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Roivan Sir Julius Vogel Award Winner Best New Talent 2003

by Glynne MacLean

A Children's Literature Foundation of New Zealand Notable Book 2004
& Sir Julius Vogel Winner.


Chapter 1

Book Cover of Roivan  

Why is there no one out there?

What is wrong?

There have to be others; there have always been others.

Clearing her mind as she had been taught, Roivan started at the first engine room configuration, then visualised each in sequence, searching for a match somewhere out there. Anywhere. Anywhere at all.

But there was no one, no hint of intelligence beyond the confines of the ship. She couldn't hear anything. They were alone. For the first time since she had left, Roivan had nowhere else to go.


Qirl had said that she must stay no more than fifteen days on any one ship. If she stayed more than fifteen days she would get caught. It had now been a lot longer than that. She mustn't get caught. She mustn't, and yet the crew knew she was here. The-Ginger-One had set laser traps and was monitoring the sustomat logs. They knew she was aboard, not exactly where, but in the engine room somewhere. She had to leave.

She had to leave.

Again Roivan checked for other space traffic and again, heard  nothing. At a loss as to what else to do, she contacted the life form that lived beneath the engines in the central core of the ship. It was many, many ships, an age ago, that Roivan had first encountered these beings. Ever since that time, every ship she travelled on, had such a being aboard. She did not know what they were, only that they assisted in some way with the transition between sub and exponential light speed. She could feel their mental energy. It rippled about the engine casing like the cool mist that used to alight upon the waters with the fall of the sun back home.

She had never tried to talk  to one before, but in the past they had always seem to know she was aboard and had never raised an alarm or displayed any form of concern at her presence. Roivan had become accustomed to their energies and each time she changed ship she touched that energy first, just to reassure herself. Now she reached out with her mind, forming her introduction and question.

Hullo. I am Roivan. May I ask you a question please?

Hullo Roivan. I am Shaval.

Are there any other ships here?

No. My analysis shows this sector to be without traffic. We are stationary in deepspace.

Will we stay here?

No Roivan. We will return to base.

When please?

It is not my concern. I do not count time.

What do you do at base?

I wait, until the ship travels again.

Unsure as to what else to say Roivan withdrew her mind. Deepspace? What was deepspace? She had to go to human-space. Was that far from deepspace? Was it the same? Unable to answer her own questions, she concentrated instead upon the fact that there would be other ships. There would be, Shaval said so, but when?

To read the remainder of the chapter and the novel buy Roivan or borrow it from a New Zealand Public Library.


  A Listener 2003 Best Book Of The Year

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