Tag: Futuristic

Beta Earth Chronicles – Blog Tour

Posted October 27, 2017

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The Blind Alien is a story with a highly original concept, fascinating characters, and not-too-subtle but truthful allegories.  Don’t let the sci-fi label or alternate Earth setting fool you–this is a compelling and contemporarily relevant story about race, sex, and social classes.”

–Raymond Benson, Former James Bond novelist and author of the Black Stiletto books.

 

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Besides his 33 years in the classroom, Dr. Wesley Britton considers his Beta-Earth Chronicles the most important work he’s ever done. “I suppose an author profile is intended to be a good little biography,” Britton says, “but the best way to know who I am is to read my novels.”

Still, a few things you might like to know about Wes include the fact he’s the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in the media, most notably The Encyclopedia of TV Spies (2009). Beginning in 1983, he was a widely published poet, article writer for a number of encyclopedias, and was a noted scholar of American literature. Since those days, for sites like BlogCritics.org and BookPleasures.com, Britton wrote over 500 music, book, and movie reviews. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents for which he contributed celebrity interviews with musicians, authors, actors, and entertainment insiders.

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Starting in fall 2015, his science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted with The Blind Alien. Throughout 2016, four sequels followed including The Blood of Balnakin, When War Returns, A Throne for an Alien, and The Third Earth. Return to Alpha will be the sixth volume of this multi-planetary epic.

Britton earned his doctorate in American Literature at the University of North Texas in 1990. He taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College until his retirement in 2016. He serves on the Board of Directors for Vision Resources of Central Pennsylvania. He lives with his one and only wife, Betty, in Harrisburg, PA.

 

Book One, The Blind Alien, came out in Sept 2015 – Book Six is due for release before Christmas 2017.

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The epic opens when Malcolm Renbourn, a young history teacher, walks into an ordinary bank on an ordinary day. Suddenly, he feels excruciating pain. Unexpectedly, he loses his sight and discovers he has been drawn against his will across the multi-verse to a slave-holding country on a parallel earth. He doesn’t understand a single word he hears, but he soon comprehends that he is the focal point in the quest to end a plague that kills three out of four male babies their first year on Beta-Earth.

Branded state property, he must escape, but where can a blind man in a strange world dominated by desperate scientists run? And on a world where polygamy is the norm, how can Malcolm Renbourn adapt into becoming the husband of five independent wives who never expected to be the mothers of a generation a planet hopes will carry the genes that will change everything. And that’s just part of the story.

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Much of Malcolm’s background was drawn from my own life, especially his blindness and the treatment he endures because of it. Some of his more bizarre encounters actually happened to me, many of them quite comical. People have asked Malcolm and me all sorts of strange questions over the years—Do blind people sleep with their eyes open or closed? How does a blind man aim properly in toilets? Did I know I had a beard?

 

Of course, most of the book is pure imagination, as in the ghastly plague that kills three out of four male babies their first year, resulting in Beta-Earth’s culture of polygamy. Hence, Malcolm’s growing tribe of wives and children.

Blind Alien

 

Here are a couple more reviews for Blind Alien which is priced at only $0.99

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“An excellent work of new SF that hearkens back to the classics of Asimov and Heinlein. Told from the viewpoint of the different characters, it is a tale of a man from our earth (Alpha) being unwittingly transferred to a parallel earth (Beta) where he must learn to adapt to new cultures, attitudes, languages at the same time as coming to grips with the loss of his sight. Each of the characters are fully developed and well defined and being able to hear their thoughts about each encounter brings a richness to the narratives. Politics, religion, social mores and relationships are all examined from both without and within.”—Dave Massengale, Amazon review

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“Spymaster and imaginative author, Dr. Wesley Britton has another big hit! His book takes the reader on a compelling journey of an Alpha earthling who has been spirited to planet Beta. Science-fiction, yes, but much more. The book explores science, medicine, commerce, education, spiritual life, family life and sex on an alternative planet which at times is insightful and hilarious in its comparison to our own Earth. In an ingenious way, Dr. Britton has created a new grammar and vocabulary to continually intrigue the reader. A true winner!” –Bobbi Chertok, Amazon Reviewer

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Follow Wesley Britton at:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/295635.Wesley_Britton/blog

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Explore Beta-Earth with Tribe Renbourn as the “Alpha Man” and his wives face irresistible prophecies, island tyrants, the curse of the “Plague-With-No-Name,” and a horrifying death-trade.

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Just when Tribe Renbourn is certain they’ve found sanctuary in the country of Alma, they must battle a mutant girl from the aristocracy, a lecherous prince, a theocratic church, and take sides in a world-shaking civil war.

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After leading a fleet of exiles from the Alman civil war, Tribe Renbourn becomes embroiled with a duplicitous island royal family, the fight to end the “Plague-With-No-Name,” the invasion of a deadly foe, and the demanding will of the harsh goddess of Beta, Olos.

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Forced to leave Beta-Earth behind, six members of Tribe Renbourn are forever transformed when they travel across the multi-verse to be captives of a very different kind of humanity of pairs and must lead the rebellion of the single-bodied “nams.”

