Borgus and the Duke by Ken Kraus

[Spring 2010] My recently completed novel, Borgus and the Duke, set in 2156 brings together elements of science fiction and the American Old West. In Borgus and the Duke, a retired crippled engineer struggles to save his Saturn space station from a vengeful ex-apprentice by melding with an experimental robot and forging a partnership with the ghost of his hero, John Wayne. I am currenty pitching this one to agents.

And by the way, supporting characters in this novel, Rosa the nurse and Vivian the techie, star in their own published stories in Aphelion- The Dolphin of Europa, and Vivian and the Dust. See the links on this website.

The story of Borgus and the Duke is set in 2156 aboard Station Lennier orbiting Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. His body paralyzed, Randolph Borgus plans to snuff himself by euthanasia while watching his favorite “Duke” Wayne Western. Borgus finds himself transported to a mystical saloon, where he and the Duke, both healthy and in the flesh, can join forces to shoot it out with a devil-like apparition that has haunted Borgus’s life.

But in the real world, ex-apprentice Allen Jarvis arrives with an outlaw crew seeking vengeance on Borgus and his station. Borgus is revived, pulled back from this dream-time saloon to use his unique engineering knowledge to ward off the life and death crisis.

To become mobile enough to handle Jarvis’s threat, the crippled Borgus learns that his brain can be remotely linked to a new humanoid robot, if he will race the clock to find Jarvis’s hidden bomb and rescue a captured shuttle full of children. Thrilled to experience speech and movement from a new robotic point of view, Borgus is aware that he risks becoming permanently bonded to the artificial unit, never to be fully human again. He must also confront growing evidence that Jarvis may have been set up, and that his own station commander may not be so innocent. Facing an enemy that outnumbers him on all sides, Borgus draws inspiration from the Duke’s lone feisty image that appears in “other world” scenes and as a mysterious disembodied voice to cajole him during critical moments.

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