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= Star Mate by A. T. Nager =

Empire of Time series by John Argo - Clocktower Books Empire of Time SF novel by A. T. NagerA. T. Nager, a published teenage poet, has worked summers as an intern news reporter while studying for his B. A. in English. Few of today's YA novels are actually written by teenagers. This is an intellectual, poetic work of romantic SF, set beyond the stars in a far future empire of time and stars. Human nature and fate bring the same melancholy truths as ever in this first novel.

STAR MATE: Cosmopolis or City of the Universe is a true teenage novel, begun by A. T. Nager as a high school sophomore at age 15, and completed a final draft at age 19. This final edition includes topical polishes made a few years later, with minimal changes but keeping the exact same plot structure and major characters (Young Star Fleet officer Jared Fallon, Dangerous Princess Lyxa, President Cyrus Mbe, and Golden Girl Mala who becomes the great love of Jared's life).

New additions are two mysterious, wonderful, captivating diaphane (see-through) girls, Jared’s best friends but manipulated by dark princess Lyxa. Jared struggles to free himself from Lyxa to escape with his love Mala away from her surfer planet (and bookstore) to a remote new world.

Jared Fallon, 24, hero of the story - handsome, athletic, brilliant young officer whose career is derailed by a selfishness, beautiful, ruthless young princess—against the backdrop of civil war and external invasion as a crumbling empire is beset with violent unrest on the streets of its capital (Mercury City) and alien fleets probing its falling frontier defenses.

Lyxa (Li Sha, Elizabeth), 25, last princess of Vega, schemes to make herself monarch and tyrant in a failing democracy; she is also a genius at manipulating people and amassing astounding wealth; she has derailed Jared Fallon’s career and made him one of her sex pets as a staff officer, a position from which he desperately yearns to escape.

Stella, a young demi-woman engineered from the glowing energy of Lyxa’s neural kelp (as sinister genetic engineers call it) is given to Jared by Lyxa as a gift. Stella and her kind have gender (male or female) but not sexuality. Lyxa becomes a beloved sister to Jared, his dearest and most loyal yet enigmatic companion. Too late, they both realize Lyxa is using Stella, through her neural transponder energy, to track Jared’s every motion even as Jared constantly schemes to escape, to seek his freedom and adventure on the frontier worlds out in the remote galaxy.

Lelli, another youthful neural cloud-clone of Lyxa, who stays with Lyxa and like all Renjen or djai (diaphanes, translucent persons with electron clouds instead of faces) is loyal unto death to her gene sister Lyxa; Lelli serves as a go-between in the complex geometry uniting Lyxa, Stella, and Jared, which involves neural transponding on hidden wavelengths Mala Alamala, 24, is the golden surfer girl (fully human, beautiful) and book store clerk in an idyllic beach town, with whom Jared falls in love. He must finally escape from the deadly webs and nets spun by Lyxa. With the empire crumbling, and violence and danger at every turn, Jared and Mala desperately flee to the distant, pastoral planet Lethe to dream and be free—but fate has shocking and surprising outcomes in store for all the players in this complex story.

Only a very young author (teenager) would write such a melancholy but dazzling achievement of imagination and passion. Ranks with Dune and Norstrilia among the sweeping SF sagas that soar across galactic empires with a budding historian’s eye for real tragedies that endlessly repeat themselves, and a Classics student’s exposure to high tragedy like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Virgil’s Aeneas and Dido, Edgar Allan Poe’s haunting poems (Ulalume); and especially Ovid’s Orpheus and Eurydice, a tale of love and loss in the Underworld. Author captures the grand SF sweep of dark epics like Dune, Norstrilia, and the dark side of Star Wars.

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