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Forty years after Malcolm Renbourn was drug across the multi-verse, two of his children from Beta-Earth, and two from Cerapin-Earth travel to our planet where they encounter a world suffering from biological war, climate change, religious zealotry, and fear of what these aliens might bring to a suffering humanity.

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Find out more about The Beta Earth Chronicles at:

http://drwesleybritton.com

Follow and like the Beta Earth Chronicles

https://www.facebook.com/BetaEarthChronicles/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Iris by Andrew Gates

Posted July 4, 2017

My Review

Iris is a character driven story that takes place entirely in the depths of the ocean. The last of mankind fled to the bottom of the sea after the land became too toxic for human survival. It begins with an explorative expedition with two navy personnel, charged with the task of testing out a new submarine, and I have to confess to being drawn into Iris midway through this first chapter.

Reading on, I found the pacing in the next few chapters rather slow, and very nearly put the book in my DNF (did not finish) folder. A good friend of mine loved this book though, so I persevered, skipping through the parts that I didn’t think really added anything to the story (mainly backstory and excess exposition, plus one whole chapter that could quite easily have been cut out with no detriment to the worldbuilding or characterisation). But, I’m glad I stuck with Iris because it really is a very good story.

It’s multi-pov, providing different perspectives and experiences of the people living in the underground habitat. Iris, of course, is the main pov character, and through her, our eyes are opened to the society around her (and the others). In many ways, there is little difference to the kind of society we know, but being underwater requires a more totalitarian style government. What may come across as necessary rules to some, is seen as oppression by others. As events unfold, and discoveries are made, it challenges everything these characters think they might know about their past, present. and potential future.

Iris is a page turner (once I was past the earlier chapters) and I honestly had a hard time putting it down in the latter part of the book and right up to the end. There are plenty of twists and turns and surprises, and I, for one, am looking forward to reading the second book in this series: Kholvaria

[goodreviews isbn=”B01LZA9CSN” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 

 


Lucifer’s Star by C.T. Phipps

Posted May 19, 2017

Cassius Mass was the greatest star pilot of the Crius Archduchy. He fought fiercely for his cause, only to watch his nation fall to the Interstellar Commonwealth. It was only after that he realized the side he’d been fighting for was the wrong one. Now a semi-functional navigator on an interstellar freight hauler, he tries to hide who he was and escape his past. Unfortunately, some things refuse to stay buried and he ends up conscripted by the very people who destroyed his homeland.

LUCIFER’S STAR is the first novel of the Lucifer’s Star series, a dark science fiction space opera set in a world of aliens, war, politics, and slavery.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01MDM9MCT” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Serengeti by J.B. Rockwell

Posted October 7, 2016

It was supposed to be an easy job: find the Dark Star Revolution Starships, destroy them, and go home. But a booby-trapped vessel decimates the Meridian Alliance fleet, leaving Serengeti—a Valkyrie class warship with a sentient AI brain—on her own; wrecked and abandoned in an empty expanse of space. On the edge of total failure, Serengeti thinks only of her crew. She herds the survivors into a lifeboat, intending to sling them into space. But the escape pod sticks in her belly, locking the cryogenically frozen crew inside. Then a scavenger ship arrives to pick Serengeti’s bones clean. Her engines dead, her guns long silenced, Serengeti and her last two robots must find a way to fight the scavengers off and save the crew trapped inside her.

[goodreviews isbn=”B01BG8OHXU” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Maelstrom by Richard Paolinelli

Posted September 11, 2016

Dr. Steven Collins has devoted his life to one cause: finding a way to prevent a catastrophic collision between Earth and an asteroid, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Collins spends years developing a shield—a device that uses the Earth’s own magnetic field—and finally reaches the point where he is ready to test it. But when Collins turns on his creation, he rips open a hole in time and space itself that hurls him forward in time, where he discovers to his horror that the device he created has caused the very global Armageddon he was trying to prevent. Collins now must try to undo the damage he has done as best he can. But the few surviving members of the human race are slowly dying off, a century of living under the shield taking its toll, and they cannot leave the planet to try to build a new civilization elsewhere. For just beyond the shield lurks a madman who seeks to dominate the human race or exterminate it.

[goodreviews isbn=”B00JNYQ8WS” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Author Interview: J.D.Cunegan

Posted May 14, 2016

J.D.CuneganFresh off his debut novel Bounty, J.D. Cunegan introduces his intense follow-up, Blood Ties, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that re-introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, enjoys reading, and is an avid auto racing fan.


  • When did you first discover your love for writing?

 

When I was 11, I picked up my first-ever comic book, an issue of X-Men from the Chris Claremont/Jim Lee era. I’d never been much of a reader up to that point, and I certainly had never entertained the thought of writing, but once I got into comic books, it was like a switch had been flipped. By the time I got to high school, I was creating my own characters and crafting stories for them. By the time I got to college, I started studying journalism, and my career as a sports writer kept me writing, even when the creative juices weren’t there. But I’ve been writing, in one form or another, since I was 11 years old, and I have comic books to thank for that.

 

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

 

I don’t really have a favourite place to write, purely out of necessity. My day job is extremely time-consuming, and it keeps me on the road for days or weeks at a time, so I have to be flexible about when and where I can write. I’ve written in my office, in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms… if I have the time and the space, I can write almost anywhere.

