Hello Everybody!!

Curio Citizen is still in 2nd place! I never dreamed we would get so far, but we are currently only 3 ORDERS away from stepping into 1st place! Now, there is absolutely NO guarantee we will get there or even stay in the top 3, and honestly, I would be extremely happy to be 2nd or 3rd. BUT there is still an enormous chance we will be overrun by the books in lower places at any time if we do not keep gaining pre-orders over the next 4 DAYS. That is all that is left in this contest. It ends THIS SUNDAY, June 25th! Please, please, please, if you have not pre-ordered yet, I need your help right now! Please don’t wait any longer to pull the trigger and pre-order. Please also keep asking a friend or two personally to pre-order a copy to help me out!

Thank you all SO much!!

Here’s today’s look into the world of Curio Citizen:


Canción (Canto) Ortorgan is an illustrious socialite in the Capitol of Paz. He is extremely wealthy, and his unusually boisterous personality (by paz standards) makes him a very popular person. His excessive demeanor is unquestionably positive, however, and so is viewed differently from Carmen’s often fiery temperament.

While the High Council members are ultimately responsible for the legal decisions regarding Carmen’s life on Paz, popular opinion can play a factor. The support of Canto Ortorgan could be just what Carmen needs to improve her chances of being accepted as an intelligent being. But there is something strange about Canto--does he have other motives for his involvement with the curio?




               “’Oh, this is excellent!’ cried a booming voice from the stands. I looked up; the festive man in red, green, and gold was off his seat, applauding like a Roman emperor at the Colosseum. ’’What a show!’

               Tenaz was grinning beside me. I found Inquieto, his arms folded, tucked in the shadows of the stadium entrance. He stepped forward, shifting his face into a smile.

               The applauding gentleman made his way past the rowdy team and their jaw-dropped coach to the pitch level.

                ’Inquieto Reúnen,’ he said, clasping forearms with the younger man as if they were longtime friends. ’I have been wanting to meet you. Ever since I saw your story on the news, what a tale!’

               He looked over at me and beckoned me with welcoming arms. I hesitated, looking at Inquieto for confirmation that this flamboyant man was sane.

----

Thank you all again so much for your support! I am truly humbled by the amount of love I have been shown throughout this contest. We are in the final days, and I ask you all to make a final push to help me get more pre-orders so all of our work won’t be for nothing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

--Katherine
Hello all!

Curio Citizen remains in 2nd place! However, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th place contenders are gaining pre-orders just as fast as we are, if not faster. I could really use your help to ask others, one-on-one, to please pre-order a copy. If you are following these updates and have not pre-ordered, now is the time I could really use your help! There are only 5 days left! The contest ends on June 25th! Thank you! Just $10 could change my life and be the start of my writing career!

Click HERE to pre-order!

Here’s today’s look into the world of Curio Citizen:


Electrolocation:


The paz have inherent biological features known as electrolocation and electroreception. They can send electrical signals outward from their bodies to detect the locations and shapes of objects around them, and through electroreception, they can interpret the electrical signals of other people or animals nearby. This ability was originally developed for the species to hunt, but as they evolved to be a naturally peaceful species, their electrical abilities altered in function. Now, paz use these electrical signals to understand the physical manifestations of others’ emotional states so they can better approach an upsetting situation and resolve it. They also use electrolocation to calm others by sending a small, soothing electrical pulse through them.

Electrolocation and electroreception have become key elements to the paz culture. Their formal, friendly greeting, for example, consists of individuals clasping forearms and putting forth a small amount of electrolocation to show peace. Paz also use electrolocation to calm their children or to show affection. In extreme cases, electrolocation can be used in a stronger form to temporarily stun an unruly paz or animal, but only those in law enforcement or animal handlers tend to use this ability.




               “’Get me out,’ I said, flicking my eyes to the window and back again. ’Get me out,’ I repeated. ’Help me.’

               His face fell with sympathy, and he reached out to touch me. I stiffened. His hand stroked my forehead, and two of his firm fingers pushed lightly against my skin. I closed my eyes in surprise. A subtle pulse emanated from his fingers, and the muscles of my forehead smoothed. The pulse continued in a low, comforting wave of soothing euphoria. I blinked a few times as I waded through the brief experience.

