My agent has just delivered the manuscript of my next novel, In the Mouth of the Whale
, to Gollancz, so I thought I'd put up an extract:
It began like every other day. Ori climbed into her immersion chair and plugged into her bot, trundled it out onto the skin of the Whale, and helped her crew shepherd a pair of probes from their garage to the staging post. Fuelling and charging them, running final checks before they set off on their long journey down the cable. Important, demanding, finicky work, but nothing out of the ordinary.
The staging post was near the base of the Whale’s vertical cylinder, at the lip of the conical end cap that tapered to the cable’s insertion point. Immediately above, a marshalling yard spread like ivy around a tree trunk, bustling with purposeful movement. At the upper end, hoppers stuffed with a variety of raw construction materials scooted down rack and pinion tracks towards tipplers that seized and lifted them up and turned them upside down and mated their hatches with the hatches of bulbous freight cars. The hoppers shed their cargo with quick peristaltic shudders, were swung right side up and set down on return tracks on the far side of the tipplers, and zipped back to the refinery. Further down the yard, loaded freight cars assembled themselves into long strings that trundled away along one of the four parallel magrails that crossed the inverted hill of the end cap and converged on the cable, the strings rolling over flying bridges at the insertion point and gathering speed as they descended the cable towards the deck of fluffy white ammonia clouds that sheeted the sky from horizon to horizon, passing strings of empty cars climbing in the opposite direction. More here...