 

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

 

Much like I can’t afford to have one place in particular, I don’t really have a set routine. I don’t outline my novels beforehand; outside of a general idea of a book’s plot, I’m very much a pantser. It can sometimes make the editing process a pain in the butt, but I find the less I plan, the more freedom I have when writing. Sometimes, that freedom leads to some pleasant surprises – and if I’m surprised as the writer, something tells me my readers will be surprised, too.

 

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

 

Not necessarily. If I spend too much time aspiring to be something or someone other than myself, then my work suffers. Reading helps my writing in several different ways, but at no point have I sat down and thought “I want to be the next so-and-so” or “I want to write the next insert-title-here.”

 

  • What inspired you to write Bounty/Blood Ties?

 

I created Jill, the protagonist, when I was in high school… and it’s a character and a universe that’s grown over the years as I’ve grown. Of all the characters I’ve created, Jill is my favourite, so it’s only right that my first published works are with her in them. The cop doubling as a superhero angle had always intrigued me, and I’m glad I get to play around with genre convention a little bit in that regard.

 

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

 

Blood Ties centers around the mystery of Jill’s father. In the first novel, Bounty, we Blood Ties ebookestablish that Jill’s father had once been a detective, like her, but that he had fallen from grace after being convicted of three murders and sentenced to death. Blood Ties finally answers the central questions: 1) Did Jill’s father actually commit those murders? 2) Will he actually be executed? From there, Blood Ties unravels a grand conspiracy involving a shadowy cult called The Order, and they’re quite intent on making sure Jill doesn’t survive long enough to properly deal with what happens to her father.

 

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

 

Jill is the obvious favourite, but I want to point to a character making his debut in Blood Ties: Detective Earl Stevens. He’s a former college football player who’s been on the force for about 15 years, and his dialogue is some of the most unique and colourful I’ve ever written. He’s not a great interrogator, but I found myself writing a few chapters in which Earl interrogated someone, just so I could see what kind of stuff would fly out of his mouth. I wasn’t disappointed, and I don’t think the readers will be either.

 

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

 

I haven’t gotten too heavy-handed with messages in either Bounty or Blood Ties yet… though through Jill, I do convey the message of even one person making a difference (and conversely, how much can one person really do, in the grand scheme of things?). But my next book, Behind the Badge, will be message-heavy, tackling the issues of police brutality and racism.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing these Bounty novels?

 

The biggest challenge is always knowing when the book’s ready. There’s no solid end point when it comes to editing and revising, so it’s hard to tell sometimes when it’s ready to be published. There have been times where I’ve felt my book was ready, only to discover there was a lot of work still to do on it. The line is hard to see, harder to reach, and sometimes, you don’t realize you’re there until you’ve blown right past it.

 

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing these first two novels?

 

That I can actually finish a project. The last decade or so has been littered with WIPs that held a lot of promise and were just… abandoned at some point. I never even finished the first draft. But now that I have two full-length novels and a digital short (Boundless) under my belt… I know I can see a project through to completion, and that really helps on days in which the words aren’t coming.

 

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

 

The best way to improve as a writer is to write. Simple as that. The second best way? Read. Read as much as you can, as often as you can. Don’t just read stuff similar to what you’re writing, either; read everything you can get your hands on. Even reading the newspaper can help. Also, I’m generally loathe to recommend books on writing, but Stephen King’s On Writing is as close to a must-have as it gets.

 

  • Anything else you would like to say?

 

Never sweat the quality of your first draft. You’re not going to be Stephen King or James Patterson on the first draft (hell, Stephen King and James Patterson aren’t Stephen King and James Patterson on the first draft). Trust the editing process. Trust someone else, more than one if possible, to read your work at some point. Another pair of eyeballs will always catch more stuff than you will.

 

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

 

Behind the Badge, the third Bounty novel, is set to be released in June. I’m also writing the fourth novel in the series, Behind the Mask. I also have two separate projects in the works: a political thriller titled The Pen is Mighty and a supernatural epic titled Notna. I hope to have all three of those out by the end of 2017.

End with links to Blog /FB & Twitter etc

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JDCunegan/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JD_Cunegan

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14050436.J_D_Cunegan

Website: https://jdcuneganbooks.wordpress.com/

Tumblr: http://jdcuneganbooks.tumblr.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Cunegan/e/B00YNTP4S2/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1433567933&sr=8-1

 


Blood Ties by J.D. Cunegan

Posted April 29, 2016

For as long as Jill Andersen could remember, her father was a hero.
But heroes don’t commit murder, do they? The state of Maryland said Paul Andersen did just that, three times over, and was set to execute him for it. But Jill and the rest of her colleagues at the Baltimore Police Department come across the murder of a law student that leaves her hopeful that she can clear her father’s name.
While Jill and her colleagues work against the clock to clear her father’s name, new players emerge, hinting to a deeper, darker conspiracy than what was previously known. An enigmatic faction known as The Order reveals itself, and the mystery surrounding Paul’s alleged duplicity leaves more questions than answers.
Along the way, Jill must not only face the possibility that her father was not who she thought he was, but she must also face the prospect of her secret being revealed. The stakes are higher than ever in Blood Ties, the intense follow-up to J.D. Cunegan’s debut mystery Bounty.
Can Jill save her father before it’s too late? Will she even want to?

