In this form, this story appeared in "Amazing Stories" magazine 35 years ago. It was later incorporated into my novel "Utopia Hunters," but hasn't been seen in its original form since its first appearance.
I'm posting this story as an introduction to the character of the poet and singer Sajit, who is going to be the subject of a new novel in my Inquestor series. The last book in the series, "The Darkling Wind," was published 33 years ago by Bantam. The four books had a decent following in the 1980s, but at the time, they were never in print at the same time, and never all from the same publisher, so they were hard to track down.
Recently I acquired the rights to my whole backlist and have put own the four books in uniform editions, and this has led some of my loyal (and ageing) readers to ask me if there would ever be any more. About nine months ago, I did in fact start working on a book about the childhood of this character ... and I think I'm going to start releasing it in little pieces.
I hope the releasing the original versions of these stories, and leaking out a few tidbits from upcoming ones, will revive interest in a series which used to get quite a bit of attention ... when I was younger and more innocent....