Species Imperative # 2

Reap the Wild Wind

 

Having done her bit for the planet, Mac is home, more than happy to resume her life and the coming field season.

If only the rest of the universe was paying attention.

 

First Published in 2005 by DAW Books Inc.

ISBN 0-756402603

Cover art by Luis Royo

Finalist for the 2006 Prix Aurora Award

Main Selection of the SFBC


Click to Show or Hide Snippet (could be spoilers)

By what measure

should we

condemn ourselves?

Survival is

a moral choice.

(Recent corridor inscription, Progenitor’s Hold, Ship.)

From Chapter 5: Rest and Recrimination
... Mac’s destination was at the far end of the lake. She was as eager to reach it as the ferry operator, who reminded her, several times, that he’d have to be back through the lock by twilight or sleep over.

Around a final string of islands, ranging from bare rocks with the requisite possessive gull on each, to a stunning tower crowned by gnarled white pine. An osprey watched them from the skeletal tip of the tallest tree. Then, another cove, so much like the others the operator gave Mac a doubtful look.

“That’s it,” she assured him, tying her boots to her bag and making sure that was secure on her back.

No dock here. The operator brought his boat in until the keel kissed the sandy bottom. “Thanks,” Mac told him. She hopped over the side, sucking air through her teeth at the bite of chill water on her warm feet and ankles, and waded to shore. She waved goodbye as the ferry headed home, not that the operator turned to look.

Mac dropped her bag on a flat stretch of rock and let out a sigh.

“Been a while,” she whispered.

Behind her, forested hills, deep lakes, and flat marshes marched north until the tundra began, an expanse of wilderness punctuated only by small quiet towns and isolated camps. To live here year-round was to accept seasons, value solitude, leave doors open for strangers and, above all, depend on oneself. Preparation and habits mattered here, helping you survive when civilization wasn’t around to help.

Cottagers -- those summer migrants -- who wanted only to play, party, and unwind didn’t come this far, and certainly not to lakes like Little Misty where you couldn’t zoom around on skims or have every modern convenience delivered to your door. To come here ... to stay here, Mac thought, perching comfortably on that piece of driftwood the size and shape of a dragon’s head, the one which had waited for her here as long as she could remember, you had to let yourself assume another shape.

She lay back along the wood, soaking in sun and silence, and let her tears flow.

 

Excerpt from Migration © 2005 Julie E. Czerneda and DAW Books Inc.
Used with Permission.
Treat - Click to Show or Hide
This is how I was greeted in New Zealand. I love you guys!!! Helping me support this magnificent salmon is Kevin Maclean and Maree Pavletich. Maree was the artist who created this marvel. Look closely and you'll see painted scales. Salmon in NZ During ConScription, we were inseparable, even in the bar. Alas, I feared my magnificent salmon wouldn't make it through the next few airports and so donated him to the auction. The lady over my left shoulder, Sally, won and promised she'd keep him safe. I hope to visit him (and Sally and all the delightful people at ConScription) again someday. The adorable little fry in my hand, however, did make it to Orillia and proudly hang above my desk.Salmon in NZ

 

Pen
Migration, being a middle book, let me relax. (Watch for poodles, weasels, and a shirtless moment.) Not only relax, but lose myself for weeks researching New Zealand, a place I’d never been. Already a paradise for the biologist in me -- guess what was happening as I wrote? The Lord of the Rings. In fact, I wrote Species Imperative to the succession of marvelous LotR soundtracks. And was exceedingly gleeful about that, believe me.

Four years later, I had the privilege of being Guest of Honour at New Zealand’s national convention. Yes. After Migration was in print. I read my New Zealand passages aloud, prepared to take my lumps. Fortunately, my research and the help of local friends paid off. The Kiwis said most kind things about how I treated their glorious country. Whew! (And gave me Mac Beer and ::faints:: Cadbury chocolate!!!)

- Julie