Kea’s Flight



“What makes this book so fascinating is Kea, her fellow autistic children (they range from those with severe autism to high-functioning types with Asperger’s Syndrome), and the society they’ve built in their ship. It’s long been observed that many SF heroes and other characters display characteristics similar to folks with Asperger’s—here’s a book that makes the connection explicit. You’ll see echoes of Heinlein’s Peewee Reisfeld, Asimov’s Arkady Darrell, and Panshin’s Mia Havero.”

–Don Sakers, Analog Magazine



It’s the 25th century, and humans have learned how to end unwanted pregnancies by removing and cryogenically freezing the embryos to save for later. But they never planned for how many there would be, or how much control people would want over their offspring’s genetic makeup.

Kea was an exile before she was born. Grown from an embryo that was rejected for having autism-spectrum genes, she has been raised on a starship full of Earth’s unwanted children. When a sudden discovery threatens their plan to find a home, Kea must join with other rejects to save the ship from its own corrupt government.

More information below.




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If you’d like to buy a large supply of print copies to sell at a conference or bookstore, go here for pricing information.




Kea’s Flight: A Science Fiction Novel by Erika Hammerschmidt and John C Ricker


It’s finally out! As of March 2011 our science fiction novel, Kea’s Flight, is published and available to buy, through the Lulu marketplace and Amazon’s Kindle store. If all goes well, Lulu will put the print version up on Amazon soon, and send the epub version to the iBookstore, but for now, both are available through Lulu’s site.

Kea’s Flight is a thought-provoking exploration of dystopian futures, theocratic authoritarian governments, pervasive surveillance, and the effect they might have on people with mental diagnoses. Artificial intelligence, space travel, and linguistics play major roles in this story, as well as controversial subjects such as gay rights and abortion.

The story is set in a future where embryos are rejected for all sorts of genetic reasons, and yet abortion is forbidden. When there are too many embryos to raise on Earth, the unwanted ones are sent into space, to be raised on starships and colonize other planets.

The protagonist is Kea, an outcast who was exiled to space as an embryo for having a genetic predisposition to Asperger’s Syndrome. She invents secret codes using board games, lectures herself on linguistics to stave off panic, and named herself after a species of parrot. Throughout the story she struggles with her emotional challenges, builds a group of like-minded rebels, and finds love with a socially awkward computer hacker named Draz, all while evading the security robots and surveillance system of a totalitarian-ruled starship that considers her little more than a bothersome cargo.

The book is co-authored with my husband John. I did the writing, came up with the characters, and created the premise of the book. John laid a scientific and technological foundation that could support my ideas, while helping with character development and action scenes. Work on Kea’s Flight started as a conversation between us about five years ago, and blossomed into a 500+ page novel.

I painted the cover art, in acrylics on 11 x 16″ canvas paper.

If books had movie-style ratings, I’m not sure what rating I would give it. It has swearing, violence and mild non-explicit sex scenes. It may not be suitable for all audiences. But then, I don’t think any book is.



Kea’s Flight has been featured on several blogs:


Review and Interview on Crack a Spine

Review in Analog magazine

Review on Science Fiction and Other ODDysseys

Interview on The Australian Bookshelf

Guest Post on Illusions of Intimacy

Guest post at Aobibliosphere



Here is where to buy it:


ebook for Kindle on Amazon, for $3.89

ebook for Nook on Barnes and Noble, for $3.89

epub for iPhone, iPad, etc. on Lulu, for $3.89

PDF download on Lulu for $3.89

569-page 5.5 x 8.5″ paperback version on Lulu for $15.00, without ISBN, on standard paper

500-page 6 x 9″ paperback version on Lulu for $25.99, with ISBN, on high-quality paper



Enjoy! And if you do enjoy, tell everyone you know, so that they can enjoy it too.

Thanks very much to all who supported and advised us throughout this long process. You are all wonderful people.



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