Saturday, May 23, 2009

Discovery Showcase - The Proving

The Zambinos of Blue Hill: The Proving (Amazon)
Author: Will Azeperak (Amazon blog)
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Profanity: None
POD Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (November 16, 2003), 284 pages, illustrated.


By the mid twenty-first century civilization will be colonizing the near reaches of the solar system. Honor and honesty will be highly valued. People may choose to receive a brain implant, called a grain, which imparts great knowledge. It is customary to perform a proving-a feat of intellect that proves that the grain is operational.

In the year 2063, you will find the Zambino family residing at 125 Puffin Rock Road in Blue Hill, Maine. Even for these remarkable times the Zambinos are not your average family. Chookanoo Zambino and his genetically engineered, adopted brother Scoom can't wait to get their grains and then, build a spacecraft for their proving.

They can count on help from family, friends and the household robot, Zimbit.

But, ancient spirits from beyond have a different proving for the Zambino boys. What do they have in common with a Civil War solder, a Nez Pierce warrior, a Roman centurion and the crew of a schooner that disappeared in 1891? Discover the secret reason Scoom was genetically engineered by a renegade scientist.

So, liquefy some electricity and fire up the hyperbaric engines-it's time to go for a ride with the Zambinos of Blue Hill.

Chapter 1
The Duchess and the Whale
September 12, 1891: On board the schooner Grand Banks Duchess, 30 miles off the coast of New England:
            “Mr. Wendell, are you sure that you and these men wouldn’t rather stay on board the Duchess?” Chancy Morgan asked with a slight Irish brogue.
            “All the same, Mr. Morgan, We’d feel safer in the dories. That monster has its sights set on the Duchess,” the ship’s quartermaster Sam Wendell, replied as he held onto the rope handles of the ladder, one foot on deck the other on a ladder rung. Three small dories rolled over the waves behind him. The men in the dories anxiously rowed out to sea. Sam then turned to Elizabeth Sully, a passenger. The young woman stood on the heaving deck. Her long yellow dress flapped in the wind. She held tight a thick shawl around her shoulders and neck. The wind whipped about strands of her auburn hair that was otherwise tied up in a bun, “How about you madam? I’ll ask you one more time—if you and your two children would come with us?”
            Chancy turned to her, “Mrs. Sully, I heartily recommend that you stay on board.”
            “Thank you, Mr. Morgan and Mr. Wendell, for your concern, but I have made up my mind to stay on board the schooner.”
            “Very well madam, I’ll ask you no more.” Sam then turned to the remaining crew, “How about you Manito, Juan, Old Ned—coming with us?”
            “I ain’t giv’n up this vessel without a fight.” declared Ned, the old, the white whiskered, first mate.
            “No Sam, we stay with our ship.” replied Manito, a tall slim, Portuguese fisherman, as he patted Juan on the shoulder. Juan, also Portuguese gave a cautious nod to Sam—Juan spoke no English.
            The ship’s captain, Howard Reech, leaned over the gunwale as Sam Wendell and most of the crew of the Grand Banks Duchess rowed off in the small dories, “God’s speed Sam—and watch them growing swells!” the captain shouted.
            “I pray that that monster returns to the deep, Captain Reech!” Mr. Wendell called back. “And, I pray for your safety!” he added as the dories disappeared over the Atlantic swells.
            “We’re not the ones in little dories,” the captain mumbled to himself as he turned towards the few remaining crew and two passengers. “Well Mrs. Sully, Mr. Morgan—we will proceed on to New York, as planned.”
            “Captain, do you think that the whale, or whatever it is, will attack?” Mrs. Sully asked.
            “It could swallow us up, like Jonah himself.” Old Ned said with wide and excited eyes.
            “Oh, pipe down Ned, you’ll frighten the poor woman.” The captain huffed as he attempted to light his pipe.
            “You pipe down, it could happen! That’s one big whale—I can tell by the boil that rises when it moves.” The old sailor fired back.
            Mrs. Sully turned to the captain, “Captain Reech, I am no more frightened than anyone else on board this ship. But, that creature has been following us for three days.”
            “Madam, I honestly, don’t know what that whale will do. But I do know that with this wind, the Duchess can out run it and we’ll make harbor in a day and a half. Then I’ll send out word about the dories.”
            “I hope that you are right Captain, for our sakes and the sakes of my two children.”
            Chancy attempted to produce a reassuring smile, “Mrs. Sully, I have studied all things scientific, including marine science, and I can assure you that there is no whale with a throat large enough to swallow a man, much less an entire ship.”
            “Thank you, Mr. Morgan; I hope that you too are right.”
            The men dug their oars in deep and pulled their dories over the heaving swells. Sam Wendell kept his eyes fixed in the direction of the Grand Banks Duchess. Only the ship’s sails could be seen against the darkening skies. With each swell the yellowed canvas poked above the cold gray waves and caught the pink light of the setting sun.
            Then, one of the men, eyes wide and fixed, stood in his dory and silently pointed towards the Duchess’s position. The men watched in horror as a bright blue glow appeared over the waves and then subsided. A great deep thrum made the water dance all around the dories and reverberated up through the floorboards. The men lifted their feet in alarm.
The vibration subsided. The sails of The Grand Banks Duchess did not appear with the next up-swell.  The men sat in stunned silence.
“May God have mercy on their souls,” a shaken Sam Wendell prayed.
Chapter 2
The Doctor’s Work.
Miami: October 13, 2052:
            A dull red spot on the cold steel door grew into a brilliant shower of white-hot sparks as an electron laser burned through the metal. The bright laser illuminated the dark laboratory. The laser flashes cast eerie dancing shadows on the walls through the laboratory equipment. Drops of incandescent molten steel plopped onto the floor. The laser cutter inscribed a glowing rectangular path around the inside of the door’s edges.
