Hard Time is the third novella of the Science Fiction Sam Cane series by T.Q. Chant.
On the bright side, Sam’s got clear of One-Eight-Seven and the Saved. The downside is that’s she’s in a legal jam with the Corp (turns out that the documents she used to get the job were forged – who knew?). It doesn’t help that she’s still not got her mind right after being taken to the Bright Place. She’s got a hard choice – take her chances with the justice system, or ‘volunteer’ for the Pioneer Division, the hard-luck teams who have the hard job of opening up a new world for colonisation. It’s not just a matter of professional pride – a record and a stint in the slam is the last thing she needs – so she takes the deal. Chances are there won’t even be a deployment during her stint.
Luck’s not on her side, though, and she’s sent to a barren planet in a strategic location to help prepare it for settlement. Caught between a colony director with a hidden agenda and dark secrets hidden beneath the frozen surface, Sam’s starting to suspect that she’s been dogged by more than just bad luck. Breaking one of her rules, she’s starting to take this personally. At least this time she has old friends and new allies lining up alongside her as she struggles to survive and get some answers.
A Word from the Author
In many ways, this series is exactly as it appears – tense, fast-paced, hard-hitting science fiction stories that follow Sam Cane, a woman with a shady past trying to go straight, but getting caught up with dangerous events on the fringes of human settlement.
Through these novellas, though, I wanted to look at how much better we could be if we could do away with so many dangerous, negative things that still plague us. Things like everyday sexism, racism, homophobia, general intolerance and religious fundamentalism. Rather than the easy option of exploring these themes through dystopia, I chose to write about a world in which they have become a thing of the past. Not a perfect world, but I think a better one. One that’s being challenged by throwbacks to humanity’s darker past. The series started life as something a bit more military-SF, with a fairly typical square jawed hero. I found the setting really popped and the character came to life when I re-wrote it as a woman on the run from her own past. Not a hero, but not a villain either – someone in between who just wants to be left alone to get on with her life.
The planet on which she was marooned didn’t kill Sam, but she’s not safe yet. Caught up in a dangerous web of deceit and corporate-double cross, she’s condemned to serve out Hard Time on an icy world being opened for colonisation. One that has more than natural dangers hidden under its frozen surface.
(T.Q. Chant, May 2017)
Other Books in the Same Series
Sam Cane Series
Book 1 – Hard Setdown
Book 2 – Hard Lessons