Hello Hollowgirl, aka Fall, the hardest book I ever wrote
At last it’s here, the conclusion to the Twinmaker series – hailed as “mind-boggling” (Locus), “a philosophical marathon” (Kirkus), and “a gripping sci-fi story of friendship, identity + accidentally destroying the universe” (Amie Kaufman). Toot toot! (That’s me blowing my own horn.)
When I started this series, I knew fairly specifically where I wanted to go. Along the way I added some twists and turns that added to the character and plot while at the same time reinforcing the ideas I wanted to explore. By the time I came to write book three, it was looking wildly over-ambitious and utterly impossible to write.
Except it wasn’t. Stories go where they need to go, and with the help of my wonderful editor Kristin Rens the hardest book I have ever written gradually took shape. In it we see Clair, Q, Jesse, Libby and Zep grapple with the hard realities of their lives – lives that are powerfully transformed by a technology out of control. The fact that there’s more than one Clair makes things even more interesting. (Beware spoilers!) If you can’t trust yourself, the only person you can turn to is your best friend.
Here’s an excerpt. (For more excerpts, subscribe to my newsletter and check out my author site. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter for the hashtag version of the novel, one especially selected line at a time.)
There’s a round-up of guest posts and interviews regarding the new book right here.
Clair looked up at the ceiling, listening.
“It sounds exactly the same,” she said.
“I know.” Kari grinned, all her reflections grinning with her. “So weird to hear it again.”
The booth shrank, pressing them close together. They had arrived. In the second before the door opened, Clair’s resolve faltered. Her heart held such a chaotic mix of emotions she couldn’t begin to describe how or what she felt. “Intense” was one word. “Everything” another.
When the door opened, Clair took a step backward, unconsciously placing Kari’s larger form between her and the space beyond. Cold air flooded the booth, making her shiver. The Sphinx Observatory sat atop a mountain over eleven thousand feet high: she should have asked the booth to fab her a parka.
Kari walked out into the cavernous space and glanced at the darkened windows directly opposite the booth, then to her right.
“Have you come for the party?” said someone.
“Welcome!” said another. “You’re the first ones here.”
Clair hugged herself tighter. She knew those voices.
“No, I haven’t,” said Kari. She glanced behind her, into the booth, where Clair was hiding from more than just the cold. Then she turned back. “Libby and Clair, isn’t it? I’m PK Sargent. And you must be Ronnie, Tash, and Zep.”
Kari walked out of view. Clair heard footsteps coming to meet her across the dusty floor. It was gloomy out there, with dawn hours away yet. She knew exactly what the space would look like. The observatory had the echoing ambience of an empty factory, with thick iron beams studded with rivets and lots of space, its only furniture a boxy four-door booth that had seen better days.Observation decks provided uninterrupted views of the surrounding mountains. The glass would need a clean before the ball began. . . .
“It wasn’t me,” said Ronnie. “And anyway, what buzz is there to kill?”
“Do you know where everyone went?” asked Tash, her voice tinkling in the reverberant air.
“No, I don’t,” said Kari. “There was no one where we came from either.”
That struck Clair as odd too, now that she thought about it. A moment ago they had been in central San Francisco during daylight hours, yet there hadn’t been anyone around except them.
“Who’s ‘we’?” asked Libby. “I don’t see anyone else.”
This was Clair’s cue. It was either come out now or run away forever. She wondered why she felt so ashamed, like she was hiding something or lying to them, when in fact she was as much a victim of circumstances as they were. But what circumstances they were—illegal copying, murder, the end of the world . . .
Mentally slapping herself, she opened her eyes again and stepped out of the booth.
They each reacted differently.
Libby gasped. If she had gone any paler, she would have been transparent.
Tash’s eyes went wide, her mouth moving in a silent Oh my God.
Ronnie said, “This isn’t allowed. What’s going on?”
Zep looked from one Clair to the other and back again, then kept shaking his head in denial.
The other Clair retreated a step, her hand flying to her mouth as though she was about to throw up.
“Who are you?” she asked.