Hella by David Gerrold
English | 2020 | Sci – Fi | ePUB | 2.1 MB
A master of science fiction introduces a world where everything is large and the problems of survival even larger in this exciting new novel.
Hella is a planet where everything is oversized-especially the ambitions of the colonists.
The trees are mile-high, the dinosaur herds are huge, and the weather is extreme-so extreme, the colonists have to migrate twice a year to escape the blistering heat of summer and the atmosphere-freezing cold of winter.
Kyle is a neuro-atypical young man, emotionally challenged, but with an implant that gives him real-time access to the colony’s computer network, making him a very misunderstood savant. When an overburdened starship arrives, he becomes the link between the established colonists and the refugees from a ravaged Earth.
The Hella colony is barely self-sufficient. Can it stand the strain of a thousand new arrivals, bringing with them the same kinds of problems they thought they were fleeing?
Despite the dangers to himself and his family, Kyle is in the middle of everything-in possession of the most dangerous secret of all. Will he be caught in a growing political conspiracy? Will his reawakened emotions overwhelm his rationality? Or will he be able to use his unique ability to prevent disaster?
Oh. Now it made sense. I didn’t say it aloud. If Jamie gets hurt, she’s next in line. Except it didn’t happen that way, I got chosen instead. Marley got mad, and I got a lapful of dinner. And Mom probably knew the whole story. Jamie’s dad too. And certainly Captain Skyler. That’s probably why he skipped over Marley in the first place.
I decided I wasn’t hungry anymore. I put my sandwich down so I could think. The noise wasn’t a lot of help. But I was getting better at figuring out these kinds of things.
This wasn’t about the ride-along anymore. It was about me now. Whatever punishment the Councilors might give Marley, she would blame it on Jamie and me and Mom.
But it wasn’t just us. Some people thought that Marley might be responsible for a lot of other bad behaviors. There had been vandalism and theft all summer long but always out of camera view so nobody could prove anything. But also, maybe if anyone actually knew anything, they might be more afraid of her dad than her.
Jubilee stopped talking long enough to drink her fruit juice. “You didn’t hear this from me, but some people are already talking beyond restriction. They think Marley’s going to end up an exile. She is sooo out of control.”
“That would be very hard to do,” I said. It’s the kind of thing I say when I don’t know what else to say. I wondered if I would vote to put her outside. Yes, I was upset about having to wash my dinner off my lap, but that wasn’t bad enough for me to vote to put her outside. I knew what Jamie would say. He’d make a joke. It would be too dangerous—for Hella. Our local predators would get food poisoning.
Sometimes people say that there’s another colony somewhere in the northwest, maybe in the jumble just beyond where we send our drones. Supposedly, they’re people who went missing and are now living in caves. Supposedly they’re eating local fish and fruits. Nobody knows if it’s true, or if it is, nobody will say, but if someone is actually surviving outside, without any resources except their own brains, that would be important, wouldn’t it? So I guess a lot of people want to believe it’s possible, because they want to believe that human beings are essentially meaner and nastier than anything Hella can throw at us.
Jamie says the accounts of the exile colony are just another made-up story that people pretend to believe in—that one day humans will live safely and naturally on Hella. He says that a secret settlement doesn’t make sense. If all of us at Summerland Station are working so hard to minimize cross-contamination, why would we turn anyone out into the Hellan ecology? And if they were being exiled from us, then why would they care about honoring our rules?