                He removed his hand. His black eyes were consoling and carried a promise.

                ’Are you going to get me out?’ I whispered, testing his supposed resolve. I felt the smoothed muscles of my forehead twitch back into being, and the furrows reformed as I waited for him to answer."


---

Fun fact, duck-billed platypuses use these same abilities through electrical organs and sensors in their "beaks" (snouts), and many fish and invertebrates have similar abilities. While writing Curio Citizen, I knew I wanted the paz to be able to have some sort of ability like this, but it wasn’t until the research phase that I discovered this particular biological adaptation used by many animals on Earth. It fit in perfectly with my aims for the book, and is one example of how I love to incorporate actual science into my science fiction!




You are all so amazing! Thank you for continuing to help. I hope these updates are ramping up your excitement for Curio Citizen! Hopefully I will be able to share it with you in published form. 5 days will reveal whether or not that happens! Until then, we’ve got to keep working for more pre-orders!

--Katherine

Hello everyone!

Curio Citizen is still in 2nd place! I am so grateful to all of you for helping to get it there! There is only one week left, so please keep spreading the word! Deadline is June 25th, THIS SUNDAY.

Oh, and we made the local news!! Check it out:

https://www.facebook.com/wyffmyraruiz/posts/1918736561744451
https://www.facebook.com/wyffmyraruiz/posts/1918745398410234


And here’s today’s look into the world of Curio Citizen--one of the important characters who can influence Carmen’s journey:

Memoria Levantan is a long-time member of the High Council of the Capitol, and some would say she’s the most influential. She has a calm, but commanding presence, and her wisdom is respected, her opinions not taken lightly. She is compassionate, but does not allow her interpretation of the law to be sullied by emotion. 

Carmen must convince the entire Council to see her as equal to paz, but she knows swaying Memoria is key to achieving her goal.




               "’Inquieto,’ Levantan said, and then corrected herself, ’Citizen Reúnen, you are an expert in your field. Your evidence of her behavior is strong and is substantiated by your education and experience in animal, specifically, curio, behavior. I don’t believe anyone on this Council can ignore the validity of your testimony.’

              She eyed her peers, who seemed to acknowledge her words. Even Fortalacen’s lips were thin in assent.

              ’As such, I think it would be unwise to make any rash decisions in objection. However, Citizen Reúnen, you must not have expected your unconventional request would be immediately granted today,’ she continued.

              ’I did not,’ Inquieto agreed.

              ’Then, granted the new petition, I ask my fellow members of the Council for a delay in this decision, and that we shall confer amongst ourselves and notify the petitioner when further action on his part is required,’ she said. ’Do I have the agreement of the Council?’

              One by one, hands raised in agreement. I eyed Fortalacen as he hesitated, and his hard eyes met mine. I believed he thought I would look away; he certainly looked perturbed when I did not, but he raised his hand in agreement."

--

Thank you so much for continuing to personally ask others to pre-order Curio Citizen. I really appreciate all your help. We are almost there!!

Click HERE to pre-order Curio Citizen!

--Katherine
Hello! We officially have 1 week left in the contest! That’s right, 7 days! If you haven’t pre-ordered, please consider doing so. If you are planning on getting around to it, please do it now while it’s fresh in your head. :) Also, please continue to gather pre-orders from any of your friends and family who would love to help a fledgling author get published. Thank you again for all of your love and support!

We are still in 2nd place, but as always, the others are steadily gaining pre-orders and could catch up or run ahead of us at any time. I’m staying focused, though, so with your help, I think we have a great chance of finishing in the top 3!

As part of the 100 order mark, I promised you a sneak peek into the third book of the trilogy, Curio Criminal! Click here.

And here is today’s look into the world of Curio Citizen:

Planetary Tilt

We’ve already discussed the dense mineral that makes interstellar space travel possible--void--and the high gravity zones that are present, in part, due to this mineral within the bedrock of Paz. What we haven’t discussed is a strange phenomenon caused by the high gravity zones. 

