Thursday, May 8, 2014
Z2 by Sherrie Cronin
Date Published: January 26, 2013
Alex once walked away from a rare ability to warp time, thinking it was only a young man's trick to play basketball better. Now, as a father and teacher, he needs to relearn the skill quickly before the past begins to destroy his own future. To protect his daughter and his most promising student, he must stop the school at which he teaches from turning the clock backwards to an era of white supremacy.
An old high school friend is in desperate need of Alex’s unique gifts to help solve an ancient Maya mystery. As the puzzling artifact offers a rare chance to bridge the past and the future, its story begins to intertwine with the growing tensions at Alex’s school. As both situations take dangerous turns, Alex knows that he must learn to control his temporal talents before he runs out of time.
z2 is part of 46. Ascending, a collection of loosely interrelated novels about five very different family members who each discover that they can do the extraordinary when circumstances require it. These books are designed to be read as stand alone stories or in any order.
Alex and Xuha continued their tennis workouts into the summer, with Xuha growing stronger each week, as he became a better left-handed player. Finally, after two and a half months, he felt confident enough to try a few gingerly hits right handed.
“I think I will always practice left-handed too. It seems to me the flexibility could be a real asset on the court. For injury, to give my arm a rest or even for just for throwing off an opponent.”
Alex agreed. “If I were you I’d focus particularly hard on serving with both hands. That’s where you’ll get the most impact I think.”
And so the two of them worked on serves, first right handed and then left handed, comparing the advantages of each against various hypothetical opponents as they worked.
They finally quit when the June sun rose high enough for the Texas summer heat to take over the morning completely.
“That day you got attacked. You still have no idea who they were or why they attacked you?” Alex wondered aloud as they both gulped water and gathered up their gear.
Xuha shook his head. “I mean, I can guess. It’s pretty obvious around school who might be inclined to do that. But they didn’t say anything to me and no one has threatened me since. I try to stay out of trouble.”
“You do,” Alex agreed. “But given the way you fought the first two attackers off, I’d guess you’ve been in a fight or two before. I have to admit, I had no idea you could move that fast, and I work with you physically.”
Xuha grinned. “I don’t like to fight, but I can if I have to. I know this is going to sound kind of odd, and I’m not sure that I’m explaining it all that well. But if it’s a situation where I really have to, or really want to make my body do something, you know, hit a ball or hit a person, it’s like everything almost slows down a little for me. So then I can do it. Does that make any sense?”
Alex just looked at him strangely.
“I tried to tell this once to another boy I played soccer with. He was like really scary good and he was trying to help me, give me tips and stuff, and I was afraid he was going to think I was crazy, you know?”
Xuha made a crazy face. By now Alex had gotten used to the boy’s odd facial humor and he just ignored it.
“But this soccer player didn’t think I was crazy at all. He said that’s exactly what happened to him sometimes on the soccer field.”
Now Xuha really had Alex’s attention.
“He told me he wished he could control it, you know, like make a kiss with a pretty girl last longer, but it didn’t seem to work that way. It just happened when it needed to and he said that he thought that maybe all great athletes could do that sort of thing when they played, even if they didn’t quite realize they were doing it.”
“That’s a very interesting theory Xuha. Do you think that maybe some people become so good at a sport because they can do that? Or maybe they get really good first and then this technique follows?”
Xuha shrugged. “I’ve heard some people describe something like it right before a car crash or other kind of emergency. You said you used to be quite a basketball player, Mr. Z? So, did you ever have this happen to you?”
Alex smiled. “Maybe a little. I think I have an idea at least of what it is you’re talking about.”
“Okay. So anyway, that’s what happened to me during that fight you saw. Like I didn’t ask for it or anything or tell my body to do it, but these guys just started moving a little slower, you know, slower to me and it made it easier to defend myself.”
“I wish that could have somehow protected you from the idiot behind you whom you ouldn’t see.”
“Me too,” Xuha said. “For that kind of protection I have to go to my alternate plan.”
“Don’t piss people off and stay out of fights.”
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Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first science fiction short story in 1979 and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book series. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.
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