[goodreviews isbn=”B01976J8SW” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


…Before You Leap by Les Lynam

Posted March 5, 2016

Two teens from two centuries apart, one the direct descendant of the other. Einstein’s Theory didn’t cover THIS relativity.

Sean Kelly considered himself an average 16-year-old, living in an average neighborhood in a small University town. Nothing too exciting ever happened in Grover’s Corners, Missouri; some might even label it boring. His ordinary life was disrupted when a distant relative dropped by at the beginning of his Junior year in high school. A distant relative from the 23rd Century.

Two 16-year-olds in a time machine. What could possibly go wrong?

[goodreviews isbn=”B00OZ136YC” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


History Of Sol: Ouroboros by Chris Masterton & Steven Dutch

Posted November 18, 2015

Thousands of years after the Earth is destroyed in a war between belief and control, humanity is spread across the solar system, divided into four Colonies that seem to have achieved peace and order. Among them is a small group of people that find themselves plunged into the middle of a secret plot to rule all of Sol and destroy the remaining believers that hide on the outskirts of civilization. The crew of the MSF Galaxy unwittingly embark on a journey of self discovery in their quest for knowledge. During which they are constantly hounded by the Supreme Commander of the Martian Fleet in his attempt to suppress the unrest in the colonies. The only thing that drives them on is an ancient and mysterious Artifact, as they try to figure out its true value and where they fit in this grand scheme that seems to be laid out for them.

[goodreviews isbn=”0994178107″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


A Hero for the Empire by Christina Westcott

Posted November 10, 2015

 
Commander Kimber FitzWarren is running on borrowed time. The cybernetic augmentations that give her superhuman strength and speed have also shortened her life. The success of her next mission is imperative, not only to save her Empire, but because this operation could be her last. She and a cabal of idealistic officers are plotting to topple the corrupt Imperial government. The key to placing missing military legend Arianne Ransahov on the throne lies with the one man who can find her, mercenary Wolf Youngblood. 
 
Having just survived an Imperial assassination attempt, Wolf is understandably on edge when Fitz shows up in his bedroom at 0-dark-30. Except she isn’t there to kill him, but to plead for his help. Help he’s reluctant to give—until another assassin pushes the issue. Pursued by Imperial forces, left with no one to depend on but each other, a passion grows between them that even their secrets can’t destroy. 
 
But before they can explore what’s left of their future, they have to survive the mission. 
 
Warning: Space is no place to go it alone. We recommend taking along a telepathic cat, an immortal mercenary, and a cybernetically augmented Imperial SpecOps agent. You never know what kind of trouble you’ll run into…
 

[goodreviews isbn=”B00KNPC1KY” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


BEYOND THE PALE by SENAN GIL SENAN

Posted November 9, 2015

In a post-apocalyptic America, a young outlander is captured and processed as a new citizen of a high-walled citadel. Unable to leave, he soon becomes the houseguest of a security officer whose life he saved in the outlands. A passage to freedom can be arranged, but his growing infatuation with the city and for his benefactor’s daughter makes him unwilling to leave. If he stays, he may be faced with compromising his beliefs for a woman he loves.
Then an unfortunate turn of events leads to him becoming an unwelcome guest in a city that appears increasingly dystopian and alien to him. Without any support in this foreign land, he must try to leave whilst evading arrest. Fortunately, there are those on the outside who have not given up looking for him yet.
It is the tale of the interaction of two alternative and conflicting cultures as exemplified through the interactions of two men who try to appreciate each other’s world. They share many joint interests but hold to different values.
Society is at the dawn of a transhumanist transformation that is using technology to master nature. However some outlanders who remain beyond the pale, feel that nature itself is about to change, and will transform everything in its wake.

“Action and dialogue are very well balanced and equally convincing, continually adding to ad driving the story forward…Great book!Echoesofthepen.com

“Right from the beginning I was hooked, drawn in by the well written narrative. The post-apocalyptic world he has drawn cleverly, without resorting to cliché and it has a feel of originality that I liked.” Author Max Power

“Great characters, well-paced and compelling plot, and fascinating settings… it is one of those rare books” Author Jim Murray

“Senan Gil Senan has created a masterpiece, and it deserves acclaim.” Author Lesley Hayes

[goodreviews isbn=”B00O39BCNS” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Hugh The Southern Flame by RJ Tolson

Posted October 20, 2015

Centuries past, the world of Evos fell into war as its inhabitants battled over the powerful Nios Crystal, said to allow its user to control fear itself. After the crystal was lost and worldwide destruction blanketed the land, a band of survivors founded six great cities across the globe, never leaving their dream of global domination behind.

Today, Burst, the only technologically advanced city of the great six, produces and studies superhuman students with powers, known as Espers. Competing for the ultimate treasure, as well as global dominance, special students are recruited into the Agency to become Burst agents-famed and powerful elite members of society who are sent around the world on missions.

As the son of a disgraced and exiled legendary agent, seventeen-year-old Hugh has always wanted to join the Agency to redeem the honor of his family name-problem is, even though he is an Esper, Hugh has been classified a level one, barely passable as having supernatural powers. But all of that changes after he becomes an agent candidate, the beginning of a series of events that reveals the truth not only of the chaotic world around him and the shadowy figures at work, but of the destiny that awaits him.

