Spider Star

The human colony on the planet Argo has long explored and exploited the technology left behind by an extinct alien race. But then an archaeology team accidentally activates a terrible weapon: a weapon that will destroy the entire colony, and its star, if they cannot deactivate it. Evidence at the site suggests that the weapon was created for the ancient Argonauts by another race, a race of traders. The archaeologists discover a map of their interstellar trading empire, and the coordinates of their main trading station. Although the information is over a million years out of date, the only hope for Argo is to send a ship and crew into the unknown, to find the traders—or anyone who can help them find a way to shut down the weapon.

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The SS Cygni probe sent back hours of video, captured by the Biolathe AI, but only a few minutes mattered–the four minutes that showed a creature made of fire, living , moving, dancing in the plasma fire of the double star’s accretion disk. A dragon made of star stuff, so alien that only a human expedition to observe and perhaps capture it, could truly understand it. It’s a perilous journey into the future, however, for SS Cygni is 245 light-years from Earth, and even though only two years subjective time will pass on board the Karamojo, the crew will return to an Earth where five hundred years have passed.

Captain Lena Fang doesn’t care–she has made her life on her ship, where her best friend is the ship’s AI. Samuel Fisher, the contract exobiologist, doesn’t care, either. He is making the voyage of a lifetime and in the small world of the Karamojo he will have to live with the consequences of his obsessive quest for knowledge. The rest of the small crew–Axel Henderson, the biosystems engineer; Sylvia Devereaux, the beautiful physical sciences expert; and Phil Stearn, the ship’s jack-of-all-trades–have their own reasons for saying good-bye to everyone they have ever known. As the Biolathe AI said, uncertain five hundred-year round trips don’t attract the most stable personalities, but somehow they’ll have to learn to get along with each other if they’re to catch their dragon and come home again. For at the end of the journey is the star dragon–a creature of fire with a nuclear furnace for a heart. The crew of the Karamojo–human and AI alike–will risk everything to capture it, and it will take all their technology, all their skill and more courage than they knew they had, to come home alive.

Read some online reviews. Listen to a Nov. 2003 radio interview I did with the fine folks at The Dragon Page. Listen to an older MP3 NPR radio interview in which my wife Leah Cutter and I discuss our novels (about half way through the program). I also wrote two articles about writing and selling the novel; these were originally published in the newsletter of The Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop. The cover is by the talented Stefan Martiniere, and you can order a print of the cover from him. I also have an excellent interior illustration of the SS Cygni system that will appear in the book created by Wolf Read.

Star Dragon Highlights

Additional Star Dragon Reviews — from a christian perspective — Bewildering Stories

“With a unique vision and an eye toward accessibility, Brotherton’s “Star Dragon” is a good introduction to the field of hard SF.”– The Davis Enterprise Review