The Celibate SuccubusBarton Paul Levenson Genre: YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy ISBN-13: 978-1-935460-58-9ISBN-10: 1-935460-58-7ISBN-13: 978-1-935460-59-6ISBN-10: 1-935460-59-5 Cover Artist Cassie Larish “Team Packer” is a covert Catholic strike team against supernatural evil with a secret weapon in its arsenal: 16-year-old Delilah Vincentio—the world’s only Christian succubus. Trained by demons to despise humanity and lead them into sin, her unprecedented capacity for mercy caused her to renounce her place in Hell—and gain an angelic referral to Team Packer. Delilah is assigned to infiltrate the Order of the Lightbringer, a Satanic cult that plans to make Pittsburgh a test site for the Apocalypse. After Delilah’s identity is almost discovered, Team Packer sends her to high school to hide out until things cool down. But while Delilah may be reformed from her beguiling ways, she’s still very much a demon—and she hasn’t learned how to play well with others. In fact, trying to fit in and keep a low profile at high school may prove to be a tougher battle than bringing down the Order of the Lightbringer. “The demons in Hell are secretly defecting and pushing their infernal realm towards Heaven in a handcart! This story kept me riveted from start to finish—a ride and a half !”—Adele Abbot, author, Postponing Armageddon and Of Machines & Magics “His name is almost like mine, he’s no relation, and he writes a kind of YA Fantasy all his own. Fast-moving, knowledgeable, historical, spiritual, heroic, Barton Paul Levenson’s Celibate Succubus is good reading at any age.” —Paul Levinson, author, The Plot to Save Socrates and Unburning Alexandria
Why I'd Like to Fly
It's an extremely strange wish for me, because I'm afraid of heights. But I'd really like to be able to fly. Understand, I wouldn't have to fly high. If I could just levitate a foot or so off the ground, it would be great. I couldn't slip in the snow or trip over potholes or dropped objects.
And it would impress the heck out of people, wouldn't it? You want to give people a clue, right away, that you're special and different from everybody else? Lift a foot into the air.
I dream about this sort of thing all the time. In dreams, I can easily lift up a foot or so and just kind of cruise forward. In some dreams, I accomplish this by stepping up into the air, very carefully, in a way that ensures I don't immediately fall back down. I wish I could master that trick in waking time!
And flight at greater heights gives you the as-the-crow-flies route to any destination. Want to avoid all that rush-hour traffic? I live in Pittsburgh, PA, in the neighborhood known as Greenfield. The university district, where my wife works, is easily visible from a distance since the University of Pittsburgh is the world's tallest campus. The Cathedral of Learning, 38 stories tall, is right in the middle of the Oakland neighborhood. It would make things so much faster and easier if I could just sight on the Cathedral, lift up fifty feet or so, and cruise on over.
Of course, in real life, it takes energy to accelerate mass, keep it moving against resistance, and slow it down again. Real animals that can fly--insects and birds--have quick metabolisms, weigh very little, and have to eat almost constantly. I know there are big, heavy birds, but most of them can't fly. Think ostriches or emus.
There's a reason cows and horses don't fly (thank God): The square-cube law. Envision a box a foot across in each dimension. To get a stack of them twice the size, you'd need eight boxes. The surface area would be four times as great, the volume eight times as great--the square and cube, respectively, of the linear increase of a factor of two. Wings support an animal with their area, but the animal's weight goes up with its volume. The wings to fly a cow or a horse would be enormous, would require a weirdly distorted skeleton to support them, and strong muscles fed by constant high-energy eating. A flying horse would have a twenty-foot breastbone, a wingspan around a hundred feet, and it would have to plow through something like an acre of sugar a day to get enough energy to fly. Sorry, Pegasus! Not only do you not exist, you can't exist.
That's also why primates, including people, don't fly. In my book, The Celibate Succubus, the central character can sprout wings and a tail and leap into the air. But she's a magical creature, and part of what keeps her up is magic, not science. Thus my preference for levitation over wings. It's, like, a psychic power or something. And you don't have to explain psychic powers, they're just there. Thus one of the differences between fantasy and science fiction. In SF, you have to justify your weird event, or at least make it sound plausible. In fantasy, you can just assume it.
Barton Paul Levenson’s novels include Max & Me, Year of the Human, Ella the Vampire, I Will and Parole. Mr. Levenson’s short fiction has appeared in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, ChiZine, Cricket, Cicada, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and many other publications. An original member of the Pittsburgh Worldwright’s writing workshop created by Mary Soon Lee, Barton has published more than 60 short stories, poems, and essays. He is also a two-time winner of the Parsec Short Story Contest.
Levenson holds a degree in physics and writes prolifically about everything from fictional works to radiative-convective models of planetary atmospheres. He has also learned to speak French, Spanish, Russian, German, New Testament Greek, and Japanese (though, he confesses, not well enough to converse with native speakers). Mr. Levenson is married to genre poet Elizabeth Penrose and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he confuses everybody by being both a born-again Christian and a liberal Democrat.
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