On a quest full of endless adventure and suspense, Hugh must journey through the beast-filled wastelands, hone his powers, and find the Nios Crystal-or let everything around him perish as the entire world drowns in fear and darkness.

[goodreviews isbn=”B013QQKYD2″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Author Interview: Steve McCardell

Posted October 19, 2015

  • Darwood and SmittyWhen did you first discover your love for writing?

I’ve loved writing since early elementary school. By first or second grade, I knew I wanted to grow up to be a writer or a baseball player. Turned out to be a writer, which I do professionally for clients and do for fun when writing books.

  • Do you have a favourite place to write?

It’s pretty cliche, but I love to work at coffee shops. Gets me away from the things at home that take my attention and lets me slip into my own little world.

  • Do you have a writing routine or process that you adhere to?

No, because my work and family schedules are always changing. Besides a full-time job in writing and digital marketing, I almost always have one or more clients that I work with on a freelance basis, and I have to take good care of them.

But after caring for family and clients, I have such a passion for writing that I will always try finding at least an hour a day for writing. More than that on weekends. Besides my books, I have several business ventures that need writing. So I let the energy take me where it will. I don’t push a project that doesn’t want to be pushed. I believe this is what keeps me passionate about it, because there’s always something that fits my immediate interests. And since I’m not just writing books, but also writing blogs and articles and so on, I get to enjoy a finished product on a regular basis.

This wouldn’t work for writers with publishing contracts of course. But it works for me, as I self-publish my books.

  • Are there any authors or specific books you aspire to?

Probably like most science fiction authors, I have this warm fuzzy for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and while my first science fiction book — Darwood & Smitty and the Multi-World Agenda — doesn’t try to be anything like “The Guide,” it’s similar in the sense that it’s a humorous science fiction adventure that doubles as a social commentary.

  • What inspired you to write Darwood & Smitty?

I was on a plane in the early 2000s and just sat to start writing whatever came to me, as I often did. And I started writing about a metallic, magnetic road system that looked like a bunch of cheese graters butted end to end. It looks that way because there are holes in the metal to allow water drainage, but these holes also caused arguments between those who bought that story and those who felt they were really for releasing gas when the government wanted to take over. And the first side wanted to know — and rightly so — how the government could take over any more than it already had.

This scene later became part of the second chapter in Darwood & Smitty, a book in which you often have mainstream thought arguing with conspiracy theories; and a book whose two main characters somewhat have these differing views, even though they’re best friends.

  • Can you tell us a little about your book?

The story is set in 2045, though it gives a brief history of our current time — our passage through the economic crisis (underway when the book was published in 2010), the drop of gas prices in the mid-2010s (now), the emergence of the solar system life (aliens) in 2020, how the government goes global and why Earth’s capital ends up in New York City. It also touches on a number of products, their names, a few laughs at marketing, and tidbits like why we’re still using today’s style of fingernail clippers 30 years from now. (It’s not pretty.)

Like any good future vision of the world, surveillance is everywhere, and it talks about how we’ve adapted to it … for better and for worse. And corporations have reached new heights of power, which is something the latest president has promised to address with his special interest legislation.

Oh, and did I mention that we have a global police force made up of Jovians that tower above us and look like trolls?

The story revolves around Darwood and Smitty, who are deliverymen asked to hand deliver a package to Earth’s president. From a man in solitary confinement. And things are suspicious to ever-cautious Smitty because he’s wondering why several teams before them have failed. In the end, they’ll have to figure out why and help address some problems that are bigger than this world.

  • Do you have a favourite amongst all your characters?

I really love a lot of my characters. There’s one guy whose name I don’t even know who just about brings me to tears with his bravery. There’s an overlord who reminds me of Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants. And the president — boy, if politicians could take note. But after spending so much time with them learning about their story, Darwood and Smitty are my favorites for their humor, philosophy, and bravery.

  • Does your book contain a message for readers to consider?

From my perspective, anyway, a lot of my writing is more about looking at things in order to ask questions, not to give answers. I’d rather make readers ponder a question rather than sort of push my own point of view. The book, however, hovers around a couple of themes that are important to me, which are freedom and unity.

  • Would you be interested in sharing a teaser? 

When the global government took form in 2020, life from the rest of the system made itself known. Considering the technology of Earth’s planetary neighbors, you’d think the smog problem wouldn’t last. But there were precisely two problems standing in the way: the Martians, who had fits of laughter about humans using oil, were mercenaries. All they liked to do was trade. And they had plenty of oil they wanted to get rid of. With our supplies starting to trickle, they were happy to feed the addiction.

But a little more grievously, the Venusians had tried presenting a magnetic grid solution for powering our vehicles. And they presented to the wrong politicians, who were in the wrong pockets and saw to it that such a thing wouldn’t happen on their watch. It took a while for the Venusians to finally understand, but when they did, it was an easy answer: give the politicians more power than oil was giving them. Let New York raise funds from every car tapping into the magnetic grid. Then the oil cats couldn’t pull their strings and — with so many funds available — New York could cut back on taxes, providing relief to the people, and still fund extra programs.

It was a nice idea. In fact, it was a great idea, and put in place by 2030. But of course the taxes weren’t lowered. The government just reached its arms out further for a kind and smothering embrace.

