“The Bear Who Sang Opera” has appeared in the July/August issue of Analog. The story itself was a lot of fun to write — a sort of Travis McGee in space. (And if you haven’t read any of John D. MacDonald’s excellent Travis McGee books, you really should). I’d been wanting to create a series character for some time and it took me a couple attempts to finally get it right. In fact, I just finished another story featuring Dexter Duff, my intrepid interstellar investigator, so we’ll see if Stan Schmidt, the editor of Analog, likes that one too.
For those of you who have read some of my other science fiction stories, it’s set in the “Unity Worlds” universe, which I’ve used for a number of tales. Each one stands completely on its own, but some of the shared details give the stories a little extra flavor. Maybe I’ll put all of these stories into a collection one day, who knows.
Here’s the first page of the story . . .
The bear wanted his voice back. That’s what I thought he said, and I asked him to repeat it. The cochlear implant in my left ear had been acting up a lot lately — I blamed it on Targal’s frequent lightning storms — and I assumed he must have said something else.
“My voice,” he said. “I think someone’s stolen it.”
I took my boots down from the desk and leaned a little closer. “Your voice?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“But you’re speaking right now.”
“Yes.” He bobbed his big furry head. “Oh. No, I see the problem. Not my voice. My singing voice. I need your help getting it back. You do help people find things, don’t you? That’s what I heard.”
His voice was deep and gruff, but he sounded sincere. Of course, I was no expert on bears, so how would I know? Maybe bears were good at lying . . .