By Karen A. Wyle
Can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? After seventy years on Tofarn, the human colonists and the native Tofa still know very little about each other. Misunderstanding breed conflict, and the conflicts are escalating. Scientist Mara Cadell’s radical proposal: that host mothers of either species carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Mara lost her own twin, Levi, in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.
Mara succeeds in obtaining governmental backing for her project – but both the human and Tofa establishments have their own agendas. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely?
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The human colony on Tofarn and the indigenous Tofa have great difficulty communicating with and basically comprehending each other. Scientist Mara Cadell is running a project where host mothers carry twins, one human and one Tofa, in the hope that the bond between twins can bridge the gap between species. Alan Kimball, a member of the governing human Council, is hostile to the Tofa and has inserted agents into the project.
Excerpt #1 from Twin-Bred
Tilda looked at her twins, cuddled close together in the crib. Mat-set had all four arms wrapped around Suzie. They seemed to cuddle any chance they got. Maybe they were glad to be free of separate amniotic sacs.
She looked down at Mat-set and remembered the rumors of Tofa with five arms instead of four. She had even seen pictures, but who knew whether they were authentic. Certainly none of the Tofa Twin-Bred babies had been born with extra limbs.
Tilda glanced over at the big dormitory clock and then back down at the babies. She gasped and staggered a step back. Mat-set was still holding Suzie with four arms. So how was he scratching his head with another one?
Tilda looked around wildly for a chair, found one blessedly nearby, and sank down on it. She pinched herself. Nothing changed. Well, who said you couldn’t pinch yourself in a dream and keep on dreaming?
She got up and walked, a bit unsteadily, to the intercom and buzzed for a nurse. Then she went back to the crib. Of course. Four arms, only four, and what was she going to do now?
She decided to be brave and sensible. If she had really seen it, the staff had to know. And if she hadn’t, and she didn’t wake up, then she was ill, and she should get the help she needed.
The chief nurse tucked Tilda in and watched her drift off to sleep, sedative patch in place. Then she went back to her station and called up the monitor footage on Tilda’s twins.
* CONFIDENTIAL *
CLEARANCE CLASS 3 AND ABOVE
LEVI Status Report, 12-15-71
Observation of the Tofa infants has shed some light on the longstanding question of whether the number of Tofa upper appendages is variable among the Tofa population. The thickest of the four armlike appendages is apparently capable of dividing when an additional upper appendage is desired. . . .
Councilman Kimball bookmarked the spot in his agent's report and opened his mail program. He owed an apology to the young man who had claimed his poor showing against a Tofa undesirable was due to the sudden appearance of an extra appendage. Apparently the man had been neither dishonest nor drunk.
After discharging that obligation, Kimball made a note to seek further details as to the divided arms' placement, reach, and muscular potential. His people needed adequate information to prepare them for future confrontations. After all, forewarned — he laughed out loud at the thought — was forearmed.
About the Author
Karen A. Wyle long bio
Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee. Her father was an engineer, and usually mobile for that era: she moved every few years throughout her childhood and adolescence. After college in California, law school in Massachusetts, and a mercifully short stint in a large San Francisco law firm, she moved to Los Angeles, where she met her now-husband, who hates L.A. They eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. She now considers herself a Hoosier.
Karen's childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist. While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9. She finished that novel nonetheless, attempted another at age 14, and then shifted to poetry. She made a few attempts at short stories in college, and then retired from creative writing until starting a family in her mid-30's inspired her to start writing picture book manuscripts. She produced startlingly creative children, the elder of whom wrote her own first novel in 2009, at age 18, with the help of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Intrigued, Karen decided to try NaNo in 2010. She completed a very, very rough rough draft of her science fiction novel Twin-Bred and spent the next ten months editing it. She is self-publishing Twin-Bred with a rollout date of October 15, 2011 -- her older daughter's birthday.
Karen's principal education in writing has been reading. She has been a voracious and compulsive reader as long as she can remember. Do not strand this woman on a plane without reading matter! Karen was an English and American Literature major at Stanford University, which suited her, although she has in recent years developed some doubts about whether studying literature is, for most people, a good preparation for enjoying it. Her most useful preparation for writing novels, besides reading them, has been the practice of appellate law -- in other words, writing large quantities of persuasive prose, on deadline, year after year. Whereas in college, a 3-page paper would require hours of pacing the dormitory hallway and pounding her head on its walls, she is now able to sit down and turn out words with minimal angst. She has one professional writing credit, an article published in the Indiana Law Journal Supplement and, with minor modifications, in the monthly magazine of the Indiana State Bar Association. This article was a "third place recipient" of the Harrison Legal Writing Award. Whatever that means, it comes with money, a plaque, and a free lunch.
Karen has completed a rough draft of a second novel, tentatively titled Reflections, which is general fiction. It has two alternative elevator pitches: "Death is what you make it" and "Do you need courage in heaven?" She hopes to start the sequel to Twin-Bred later this fall.
Karen's voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction. It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice. Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.
Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. She now considers herself a Hoosier. Wyle's childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist. While writing her first novel at age 10, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age 9.
Wyle is an appellate attorney, photographer, political junkie, and mother of two daughters. Her voice is the product of almost five decades of reading both literary and genre fiction. It is no doubt also influenced, although she hopes not fatally tainted, by her years of law practice. Her personal history has led her to focus on often-intertwined themes of family, communication, the impossibility of controlling events, and the persistence of unfinished business.