Zusatztext Praise for Finder " Wicked! fast-paced! and fun . This is a total romp! and I loved it." Elizabeth Bear! Hugo-Award winning author of Ancestral Night "Fergus Ferguson makes an excellent lead in this fast-paced hard-sf repo adventure set in space opera's sweeping scale and balanced on the heart of one very finely wrought character. Suzanne Palmer's writing is delightful." Hugo-! Nebula-! and World-fantasy finalist Fran Wilde! author of the award-winning Bone Universe trilogy " Finder is a raucous good time! Suzanne Palmer's Fergus Ferguson is charming! imperfect! always in trouble! and a most resourceful rogue. I can't wait for his next adventure. Characterization at its finest. Firecracker dialogue ." W. Michael Gear! New York Times- bestselling author of Outpost " Finder proves hard SF! done brilliantly! is passionate! powerful! and brimming with humanity . Be it daily life or war in zero g! realistic communities in space or making us laugh at what clever beings we humans are! Suzanne Palmer nails it. I cannot wait for more. Highly recommended." Julie E. Czerneda! author of Search Image " Finder is a breathless ride ." Jacey Bedford! author of Empire of Dust "A breakneck-paced and action-packed science-fiction adventure featuring an endearing con artist whose current mission to retrieve a stolen spaceship ignites a war.... A nonstop SF thrill ride until the very last page." Kirkus "Palmer makes short-distance space travel feel as comfortable as riding a bicycle! and concludes this entertaining caper with a clever resolution and a hint of intrigue . Fans of space adventure will find this a fine example of the form." Publishers Weekly " This will please anyone who embraces outer-space yarns." Library Journal "A fun! fast-moving jaunt into the zippier! zanier side of space opera ." B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog "If you're looking for a fun! little jaunt into a believable backwater with lots of intrigue! fun! and unsettling reminders of how fragile we all can be ! this is one book that manages to encapsulate that mixture quite well." Fanbase Press Informationen zum Autor Suzanne Palmer is an award-winning and acclaimed writer of science fiction. In 2018, she won a Hugo Award for Best Novelette for "The Secret Life of Bots". Her short fiction has won readers' awards for Asimov's, Analog, and Interzone magazines, and has been included in the Locus Recommended Reading List. Her work has also been features in numerous anthologies, and she has twice been a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and once for the Eugie M. Foster Memorial Award. Palmer has a Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where as a student she was president and head librarian of the UMass Science Fiction Society. She currently lives in western Massachusetts and is a Linux and database system administrator at Smith College. You can find her online at zanzjan.net and on Twitter at @zanzjan. Klappentext From a Hugo Award-winning author comes the second book in this action-packed sci-fi caper! starring Fergus Ferguson! interstellar repo man and professional finder. As a professional finder! Fergus Ferguson is hired to locate missing objects and steal them back. But it is rarely so simple! especially after his latest job in Cernee. He's been recovering from that experience in the company of friends! the Shipmakers of Pluto! experts at crafting top-of-the-line AI spaceships. The Shipmakers have convinced Fergus to finally deal with unfinished business he's been avoiding for half his life: Earth. Fergus hasn't been back to his homeworld since he was fifteen! when he stole his cousin's motorcycle and ran away. It was his first theft! and nothing he's st...
