Release Date: January 1, 2011
More Info: Amazon Smashwords
Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
Crashing Time Ship.
The Space Commission hot on her trail.
French spies and flying kites.
For Dr. Sally Pescon, this can’t be good.
"Flying Kite, Crashing Ship" is a sci fi with a touch of steam punk and a helping of etiquette. In only 5900 words, Ball gives us humor, action, tension, and a gentle poke at Regency era mores.
She uses Dr. Sally Pescon, from the future, and young Miss Amanda Grey, from the past, to compare and contrast manners and societal expectations in two very different eras. Dr. Pescan's ship crashes in Regency England, a time that doesn't comprehend time travel, and has radically different expectations of proper behavior for women.
"There is a French Lady inside, with a man. I assume it's either her husband or brother, by the liberties she was taking with her speech. And look, she is wearing trousers. How scandalous!" She had never seen a woman in trousers before.
Amanda Grey is having a having a picnic tea when she sees the ship (though she doesn't know at first what it is) crash. Her companion, Colonel Lindsay, a potential suitor, attempts to dissuade her from investigating, believing it inappropriate behavior for a proper young woman. Amanda thinks he's a pompous, condescending bore and heads off without him, after first chastising him.
She took a deep breath to calm her voice to speak with the appropriate tone to a potential suitor." Sir, I am surprised at you. You crushed four rebellions in India. You fought in France. Certainly a small...carriage such as this would cause no fear in such a man as yourself. We're in England, after all, not in the colonies."
The encounter between Sally and Amanda is wonderfully written, with Ball deftly portraying Sally's panic at possibly being stranded in this time period and desperation not to affect inadvertently affect it, and Amanda's curiosity and friendliness about this strange "carriage" and the woman inside it.
Sally stared out the window. "I have to answer her."..."For God's sake, Sally, we're doing enough damage even being here. You know the time travel rules. We're already risking a permanent ban."
"Forgive my lack of manners. In the excitement, I forgot them. My name is Miss Amanda Grey. And this gentleman us Colonel Fitzwilliam Lindsay. He apologizes for calling you a spy."
It's a short story, packed full of detail, insight, humor, and intrigue. My only real gripe is that, because of it's short length, we don't get a lot of information about the Space Commission, the organization responsible for the Dr. Pescon's exploratory trip, etc. I'd love to see Ball return to this world and explore it more but that seems unlikely given her book schedule currently posted on her site.
I received a PDF from the author for review.