Razor's Edge Sholan Alliance #4 Lisanne Norman DAW Books, Inc. Donald A. Wollheim, Founder 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 Elizabeth R. Wollheim Sheila E. Gilbert Publishers www.dawbooks.com in cooperation with SEATTLE BOOK COMPANY www.seattlebook.com Produced by RosettaMachine www.rosettamachine.com .
Razor's Edge DAW Books is proud to present LISANNE NORMAN'S Sholan Alliance Novels: TURNING POINT (#1) FORTUNE'S WHEEL (#2) FIRE MARGINS (#3) RAZOR'S EDGE (#4) DARK NADIR (#5) STRONGHOLD RISING (#6) ii.
Razor's Edge Copyright © 1997 by Lisanne Norman. All Rights Reserved. DAW Book Collectors No. 1073. Microsoft LIT edition ISBN: 0-7420-9152-X Adobe PDF edition ISBN: 0-7420-9154-6 Palm PDB edition ISBN: 0-7420-9261-5 MobiPocket edition ISBN: 0-7420-9153-8 Ebook editions produced by SEATTLE BOOK COMPANY Ebook conversion and distribution powered by www.RosettaMachine.com All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental. iii.
Razor's Edge Electronic format made available by arrangement with DAW Books, Inc. www.dawbooks.com Elizabeth R. Wollheim Sheila E. Gilbert Publishers peanutpress.com, Inc. www.peanutpress.com iv.
Razor's Edge This book is dedicated to you, Ken, as my tribute to your 50th year in British SF Fandom. I'd also like to thank all at DAW Books, and Marsha Jones and Ira Stoller, for their support and help. Without it you would not be reading this! A few Guild personnel need a mention, too. So many thanks to: Sholan Research and Development Merlin aka James Charlton Sholan Communications Judith Faul Sholan Medical Guild Research Helen Lofting Alien Relations Pauline Dungate Chris Morgan Brotherhood of Vartra Sherrie Powell Sholan Sciences Andrew Stephenson Miavir Sholan Archeology Ruth Blake A further mention of Ken is, I think in order, because Ken Slater and I go back a long time, to the days when first I discovered Science Fiction Fandom and Conventions. His belief in me made me continue to chase my dreams of being a published writer. I'm not the only fan turned writer he's helped and inspired. The list of names is long and would surprise you. This year marks his fiftieth since starting Operation Fantast, a service not only to bring Science Fiction books and magazines to fans, but a fanzine to keep them in touch with each other. Happy fiftieth, Ken. v.
Razor's Edge Exclusive E-book Introduction This is the fourth book in the Sholan Alliance Series, and those of you who have read the others will realize that in keeping with my theme of a pivotal point, both figuratively and in my character's lives, we come to the largest point yet, an edge. A razor's edge to be precise, where life is lived on the line and every day may be the last. Writing a series is quite different from writing any other kind of novels because your characters have to deal with the consequences of the book before. Which means I had realized that because I like to start where I left off with the last book, they need time to recover and come to terms with what has gone before. Or, as in Carrie's case, the birth of hers and Kusac's cub, Kashini. This presented a whole host of new problems - how to keep what was obviously a major and very welcome happening in their life in the background without appearing to minimize it. Let's face it, you people want to read about an adventure, not the day to day problems of a new cub. I did this by doing something I enjoy - namely bringing other characters, either new ones or those with a previously small part to play, into the limelight. It has led to some extraordinary tales-within-tales, surprising even me on occasions. I often say I get keyboard deprivation if I stop writing for too long as I am dying to find out what my characters will do next! In my introduction to the second book, Fortune's Wheel, I explained that back in 1988 I had drafted out a third novel to be called Merchanter's Gamble that involved going to a world called Jalna and posing as merchants to rescue two Sholans trapped there to get information on the ubiquitous Valtegans. As part of that proposed novel, I had written a large amount of Rezac and Zashou's story from the time of the Cataclysm. Originally that book was intended to be two novels in one, both weaving themselves together until the ending when Carrie and Kusac would rescue Rezac and Zashou. Unfortunately, trying to write two very different mini novels at the same time became so confusing, I abandoned the idea. All that now remains of that mini novel, set in the early days of the Valtegans invasion of Shola are the few dream sequences that Rezac has of how he and Zashou met. vi.