Praise for Finder
"Wicked, fast-paced, and fun. This is a total romp, and I loved it." —Elizabeth Bear, Hugo-Award winning author of Ancestral Night
"Fergus Ferguson makes an excellent lead in this fast-paced hard-sf repo adventure set in space opera's sweeping scale and balanced on the heart of one very finely wrought character. Suzanne Palmer’s writing is delightful." —Hugo-, Nebula-, and World-fantasy finalist Fran Wilde, author of the award-winning Bone Universe trilogy
"Finder is a raucous good time! Suzanne Palmer's Fergus Ferguson is charming, imperfect, always in trouble, and a most resourceful rogue. I can't wait for his next adventure. Characterization at its finest. Firecracker dialogue." —W. Michael Gear, New York Times-bestselling author of Outpost
"Finder proves hard SF, done brilliantly, is passionate, powerful, and brimming with humanity. Be it daily life or war in zero g, realistic communities in space or making us laugh at what clever beings we humans are, Suzanne Palmer nails it. I cannot wait for more. Highly recommended." —Julie E. Czerneda, author of Search Image
"Finder is a breathless ride." —Jacey Bedford, author of Empire of Dust
"A breakneck-paced and action-packed science-fiction adventure featuring an endearing con artist whose current mission to retrieve a stolen spaceship ignites a war.... A nonstop SF thrill ride until the very last page." —Kirkus
"Palmer makes short-distance space travel feel as comfortable as riding a bicycle, and concludes this entertaining caper with a clever resolution and a hint of intrigue. Fans of space adventure will find this a fine example of the form." —Publishers Weekly
"This will please anyone who embraces outer-space yarns." —Library Journal
"A fun, fast-moving jaunt into the zippier, zanier side of space opera." —B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog
"If you're looking for a fun, little jaunt into a believable backwater with lots of intrigue, fun, and unsettling reminders of how fragile we all can be, this is one book that manages to encapsulate that mixture quite well." —Fanbase Press
Suzanne Palmer is an award-winning and acclaimed writer of science fiction. In 2018, she won a Hugo Award for Best Novelette for "The Secret Life of Bots". Her short fiction has won readers' awards for Asimov's, Analog, and Interzone magazines, and has been included in the Locus Recommended Reading List. Her work has also been features in numerous anthologies, and she has twice been a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and once for the Eugie M. Foster Memorial Award. Palmer has a Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where as a student she was president and head librarian of the UMass Science Fiction Society. She currently lives in western Massachusetts and is a Linux and database system administrator at Smith College. You can find her online at zanzjan.net and on Twitter at @zanzjan.Klappentext
From a Hugo Award-winning author comes the second book in this action-packed sci-fi caper, starring Fergus Ferguson, interstellar repo man and professional finder.Leseprobe
As a professional finder, Fergus Ferguson is hired to locate missing objects and steal them back. But it is rarely so simple, especially after his latest job in Cernee. He's been recovering from that experience in the company of friends, the Shipmakers of Pluto, experts at crafting top-of-the-line AI spaceships.
The Shipmakers have convinced Fergus to finally deal with unfinished business he's been avoiding for half his life: Earth. Fergus hasn't been back to his homeworld since he was fifteen, when he stole his cousin's motorcycle and ran away. It was his first theft, and nothing he's stolen since has been anywhere near so easy, or weighed so heavily on his conscience. Many years and many jobs later, Fergus reluctantly agrees that now is the time to return the motorcycle and face his family.
Unfortunately, someone has gotten to the motorcycle before him. And before he can figure out where it went and why the storage unit that held it is now filled with priceless, stolen art, the Shipyard is attacked. His friends are missing, presumably kidnapped.
Accompanied by an untrustworthy detective who suspects Fergus is the art thief and the sole friend who escaped the attack, Fergus must follow the tenuous clues to locate and save his friends. The trail leads them to Enceladus, where Fergus plans to go undercover to the research stations that lie beneath the moon's thick ice sheet deep in a dark, oppressive ocean.
But all movement and personnel are watched, and the limited ways through the thick ice of the moon's surface are dangerous and highly monitored. Even if Fergus can manage to find proof that his friends are there and alive, getting out again is going to be a lot more complicated than he bargained for.
In the center of the spindle tube between two sections of the Shipyard, tumbling with the casual grace of zero gravity, there was a giant, magenta, inflatable hamster. Fergus Ferguson reached out to a wallbar to slow himself before he collided with it; the last unattended animal he'd run across had been a four-meter-long robotic snake that had chased him through three sections of hab before he managed to lock himself in a closet. The footage-perspective of the snake, naturally-was looping on all Shipyard vid monitors for a week.
