The Palimpsest

A Clementine Novella

by John T. Biggs

Cover: The Palimpsest
Part of the Clementine series:

Inside the Jack Fork Installation is a high tech civilization maintained by a pair of mad scientist clones. Outside, humanity has degenerated to a stone age culture. The world is wild and dangerous. A thousand years has passed since the apocalypse. It may be another thousand years before humanity recovers. Perhaps they never will.

Clementine is the most important clone of all. Her central nervous system is the only one that can be programmed again and again. She can learn all the skills necessary to take high tech civilization across the galaxy to a new planet the scientists have chosen. But the cost is slavery for her and for everyone who follows the New World Plan.

How will Clem choose to use her special brain? Will she start over with the savage human race outside the installation? Or will she help the scientists build a brave new world that includes every comfort but freedom—even an immortality of sorts?

Her only advisers are the ghosts of a few old friends who speak only inside her mind. And she suspects they might be her imagination. (63 pages)

Publisher: Fleet

About the Author

I fell in love with Oklahoma when I came here looking for a job. It was nothing like the movies had led me to expect. The dust bowl was over (I hadn’t heard). Cowboy hats were as popular as ever. Horses too, but people mostly rode around in cars or pickup trucks when they had serious traveling to do. Oklahoma had a large Lebanese population, and a pretty big group of Asians, mostly emigrated from Vietnam. There were Euro-Americans, and African Americans, and Native Americans and some special racial combinations I’d never heard of like Cherokee Freedmen and Black Seminoles. I knew I’d have to write about it sooner or later.

I started off with a bad novel–about Oklahoma of course. You won’t find it on Amazon because it never was published. An agent / editor read the first fifty pages and told me I should sharpen my skills with short fiction. That was pretty good advice.

One of my stories, “Boy Witch” won the 80th annual Writer’s Digest Competition. Another won third prize in the 2011 Lorian Hemingway short story contest, and another took top honors in the 2012 Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. annual conference. I had thirty five short stories published in one form or another (many in books for sale on Amazon) before I finally got a publisher interested in my first good novel, OWL DREAMS. Pen-L Publishing released that book on November 15, 2013.

Everything I write is so full of Oklahoma that once you read it, you’ll never get the red dirt stains washed out of your mind. The tribes play a significant role. No authentic discussion of the state is possible without them. Traditional Native American legends are reworked and set in the modern era, the way oral historians always intended. A few outrageous lies are worked into the plots because I can’t help myself.

Everyone I ever knew is in my stories and in OWL DREAMS, along with a few characters I’ve only imagined. They are mixed together in a large pot–panhandle included–cooked over a low heat and served up family style. Come and get it while it’s hot.

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