Paz experiences periodic changes in the nutation of the planet. This causes extreme temperature increases or drops at various times throughout the year. These "tilts" can last from weeks to months, and while they are predictable in timing, the severity of temperature depends upon numerous meteorological factors in addition to the tilt itself. This can lead to unexpected consequences. 

The paz have made technological advances to control their immediate environments, but the fear remains that, should their climate control fail, people will suffer or die due to the dangers of these extreme temperatures. 

--

              “Father was just explaining to Carmen what causes the tilt,” Cálido said from his chair.
 
              Oyente nodded. “Yes,” he handed his daughter and son-in-law fresh glasses of juice and offered them seats around a wide table, “it appears to be something she’s never experienced before.”

               I took a bite of my tilt-stick, curious about the conversation, but not sure if I could handle any more condescension. The refreshment distracted me for a moment. It was ice cold and very tart. The paz certainly had a preference for strong flavors.

             “The planet wobbles,” Cálido piped up. A sidelong grin was on his face as he tilted one of his tilt-sticks to match. “The high gravity zones are so dense, they throw Paz off balance as it rotates.”

            “Not enough for us to feel it, of course,” Oyente assured me. “We’re not going to go flying off the planet.”

            “Oh, good,” I said mildly. “I was worried.”

            Inquieto suppressed a smile. Good, I thought, he had finally decided I was intelligent enough for sarcasm.

---

Thank you so much for your support! We can do this! Click here to pre-order Curio Citizen!

--Katherine

Hello to my amazing followers!

We have reached over 100 pre-orders, a number I never dreamed we would attain. Curio Citizen is still in 2nd place, but 3rd and 4th continue to gather orders and are right on our tail. There are only 9 days left in the contest!

Please, I ask each of you to seek out one person who might want to pre-order a copy and encourage them to do so. It would be so helpful! I am getting a lot of "likes" and "shares" on social media, but the actual pre-orders are slowing down. I know people are excited about Curio Citizen, but they might need a little nudge to get them to contribute monetarily.

If you are following this and haven’t pre-ordered, I ask you to please consider doing it now. I am so excited to share Curio Citizen with all of you and see it on bookstore shelves, but it will not be published if I don’t stay in the top 3.

Thank you so much for your help! Now, as promised, I will be posting sneak peeks into the second two books of the Curio Trilogy to give you a taste of where this sci-fi saga is going! Today, I have posted an excerpt from Curio Conspiracy.


But first, I’ll start with a brief introduction of the primary villain of Curio Citizen:

Dignidad Fortalacen is an ambitious politician. As our story begins, he sits on the High Council, the most powerful seat of government, which is based in the Capitol, but oversees the entire planet. He is the youngest person ever elected to the position of High Counselor, and although he is now middle-aged, he still has years separating him from his wizened peers.

Fortalacen is a strict proponent of isolationism and sees Carmen as a threat to paz traditions and safety. He is arrogant, shrewd, and far more power-hungry than paz are bred to be. How far will he go to stop Carmen? Will he push the confines of his peaceful society in his quest for power?

,

               
                    "’We are present today to discuss Curio 0924,’ a man with a smooth, deep voice said. His skin was slightly darker than most paz, though not enough to suggest a different race. He had deep-set eyes and a slightly sloped-back forehead, with a square jaw and a biting elegance. ’A designated species of Planet 0924, established on Paz as of Fifday, the thirty-sixth of Month Eight, Year 601 of Forward Peace. We have viewed the provided footage and annotated assessment analyses you have submitted, and—’

                   ’She is a human, Counselor Fortalacen,’ Inquieto boldly interrupted. ’A sublevel intelligent species to a degree that no curio has ever been assessed, neither at the Curio Life Museum of the Capitol, nor any smaller city museum on Paz. She has a name, and it is Carmen O’Dwyer. She comes from a planet called Earth, on which her species is the dominant species, much like our own species is on Paz.’

                  Fortalacen listened to this explanation in a silence as smooth as his butter-knife voice. When he spoke, he revealed its subtle edge.

