A novella. Cover art by Vincent Chong.
Because he didn't have The Talent – because of his random, pointless, terrible, irrevocable difference – Charley's brothers could be brutal to him, if they could get him alone. Even Jake could be cruel, could be talked into cruelty, if it was presented properly. Or no, that wasn't right. No one could talk Jake into anything. He was serenely above the persuasive force of social pressure. And yet it was Jake's weakness, that he could talk himself into doing terrible things, if he felt some greater, probably illusory, good might be served.
So it happened one day when she went with Jake and Niles and Charley to service the core, which wasn't its good old self these days. Every few months it would get stuck, just when it was shifting into an automated maintenance cycle, so that it couldn't restore software or optimize the system... or shut down the rods to dump heat. Which meant the cycle had to be completed manually.
”What happens if the rods overheat?” Jake asked Elaine once.
”About a third of the planet would go up in a flash of light bright enough to blind God,” she told him.
Welcome to Gunpowder, a 22,600-word novella from Joe Hill... set in the far reaches of space on a small planet that serves as a home for a very special band of children.
Joseph Hillstrom King (born 1972), better known by the pen name Joe Hill, is an American author and comic book writer. Hill is the second child of authors Stephen and Tabitha King. He grew up in Bangor, Maine. His younger brother Owen is also a writer. Hill has three sons.
Hill chose to use an abbreviated form of his given name (a reference to executed labor leader Joe Hill, for whom he was named) in 1997, out of a desire to succeed based solely on his own merits rather than as the son of Stephen King. After achieving a degree of independent success, Hill publicly confirmed his identity in 2007 after an article the previous year in Variety broke his cover (although online speculation about Hill's family background had been ... (more)