Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Cardboard Spaceship (To Brave the Crumbling Sky, Book 1) by Matt Snee and Gregg Chirlin

Release date: July 23, 2016
Subgenre: Humorous science fiction

About The Cardboard Spaceship


Lewis Darby, a science fiction writer of some repute, is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.
Also known as the Captain, Lewis lives with his mother in modern day Indiana. What nobody knows is that sometimes Captain crawls beneath an old refrigerator box in the basement and pretends it's a spaceship. And what Captain doesn't realize is that he has a date with destiny.

One peculiar April morning, Captain crosses paths with Jennifer Pichon, the child of legendary space explorer Marty Pichon and Kitty Malhotra, the Princess of Saturn. They join forces just in time as the terrifying astronomical event called "No-Shape" is poised to ravage the Solar System from Mercury to Neptune and beyond.

Together, Captain and the mysterious Jennifer face such terrors as the jungles of Venus, the perilous Worm Caves, and the decaying, giant insect-ridden wastes of Mars - and perhaps even fall in love along the way.

Their journey is filled with trials, but they alone can save the solar system from certain doom.


An Excerpt from the Cardboard Spaceship
by Matt Snee and Gregg Chirlin

Chapter 1.

“We are not machines," Captain addressed his passengers, "complacent in our servitude.” His fingers danced expertly across the controls as he spoke into his microphone. “Nor are we tools, consummated by functionality. We breathe and we yearn, and the beauty of our dreams…" he paused for effect, "…outweighs the pettiness of our limitations."
Far off the engines rumbled as countdown began.
I remind you, the blue sky is just a trick of light. Day: an illusion. Night is the truth. The great sea of stars beckons.  Once there … only there …”
Captain’s voice trailed off. A stark melancholy seized his heart. He was thirty-nine years old now, still living in his mother’s house in Kalansket, Indiana. The spacecraft was only an old refrigerator box he had crawled under. The microphone he spoke into was his fist. The pioneers on his vessel … all imaginary.  
    Why was he still pretending? Why did he keep crawling under there, away from the world, into the dark, with all the world drowned out and his life but a dream?  
    He knew.
    Then Captain regained his composure. “I may not make it there with you,” he confessed, his voice trembling, "but hope and ambition outlive everything." He pressed buttons he had drawn on the interior of the cardboard box. The final sequence began. Thick gravitational forces smacked into his bones, and he fantasized the bones of a thousand brave companions. Ignition. Even inside the cockpit he could swear he smelled rocket fuel.  
   A cool sweat trickled down his neck.  His skin shook.
 “Here we go,” he said.  
His real name was Lewis Darby, and he was a science fiction writer of some repute.  He wasn’t terribly famous, but he could easily pay his and his mother’s bills, and for that he was glad.  That he descended into the basement in the evenings once his mother was asleep to pretend he was a starship commander … well, no one knew that. But for as long as he could remember, he had been called Captain.  He shared the name “Lewis” with his deceased father, so when he was young, to keep things simple, and because he was so enamored of space and rocket ships, his parents had somehow started calling him “Captain.”  The name had stuck through elementary school, and even through high school, into his twenties, and now here he was, almost forty and still referring to himself with this title, and his mother did too.  There was another reason for this. Captain hated his father and hated that he shared his name with the man and did everything he could to forget it.  
    In the evenings, Captain would sit out on the front porch of his mother's house, watching the lights and people of Kalansket, listening to the soundtrack of cars and dogs barking as the sun stretched slowly out of the sky.  They lived on a well-populated street, and there were a lot of families with children in the neighborhood.  He liked to watch the children. He wished he was one of them.
Maybe he was one of them.
Through the street noises, he would just be able to hear the pleasant chatter of the sitcoms his mother watched. She was the keystone of his life. He lived in constant fear of her dying, and year by year, as she grayed and dimmed, this reality prowled closer and closer. It was unbearable when he thought about it. What will I do then? he thought. I don’t want to be all alone.
After awhile Captain would get bored of the evening and the insects and would go back into the house.  Then he would read, usually from his extensive science fiction collection.  The Golden Age writers of the forties and fifties were his favorite, of course, with their penchant for grandiose heroics painted across the stars.  
He couldn't see why everyone wasn't obsessed with prying open the sky.  Just think of the wonders out there!  Infinity waited.  But everyone was content, instead, to lead a simple, mundane life here on Earth.  Even Captain's mother had no interest in the vast questions of the galaxy.  It all made Captain feel very sad and alone.
This was his life.  And day by day the years passed.

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About Matt Snee and Gregg Chirlin: 

Matthew Snee was born in Nebraska, raised in Delaware, and now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his three dogs.  Formerly of the Brooklyn-based art-pop band Mixel Pixel, he now lives out his days trying to break the universe with literary pulp fiction.

Gregg Chirlin grew up in Delaware, studied in San Francisco, and currently resides in central France with his wife and two children. In addition to odd jobs ranging from pizza delivery boy to dental insurance clerk and concert candy-hawker, he briefly labored as a web developer in Silicon Valley just before the bubble burst, and has been mainly teaching English as a foreign language since. He enjoys cooking, wine, and the French countryside.

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