It’s a long way of saying that the roads were metal now and, looked at from above, appeared to be so many cheese graters jammed end-to-end; this, because of the myriad holes across each section of road. The holes, it was said, were for drainage, and there was no question they worked in that way. But there were those who swore that they’d be used to release gas “when the government wants to take over.”

“But they’ve already taken over. They control everything!” said the opposition.

“Well … they want to control us more,” murmured the first side. Even Smitty, who was suspicious of everything, doubted this position. There really wasn’t much more power to take.

  • What would say has been your biggest challenge and achievement in writing Darwood & Smitty?

The biggest achievement, for me, was finishing a novel that was intended for the public. I had written several books for clients in the past, but this was the first with my name on it. But once it was published, I never treated it as a business, so the challenge has been giving it exposure and attracting readers. Obviously we’re in an age when there are more books published than ever, and they’re competing with YouTube and apps and social media and streaming TV shows and so on.

But I continue sharing its message in a casual way, when opportunities are present and by continuing to build my own website. And I do this not only because I love the idea of being able to share it with others, but because it seems like it gets more and more relevant to our political and corporate world as time goes by.

  • What have you learned about yourself as a writer through writing Darwood & Smitty?

While I also do some fantasy writing, I learned that I really like science fiction. I love pondering “what if,” and thinking about crazy possibilities in how the world works, and science fiction allows you to explore so much of this. I didn’t consider myself a science fiction writer before this, even though when I look back, I remember loving a science fiction project I worked on for a client in the early 2000s.

  • Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

There’s a lot of information out there from writers to other writers. I would add something in for younger people, especially those in school. When you can, read good books slowly. Even read out loud. Hear the words and the rhythm in your head or in your ears. Understand how the best writers have used language. And do this in a variety of genres. If you really want to write, learn from those who have succeeded. I think it’s sad that supposedly advanced English classes these days demand that students speed read — I think they lose so much from books when they have to devour huge amounts quickly.

So go slowly when you can, devouring quality time with books instead. And like with any sport, where you keep repeating until something is in muscle memory, read and write to the point where the words flow in your mind and onto paper any time you need them. If you haven’t consciously digested writing, if you’ve read for speed rather than deep comprehension, I believe you’ll have a much harder time becoming a great writer.

  • Anything else you would like to say?

Only to mention a thank you for this chance to talk about my book. As with so many writers, this is my art. How I express myself. And it’s nice to have a chance to share it with others.

  • And finally, do you have any future works planned?

Maybe too many, but yes. I expect a sequel of Darwood & Smitty at some point. It’s been taking form in my head. I’ve also begun work on another science fiction book that frankly cracks me up and I expect to be the funniest thing I’ve written. I’m almost done with the second book of my youth fantasy series, and two more planned that might be sort of a spiritual science fiction. And I have others in different genres that are and will be written under pen names. So I have a lot to get done, but again, love that there’s always something waiting for me to work on!


My personal site can be found at www.stevemccardell.com. This includes my blog, pages on Darwood & Smitty, many pieces of short fiction or poetry, and some of my music as well. I’m on Twitter at https://twitter.com/stevemccardell and my Amazonauthor page is http://amzn.to/1LdrQjJ


H2Zero

Posted June 12, 2015

“The main element crucial for the survival of life is also a demon in disguise; it will snatch your life away as quickly as you were given it. There’s no god, it’s the elements that control this world and everything on it.”

[goodreviews isbn=”B00NGKOETE” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]

 


Rogue Hunter: Dark Space by Kevis Hendrickson

Posted April 29, 2015

TRAPPED AND HUNTED!

Shortly after her trial on New Venus, Zyra Zanr is captured by a team of rival bounty hunters and brought aboard their ship, the Lilith. They intend to take her to the planet Sojo, home of a powerful crime boss who nurses a grievance against her. Zyra fears for her life, knowing death awaits her at the end of the journey.

Can Zyra escape her impending doom? Or will her captors' seething hatred for her result in her ultimate demise? To survive what's coming her way, Zyra will have to turn the table on the Lilith's crew and show them why she is the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy.

Book II of the Rogue Hunter series.

[goodreviews isbn=”B00VVHPGKU” buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]


Blogging A-Z: J is for… Jupiter

Posted April 13, 2015

Jupiter

Which is another non-theme, but trying to find a theme for J proved quite impossible (though the odds are I’ll think of something after hitting the publish button…

jupiterAnyhow… Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system with a mass two and half times that of all the other planets combined (according to Space Facts). Its primary makeup is gas, and it is therefore known as a Gas giant.  Thanks to a visit to an observatory with the children the other week, I got to see Jupiter and four of its moons through one of their telescopes.

It has a total of 63 moons, but the main ones are: Europa, Lo, Ganymede and Callisto


Some fiction exists with Jupiter as a backdrop, although earlier works, such as Micromégas (1752) by Voltaire and A Journey in Other Worlds (1894) by John Jacob Astor IV take place on Jupiter itself, something discoveries since then have discounted as impossible, due to its having no solid surface on which to land, high radiation and high gravity.

A search of Amazon shows there are quite a few independently published science fiction books with Jupiter as a setting/backdrop, with titles such as The Jupiter Paradox, Jupiter Rising and The Lost Jupiter.


