Reality Skimming

Courtesan Prince: Chapter 1 Summary

Re-reading Okal Rel: A series of chronological summaries of chapters of the Okal Rel Saga, written by friends and fans.

The Courtesan PrinceThe Courtesan Prince by Lynda Williams is Part One of the Okal Rel Saga, a 10 novel series published by Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

When Earth’s first attempt to conquer the far reaches of space was thwarted by the failure of a faster than light transportation system, the first colonists were abandoned.

Subsequent colonizations were successful but ideological differences in cloning caused renegade scientists to sever their contact with Earth and establish their own unique world. Now, thousands of years in the future, the scattered descendents of humanity have evolved into two distinct planetary societies: the Reetions of Rire, who rely on advanced computer technology to regulate every aspect of their lives, and the genetically superior and honor bound Sevolites, of Gelion.

With one conflict already behind them, these two cultures are once again on the brink of war. But one last desperate mission is launched and somewhere within a dark region of space, Reetions and Sevolites find themselves torn between their own alliances and the inexplicable desire that constantly draws them closer together.

Chapter 1 summarizer Nina Munteanu is the author of five novels and short stories, translated into several languages throughout the world. Her latest book Outer Diverse, the first book of her Splintered Universe Trilogy, will be released October 2011 by Starfire World Syndicate. Nina teaches writing online through her website and conducts workshops throughout North America. Her fiction writing guide The Fiction Writer: Get Published, Write Now! (Starfire World Syndicate) is used in several North American universities and schools and will be published in Romanian by Editura Paralela 45 this fall.

The following summary contains spoilers for Part One of the Okal Rel Saga: The Courtesan Prince. Continue reading with this in mind...

Chapter 1: Pilots are Uncomfortable People
(Summary by Nina Munteanu)

In the far future, two waves of human descendants have scattered across the universe to make a new home. The first Alpha colonists develop a liberal and technocratic society and call themselves Reetians (from Rire). They frequently lose their minds and their lives during faster-than-light space travel, called reality skimming, and eventually lose contact with Earth due to jump destabilization, and assume Earth was destroyed during the collapse.

Meantime, Earth produced genetically superior Sevolites, who could withstand reality skimming. An ensuing war between the Sevolites and their allies with Earth led to the foundation of the Sevolite empire, an austere society rooted in maintaining the purity of the original, genetically superior blood lines.   

A thousand years later, Earth's offspring (Reetion and Sevolite) meet. And clash. After a brutal war, they agree to segregate, based on ideological differences.

Now, 200 years after the "Killing War" in which the Reetians were all but destroyed by the Sevolites, the Reetian Space Service Explorations Branch recruits hot-headed pilot Ann of New Beach to help pilot an ambitious mission to make Second Contact with human colonists known as Gelacks on the far side of Killing Reach Jump. 

The recruiter finds Ann languishing in a resort-like "group home" and suffering from a "clinical depression"; reality skimming has taken its toll on her mental health. But Ann is a hot commodity: a pilot with great grip. A veteran in reality skimming, Ann knows how to avoid the gap (exposure to dimensions ordinarily coiled up in the stuff of the universe) in navigating the jump. Ann seizes the recruiter's offer even though it means aligning herself with a renegade co-pilot, a colleague she had previously assaulted, and a dangerous mission of questionable merit.

Ann meets the swarthy mission leader, Ranar, a bright anthropologist determined to succeed in Second Contact, with an opportunity to reunite the Reetions with another branch of humankind: Gelacks. Gelacks might be what's left of Earth's population; a beta colony that explored in another direction after the Reetion's jump to Earth collapsed a thousand years ago. A culture where disputes are settled through the sword.

The Courtesan Prince immerses readers in a world rich with culture, space travel, adventure and intrigue. I enjoyed the terms Lynda invented for the various aspects of her world. Lynda, you are a master world-builder! 

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