Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 21

Episode 21! 5k more words.

The episode goes up a bit early today. I am being allowed out to go and see the new Bladerunner in London tonight. Woo hoo.

What’s to report? This last week, I put Bian’s Tale on hold to concentrate on Zara. The result is I’m well ahead on the writing now, two complete episodes in front and the draft to the end is forming well. I aim to get the complete first draft to my editor by the middle of the month.

The cover is progressing well, and Tiziana and I will discuss the palette today. I’ll show you as soon as I have the final.

The reaction from posting the first page of the story on Louise Wise’s blog was good, and there were more visitors. I haven’t had time to put the episodes on Wattpad and Radish at the moment (both websites set up for serialised novels). Never enough time!

Hope you enjoy it as we enter the final stretch for A Name Among The Stars. I think those calling for more Sci Fi elements will now feel they’re getting them!

As ever, comments, criticisms… all welcome, especially from the new readers…

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I have had to remove the episodes I posted here to fall into line with Amazon’s policies on Kindle Unlimited books.

The full novel is available on Amazon:




When I post stories on my blog, they will remain for at least a month after completion.

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About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at

13 responses to “Zara – A Name Among The Stars – SciFi Adv/Rom – Episode 21”

  1. Gordon Critchley says :


    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Alan Ferkinhoff says :

    Good addition to the story so far. Just two grammar nitpicks; you used breath when you meant breathe and We both know who using should be We both know who’s using.

  3. janine orlando says :

    I can not wait to read this in one sitting. Looking forward to the release. I must admit, I have sworn at you for those dang cliff hangers!! Evil Bast**d was my frequent fall back. Still ….. absolutely digging this book. Any idea when the release will be? Will you have a pre-order?

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Janine. I’m now trying to race ahead and get the complete story to my editor while you guys are still lurching from cliffhanger to cliffhanger.

      I *hope* I will release it in the middle of next month. I will definitely put up a pre-order when I’m sure of the date.

  4. Robert Harris says :

    Definitely coming to a great turning point.

    A couple of comment. Firstly I think you need to lead up to the jacking and deadheads more significantly. It all seems a bit sudden and while Talan’s fears seem authentic there’s no deeper feeling of those fears because we don’t have enough information. I’m sure that’s the sort of information you can easily write into the second draft. (Maybe Talan has a backstory about Jackers and Deadheads? Personal experience?).

    The very fact that Showha-nia is going to be interfaced into Zara also seems very sudden. Almost like a Deus ex Machina or at least a random dart into a plot maker. I’d like to see some earlier explanations about the size of the human brain (and its capabilities) vs AI. (Also neural networks using living cells are already being researched so it seems a bit farfetched that they need a human brain?) Also is there room in our brains? (OK, you’re allowed to invoke suspension of disbelief here – I’m engaging my brain here on a level I maybe wouldn’t if just enjoying the story.)

    Also I though of Elon Musk and his latest company.

    All in all though a very enjoyable episode!

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thanks Robert.

      I will probably do a bit more polishing on jacking and Deadheads. I think I can expand a couple of sections (1) very early on, where Zara is being interviewed to leave Newyan and the emigration agent talks about Inner Worlds. It would seem an appropriate place to describe the horrors that go on in some places. This might also be a point to insert some anti-AI propaganda.
      (2) where Zara first arrives in Murenys and finds that society there lives at a much slower, old-fashioned pace. It would be a good place for her to think back to the thoughts about what she feared she might find here.
      There might be an opportunity for some personal history from Talan – a relative who became a Deadhead maybe, or what about an old boyfriend???
      All possible, but I do not want to slow the pace too much.

      The second point about the piggy-back – I think I haven’t been clear enough. There’s no way a human brain can host a self-actuated entity. What Shohwa-nia needs is a method of communicating with Zara and controlling her energy expenditure – that’s the interface into Zara’s brain. The rest of Shohwa-nia turns into a sort of flesh-coloured gel that wraps around her torso. Of course, they could download Shohwa-nia into some kind of memory unit, neural network or other, but they would be unable to get that past the police cordon outside and could not hide it from the agents when they arrive. Also, given that the Shohwa-nia floating ball is actually an interstitial phase of matter, another friend suggested that Shohwa-nia could just merge/overlap with Zara without actually interfacing. There are two problems with that – the interstitial form is not self sustaining and requires a considerable power source, and also it would definitely set off the police tech-scanners. The gel form has much lower power requirements and much less chance of being picked up by the scanners.
      So I guess this section needs some polishing too, but the outline remains the same.

      Yes, Musk would be very anti Hwa & Shohwa. Maybe I need to make a sly dig or two.

      I’m sorry your messages all come flagged and get routed into spam, hence the delay in my seeing them. Something odd I need to check with the spam filter.

      • Robert Harris says :

        Oddly enough, I wasn’t thinking about Musk’s AI rants (which I should have done.) I actually agree with his specific comment that “AI is the most existential danger to us”. (The key being the word existential, and that it certainly has a very serious potential if we are not hyper alert)). But of course it’s not reported like that and I’m not sure how far Musk’s anti AI beliefs go.

        I was thinking about Neuralink the newest company he recently founded. Which is essentially the beginnings of the sort of interface you’re talking about.

        I remember reading a great but creepy book about a guy who invents something similar. I think it’s by Marvin Minsky. (Having done a bit of googling I think it’s “The Turing Option” by Harry Harrison and Marvin Minsky).

        The creepy bit is that ‘protagonist” is already an introvert and becomes colder and more unfeeling as the book (and his technology) progresses and of course all his personal relationships (other than with the computer/AI) decay.

        The interfacing for power reasons came through loud and clear as did the fact she was in some sort of senescence. The fact that Showa-nia physically was inhabiting something else was less so.

  5. Justin Savely says :

    The fusion was very well done with both of their feelings.

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