Spotlight Post: Manhattan Transfer by John E. Stith (Excerpt)

October 2, 2016 Chapter Excerpt, Spotlight Post 0

Hey everyone! Today, I’m excited to share with you an excerpt from Manhattan Transfer by John E. Stith. First, here’s more about the book:

mtWhen aliens abduct New York City, carrying it into space inside a huge dome, the citizens trapped inside must find out why and what they can do to save themselves and dozens of other cities which aliens have stolen from other planets. A stunning tour-de-force of science fiction and storytelling with gripping action, believable characters and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

“Fascinating, intelligent account of people–some ordinary, some extraordinary–struggling to define and confront events that are beyond anything they have dared to imagine. One of the better surprise endings to come down the cosmos in light-years.” — Chicago Tribune

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And now for the excerpt! Enjoy!

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of MANHATTAN TRANSFER: The entire island of Manhattan has just been sliced loose from the surface of the Earth, put under a dome, and placed aboard a gigantic spaceship. Matt and some others are just coming up from the subway.

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Matt and the others reached the stairs to the street without finding any lighting other than the occasional emergency lamps. From the distance came the sounds of crying and a mass of mumbling people. Matt watched his footing carefully and kept checking on the injured man. When they reached ground level, they moved past some people cowering near the wall.

Instead of the daylight Matt had expected, he found night. Suspended over Manhattan was a reflected image of a darkened city lit only by the headlights of buses, cabs, trucks, and cars stalled and abandoned in the gridlocked streets. The sidewalks were lined with people in clumps staring up at the distorted reflections. Here and there a person lay flat on the ground. Someone maybe a half–block away wailed steadily.

One of the men in the foursome wobbled a bit, then recovered.

Down the block was an ambulance caught in the traffic snarl.

They threaded their way through the people on the sidewalk and street. When they reached an open area and walked faster, Matt almost lost his footing. The pavement seemed too smooth, no doubt thanks to the low gravity allowing less friction.

The ambulance attendants stood on the pavement next to their vehicle, both looking up at the sky.
“We’ve got someone who needs your attention,” Matt said to the driver.

It took a moment for the driver to focus on Matt and start to react to what he was saying, but after a few seconds his training must have taken over, and he and the other attendant started to put the man with no hand onto a stretcher.

Matt got back to the curb just as a bright light came on in the sky to the west of the city. A round spot the size of the sun penetrated the reflected images above the skyline and began to grow brighter. A hush fell over the people on the sidewalks and in the street.

The “sun” grew brighter and brighter until it hurt to look at it, and the city streets lightened until they were as bright as day.

When the “sun” reached what seemed to be its maximum intensity, the dome started losing its reflectivity, and in stages began to grow transparent. Matt moved a few steps so he could see better to the east. The first thing he realized was that although his memory told him the Brooklyn Bridge should be in view, it wasn’t. Rather, all that showed was a stub of the bridge.

The dome continued to increase in transparency, and Matt felt his mouth go dry. He could see through the dome, and what he saw didn’t bear any resemblance at all to Brooklyn.

Instead, the island of Manhattan rested on a vast gray plain. In the distance was another dome sitting on the plain, and to its left another. Slightly farther away than the pair was yet another dome. Matt shifted position again as the crowd came to life with screams and loud voices. He could see two more domes in the distance.

Beneath the other domes were what seemed to be other cities, one a jumble of prismatic arches, another what looked like one enormous building, another a mass of needle–thin spires with halos near the top, and even someone much less well–traveled than Matt would have instantly known these cities had never existed on Earth.

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Author Biography of John E. Stith:

John E. Stith is the author eight novels, including REDSHIFT RENDEZVOUS, a Nebula Award nominee, and MANHATTAN TRANSFER, a Hugo Award Honorable Mention. Several of his works with Ace Books and Tor Books have been bought by the Science Fiction Book Club and optioned for film. He has optioned several feature-film screenplays, and has sold to television (Star Trek). Complete information on his works may be found at www.neverend.com. A photo is available here. During 2016 and 2017 his backlist is going to be re-released in trade paperback and all major ebook formats from ReAnimus Press. His “Naught for Hire” from ANALOG is the basis for the upcoming webisode series starring Ben Browder.

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