"Maison?" he called.
There was no answer, no sound of snickering from beyond the next set of blast doors.
Wary, he moved closer, inspecting it from arm's length. There was no faint, resonating buzz in his gut to indicate something electrified, no detail that stood out to suggest it was anything other than the obvious. Fergus backed away, skirted along the smooth gray-blue wall until he was well past it, then shoved off through the doorway with only a few paranoid glances behind him.
The hamster didn't explode, didn't call out to him, and best of all, didn't follow.
In the two months or so that he'd been back there, Fergus had explored far more of the Shipyard than he ever had before, but still figured he'd seen less than twenty percent of it. Most of the remaining spaces weren't easily accessible and, even if they had been, too dangerous for casual, solo adventuring. The army of bots doing the heavy work of building spaceships vastly outnumbered the tiny handful of people doing the thinking and inventing and goofing off, and it was best not to get in their way.
From the spindle that ran the length of the orbital station, he dropped into a connecting corridor that led to one of the habitable rings, and as he floated down, he admired, for the thousandth time, the edge-on view through the thick portals of Pluto's surface below.
The planet-hundreds of years later, there was still active resistance to its demotion to microplanet-was a beautiful tapestry of browns and blacks and tans spun together like a rich, poorly stirred hot chocolate, even down to the tiny hint of foam at its polar cap. There were only a few lights visible from there, nav beacons and communications boosters and automated science stations, none of them designed for occupation. Pluto and its partner rock, Charon, were positioned in precisely the sweet spot, in terms of privacy, of being far enough out that, if you were going to go this far, odds were good you'd just keep going until you found brighter skies again around some other star, and never even notice it as you passed it by.
Between spindle and ring, the artificial gravity kicked in, and he walked rather than floated into the main lounge. Noura and Kelsie were both there, hunched over a holo display with data scrolling rapidly past underneath an undulating set of blue lines drawn in air.
"Hey, Ferg," Kelsie said, glancing up from the console. The roundness of her face was accentuated by her close-cropped blond hair and nearly consumed by the omnipresent wide grin that was the essence of Kelsie to the core. Noura was her opposite, with long, tight springs of black hair that, when not painstakingly tied down in tiny braids, spread out in a glorious halo around her olive-tone face, as it was now. Her expression was somber, her brow furrowed in puzzlement.
"You two know anything about the giant hamster floating in corridor nine?" Fergus asked.
"Did you touch it?" Kelsie asked.
"Then no, I know nothing about it. You'd have to ask Maison."
Noura waved her hand through the screen, and both pattern and dataset changed. "You have a message," she said without looking up.
"Do you really think we'd violate your privacy by watching your personal messages?" Kelsie asked.
"Yes," Fergus said.
"Then it's from your friend Mari," Noura said. "We like her."
Fergus headed over to Ignatio's console, brushed green fur off the chair, and sat. His leg ached dully from the transition into grav, but he was grateful he still had a leg at all. For a while, it wasn't clear he would.
"Tomboy?" he asked.
The steady green iris above the console stared at him. "Good morning, Fergus," the smooth, ungendered, artificial voice of the station intelligence said. "Have the others already informed you that you have a message?"
"Yes, thanks," he said. "Could you play it for me?"
"I would be happy to," Tomboy said.
Mari's face appeared on the screen. She looked different. Not older, he thought, but less unsettled. Not the same surly nineteen-year-old he'd been dragged through a war with. "Hey, Fergus," she said. "Calling with the news, as you asked. We've finally permanently reconnected the Wheel Collective and Blackcans to Cernee's halo, and we're using what salvage we can pull from the destroyed habs to repair the others. No sudden decompressions anywhere in more than a week, so I think we're making progress."
Cernee was a deep-space settlement made of strung-together junk that barely held its air under the best of circumstances; the war there had pushed survival to the very brink.
