The Solid Gold Aliens
- Previously published as The Midas Rush
- Science fiction with elements of romance
- Thoroughly re-edited and a brand new cover!
I purchased the basic artwork from BookCoverZone because the feel of it suited planet Jones, where the story takes place. I then adapted it to my story.
For example, in the original, the figure is a robot, but that wouldn’t work because the heroine is human. The robotic face had to go.
I broke out my dusty old graphics skills, got a model’s face off Depositphotos, and then spent way more time than I should on fonts and various minutiae. Et voila!
For 500 years, the aliens were no threat. They were just waiting . . .
All Tresky Buffrum wants is a taste of adventure and freedom before resigning himself to the simple life of a shepherd. What he gets instead is a mysterious wife (determined to remain chaste) who leads him to the Midas Crater, where some of the planet’s intelligent natives have been transformed into gold.
Everyone on the caravan to the crater has an ulterior motive . . . except Tresky. Aided only by an old, near-death alien and a determined policewoman, can he defeat the madmen and interplanetary conspirators — including perhaps his mysterious bride? — who seek to destroy the Midas Crater and its sinister yet glorious secrets?
“More wine?” asked Tresky Buffrum.
The most beautiful woman he’d ever met didn’t answer. She glanced at the cork-sheathed wine bottle sitting on the table between them. Then she stared across the hotel room at the carved greywood bed big enough for four people. Six if they were related.
And still she didn’t answer. Tresky fidgeted.
“Are you trying to get me drunk?” she said at last.
“No!” He felt his face flame. “No, I just—”
“Have more wine yourself.”
As she refilled his cup, her long, black hair swayed, framing cheeks glowing like sunshine on fresh snow dusting a field of pinkbuds. Her bosom, rising gently with each breath, was intoxicating and delicate, unlike the mountains of flesh drooping to Gasparre women’s waists, or below. When she smiled, it was like the first gush of daylight after a long night.
“Drink up,” she said
“You are so beautiful. More beautiful even than my prize-winning ewe.”
As soon as he said it, he knew he shouldn’t have. But “Thank you” was all she said.
Tresky heaved a sigh, half relief she wasn’t angry and half eagerness for what would happen after the lights—real electric bulbs—went off with the click of a button. He pressed his nose against the window—real glass—and pointed at the throng in the narrow, twisty streets three stories below.
“Look at all those fools. Just because somebody found some Sloths made of gold. Sloths hardly ever move, so the ones at the Midas Crater aren’t much different than living ones, right? Different color is all. Can you imagine anything sillier’n coming here all the way from the stars because of golden Sloths?” He laughed.
Ebbril—that was the beauty’s name—didn’t laugh along with him. Too bad. She must have a delightful laugh. “Planets,” she said in her soft, thrilling voice.
“Offworlders are from planets, not stars. And the mystery is a bigger draw than the gold. No one understands how intelligent creatures like Sloths could be transformed into gold. It’s not possible. So tourists flock here like flies to dung.”
“Yep,” he agreed, not wanting her to think he was an ignorant hick. “But still, the golden thingies are Sloths, for heaven’s sake. Why would anyone care?”
“Offworlders,” she said with a shrug, “are strange.”
“I’ll drink to that.” As he sipped, her pensive beauty drove all thoughts of Sloths and Offworlders from his head. “Would you, uh, care to retire for the night now?”
“Oh. Certainly.” Tresky reminded himself to drink slowly. She was still nursing her first cup, while he was on his third. Or was it fourth? “Let’s talk, then. Get to know each other.”
Ebbril nodded but said nothing.
“You know,” Tresky said, “I feel I’ve always known you, even though we met just yesterday. And now that we’re…” He hesitated, fearing if he spoke the word aloud, she would slap him awake from the grandest dream he’d ever had.
“Now that we’re, uh…married.”
She didn’t slap him. Excellent.
“Married,” he repeated. “Married. Uh, we should start learning about each other. Our past, our dreams, our hopes. Do you want to go first?”
“But there isn’t much to tell about me, I’m afraid.”
“Have some more wine, then. It’ll help you speak more freely.”
“Whoa, not so full.”