Jupiter_and_the_Galilean_Satellites

Jupiter’s Moons

In contrast to this, three of the four moons mentioned appear to be a far more likely place for mankind to reach out to (in science fiction at least).

A search on Amazon of independent books featuring Europa, Ganymede and Callisto turns up a search result in the thousands, mostly relating to a colonisation environment (well on the first page anyway), with Europa being the most popular destination. 


 


Blogging A-Z: I is for… Invasion

Posted April 13, 2015

Invasion

An invasion of our home planet is another regular theme in science fiction – Independence day, War of the Worlds and the Day the Earth still to name but a few. As with the other themes mentioned through the A-Z blogging challenge, different writers have different ideas of what an invasion might entail, although it usually involves an alien species. We might be sport – hunted down and killed, an inconvenience standing in the way of the natural resources, or a species to be rounded up and enslaved. Whatever the reason, you can guarantee mankind will fight for its survival.


war of the worlds

War of the Worlds

Based on a novel by H.G.Wells, the recent 2005 film brought the War of the Worlds to the big screen – Hollywood style. In this version, the aliens invading our world buried tripod styled machines deep beneath the surface of our world long before man even existed.

They have returned to claim the planet for their own, at first killing everyone in sight, they go on to capture the pitiful humans panicking beneath their feet…


Independence Dayindependence day

In Independence Day, alien spaceships appear over the most populated cities. It takes a while for the powers to be to work out that their arrival is not a friendly one, by which time they manage to lose the majority of their fighter planes, although they never really had much of a chance against a forcefield protected spaceship anyway.

A mentally implanted image from an alien informs them that the invasion is indeed hostile…


day the earth stood still

The day the Earth stood still

The alien in this film takes on the human form and claims his intention to save the Earth, although the alien’s definition of save and ours, are two entirely different things. The treatment he receives after being captured and interrogated does not convince the alien that mankind should be allowed to continue in existence.

As a swarm of insect-like nanites sweep across Earth, a mother and child must convince him that mankind is worth saving…


I’ve chosen to mention three older films so not to give spoilers away about new films (and assume most people will have seen these ones anyway). Alien invasions are very popular in science fiction, for an in-depth list  of movies, you can check out IMDb’s Apocalyptic and Alien Invasions listing, for books, check out the alien invasion listings on Amazon.

 


Blogging A-Z: G is for… Global Warming

Posted April 10, 2015

Global warming

Another popular theme in science fiction. I have read numerous books and watched countless films with Global Warming at the fore, be it snow, rain, ice, wind, tornados, tsunamis, or an all out end of the world as we know it… they all arise from this theme. I’ve learned about the effect of collapsing ice shelves (The day after Tomorrow), the devastating effects of solar flares (2012) as well as ‘witnessing’ a variety of environmental experiments via the films on the Syfy channel, (the acting is bad, the scripts are awful, but some of the concepts are quite good).

Global_Temperature_Anomaly.svgSo… Global warming is the ‘century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects’(Wikipedia)

Extreme Weather

Extreme weather conditions are often cited as a direct result of Global Warming, whether we have the hottest January on record or an increase in Hurricanes.

In Science Fiction, extreme weather is frequently the cause of Earth’s impending demise, with characters racing to counter the unprecedented extremes, or succumb to them.

In most of the films I’ve watched with extreme weather scenarios, the scientists are very fortunate in that they have sophisticated equipment to warn them about the incoming storm/hurricane/flood/volcanic eruption etc etc, but refuse to believe the given results – even though the equipment is doing what it was designed to do. There is of course that one character who isn’t fooled, who tries to convince the majority, but by the time they start listening to him/her, it’s usually too late.

The Barren Earth

In my mind, a future with continued Global Warning is that of a barren, drought-ridden expanse of land where little grows, livestock dies and water – or what is left of it – becomes our most valuable resource. An article on CS Globe discusses a controversial scientist’s claim that Earth could be heading towards something he refers to as Venus syndrome, ‘where global warming becomes so bad Earth can no longer sustain human life.’ (source), although his vision is the opposite of mine (rising sea levels).

greenhouse-effect-500x295The truth is, we are abusing the planet we rely on to support life. We’ve become a busy little place over the last one hundred years or so, chopping down trees, dipping into natural resources such as oil and gas, pumping chemicals into the sky… and if the Greenhouse effect is to be believed, it’s going to get hotter.

I did watch a program about this a few years back, and I can’t remember all the details, but I’m pretty sure the scientists were arguing that Earth went through a natural cycle of warm and cold spells – implying that what we’re being told isn’t all doom and gloom, but I suppose time will tell who is right and who isn’t.

Dead Earth

Another possible scenario for us (and this one is very futuristic), is that the Earth did indeed achieve the status of ‘Venus syndrome,’ is totally beyond the ability to support life, and those of us who could afford it (or were just plain lucky), have moved on to new pastures. Our technology has usually advanced to the point where we’ve created ships that are capable of travelling great distances, and usually with faster than the speed of light travel, or with the ability to jump from one point in space to another. We’ve discovered new life-supporting planets and have taken what remains of humanity aboard these great ships, although in some science fiction, the journey has already been taken and life couldn’t be better…

 


Spacetug Copenhagen (Steps to Space #1)

Posted April 7, 2015

My thoughts:

Another book quite unlike anything I’ve read before. Spacetug Copenhagen, in my opinion, is a better starting point if you intend to read Richard Penn’s series’ of hard science fiction books. Spacetug Copenhagen has a great premise, is an addictive read and is a gentle introduction into how real science and engineering can be incorporated into fiction.

