almost two centuries. When the Parada’s successor found the drifting ship and somehow managed to bring it home, the six crew members were not only still alive but barely older, due to the time dilation effects of near-FTL travel. Their return was a miracle – but it could not be revealed to the waiting world. The problem was, six individuals went out to the stars. More than seventy fractured personalities came back.
Psychologist Stella Froud and Jesuit Father Philip Carter were recruited as part of the team assembled to investigate the mystery, and to try and help the Parada’s crew understand their condition and possibly reverse it. What they discovered was a deepening mystery, and very soon they found themselves forced to take sides in a conflict that nobody could have possibly predicted. Their world would never be the same again.
*10 Quotes from The Second Star*
(with apologies for them sometimes being on the long side…)
1. The Parada had been lost for almost two hundred years before they recovered the ship, drifting in stygian interstellar darkness, and brought her home again.
But that was not the miracle. The miracle was that the crew was still alive.
That was also the problem.
2. “The Parada had a crew of six. If we are to believe the evidence we have before us, well, six people went out. More than seventy returned.” 3. “But you wanted the stars?” the anchor prodded the twins. “Always,” Rob said softly. “We lived too close to a big city, and London lights did their best to drown out the stars. We grew up with a washed-out sky.” “But our uncle took us fishing, in the summers,” Jerry said. “And out there in the country, the stars were different. Closer. More real.” “And once we had seen them,” Rob said, “we could not forget they were there somewhere, lost in the haze. And the less we saw of them the more we wanted them.” 4. “What would you say was the greatest thing you accomplished out there?” “We survived,” Hugh said. “We learned that it was possible to survive the uncanny, the unexpected, the unspeakable. You have to understand that there is a price for that lesson… and that the price may not, indeed, cannot, be the same for any two people. Some of us pay more than others. But what we pay… is not something that is easily shared. Someday, maybe. Not today. There is a promise between us and the stars, and we may not break it.” 5. “I remember this place,” said the Poet in that rich, velvet tone that had raised Stella’s hackles the first time she heard it. “When I was a child, I dwelled in a garden with high walls, and I was safe there, and contented, and protected, and nothing evil could ever happen to me there because this was home, and it was a happy place, full of light. I thought it was the whole world, and I was ready to accept that world, those walls, those boundaries, because they kept me safe and happy. And I was young, and innocent, and I knew only that comfort that surrounded me and gave me value in the context of that place, ignorant of all but the things that were real to me because I could touch and taste and smell them, and happy in that ignorance. “But I grew up, and I have passed the gates, and I have been beyond the walls. I have seen the shadows that teem on the outside, the shadows with claws and with teeth and with terrible glowing eyes of hunger and covetousness, the shadows that would devour you. I have seen them and I have known the fear of them. But… I have faced them, and I have faced that fear, and I understand now – without those shadows, even just the stories of those shadows, the light in that childhood garden could never have been so beloved and so bright. have left the garden of my childhood and I have walked the wilderness that lies all around it and I have fought its traps and its monsters and sometimes I win and sometimes I lose – but there is one thing that I never knew, before I stepped into that wild desert, and that is that the place is stark, and deadly, and beautiful beyond reason. It isn’t safe. It isn’t protected. But it’s free, and its shadows sing, and the songs are sung with the voices of dark angels, and once you have heard those songs you are lost forever….” 6. “What we saw, no human eye had seen before,” Rob said, and that voice was both whisper-soft and resonant like thunder. “The vast empty sea of stars lay around us, lapping at our ship, surrounding us, present right beside us and yet so far, so endlessly far away. There is a whisper of voices in languages we will never learn and never understand. There is a river of light, and an ocean of darkness, and so much life, and death, and eternity. It is not only bigger than we know, it is bigger than we can ever know, an infinity of mystery and enigma, with something always, always, just out of reach and out of our grasp. It may be unknowable, and it may be that the day we completely understand such a universe we simply cease to be ourselves and become beings made of dust and starlight and clouds of