                  ’Whatever your perceptions, Citizen Reúnen, this council will decide whether or not the curio is worthy of being designated as a sublevel intelligent species or not,’ he said. ’Or are you confused about why you are here today?’

                  Inquieto placed his hands on the back of the chair behind me.

                  ’I am here today,’ he said slowly, ’to submit a petition for Carmen O’Dwyer’s citizenship.’
            
                  I blinked in surprise and looked up at him. Then I frowned at Counselor Fortalacen, who was laughing. He was joined by a few others; the rest looked stunned and rather dubious."


Click here to see our hero and villain in action in an excerpt from Curio Conspiracy!

And click here to pre-order Curio Citizen :)

Thanks so much!

--Katherine

Hi everybody!

Curio Citizen is still in 2nd! You are all fantastic people! I really appreciate all of your support. With 10 days left in the contest, we are no doubt going to face a fierce surge of competition for the top 3 spots, and I’m not going to lie--a girl can only know so many people. I could really use your help to widen the circle of supporters for my novel. If you could please find one person to sit down in front of a computer and pre-order a copy, I would be forever grateful! We are so close to being published, I would hate to have all of our hard work not be enough at the last minute! Thank you so much for helping!

Here is today’s look into the world of Curio Citizen:

High Gravity Zones:

Paz is pocketed with areas of increased gravity known as "high gravity zones". These zones have a thickened planetary crust and are packed with the super dense metal known as void. These zones are uninhabitable and consist only of mining facilities, as no one can withstand the immense gravity without the aid of specialized, mechanized suits. Even then, the time the paz or human body can survive there under such intense pressure is short.

,


                    "Spoken words were accompanied by three-dimensional diagrams, which leapt out of the screen to hover in the living room. I stood up, curious, and circled a sphere that rotated on an indicated axis. Paz.

                    A white, pinpoint circle sat in a frame of blue in the lower portion of the northern hemisphere, labeled as the Capitol. Otherwise, the planet’s diagram was colored on a gradient spectrum from bright red to deep blue. Many red small, irregular splotches seemed to be the focus of the illustration.

                    The sphere continued to rotate, but its rotation stopped being smooth and steady. Instead, it began to wobble, not much, but enough to alter the shadows and light that played around the sphere’s poles, presumably cast by an imaginary sun outside the realm of the display. The dot of the Capitol moved in a subtle southern shift. Words popped up on the diagram, but they did little to explain the topic that streamed from the woman’s lips as incoherent babble.

                    High Gravity Zones.

                   ’Huh,’ I uttered, scanning the globe, pocketed with red splotches.
          
                   The diagram was smoothly swept away, and the room was empty of projections. I heard a few understandable words about wind intensity and the time the sun would set that night. I fervently wished it would hurry up. Maybe then it would cool down."


---


Thank you so much for trying to get one other person’s pre-order. I would love for you all to have the ability to read Curio Citizen, and if we don’t finish in the top 3, that can’t happen! Please continue to help. Thank you again for everything you have done already. Have the best of days, everyone!

--Katherine
Hello everyone!

I am SO thrilled to announce that Curio Citizen is currently in 2nd place!! I am so grateful to all of you who have pre-ordered or who plan to pre-order. HOWEVER, there are still 11 days left in this contest, and 3rd and 4th place aren’t far behind! Not to mention, any books further down the list could get a large amount of pre-orders at any time and surprise us! So please continue to personally ask your friends, family, and fans of sci-fi to pre-order. Thank you so much for everything you all have done for me and Curio Citizen!

We have hit 86 readers!! This means that I will now announce the titles for the next two books in the Curio Trilogy:

Curio Conspiracy & Curio Criminal!

Catchy, no? :P  If we reach 100 pre-orders from separate readers, which I am confident we can do with your continued help, I will release sneak peeks into each of these books (without giving too much away, of course!)

Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me!

Here’s today’s look into the world of Curio Citizen:


Quadrisphere:


Quadrisphere is an exciting sport played on Paz. It draws countless crowds and is the only form of entertainment that rivals the Curio Museums in scale and enthusiasm. It is similar to soccer, played without the use of hands to discourage any form of aggression. 