            For a moment, all was quiet, except for the still sizzling laser cut. A loud bang shattered the silence and the cutout section of the door blasted into the room. A large, black chrome robot peered into the opening. It was still holding its massive hand in a fist, having just punched the door in with pile driver force. The cutting laser, in its other hand retracted into the machine’s arm. The robot made a growling sound as it ducked its head below the top edge of the door and stepped into the room. Lights on the robot’s head and body switched on and beamed into the darkness. The letters “FBI” lit up in blue across the robot’s chest.
            “All right, the smashbot’s through, we’re going in.” lead agent, Victor Zambino spoke into his radio headset. He stepped behind the robot and reached up and grabbed a handle that was situated behind the robot’s neck. Victor pulled down and a platform unfolded out from the robot’s back and hung like a hiker’s backpack. Victor switched on his rifle and stepped up onto the platform. He was now back to back with the robot.
            “Ok, Charlie, let’s go.” Victor said to the robot.
            With another growl the robot advanced slowly through the abandoned laboratory.. Two other agents, with rifles ready, scampered in behind the robot.
            “Bioscans are clicking, but nothings moving.” a voice came over Victor’s radio.
            “Vic we’re watching the monitors, but we don’t know what we’re seeing,” another voice crackled into Victor’s headset.
            “Birthing equipment—Mellonini’s got this place full of gene grafters and birthing tanks.” Victor replied.
The robot walked past a large complicated machine. Parts of it were a tangle of wires and tubes. In the center was a soft, gelatinous sac that had been cut open. Sensors and tubes covered the sac’s outer walls.
            “Be careful Vic.” the voice said.
            “Mellonini’s not the booby trap type,” Victor replied, “Just keep the press back, ok.”
            “Don’t worry Vic—the press doesn’t seem too anxious to crowd in. I think they’re afraid of what Mellonini’s got in there.”
            “Yeah, me too. I’m stepping off the smashbot.” Victor said as he jumped off of the robot’s backpack platform. He walked up to the birthing machine and ran his hand over the metal framework. “This is a very sophisticated meat grower,” he said as he peered into the glass covering of the machine’s inner chamber.
            Victor motioned to two other agents, “Jane, Ty, look at this.”  The agents cautiously flanked Victor and looked into the chamber. “See, here, the sac’s been cut open.”
            “A birth?” Jane asked
            “That or a reject,” Victor said as he turned to Ty, “Anything more on the bioscanner?”
            The agent held up the scanner, a biological material sensor, “Just organics, nothing metabolizing...” A red light on the scanner began flashing. The scanner’s display flashed the message: Mobile Organic.
            “Where?” Victor demanded in a hushed tone.. Ty pointed at a door at the far end of the room.
            “Charlie, follow the scan, shield all field agents.”
            The robot growled and stepped forward. Weapons popped out of the robot’s arms as its heavy footsteps thumped the floor. The agents huddled close to the smashbot and followed it to the simple wooden door. Victor looked down at the bottom of the door.
            Light was shining out from the inside.
            “Okay Charlie, open with the knob and aim to cover.” Victor said as he adjusted a setting on his rifle from subdue to wound.
The robot reached down and gently wrapped its large hand around the doorknob. The latch clicked and the robot slowly pushed open the door. A soft light poured out from the room. The sound of happy music was playing—children’s music.
         Jane craned her neck and peered around the smashbot “It’s all pink and blue in there.”
            The smashbot walked into the room and came to a stop in front of a large baby crib, its head tilted down to look inside of the crib. The crib had solid walls and the agents couldn’t see what was inside.
            As Victor walked around Charlie, he spotted a robot standing at the opposite side of the crib. It was an unusual robot in that it had a pleasant face and was wearing an old fashioned nurse’s hat.
            “Cover me,” Victor said as he cautiously approached the crib and looked in.
            “Ge!” a tiny voice called out and made the agent’s hearts jump. Jane and Ty stepped out from behind the smashbot to see Victor smiling as he stared down into the crib.
            “Stand down Charlie.” Victor said as he swung his rifle behind his back and it automatically latched onto the back of his suit. He then leaned into the crib. The other two agents carefully looked over the edge.
            A furry baby with a cat’s face lit up into a smile when he spotted Victor. He reached his arms up to Victor. Victor reached into the crib and lifted out the white furred baby. He held the baby up and looked him over. The child kicked with delight. His hands and feet were human, but covered mostly with fine short fur.
Victor pulled open the baby’s diaper, “He’s a boy.”
            The baby’s face was distinctly a cat face. His ears were on top of his head with small tufts of fur at the tips. Victor noticed that fur on the sides of his face was long and hung down almost to his shoulders in two pointed tufts. Victor’s grain, a brain implant, recognized this fur type to be bobcat or lynx. But, in spite of the baby’s cat-like appearance, he displayed distinctly human characteristics. His eyes were human, with round pupils in the middle of two bright green irises. His smile was human.
            “Well, look at you,” Victor said as he gathered the baby into his arms and tickled his belly. The baby smiled and studied Victor’s face. “Did bad ol’ Dr. Mellonini make you?”
            The nurse robot then held out its arm to Victor and handed him a note. It was hastily handwritten. Victor took the note and read, “His name is Scoom he needs a family”. He studied the note and called upon his grain to identify the handwriting. “It’s Mellonini’s handwriting—we must have gotten close.” Victor then tickled the baby again, “Okay, we’re coming out.” Victor radioed to the outside world…
(Stopped chapter preview at excerpt limit of 2000 words.  Thanks for previewing The Proving)
You may purchase The Proving at Amazon.
Discovery Showcase Information