"The good news is that the Governor thinks we can repair the sunshield that got bombed," Mari continued. "The bad news, of course, is we can't afford to, not for a while. But for now, the shell seems stable, so eventually we'll get there. Oh, and the Shielders gave me something for you." She turned away from the camera, rummaging through something out of sight.
"This is the best part," Kelsie said from over the display.
"Shhhhh," Noura said. "I'm concentrating."
Mari sat up again, and held a large square of velopaper in front of her. On it was a drawing of a figure in a suit, small lightning bolts coming out of his fingers, near one edge of the paper. On the opposite side was a shape clearly meant to be a sunshield, although Fergus conceded it was possibly also a giant space banana. Between them were a large quantity of stars.
"They tell me to tell you that they've drawn you staying far away from Cernee, and of course as you know, once something has been added to their Narrative, it must be so," Mari said. "I think they're still mad at you."
Fergus thought that likely and couldn't say one way or the other if he deserved it.
"Aaaanyway, the Shielder who gave me this? I showed him how if I folded it just right, I could hide all the stars and put you right next to the sunshield," she said, demonstrating. "He actually screamed and ran away."
She set down the paper out of sight. "We could use someone with your problem-solving skills, if you ever do come back. Mr. Harcourt and the Governor and Ms. Ili seem to be working together for now, but the cracks are showing. The miners and other people who worked under Vinsic but weren't part of the coup attempt have banded together and seem to have nominated Tobb-Bale's brother?-as spokesperson. He's doing okay with it, though Bale has had to keep him and Harcourt from hitting each other a couple of times. Everyone is still on edge, whether they'll admit it or not. You probably won't believe me, but sometimes it's really nice to be back home in the peace and quiet of the family farm."
"What do they grow that far from their star?" Noura asked.
"Genmod lichen," Fergus answered. "Now hush."
"Uh, that's really about it," Mari continued. "The usual people say hello. If you're not still at the Shipyard, I guess they'll forward this on or save it for when you get back. If you're still there, call back and let me know why the hell you're procrastinating and getting on everyone's nerves instead of doing what you need to do. You know what I'm talking about."
The message ended. Fergus stared at the screen until Tomboy spoke up. "Would you like me to play it again?"
"No, thank you," Fergus said, and got out of his chair. Both Noura and Kelsie were watching him, leaning back in their seats and looking unsatisfied.
He went over to the kitchen alcove, made three bulbs of coffee, and set down two of them in front of the women before taking an empty seat. "What are you two looking at?" he asked.
"Either we've stumbled across a whole new phenomenon in physics, or we've got bad data from a sensor calibration problem on Falconer," Kelsie said. "So, yeah, trying to figure out how the sensor went whumpf. Here, look. Running this in super slo-mo."
She waved her hand through the console again, and a curved field appeared above it, a smooth grid of lines widening out. Just before the field popped, there was the briefest flash of something. Kelsie backed it up, and Fergus could now make out a tiny break in the lines of the grid. "Looks like a pothole," he said.
"Lasts about a thousandth of a second. A few dropped data packets, is all. Can't reproduce it."
"Except you can, but only running the exact same sequence along the exact same trajectory," Noura said, "which is what makes it odd."
"You ask Ignatio? Jumpspace physics is eir expertise," Fergus said.
"Ignatio was not helpful," Noura said.
"Ignatio wiggled all eir limbs at us and said it was nothing and went off to the kitchen to play with food," Kelsie said. She sighed and shut the display down. "I've been messing with the sensor array, but this really isn't my area. Falconer's sensors are running Effie's latest firmware, which tested out fine in the sim lab, so if I can't find the issue, I'll pull them. When she gets back, we'll rebuild. I just wish I knew what went wrong. I'm an engines-and-hardware person, not a coder."
Kelsie swiped her hand through the display, clearing it, then brought up the firmware logics and the array schematics. "Still, I might as well get to it," she said. "I wouldn't want anyone to call me out on procrastinating!"