darkness, not understanding the thing that surrounds us so much as being a part of it…” 7. “Well,” Rob said. “Look at us all. To be perfectly honest with you… when we left in the Parada… I almost never expected to come back. At all. Not for the reasons that things eventually went wrong – that was unlooked for, the collision with the Illogon and all that came after. But just. You know. Going out there. I almost looked on it as… a one-way ticket. And then suddenly we were returning, and I thought about Earth again, and I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to happen when we got there.” He paused, mulling over the thoughts that were struggling to come out. “I never really wanted… the adulation,” he said. “The reception you say the Juno people got. I would have probably run away from that, hidden somewhere where they couldn’t find me. If I felt anything at all… it was… there was just a quiet happiness that I was, improbably, unbelievably, against all odds, coming home, home to Earth.” “And then Earth showed you its teeth,” Stella said quietly. 8. “In the last couple of centuries,” Stella said, “in the middle of the great extinctions, when we lost the last lion and the last polar bear that your God gave us to live in His wild places… when the Doomsday Vault failed, and the hoarded seeds were mostly lost, and the wheat harvest failed, and we had to go back to the humblest basest grains from which to make flour and when all the millions starved… when the bees crashed, and crops failed for lack of pollination… when the oceans began to die and the reefs bleached and we watched the lonely whales who were the last of their kind wandering the empty seas calling for mates who never came… when the winters went away and parts of the planet became an anvil upon which human bodies fried, when part of this God-given world became literally unlivable for His children… after the water wars and the food wars … after all of that, you believe in a just and merciful God… but this – it’s only one way of interpreting what we know about the situation, your way – this is what destroys your faith?” 9. “There is a way I can get you to America,” Philip said, “but I’m very much afraid I’m going to have to get you both ordained to do it.” He nodded at the duffel bag by the door. “There’s a cassock in there for you, Rob, and one of my spare dog collars. And one of the good sisters from a somewhat conservative convent in Rome – one where they still wear habits – has parted with hers, for you, Stella. There’s a chartered flight leaving from Rome for Chicago in four days. We are all going to be on it. You’d better not speak to anybody, though. There’s going to be forty people on that flight, and not a soul on it would believe you to be a professed nun if you opened your mouth to them.” 10.Tell those who need to hear it that it’s safe to send other people out there. Let the Parada become a talisman, a mystery, a legend, an inspiration for the continuance of a dream. Don’t let it end here. None of us deserve that.
~~~~~ Praise for THE SECOND STAR
“Like its cast of returned starfarers, this rich and continually surprising novel is many things at once: a religiously-inflected first contact story; an engaging psychological mystery; a glimpse of the future through the eyes of the past; and a moving tale about the difficulties of homecoming. I highly recommend it. ” —Matt Ruff, author of Set This House in order
"The Second Star is a grandly deep wallow in multiple personality disorder material. Dr. Stella Froud is wonderful as she studies six star-faring humans who come home fractured." —Jennifer Stevenson, author of Walking on Sunshine
**About the Author**
Photo Content from Alma Alexander
Alma Alexander is an author whose books include the internationally acclaimed historical fantasy The Secrets of Jin-shei published in 13 language, and its follow-up, Embers of Heaven, set in a fantasy China.
VOYA suggested that her Worldweavers series (Gift of the Unmage, Spellspam, Cybermage, Dawn of Magic) might be just the thing "for readers suffering Harry Potter withdrawal."
Another series, The Were Chronicles (Random, Wolf, Shifter), which dramatically changes the Were world, is about to be republished,
Other fantasies include her haunting and newly republished Midnight at Spanish Gardens, as well as Changer of Days, Wings of Fire, Empress, and a humorous science fiction novel, AbductiCon. She has edited two anthologies, River and Children of a Different Sky.
More on all her books - and links for buying them - can be found under the pull-down menu BOOKS at the top of the page.
Alma Alexander was born on the banks of the Danube in a country that no longer exists, grew up in Africa, and is married to an American she met online. She lives with him and two cats in the cedar woods of the U,S. Pacific Northwest.
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- ends June 22, 2020
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