Sunday, September 23, 2018

When clothes do more than make the man by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #SciFi #SpaceOpera

When clothes do more than make the man by Kayelle Allen

Jana, thank you for inviting me to share my new book with your readers. Lights Out is space opera - a short story in a huge and sweeping universe. I wrote the story because I wanted to explore the character Six in my Bringer of Chaos series. In Lights Out, Six is known by his call sign, Tornahdo. He's human, the antagonist is an immortal Ultra, and their two races are at war.

To fight an enemy who can't be killed, humans capture Ultras alive and use their blood to resurrect slain human soldiers. It works well -- the Ghost Corps is turning the tide of war. For the first time, humans are winning. The Ultras have agreed to peace talks and it's the duty of Ghost Corps to police the event.

What the ghosts don't know is that their own uniforms are part of a brainwashing program. The symbols sewn onto their clothing trigger hatred, resentment, and a compulsion to kill Ultras. Every time the ghosts dress themselves, they renew their resolve to destroy the enemy.

You've heard the expression "clothes make the man" -- in this case, they control the man.

To reveal the concept, I showed Tornahdo reacting to the symbol in different situations. When he takes a long look at the corps logo, he's surprised to see a hidden symbol. The fact that he is surprised to see the symbol the next time he notices it should clue the reader in that something is amiss.

Showing how Tornahdo handles the symbols throughout the story reveals much about his character -- and the Ghost Corps. At one point, he reacts to the formal uniform worn by the leader of the Ultras. Here's a snippet from the scene:


There wasn't a human alive who wouldn't recognize Pietas. Seven feet tall. Slim. White hair. White uniform.

Seriously. Like he was the good guy.

Painted on bandit's mask.

Because yeah, the mask went so well with the good guy look.


In Lights Out, the clothing worn by the main character reflects much more than his rank. It reflects his alliance, his world's values, his people's belief system, and his willingness to submit to all of them.

The Ghost Corps leaders manipulate those who owe them allegiance and over whom they hold power. Lights Out is as much about blind obedience as it is about hatred of the enemy. Does one arise from the other? I think they do, but I'll let you be the judge. What do you believe?

Lights Out by Kayelle Allen

He can save mankind. After he does one important thing. Die. Join the Ghost Corps, they said. You'll live forever, they said. You'll save mankind, they said. They didn't say that to do it, first he had to die. When Tornahdo signs on the dotted line, he puts his life into the steady hands of the mighty Ghost Corps. Three grisly deaths and three agonizing resurrections later, he's assigned duty on the space station Enderium Six. He's facing his most dangerous mission yet, the very reason the corps exists. Do they expect him to win? Fat chance. Tornahdo and his team are already dead and this mission is codenamed "Lights Out." No, there's more to this than he can see. To discover the truth, he must face an unbeatable, unkillable enemy, and this time--somehow--find a way to keep himself alive... Lights Out is featured in The Expanding Universe Vol 4, edited by Craig Martelle.

The Expanding Universe releases Sept 17, 2018. You can do one of the following. 1) Join one of Kayelle's Reader Groups You'll download four free books and get news about books coming soon. You can unsubscribe at any time. 2) Follow Kayelle's Amazon Author Page and get one alert from Amazon when a new story is available. 3) Sign up for AuthorAlarms and the app will send you one email when she releases a new story. You can add and remove authors as you please.

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of seven books, three novellas, and multiple short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.