Back Cover Copy: Upcoming SF Releases

Okay, so, I don’t particularly want to step on the heels of all the sales going on this month, so I have put off mentioning the various SF books that will be coming out this year. But they are moving along.

I’ve finished basic revision (AGAIN) for NO FOREIGN SKY and I’m ordering a proofing copy today. I expect I will make lots of notes in the paper copy because I always do. Usually the first time I go through a paper copy, I make notes of some sort on almost every page. Not just typos. I change my mind about a comma here or a phrase there, or I notice a hopefully minor continuity error, or whatever.

The second time I go through a fresh paper copy, hopefully I will make a lot fewer comments and catch a lot fewer typos.

Then yet another paper copy for my mother to read. If she wants to read it. It’ll be the very first SF novel she has ever read in her life, probably.

However, NO FOREIGN SKY will go up for preorder shortly. It will need back cover description, which I have tentatively written. Please look this over and help me tweak it:


Generations ago, a single turun explorer discovered a long-abandoned and dwindling population of humans, a devastated colony nearing extinction on a dangerous, hostile world.

Now entirely blended into turun society, uman people retain only traces of their original language and customs. Instead, they have become full citizens of the far-flung Ka’ Taand, a civilization that depends on both uman and turun sociality … a civilization that is now threatened by vicious enemies from beyond familiar space, enemies neither species understands.

When the small half-fighter Nkaastu unexpectedly encounters those enemies during a routine trading mission, Daamon, uman battlecommander sees no choice but to tackle suicidal odds in the hope of giving the worlds of the Ka’ Taand time to prepare for renewed attack. Neither Daamon nor his turun captain expect to survive long enough to know whether the sacrifice of their ship has been in vain …

… until an unknown and much more powerful ship appears, slashing effortlessly through the enemy fighters and saving Nkaastu. But who are these newcomers? And will they prove the allies the Ka’ Taand needs … or a new and deadlier enemy?

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16 thoughts on “Back Cover Copy: Upcoming SF Releases”

  1. Maybe a silly question, but is nkaastu a person or a ship? I thought ship initially, and daamon is a person on said ship, but then the last paragraph made me think person? If a ship, second mention needs a “the” before it

  2. Not at all a silly question, Sarah, and if there’s that kind of confusion, now is the time to straighten it out! Nkaastu is the ship. Daamon is a person.

  3. The first time I hit ‘umans’ I thought typo (?), although by the second time it was clearly deliberate. Is there a way to make it clearer? (Also, glad to hear everything went well yesterday.)

  4. I’m thinking about that, AnnK. That’s certainly one reason I made sure to use the word repeatedly. I’ll hope for a brilliant suggestion from someone here, and I can always rearrange the description to avoid the species name entirely — so we’ll just see how everyone reacts.

  5. I wonder whether that first paragraph is needed? Maybe instead combine w 2nd, “long after humans first established colonies on/in planet/solar system X, they are now fully integrated into the Ka’Taand (empire?conglomerate?etc). Now known as umans, they retain only traces of….”

    I don’t know enough of the specifics to know what nouns are appropriate in a couple spots

  6. I like the first paragraph as setup. It gives a better picture of how the societal integration happened and predisposes me to like both groups, and for me that detail is a cool hook.

    Agreed with the comments on Nkaastu – I was puzzled by the descriptor “half-fighter” but also assumed it was a personal name.

  7. Oh, this description is super-interesting. Even with some mild confusion, I’m hooked.

    The point of confusion was, yes, figuring out whether Nkaastu was a person or ship. I wonder if mild rewording/rearrangement would fix it? “When the small ship Nkaastu unexpectedly encounters those enemies during a routine trading mission, its uman battlecommander Daamon sees no choice…”

    Agree on liking the first paragraph–it immediately gains my sympathy for both groups and my desire that they thrive together.

    I didn’t stumble over the shift from human to uman; the repetition of the term makes its intentionality clear, and I thought it was a nice signal of the changes and integration from the original population.

  8. “Half fighter trade ship. I think the usual tetm is “armed trader” or “armed freighter.” Or even Q ship. That’d clear up the confusion. I keep thinking of Han Solo.

  9. Agree the sentence about Daamon is a little long and confusing. But really, after that back cover description, I’d just like to read the book.

  10. I wonder if you want “vicious enemies” to be singular instead of plural, since we’re talking in terms of civilizations here, and there’s only one enemy civilization.

    Not sure you need the phrase, “a civilization that depends on both uman and turun sociality.” Too many repetitions of “civilization.”

    “Armed trader” makes a lot of sense! That’s definitely a lot more helpful terminology than “half-fighter,” which to me just suggests a smaller battleship.

  11. Kathryn McConaughy

    Second paragraph: In the 2nd sentence, “instead” may not work. Also, this sentence doubles both “civilization” and “enemies,” where the two “civilizations” are in apposition and the two “enemies” are also in apposition. I would pick one doubling to keep and edit the other one out.

    +1 on calling Nkaastu an armed trader instead of a half-fighter. My first thought on seeing “small half-fighter” was a short half-human half-turun soldier.

    Final paragraph: Perhaps “prove to be the allies”?

  12. I wasn’t confused by the change to umans, and like the first intro paragraph. But I too thought Nkaastu was a person, and a half-fighter perhaps a specific class or caste of turun, so clearing that up to an armed tradeship would be good!

  13. Agreeing with those who’d like to see the first two paragraphs combined/shortened. I know for SF there’s a lot of focus on setup and world- (space-?)building, but I think a “generations ago” lead-in is less effective than something that gives us the situation NOW, and leads more quickly into the characters (who will, presumably, be our primary focus & attraction.)

  14. I don’t have anything productive to contribute about the blurb, but I love this kind of human/alien social interaction and I’m excited to read it :D

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