–Variety of eBook formats
–6 x 9 in. paperback; 380 pages
The final installment of the series, Red Sky at Night, brings the reader to the ultimate challenge of this saga—How to make repeatable all that has been achieved by this most remarkable cadre of individuals? Red Sky… follows the adventures of E., Dar, Manny and Jules from their folks’ farm on Anseris Island, on a walkabout completely around their home world of Alta. That they are compelled to lead a troop of their cousins on the expedition, and later take on ex-pat Tusai just makes their trip that much more challenging. Then again, none of what they encounter should be too much for beings of the First Water, should it?
The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga is an allegory of man’s inner worlds. This series has spanned the development of awakening—from a simple chance encounter to the intentional exploration of the cosmos, from our little bit of real estate in the solar system to the center of the galaxy. A parable of what it might be like to turn a person inside out and witness the workings of that inner world.
Read an excerpt below or read it at the Voyager Press page:
Excerpt: “Foreword” from Red Sky at Night © J.L.Lawson 2012
We each got one of these journals for our tenth birthdays a while back. Oh, perhaps I should mention we have grown up on Alta… it orbits Sol farther out than Enta (Earth), and its length of year is twice as long as our nearest neighbor, and other places for that matter… One point eight eight longer, to be precise. So with a little calculation: we are over eighteen or so anywhere else. Then there’s the fact that we are Soltim for the most part and look half again older than that. So essentially we could show up at Olympia University or at FASSE over above the Alta Grand Canyon and nobody would give us a second look.
Oh, and ‘we’ are: Julian, Altimani and Darshi—-they’re my cousins—I am Yßir. We have been raised by our folks to practically be brothers and sisters… I mean they obviously are, but I mean with me as one of them. Anyway, Papa and Mama, Uncle Tohm and Auntie Kate, Grandpa Yoni and Grandma Tani, and Great-Uncle Alfred and Great-Auntie Vera have pretty much raised us. Manny, Jules and Dar’s parents and our other grandparents aren’t around all the time because of their jobs—they’re the lucky ones. We really would like to go somewhere and see something… Even the kids in the village get to visit way cooler places than we do. We only know our farm, the nearest village on our side of the island, Auntie Kate’s ranch on Teshun and… nope that’s about it.
What our folks don’t know is that we are class A snoops. We’ve been through all their stuff at one time or another and we know loads that they never talk about around us. For instance, we know that Mama and Great-Uncle Alfred are retired Admirals of the Alliance fleets! How about that for cool? We know that our family happens to be really well connected in the Seranath Trade Guild and in the Loreneran Trade Alliance because we snoop through Uncle Ivy’s things every time he and Auntie Becka come for a visit with Uncle Cosmin and Auntie Miruna. We know that Uncle Taksin used to be the Premier of all of Lanissa. We know that Uncle Tohm and Auntie Kate have about a gozillion enrish worth of precious gems at the ranch. See, we just got back from living with them for three years (Teshun years, in between ours and Enta’s years)—kind of a boarding school thing. We learned about how to run a ranch—which is not so different from running a farm, but that ranch is like bigger than three times all of Anseris Island. And we went to classes at Teshun U… basic stuff, but at least not a yawner time.
These ‘journals’ weren’t exactly what we were hoping for for our tenth birthdays. (Huge understatement.) Our cousins, Rafe and Han got their own runabouts on their sixteenth birthdays. Of course they practically live on the Anna Virginia and go everywhere…lucky snaggers. And at least our other cousins, Angus and Mary, Paul and Rob get to be on the Highlander with their folks like every single summer, the whole summer! Even Teksin, Sammi and Elani get to go with their Grandma Misha and Grandpa Rusty for deep space voyages sometimes… But then they are always really glad when we show up for a visit at the Ranch; they don’t actually get too far away from home very often either.