Paz "’sphere" players are greatly admired for their skills. Having evolved to be a generally docile species, most paz lack the needed physical prowess and desire for active competition. They find it highly entertaining to watch, however, and come out in droves for every match. Even more come out to see Carmen when she earns a chance to play on the field. 

,


                   "The pounding beat of aggression, the focused breaths of trained endurance, the adrenaline-fueled drive to take what was mine, the need to prove I was better than any person who dared to stand in my way...

                   ...Did the paz around me feel such a surge of channeled, instinctual violence? The players themselves were focused, athletic, and showed a transcendent joy in the game I had rarely seen in any human player, perhaps because it wasn’t tainted. Their focus was collected, their drive was to support their teammates, and their enthusiasm extended to the opposing team. They sought to win, but they did not fight to win...

                   ...Anyone who had ever said the point of playing sports was to simply love the game, win or lose, was a pathetic liar. This was the dullest game I had ever played...

                  ...But here we were, in the second half. And the Harmonics scored.

                  I felt a surge of indignation rise up in me. How dare they score?!

                 As soon as the ball was put back into play, I raced forward.

                ’Tenaz!’ I shouted. He stole the ball from an opposing player and met my eyes in determined acknowledgement. I ducked beneath a red player trying to block me and caught the ball between my feet from Tenaz’s kick.

                 Pumping with adrenaline, I shifted the ball from foot to foot with increasing speed. I dodged every player who attempted to steal my ball, racing around them, slipping underneath with startling agility, and in a glance, caught an unobstructed sight of a hoop—directly behind me. I stopped the ball, kicked it vertically, then spun around and delivered a sideways kick with all my might.

                It sailed through the hoop.

               ’Yes!’ I grunted, my fist in the air. The noise from the crowd was deafening, and my teammates were grinning ear to ear. More striking, there were zero boos in the crowd from fans of the opposing Harmonics, and even the players in red right next to me were enthused.

               From that point on, the game got much more interesting. My skill seemed to fuel the other players—on both sides—to match it. Well, they tried, bless them.

               Invoking my thrill for competition, I performed more feats of skill, some greater than I ever thought possible of myself. Most were moves I had done before in a state championship game, impressive on a high school level, but to the paz, who had evolved to be physically weaker and less competitive than humans, I may as well have been a Hall-of-Famer."




Thank you so much for your continued support! Please help me stay in the top 3 so Curio Citizen can be published and you all can have a chance to read it!!

--Katherine

Profphoto3 Katherine Forrister · Author · added 7 months ago
Hello all again!

I am happy to say that Curio Citizen is still in 4th place! We are climbing rapidly, and I have all of you to thank for that. I am truly humbled by your support. However, we still have to get into the top 3 for Curio Citizen to be published. We are getting fresh pre-orders every day, but so is the competition. There are only 12 more days in the contest. That’s enough time for us to keep climbing to the top 3, or we could fall far behind if we lose momentum. That’s how tight this race is! Please consider asking one person today to pre-order. It would help me and my daughter so much if Curio Citizen could be published and launch my writing career.

Here’s the link to the book trailer to help you spread the word! Curio Citizen Book Trailer

Prefer Youtube? Click here.

And, as promised, here’s today’s look into the world of Curio Citizen:


Void:

Void is a super dense metal found within the bedrock of Paz. It is so dense that it can be used to generate a gravity field within the space ships that seek out curios across the galaxy, as well as a slight grounding of a person within a vehicle as normal as a hovering taxi to ensure the rider’s safety.

Its most important function, however, is to facilitate interstellar space travel.

                           
                             "’Let me see...’ Inquieto murmured, tapping his finger on his chin as he searched for words. When he spoke, his words came slowly, and I suspected he was greatly dumbing down the description.                           

                            ’Within the vacuums of void, the cracks are so thin, and often positioned in such a way near one another, that they become plates of refracted metal, which can produce negative energy between them through vacuum fluctuations. As you said, we can create vacuums, and two simple metal plates placed close together within a vacuum can produce the same effect in a small amount, but void aids the process so that the negative energy and exotic matter it produces is much higher.’                           