Here are the upcoming Discovery Showcases, in the order in which they may appear:
  • Tamar Black - Djinnx'd
  • Prophecy of Hope
  • The Heroes of Nightingale
If you want to have the first chapter of your unpublished or self-published novel featured at Fantasy Debut as a Discovery Showcase, please read how to do so here.

(If I run out of works to showcase, I may just put up one of my own unpublished novels!)

By the way, if you haven't already voted in my poll concerning the future of these Discovery Showcases, please do so! You'll find it in the upper left corner.

As always, constructive comments are welcome and encouraged!


Tia Nevitt said...

I found Mr. Azeperak's work to be highly polished. The blurb drew me in, and I was able to read the excerpt without it becoming a chore. His dialog was highly polished. And he knows what he is doing in setting up a story.

I was a bit taken aback by the human/cat chimera toward the end, but I bet the right audience would only be intrigued.

If you jumped here to see my opinion, it's worth reading.

Will Azeperak said...


Normally I refrain from posting replies to comments (good and bad) regarding my book – I like to think of myself as stoically professional.

Oh what the hell - I just wanted to thank you for your review of my preview and take the opportunity for some self-promotion for anyone that may be interested:

I have started up a website and Blog ( It is light so far and I am transferring my past blog posts from my Amazon blog. I’ll be adding some illustrations and my Graphic Novel version of The Proving, as well as, excerpts and illustrations from my next two Zambinos books in the works: “The Tiger in the Maze” and “Next Crew”.

I will add a link and talk-up for Fantasy Review for you have created a terrific resource for readers (and I say that not just because you said nice things about my writing - but it was a factor.) Seriously, if I may speak for other indie authors, it is always appreciated when someone gives us a chance to showcase our work.