Noura leaned back on the couch and regarded Fergus. "About that," she said. "Your friend Mari is right: you are procrastinating. Though she's not correct about getting on our nerves-we enjoy your company, all of us; there are so few people we can bounce ideas off of."
"When you seven get going on engineering and computer intelligence stuff? I'm lost within a minute," Fergus said.
"Which is about fifty-three seconds better than everyone else," Noura said. "That's not the point. You brought us back Venetia's Sword from the man who stole her, at great personal risk and no small amount of injury, and we're deeply grateful. The ship is too. But you're not here just hanging out for our company; you're here because you don't want to go do the next thing. You don't want to go back to Earth."
"No, I don't," Fergus said. "I ran away from home when I was fifteen for good cause. I have no reason to ever go back."
"Except one," Noura said.
"Yeah." Fergus reached into a pocket in his shorts, pulled out an old key, set it beside the display. "One."
"It's been . . . seventeen years? Eighteen? You don't think your cousin has forgiven you for stealing his motorcycle, given the circumstances?"
"I don't know," Fergus said. "I haven't forgiven myself."
"So, go do it, and then you can."
Fergus laughed. "As if it's that easy! Last time I was in-system, I managed to make myself a wanted man on Mars, and who knows how far that's spread? And even if I can get to Earth without someone catching me, it has been nineteen years. I don't know where my cousin even is!"
"Fergus, you find things all over the galaxy for a living," Noura said, her dark eyebrows knitted together. "Surely, you don't think those are good reasons for not going. Unless your cousin is dead or gone off-planet himself, he'll be in the node listings. You land and fetch the motorcycle out of storage. It's been sitting a long time, but Kelsie can give you detailed instructions and a botkit for maintenance. Then you locate your cousin, meet up with him and give it back, buy him a drink and say you're sorry, catch up on old times . . ."
"I don't want to catch up on old times," Fergus said. "They were all horrible. That's why I ran away."
"Well, then, do this and you're free. You don't ever have to go back to Earth again."
A rail-thin, shirtless, hairless man wearing thick, opaque red goggles strolled into the lounge. "I think you should just stay," the newcomer said, his accent a perfect meld of Earth West Indies and Lunar Colony immersion-net-five. "Never look back."
"Maison," Fergus said. He and Kelsie were the youngest and newest of the Shipmakers of Pluto, originally founded by Noura's mother and Theo's uncle, both long since passed. "Is that your hamster in section nine?"
"Did you touch it?" Maison asked.
"Then I'm sure I know nothing about it. Hey, I have a project you could help me with, Double-Eff, my man."
"Yeah?" Fergus said. "Remember the last time you said you needed my help testing a new exosuit insulator, and you filled my suit with spraycheese? While I was wearing it? It took me weeks to get that smell out, and it gave me a rash."
Maison beamed. "I found it informative."
"I'm sure. No, thanks."
Maison parked himself on the arm of the sofa near Noura. "What's on the agenda for today?" he asked.
"Reviewing Falconer's sensor code," Kelsie said without looking up.
"The rest of us are all still waiting on schematics from you for the new ice-driver prototype," Noura said. "Need I remind you, we have paying customers waiting-Enfi Maub has given us a substantial deposit-and having a good reputation for reliable products delivered in a timely manner is necessary to fund the fun, experimental projects?"
"Yes, yes," Maison said. "I'm working on it. Up here." He tapped his forehead.
"Great," Noura said. "Meanwhile, I've been overseeing the repairs to Venetia's Sword's mindsystems and working on the next-gen model Whiro with Tomboy. LaChelle has cloistered herself in the design VR and won't show anyone what she's got so far except to say she's going for a 'dangerous' look. Theo can't start prepping the fab units until either she's done or you are, so he's off in the garden wheel, communing with his bonsai, and until we start constructing something, Kelsie has nothing to try to break, so she's sitting here overthinking a sensor firmware bug. I gather your primary agenda, despite all of us waiting on you, continues to be pranking Fergus?"