                            ’Oh,’ I said, vaguely following him.                           

                            ’We have developed technology that can further extrapolate this energy and matter to such a degree, it can surround our ships to create a bubble that will keep the ship and crew unaltered while the exotic matter warps space. It contracts space before a ship while expanding that behind it to create, essentially, a short-cut to circumvent the speed of light and travel otherwise impossible distances.’"


Without void, space travel would be nearly impossible for the paz, and certainly too costly to enact. And it is because of the lack of void that the other two intelligent species of planets within Paz’s solar system are mostly confined to their respective planets, for which the paz are grateful.

,


Thank you for your continued support for Curio Citizen. Once again, if you know anyone you can personally ask to pre-order this book, please do so. We are so close to getting into the top 3 and realizing my dream of becoming a published author. This could be the start of my career and be the beginning of an exciting Curio Trilogy, which is now in the drafting phase. If we reach 80 pre-orders from separate readers, I will release the names of the second two novels of the trilogy. If we reach 100 pre-orders, I will give you all a sneak peek (sans spoilers) of the next two books!

You all are so amazing!

--Katherine

Hello all!

 I have an exciting announcement to make--a brand new book trailer is up on Inkshares! Click here to view it now!

Curio Citizen is in 4th place! This is great news, but 5th place isn’t far behind, and 3rd and 2nd are gaining pre-orders fast! Please keep asking your friends, family, and any other fans of sci-fi you may know to pre-order their copy of Curio Citizen. We are so close to getting in the top 3, and once we get there, we have to keep getting more pre-orders to stay there for the next two weeks! 

Here’s today’s fresh look into the world of Curio Citizen:



Family Structures--Houses:


Every person on Paz belongs to a familial "house". Every person within a house wears a unique pin as an emblem for their house. In addition to a pin, each individual family unit wears the same color clothing to unite them further. 

But instead of creating rivalry, the house social structure is a way of encouraging and maintaining peace throughout the globe. They connect not only immediate relations, but also distant relatives with shared ancestral beginnings. Why should you care about someone in a far away city and their problems? Because they are a part of your house! 


            "I stood, getting the distinct impression Marea did not want me dirtying her furniture.

            Inquieto hurried over to my side. ’Mother,’ he said stiffly. ’May I introduce you to Carmen?’
   
            Marea’s eyes scavenged my appearance, and they finally landed on the small jewel upon my breast.
  
            ’Inquieto,’ she said in a polite tone that was iced around the edges, ’why is it wearing our pin?’
  
            I drew a breath.
  
           ’She lives in my household, Mother,’ Inquieto answered steadily. His words were careful and precise, as if he had practiced  ahead of time for this conversation.
 
           ’So, get her a tag,’ Marea uttered coolly in breathy elegance."


,
 

Orphans exist on Paz as they do everywhere else. The Paz government provides the Salvan House for these special cases. 



            "’What did Oyente mean when he suggested I be placed in the Paz House?’ I asked.
 
            Inquieto sighed. ’The Paz House, Salvan, is that of the government. It is rare an individual does not have a house of their own, but Salvan provides a place for such instances, most often due to orphans who were lost and could never be reunited with their parents. Salvan offers all the services a house would normally provide. Medical decisions when an individual is too ill or injured to make them alone, representation in court if needed, that sort of thing.’

            ’Oh,’ I said. I frowned. ’Inquieto...that does make sense. Why would you put me in your house? Clearly, your family doesn’t like it.

            ’Carmen,’ Inquieto said. ’You were taken from your family. I know I may not be much...and I know today was not a good impression of my family, but...you need a family. You deserve a family.’"


,

 As perfect as Paz strives to be, there is still an undercurrent of resentment among some of the Salvans.

             "...I stopped in front of this paz woman, dressed in robes as gray as her skin so she resembled a pale ghost. She wore no pin. Her eyes glared at mine on my chest. I wanted to say something, though I didn’t know what, but Inquieto placed his hand on my hair and nudged me away.
        
