Trial of the Century: A Novella


Trial of the Century

Last May I had a conversation with my publisher at Hadley Rille Books, Eric Reynolds. For each of the previous four years, we had done a book together, but for a variety of reasons it didn’t look like we’d manage to continue our streak for 2013. For one thing, I simply didn’t have enough material ready for a new book. A novelette or novella, maybe, but not an entire book.

That seemed a real shame, particularly after all the wonderful hype we’d gotten from my Nebula Award nomination for the novella that had appeared in the 2012 book we’d done, Buffalito Buffet.

Even more frustrating was that I had a tale I’d wanted to include in that last book, but ran out of time before I could finish. It’s a story that occurs after the end of the first Amazing Conroy novel, Buffalito Destiny but before the beginning of the second novel, Buffalito Contingency; a story that answers a question more than a few fans have asked me, which goes something like:

Hey, Reggie’s in a coma at the end of the first book but fine at the start of the next one… what happened?

Good question. The answer is the novella, “Trial of the Century.” But, again, it did not find its way into my previous book from HRB.

But in May, Eric had an idea. He suggested taking that novella and including it as part of World Jumping, an anthology of longer works from several authors that he planned to publish late in the autumn of 2013. It didn’t quite meet the goal of continuing my publishing streak at HRB, but it would get the story out to the readers, and we both agreed that was the important part.

Except… I didn’t want to wait until Autumn. I knew there’d be interest in what was going on with Conroy and Reggie when I went to the World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, and I wanted to have something more than just the promise of an ebook a few months down the road. I wanted to provide instant gratification!

Which is why, after some discussion and with both Eric’s blessing and an incredible bit of artwork by Rachael Mayo, we decided to give the novella away for free as a teaser for World Jumping. And if you’re reading this page, it’s likely you got here from the URL or QR code on a postcard for “Trial of the Century,” so help yourself to a free download by clicking on one of the images below. I think you’ll like it. And I hope you’ll go out and buy the rest of the anthology when it comes out in the Fall.





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This novella is released under a Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license.
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17 comments “Trial of the Century: A Novella”

I was cleaning up and ran across the postcard. Thanks for making this available. I’ll see you at Ravencon.

I am very much looking forward to Ravencon, as is Barry.

And the Capclave dodos congratulate Barry on ending the human domination of the GoH list!

Although I’m very fond of this novella (and think it’s the best of the three in the series) because of the ideas it introduces, it doesn’t stand on its own as well as the others or even the short stories. If you haven’t read the first story or the first novel, then you don’t get the full impact of what’s going on. Backstory is always a tricky balance in a series; what is too much for one reader is insufficient for another. Either way, it’s my fault.

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