As stated in the synopsis, there is a luxurious hotel on the outskirts of the atmosphere, providing wealthy guests with the ultimate holiday destination. The story takes place just fifteen years in the future, and wastes no time getting started. Main characters are introduced early on, key concepts and motives are explained through narration and character interaction, and by the end  of the first chapter the reader is heading through the stratosphere and into space.

The wealthy Peters family look suited to a trip up to the orbiting hotel, while Marius and Abbey – two Danish engineers – look completely out of place in their attire, and it doesn’t take the reader long to find out why.

I can’t really say anymore about the story without giving the details away, except to say that I finished this book feeling very positive about just how close to colonisation in space we are. What made this book for me was the descriptions of ‘how’ things could be done, especially when you consider one of Penn’s inspirations is the Copenhagen Suborbitals, an independent engineering collective running their own space program. Throw in an interesting array of characters, a little bit of politics, and lose yourself to the 64 pages on offer, just don’t expect to take a break – it really is a fascinating read.


Blogging A-Z: C is for…Colonisation

Posted April 3, 2015

Colonisation

There’s something about colonisation that fascinates me. I’m not sure what is exactly, but I just cannot get enough of it. I love seeing different writers perspective on what it means to survive within the confines of a colony, and I’m not all that fussed about the location either, be it underground, on land or in space.

Underground

colonyimage

colonyunderThese images are courtesy of a real estate article on Doomsday bunkers. According to the article, which was posted in April 2012, four of these apartments had been sold, allowing the purchasers to flee to a safe haven if a catastrophic event were to occur. It certainly looks appealing from where I’m sitting, but I can’t help but wonder what the ‘reality’ would be like after a few years – or decades – of being cooped up in such a confined space.

 

 


Space

asteroid belt

Dark-Colony-Cover1-253x380-174x280

The series I am currently reading is about as far away from Forge’s colony as I can get.  It’s in space, or to be more precise, the Terpsichore asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Richard Penn’s Asteroid Police combines adventure and mystery with hard (factual) science fiction. In the first book in this series – The Dark Colony – we are introduced to Lisa, a young policewoman charged with the role of ensuring order is maintained, and it is, until she has the misfortune to make a rather unpleasant discovery.

As yet I am only part way through reading this book, but I’m finding the science in this book quite fascinating. Penn has clearly researched his subject matter well, and there is a good balance between story telling and factual information.

spacetug-copenhagenAnother book of interest from Penn is Spacetug Copenhagen, book one of the Steps to Space series.  I don’t know about anyone else, but as a child, I always imagined we would be living on other planets by now (I have an overactive imagination).

This book uses present day engineering and science to show just how close we are to that vision. It’s set just fifteen years in the future, has a luxurious hotel in orbit, and judging by the series title, will feature the birth of a space colony.

As with The Dark Colony, it’s a fascinating (and addictive) read, especially when the source of inspiration is cited as an amateur space program.

The Copenhagen Suborbitals are a non-profit, amateur based space endeavor, funded entirely by private sponsors and donors. They build suborbital space vehicles – designed to pave the way for manned space flight on a micro size spacecraft, and on a micro size budget (Copenhagen Suborbitals)


My thoughts on colonisation

Despite the distance, and very different placement of the two forms of colony, there are several elements common in both books:-

Limited Resources (and the need to use what is available)

Regulations and order

Restricted living conditions

Penn and Forge have colonies that have been established over a period of time, and both have a futuristic placement, although the Asteroid Police series is closer to our present timeline then Toys and Soldiers.

If you are interesting in reading these books, please click on the images and you will be taken directly to Amazon. I, in the meantime, shall continue to search through the masses of self-published books for a land based and underwater colony environment (please feel free to comment if you know of any).

Sources:

Ashlyn Forge: http:ashlynforge.com

Richard Penn: http://lockhand.org/

Copenhagen Suborbitals: http://copenhagensuborbitals.com/

 

Books featuring a colony:
[show-reviews-in tax=”genre” name=”colony”]


The Dark Colony

Posted February 8, 2015

Now this is my sort of book – thrown into a strange environment (which in this case is a colony in space) and made to feel as if the writer is discussing an environment that’s as familiar as the village park. The writing is very matter-of-fact as it takes the reader on a tour of the premises. Led by the protagonist, the world is described to the reader through a series of events. Back story is brief and told through the voice of the narration, as for the grammar – well, I didn’t find a single typo in the first couple of chapters, which is really unusual for an independently published book.

This book is hard sci-fi, so it does contain a lot of detail, so if you’re looking for an easy read, this isn’t the book for you. That isn’t to say its hard to read because it’s not. I love books where the clues are laid down like breadcrumbs, ready for me to process and collate to make my own conclusions.

For a detailed review please take a look here.

[goodreviews isbn = “B00LAZVF58″ buyinfo=”off” bookinfo=”off”]