Sunday Snippet: Callisto 2.0 by Susan English

Posted January 7, 2024 by Jen in Sunday Snippet Tags: ,

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Callisto 2.0

Author: Susan English
Publisher: self-published
Release Date: November 5, 2020
Series: Shambhala Saga Book 1
Genre: LGBTQ+ Feminist Science Fiction


Book cover of Callisto 2.0 by Susan EnglishAlthough there was no day and night on the spacecraft, the ship followed Cuban standard time. My days were spent in the observation deck, notebook and pen in hand, though most of the time I stared out the window, and Diana was, presumably, holed up in her cabin with her Foundation work. As she had promised, we dined together the next two evenings of our trip.

During our second dinner, as we stood side by side looking out the window, our empty mush bags floating in the air like deflated metallic balloons, Diana said, “It seems so fragile, doesn’t it?” I followed her gaze, studying the small blue marble that was our home. “Sometimes I think that the Earth would have been far better off had we not evolved.”

“Humans, you mean?”

“Yes. Though if not us, it would have been one of our cousins, our competition.”

“But who knows what the world would be like if the Neanderthals were the victorious hominid. Would we still have space travel? Music? Philosophy?”

“Or cruelty? War? Mass extinction?” she countered.

I arched an eyebrow. “I see you like to focus on the positive side of humanity.”

She laughed then. “You’re right. I appear to be stuck in a groove of negativity, don’t I? After our conversation about the evil nature of humankind, you must think I’m quite the pessimist. Let’s find some cheerful topic, shall we?”

“Kittens are always a good subject,” I offered. “Puppies, if you’re really depressed.”

Her face lit up. “I don’t think we’re quite at the puppy level, do you? That sounds serious.” She cocked her head and pursed her lips, eyes sparkling with amusement.

“Definitely not!” I laughed. “Puppies are the big guns of happiness, only to be employed when all other alternatives have been exhausted.”

“I’m so pleased you decided to come.” She met my eyes, and I felt myself sink into hers. “Tell me, what’s your opinion on the happiness effect of tropical fish?”

Tearing my gaze away, I assessed the smoothness of the window ledge with the ball of my thumb, a little flustered. “Are we talking about full-grown fish, or newly hatched?” I snuck a peek at her—she was smiling. Feeling brave, I said, “Or really small fish, like guppies? I remember reading a study on this very topic, and the correlation between fish size and the happiness scale is surprisingly precise. So maybe you want to clarify your question?”

Now she was flat-out laughing. “I will retract my inquiry until I’ve done my due diligence. Clearly, I had no idea I was dealing with a qualified professional.”

“Duly noted.” I swept my eyes over her face. She seemed genuinely happy, without a trace of the sadness I had seen before. But was it real? I didn’t know her well enough to judge. “Is there a reason you’ve been feeling negative?” I ventured. It was a bold question, perhaps more appropriate for close friends, a testament to how at ease I felt with her.

She dismissed my inquiry with a smile and a wave of her hand. “Just me being philosophical. It happens sometimes.” She reached out to squeeze my arm, and I melted into her warm grip. She released me, and my arm felt colder than it had been. “Tell me about yourself, Calli. I’m fascinated to know why you decided to focus on the warp drive.”

My eyes were pulled to my reflection in the window, superimposed on the image of the diminutive Earth, watching as the heat stained my cheeks pink. Like physical contact, I wasn’t accustomed to personal questions. But I had been so open with her earlier, and she so generous and empathetic in return. I took a moment, trying to find the right words, but none seemed adequate. “I want to travel the Universe,” I said simply.

“A commendable objective.” The sides of Diana’s mouth twitched, the barest hint of a smile.

“I know the idea of warp travel is considered science fiction, and the chances of me figuring it out are, well, not astronomically small, but…” I gave a self-deprecating laugh. “Probably not something I should admit to a prospective future employer, right?”

“It may not be as impossible as you think.” She gave me an enigmatic smile.

“Oh, I’m not being negative,” I said. “I believe it’s feasible, that the answer is out there somewhere, we just have to find it. If not me, then someone else. I’m convinced that one day humans will be able to travel to distant star systems.”

“I think so too. And who knows, Callisto, you might be just the one to do it.”

I laughed, my body relaxed. “I’ll do my best.”

About the Book:

She had to travel beyond the planet to discover her true self. Will she find the courage to walk through the doorway to a new future?

Shambhala Space Station, 2097. Solitary physicist Callisto (physics, after all, is a jealous mistress) never accepted conventional wisdom. So when she’s recruited to work on faster-than-light technology by a beautiful and mysterious older woman, she eagerly accepts the career opportunity at the women-only research station orbiting Earth’s moon. But her enthusiasm suffers when her first discovery is unexpected heartbreak.

Throwing herself into work on a problematic warp drive prototype, Calli blossoms in the utopian female community that shows her love and acceptance for the first time in her life. But when a twisted conspiracy, a disingenuous affair, and a disastrous betrayal test her place in this unique environment, the brilliant scientist must dig deep to find her moment of truth.

Will Calli embrace her destiny in an unexplored cosmos?

Callisto 2.0 is the transformative first book in the Shambhala Saga feminist science fiction series. If you like compassionate characters, deep-space intrigue, and hopeful visions of the future, then you’ll adore Susan English’s cosmic adventure.

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About the Author:

headshot of author Susan EnglishSusan English is an award-winning author, a born adventurer, and a world traveler with an insatiable intellectual curiosity. She holds a master’s degree in physics, once lived on a sailboat in the San Francisco bay, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia, and spent five years on the Big Island of Hawaii, where she owned an off-grid, completely self-sufficient farm in the jungle. Now she is happy to be living with her wife in beautiful Medellin, Colombia, the city of eternal spring.

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