Posted by Literary Titan
Fresh from a harrowing heartbreak, Zeon wakes up in what appears to be heaven. While he’s still trying to process the picturesque surrounding, he’s snatched by a flying alien and made to watch earth get destroyed. He soon discovers that what he saw was one of the numerous “earths” imploding. Now, he has a mission to prevent his planet from suffering the same fate. All he has to do is destroy another earth to preserve his. But this happens to be Mike’s home and he also has been tasked to save it by destroying Zeon’s universe. To help both men accomplish their mission, the messengers of the gods swap their consciousness and plant each as a mole on the other’s earth. It’s now a race against time to see who can save his planet. But who is the true enemy here? Is there more to this mission than meets the eye? Which earth will survive?
Hofsetz’s Challenges of the Gods is a sci-fi novel that cuts across three worlds: earth as we know it, another version of earth and a surreal world called Pangea. Hofsetz stretches our imagination as he paints vivid pictures of Pangea’s outlandish reality and points our attention to the peculiarities of the other earth. I mean, imagine an earth where the shaking of the head indicates an interest in casual sex. That’s Hofsetz’s other earth.
Hofsetz’s weaves every detail of fiction together to deliver his themes strikingly. Chief amongst his ideas is how man’s blind loyalty can cause him to abdicate his senses. According to Hofsetz, we can easily be manipulated when we believe the other party is too good to do evil.
Furthermore, Hofsetz highlights man’s disposition to conflict and his ability to empathize with even the enemy. It is this trait that distinguishes (normal) man from a bloodthirsty maniac. He also touches on betrayal (we have quite the knack for that, don’t we?) and its far-reaching effects on the victims.
Speaking of victims, it’s a miracle Hofsetz’s penetrating sense of humour did not literally crack my ribs. The main character’s knack for silly thoughts, conversations between the characters and the culture of Hofsetz’s earth (Jora) all filled the book with hilarious moments. Hofsetz also did well to catch me unawares with some shocking plot twists.
If you’re a fan of sci-fi and a reader who needs something to help you wind down, Hofsetz’s book should do a great job.
Pages: 269 | ASIN: B07KNCXDSX
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Posted by Literary Titan
Enemy of the Gods follows Zeon as he tries to live a normal life, before a missile drags him back to the life he left behind. What was the inspiration for the setup of this thrilling story?
The main theme of this trilogy is trust. So, the opening chapters are a call for help from his family and friends—but the missile indicates he still doesn’t know whom to trust. And even his family hasn’t believed him in the past. The only person—uh, I mean, animal—he can trust is his overfriendly cat-robot.
Zeon is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some ideals that guided his character development?
Zeon’s main character trait—which is also a big disadvantage—is his confidence. He makes assumptions that tend to be incorrect, but in his head, he’s always right. The readers see his version of the world and they trust him. He thinks he knows the rules of Pangea and everything else. And when he’s wrong, we crash and burn with him. A lot of the humor comes from this. It’s the classic unreliable narrator.
Moreover, we tend to empathize with Zeon because not only is he a likable hero/anti-hero, but we often find ourselves in situations exactly like his—where we must make decisions based on uncertainty.
The book uses parallel worlds in some fascinating ways. How did this idea start and change as you wrote your story?
I always liked parallel worlds, but I was never a fan of infinite Earths. It doesn’t matter what we do; there’ll be universes where everything else happens differently. Infinitely. But a small number of parallel Earths is more appealing to me, because we can compare the society and morals of a single planet with Earth’s, and we can try to understand how a complete foreigner would react to Earthers and to Pangea.
Furthermore, and especially for Enemy of the Gods (which is book two of the trilogy), it makes the main characters consider that perhaps they’d be fighting for the other side if things had happened differently. Would Zeon be a killer if he were born in a different Earth? This line of questioning guides his actions during the climax of the book.
Finally, one of my favorite authors—Isaac Asimov—was a master at throwing humans into societies with different rules. For instance, in his novel The Naked Sun, there’s a planet where humans live in isolation—far away from each other. This is a bit similar to what we’re living with today, with the Covid-19 stay-at-home laws. I also wanted to explore different societies, but without losing a contemporary Earth, so I had to use parallel Earths.
This is book two in your Challenges of the Gods series. Will you continue this series with a third installment?
I planned this from the start as a trilogy, so there will be a third and final book. All I can say is that the humans are finally going to meet the gods. As with the first two books, you can expect some twists; nothing is exactly as it seems. And don’t trust Zeon!
Unbeknownst to most humans, there is a place where our consciousness drifts when we sleep. An ancient alien race of self-proclaimed “gods” calls this realm Pangea. For millennia, they needed no intervention from us. Until now.
Oblivious to the world of dreams, neuroengineer Zeon is busy being in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. But when Pangea’s deceitful “gods” contact Zeon, he has no choice but to dive headfirst into their war—a war complicated by a band of human rebels led by the last person he’d ever expect.
If the war is lost, it’ll be the downfall of Pangea—and without a world to dream in, the entire human race will die with it.