Mark Nykkanen ≈ Excerpt



Thanks for the poems.  If you’d like, you’re welcome to publish this excerpt from my forthcoming novel, Carry the Flame (HarperCollins, July, 2012).  CTF is the sequel to Burn Down the Sky.  The novels are set in the latter part of this century in North America.

She welcomed the shade of the hill. The valley was narrow enough to shelter them from the stark morning light, sunrise and sunset the only earthly constants that hadn’t been mangled by the reckless generations that had left them this ragged world.

            Goddamn them.

            Nothing but scorn for the louts who ruled her country at the turn of the century. Those feckless politicians and their big money backers–and the supine media that exalted them all–could have saved billions of lives and millions of species; but in those first fifteen, twenty years, when simple steps could have averted this tragedy, they did worse than nothing– they created an illusion of safety and comfort while the world spun inexorably toward collapse.

            Goddamn them.

            The signs had been everywhere–oceans dying, Arctic melting, killer heat waves, massive crop failures, freakishly strong storms, the list went on and on–but her grandparents and most everyone else pranced about so childishly, so narcissistically, that they’d made Nero seem like an alarmist.

            Goddamn them.           

            She could scarcely imagine the courage, the unerring instincts of those who did try to stop the genocidal consumption, who bombed and struggled for years to try to shut the maw of that beast–and were hunted and tortured and executed for their fearlessness.

Kids, mostly. Nineteen, twenty year-olds. Some even younger. A few older. Veterans, too. The first leaders of the rebel forces. They’d fought back, and Christ they were killed with a ferociousness that exposed both the cruelty and underlying fear of those in power.

            She wished the wastrels who’d persecuted them–who’d been so busy pointing their fingers and guns at others–had done the planet a favor and aimed at themselves instead.



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