Razor's Edge In Razor's Edge, as well as telling you more of Rezac's story, I also got the chance to elaborate the world of Jalna as Kris, Jo, Davies, Zashou and Rezac plot to gain their freedom from Lord Killian. I enjoyed writing about a world that was such a contrast to the high tech society of the space faring Sholans and their Alliance. Kaid has a major part because after finding out all about his past, he now has his own demons to lay to rest as well as coming to terms with his new place in Carrie and Kusac's life. And of course, you discover more pieces of the larger puzzle about the Valtegans who destroyed the two Sholan colonies and all their inhabitants. I had no sooner begun this novel when, unfortunately, I woke one day and found the normal faint ache in my back had become worse. Suddenly I was unable to walk more than a few feet or stand for more than a minute without intense pain. It took the medical profession four months to tell me it was probably a spinal birth defect they'd discovered in my X-rays seventeen years before. I had been assured then that it would never trouble me, but boy, did they get it wrong. Physiotherapy and the correct analgesics lessen the pain, and I can manage around the house now, but going outside still means using a wheelchair. All the worry about what was causing the pain and the doctor trying to find suitable analgesics obviously had an effect on my writing. Luckily my work has always been a place for me to find comfort so I was still able to lose myself in writing, to a degree, but with the novel nearly finished, things finally got on top of me. I don't know if you're aware that writing a book is team work. Because of my writing, I have made friends with people from all walks of life all over the world, people who have skills I lack because my own education was in the Arts. These people have helped me get the details in my novels right in such diverse fields as the sciences, cosmology and trauma medicine. You'll see them mentioned at the beginnings of my books because I believe it is important to say Thank You to them. When I called in to my editor to explain I was not going to make the deadline, her immediate response was, "What can we do to help you?" vii.
Razor's Edge It's no exaggeration to say that without the help of Sheila Gilbert and her sister, my friend Marsha Jones, this book would never have been finished on time. We had something like 3 weeks in which to do the final chapters. It was all plotted out, scene by scene, and had been since before I started it, but time was running out fast. I remember it well. My son was only 12 at the time and naturally wanting to watch TV. I work in our main lounge because as well as being the warmest room in the house, I have a radiator behind me which helps ease the back pain. But the TV is opposite me. Normally it's off when I'm working, and I didn't work until after he's gone to bed, but nothing at that time was normal. I was working every hour I could be and sending each new section, almost unread, off by e-mail to Sheila once a day for her to edit for me. Normally I edit each chapter at least 3 times before the first draft of a novel is sent to her. With this book, I didn't even get to read it as a book until after it went to press! As the deadline kept coming closer, I kept redrafting the ending. Four times I had to rethink it and each time I had to drop one of the minor character's plots completely, leaving them to be resolved in the next book. Luckily I had originally crafted the sub-plots in such a way that this was possible. Thankfully, there's a five hour time difference between Norfolk, England, and New York, and we needed that five hours. We worked like crazy, with Sheila and Marsha reading and editing, making sure all the continuity was right, that the Chemerian didn't suddenly sprout extra fingers in a scene that he hadn't had earlier in the novel. Scenes had to be juggled about to fit in with the revised ending and Sheila and Marsha would phone me up to ask for clarification on the feasibility of their new location. Our fax phones were working overtime, believe me! The last day came and my son was watching some old film about a leprechaun, a young girl and a very, very young Sean Connery. I couldn't get one of the final scenes worked out and my attention kept wandering to the TV. I couldn't believe how young Sean Connery looked, and besides, we'd all been sitting up till 5 am and later working on the novel for the last week. You can understand, I'm sure, why I got so bogged down and distracted. Finally I dragged my attention back to the scene and grabbing a piece of paper, started drawing small diagrams of who was where. The solution viii.
Razor's Edge came to me like a bolt of lightning! I had the perfect answer sitting in front of me— or rather Jo had. So when you get to the end, pay attention to one of my favorite characters, young Ashay, and blame my whimsical sense of humor, and a very young Sean Connery, for that scenes ending! We got Razor's Edge finished with 1 hour left before it went to press. It was an aptly named novel in more ways than one. And now it's your turn to enjoy it, as I did when I finally got to read it. * * * Now that Carrie, Kusac and Kaid had broken with the traditions of their world, there was a price to pay, and the military, who had been providing all the protection on their estate, wanted to collect. The price was to go to Jalna and rescue Jo's party as well as Rezac and Zashou. But danger lay hidden on Jalna for all of them, planted there long ago by the Valtegans, turning the inhabitants of that world into a dangerously unstable race and threatening the telepathic powers of both Sholans and Humans. * * * Once again, my thanks to both Sheila and Marsha, as well as all the other people at DAW without whom this novel would literally have been impossible. Lisanne Norman March 2000 http://www.sff.net/people/Lisanne ix.