This isn’t supposed to be pages and pages of whining so I’ll get to the point. Manny, Jules, Dar and I—I’m just E.—have had training way beyond what all our cousins have had. Not that we let on, of course, that wouldn’t be nice. Besides the scout training—the most fun—we have been through almost all the same training that the students who come to study with Papa and Mama get, and then some. Truth be told, except for never getting to go anywhere, we have it pretty good. We can sail on the Hellas anytime we want and we’ve been to the Coronae Islands more times than we can count. We can run the farm single-handed if we had to—and I mean everything: move the flocks, shear, card, spin and weave. We have planted, tended and harvested every crop that the farm produces. We know sericulture upside down and backwards. We have even taken some of Sheranara’s systems apart and rebuilt them—of course she was watching every move we made…that’s one protective ship. We are really good tlachtli players—-when we got back home we tried out for and just made the Anseris team, the Rolling Stones. We would get to compete once every three months on the tour…but the farthest we’ll get to go is Buffalope and then only at the Tertian Haven pitch and a side visit to New Bag End. But at least that’s not here and it is traveling. I said would get to compete because we’re going to try and do some traveling of our own… I’ll get to that in a minute.
I guess we don’t really have it so bad. We’re just farm kids with a really good education. Besides, we have each other and that’s a lot more than some of the village kids have…only children mostly. Since this is my journal, and no one’s going to read this for years anyway… maybe never… I have a secret: Darshi and I are planning to run away together someday. Jules and Manny don’t even know. Even though we were raised like brother and sister, we’re NOT and that’s certainly not how we feel about each other. She kissed me once. I think it was just an experiment on her part, but I sure didn’t mind being her guinea pig! Okay, back to what I was saying… I figured I’d start writing in this thing because even though I would have rather had a little scout ship or been given total access to the tangle-vator, I didn’t and I might as well make the best of what I have.
So here’s the deal: Dar, Jules, Manny and I are planning a walk-about. We are going to walk all the way around Alta, and not just in a straight line around the equator either. We’re going to see all the big sites—the grand canyon and lesser canyon, the other two seas surrounding the northern hemisphere along the great plains, we are going to climb Olympus Mons, hopefully, and then there are the forests of Arsia and the caves, the deserts of Arcadia and as much of the southern polar ice fields as we can stand. We figure we’ll be gone over a year… Alta is about thirteen thousand miles around at the equator, which is north of here by a ways, but we still have twenty-four hours in a day just like most places. Then there’s the fact that our folks have also made sure that we know firsthand what our actual weight is relative to different planets. Take the nearest one, Enta… and the only time we got to go there. There I weigh about a hundred and eighty-five pounds, thirteen stone. Here I weigh seventy pounds, five stone. It’s pretty much the same for Manny and Jules. Dar is like about one twenty-five, Enta, and forty-five or so here.
All that is to say that we are in great shape for this sort of journey. The trick is going to be convincing our folks that we really can do this….and getting them to okay it. That’s going to be the hardest part of the whole thing! Dar’s folks will go along with what ever Papa and Mama agree to… But then we’ll probably have to convince Yoni, Tani, Freddy and Vera too… I mean our grandparents—no disrespect intended y’all! (No one’s probably going to read this—see how nervous I must be? I’m apologizing to people who don’t even know… won’t even read…)
Maybe this writing stuff down is a good thing, like therapy or an exercise for organizing thoughts. Whatever. So here’s what has to happen if we are even going to stand a chance at this. We’ll have to follow the enneagram around every single aspect of this project which I have preliminarily defined into four sections: Planning, Preparation, Plodding and Payoff—the four Ps. The ‘plodding’ part is the actual expedition, and the ‘payoff’ part is what we are going to get out of it when all is said and done. If we make our pitch—hey there’s another P!—and if we don’t cover at least those categories to their satisfaction and be prepared to answer any question they throw at us, we’re not going anywhere with their blessing. Count on it. That might lead us to Plan B—run away. Uncle Tohm has hinted on more than one occasion that our folks can find a needle in a stack of needles, so running away is an even tougher prospect than convincing them to let us go on a walkabout.
Like I said to start with, we are really counting on this adventure to make up for all the stuff we didn’t get to do that all our other cousins have. This is important. I’ll even get the other guys to bring their journals along and we’ll all promise to document the trip if that’ll help sell the idea. Dar, of course, has probably almost filled up the pages of hers already, and we’ve only had them for a few months.