             ’Come on, Carmen,’ he said, nodding politely to the woman as we left, and I noticed that her bitter enmity was aimed at Inquieto just as much as it was at me." 


 ,

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into paz life. Please pre-order a copy of Curio Citizen to dive deeper into this universe. I can’t wait to share this world with you! 

--Katherine

Alright, everyone, guess what? Curio Citizen is now in 4th place!! We are only 4 orders away from reaching 3rd, and 10 orders away from 2nd place! Remember, I only need to be in 3rd to be published, so please continue to spread the word. If you haven’t pre-ordered, please consider doing so. It would mean so much to me and could help launch the Curio Trilogy!

In addition to hitting 4th place, we have also reached 51 readers! As promised, I have posted a brand new excerpt which delves into Paz technology, and in so doing, reveals a deeper level of the species’ psychology, which Carmen must face and overcome if she wishes to gain acceptance in this new world. Check it out here!

Also, to count down the last two weeks of the contest, I will be posting a new look into a part of Curio Citizen’s world each day! Here’s today’s:

A look into the Paz Species:

The inhabitants of the planet Paz are known simply as the paz species. They are humanoid beings with an intellect that soars above the level of the average human. They are inherently peaceful, a state of being many humans seem to find difficult. However, paz are less vivacious and emotional than humans, and some would say they have lost the tenacity needed for survival.

There are pros and cons to each of these traits, of course, and Curio Citizen explores those differences so the reader can form their own opinion of which species is preferable. Should humans become more like paz? Or should paz learn from humans? Are there lessons we can learn from each? 

Though there are surface-level differences, physically, paz and humans are very alike. They are genetic kindred, despite the light-years between their planets. How that came to be is one of the countless mysteries the universe holds. Why the paz cannot see the similarities is a mystery Carmen needs to uncover before she can gain acceptance on Paz.

             "Their skin was pale slate, a smooth gray with a subtle tint of blue. None had hair whatsoever, not even eyebrows that I could see. Two of the five had arcing, bony ridges along their shoulders, partially visible before the outer edges were covered by the coarse fabric of varying, worn hues they all wore. Otherwise, their features appeared human, but it was difficult for me to see the similarities past one other striking difference.
             Their eyes were haunting, the same shape and size as any person’s, but completely black, with no whites or distinguishable pupils or irises at all. I could only tell they were appraising my features by the glitter of the light that caught their dark orbs with each of their stares’ subtle shifts. They were all roving my hair, my face, my torso, my limbs.One spoke, a smooth, low voice in a foreign tongue. A couple of murmurs swept in from others. One of the two with shoulder ridges responded to his words and stepped forward. This individual’s voice was lighter, and as I listened to the other one with similar ridges, I decided both must be female..."

           


             "...A short one, small in frame, pointed a little blue finger right at me and shouted a high-pitched word. Taller, grayer beings, like all I had seen so far, spoke in a hubbub of interest as they followed the little one’s scamper towards my invisible wall. A gaggle of more little ones, all dull blue with pale gray spots, pressed their palms against the barrier, skin smushed flat, spreading their fingerprints wide.
            I needed no interpretation to guess the meaning of their thrilled words.
            Look!
            The tiniest ones, clearly infants, stayed in the background, clinging to their mother’s backs by clasping the shoulder ridges, revealing the boney projections’ use. They were almost entirely a dull shade of blue, with big black eyes that stared at everything around them with an infant’s wonder. Their heads were smaller in proportion to their bodies than any infant’s I had ever seen, and they had no trouble swiveling their necks as they stayed upright with ease.
           Their pubescent siblings resembled a bad case of acne, the large, round spots of childhood fading to leave the opposite coloring of tiny specks of blue as the slate gray pallor of adulthood took over. The wonder faded as well. The youths looked bored, lurking behind their parents in protest.
            Seeing the unexpected children made me consider that these beings, whether human or not—a distinction I still had yet to decide—were not so very different than those I knew as family, as friends, as any people I had seen on my numerous travels. And yet they clearly saw me as something other, something lesser."


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-Katherine

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