"Orpheus' Engines" (#2 in the Jupiter series)

For this week's Fiction Friday, I'm sharing the follow-up story to last week's "Jupiter Whispers." This one appeared in Mission Tomorrow: A New Century Of Exploration, an original anthology from Baen Books: The ebook came out in October 2015, the trade paper in November 2015, and the paperback (second edition of story with revisions) in December 2016.

Thanks to those who participated in last week's poll! Because of your feedback, next week I'll begin posting my newest novel-in-progress, Ad Astra Road Trip, the first book in The Galactic Adventures of Jack & Stella

This week's fiction offering is the second in a series of first-contact Jupiter stories (after last week's "Jupiter Whispers") that will ultimately build into a novel, sort of using the old-school serial technique, only with longer time-gaps between pieces, and published in different venues. 

Thus! If you read the previous one, you'll notice I made a few alterations in the world, characters, and background, and will further diverge from there to the next story (which I hope to finish in the next year), so putting them together into a novel (and filling in the gaps between) will be a biggish project. And y'all will see it first here. 

It appeared on Tangent's 2015 Recommended Reading List, and I did an interview with SF Signal about it. 

(The amazing photo of Jupiter's aurora taken in 2016 by the Hubble Space Telescope. Check out the Juno spacecraft page for lots more gorgeous Jupiter imagery.)

I hope you enjoy!


Here are some reviews:

Tangent: Set in the sky of Jupiter, Christopher McKitterick sets corporate pragmatism against academic idealism while examining the mystery of an organic world mind broadcasting a message that turns out to be something entirely unexpected from what it was originally thought to be. This is a story that foreshadows a... denunciation of corporate exploitation, but twists in a way that not only leads to a satisfying ending but leads to a fresh appreciation of technology. - Rick Cartwright

SFRevu: "Orpheus' Engines" by Christopher McKitterick is a very interesting story about first contact and trying to communicate with aliens. It also has my favorite line in the book that sums up the corporate mentality, "Typical. You've made first contact with aliens a trade secret." - Sam Lubell

Locus: Christopher McKitterick offers a lyrical look at First Contact with Jovian natives that blossoms out astonishingly into transcendental realms, with “Orpheus’ Engines.” - Paul Di Filippo

Publishers Weekly: What happens to the final frontier when corporations replace NASA? These 19 often satirical, sometimes hopeful stories (17 original to this volume) depict a variety of near futures in which “outer space technicians” replace astronauts (“Ten Days Up” by Curtis C. Chen) and work-from-home asteroid miners fight off claim-jumping hackers (David D. Levine’s “Malf”), while eccentric billionaires promise the stars (Jay Werkheiser’s “Around the NEO in 80 Days” and Christopher McKitterick’s “Orpheus’ Engines”). While there is some variation - China is the last to launch in “Tribute” by Jack Skillingstead, but the first to capitalize on space in “Rare (Off) Earth Elements” by Ben Bova - most pieces revolve around small-time operators and their struggles to survive the oncoming corporate space race. Readers looking for a solar system tour from Mercury to the Kuiper Belt will be entertained by Old West-style marshals rounding up the usual suspects (Michael F. Flynn’s “In Panic Town, on the Backward Moon”) as well as robots seeking justice and battling loneliness in the great dark night (Brenda Cooper’s “Iron Pegasus”). Editor Schmidt adds grandmasters to a mix of newer established names and balances the tragic with the humorous. (Nov.)


(We're only $1/month away from giving everyone open access to this and my other previously published work! Because we're so close to Goal 1, I've gone ahead and unlocked this and the other such posts, anyhow. Please help spread the word to help officially bump us up into that Goal!)


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