It was early on a Monday morning at 4 am that I had gone through over one third of the book in one night. This book quickly became one of the best reads I have gone through in the past 3 months.
A Single Light begins with around 60 odd people forced to take shelter in a time vault due to the outbreak of a virulent epidemic. A runaway named Wynter and a former soldier turned bounty hunter, Chase are at the heart of the story. Both appear to be an unmatched pair as they have their own motivations and secrets. For the people in the vault, the only source of comfort and connection with the outside is periodic transmissions from Noah, the person who brings hope to the individuals. But all of a sudden, the link goes dark, causing to lose their composure. And when the time vault door opens all of a sudden, it begins a whole new set of unknown dangers to the group, stressed for many months. Infected animals, ghostly town, and people driven to the brink of anarchy. The support systems have failed, all semblance of order and law lying bare. What do you do? That’s where we find the characters in the story.
The story is intense and riveting as is the description of the dynamics at play between the different characters in a confined space. The notes that the story touches are really fundamental, fear, loss, joy but the presentation is remarkably somber and in line as to the way the plot is weaved. I really liked the way the author describes the gritty and raw emotions at play which I have seen only in a very few authors.
The best thing is that the author does not try to bend the story in a way that seems disjointed. It is a skill that is honed by working at the craft for many sleepless nights and long hours.
Though the story may not have political beliefs one may have, I wholeheartedly agree with what the author has penned about the need to break down the walls and be more exclusive. Normally a stickler for neat wrapped endings, I love the way the story concluded. I can’t wait for the next book.
Pages: 384 | ASIN: B07P5JKYT8
If most contemporary sci-fi is headed in the direction that Sleep State Interrupt is taking, I will be more than pleased. And a lot more concerned for humanity. Sleep State Interrupt tells the tale of protagonist Waylee who wrestles Big Media’s omnipresent influence. In this dystopian world, the government and people are heavily influenced and practically controlled by the media that surrounds them. Waylee and a couple of her technologically proficient friends plan a simple but brilliant plan to end this problem. They decide to capture and bring to light some incriminating dialogue that will shed light on how truly awful the situation has turned. However, she faces hefty roadblocks along the way, that occupy both her inner and outer world.
The premise of this story is like Mission Impossible meets the Avengers, but smarter in its portrayal of a dystopian world. There’s no question about the role media plays these days. Targeted advertising, subliminal influencing, endless privacy violations- all this is already unsettling. Weber takes this concept and pushes it to a terrifyingly believable level. The story is heavy on politics without naming names, I feel like I could probably point out some similarities in their evil politicians and our own.
One of the more interesting aspects of the book was that it forced me to take a stance on some issues that I would generally avoid thinking about it. There are a lot of moral and philosophical questions that are subtly posed throughout- and it’s a refreshing take for a cyber sci-fi novel.
Weber has clearly put in a lot of effort to nonchalantly feature a diverse set of characters. While all of them were interesting and unique, sometimes the characteristics felt a bit forced. Waylee’s character on the other hand was a masterpiece. From the realistic perspective offered on her disease to her upbringing and environment, her protagonism was undeniable. I could tell where all her actions and motivations were coming from.
I have always enjoyed politically-charged thrillers because it brings to light the fact that humanity is capable of creating its own nightmarish vision. Sleep State Interrupt portrays this with clarity and believability, without compromising all the fun that a government takedown story offers.
Pages: 331 | ASIN: B01KKMA1D8
Makers of a Destiny by David Crane is an enthralling mash-up of dystopian fantasy and a pulse pounding thriller.
The book is set in a post-apocalyptic New America, where Tanya Grey is one of the Panthers. The Panthers are a superior race, with a host of special forces that they intend to use for the growth and development of the other races in New America. However, a national emergency leaves Tanya Grey in the wake of a situation that requires all of her skills and power to fight the antagonists. They are the Neo Spartans, equipped with technological prowess and ruthlessness, they will stop at nothing to take down New America. Apart from this, an increasingly unstable political situation threatens the nation and Tanya Grey’s personal life.
Although this is a sequel to the novel Die to Live Again, reading that book is not required to read and enjoy this book. There are plenty of detailed explanations for all the characters, elements, and creatures. The descriptions of the Panthers’ lives and motivations were particularly fascinating. I wouldn’t be surprised if in our own post-nuclear holocaust (I don’t suppose it’s too far) we find ourselves in the company of these creatures. Apart from the Panthers, there were elaborate depictions of new species and animals, like the Hunter leeches. Although these were equally fascinating, I felt that they were a bit lengthy and did not contribute much to the plot.
Apart from these elements, equal amount of focus was devoted to Tanya’s personal lives and the characters that surround her. Her attachments and vulnerabilities made me especially empathetic to her decisions.
While reading, I was struck by the number of antagonistic elements in the book that were comparable to the realities of today. From racism to an endless lust for power that threatens the foundation of humanity, it was not a far stretch for my imagination to conjure up this world. The possibility of technology being used for evil, suppression of minorities, colonialism, and other parallels can easily be drawn between our world and this one. History always repeats itself and it is quite likely that we will find ourselves in a future which echoes our past. This novel provides a perfect and terrifying depiction of such a world.
Pages: 342 | ASIN: B074YH9GJD
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“End Times” is satirical look at a dystopian America that is eerily reminiscent of real life. What was the inspiration behind this thought-provoking novel?
I combined my own experiences as a journalist covering this political devolution in style and content to use satire to explain the collapsing political climate and set the stage for a Real America.
I’ve been asked numerous times in interviews and in speaking to groups how the Real America of my fevered imagination came about. I have said repeatedly anyone paying close attention to the dark roots of American politics since say 1980, or at least since 1994, would see something seriously amiss. In particular, in case you haven’t noticed, the Republican Party has gradually abandoned the idea of governing and embraced wholesale nihilism. They replaced it with a maniacal dedication to the snake oil of cutting taxes for the already filthy rich, filling the federal judiciary with as many unqualified and ideologically stupid judges imaginable, driving up federal deficits to science fiction levels, and generally mucking up the fragile nuts and bolts of democracy on a daily basis.
I chose a satirical fiction avenue because I wasn’t interested in writing a more conventional non-fiction book about what was happening.
Lawrence Bowie is an exceptionally developed character that I loved to hate. What were some themes you felt were important to capture in his character?
Good point: Bowie is either loved or hated with no middle ground. He was an amalgamation of five to six (real) Republican politicians known for their profound ignorance, incoherence and ability to lie without hesitation. In the first book (“The Execution Channel: A Political Fable”), one of the original concepts was the existence of a Congressional “Imbecile Caucus” and then I needed an incoherent and ignorant savant to lead them. This led to Congressman Lawrence C. “Demon Seed” Bowie of Texas who would go on to become the governor of the Real America Republic of Texas.
The totally immoral Bowie arrived to take advantage of a cynical climate ripe for a rabid minority to worship a truly corrupt leader. This pied piper would mock and degrade his followers while demanding their total loyalty and calling it love. He promised the best traits of a national crime syndicate and a death cult. He would keep them entertained with blatant racism, lies, fear mongering, conspiracy theories, and embracing ignorance. Bowie, a true pathological narcissist, would be the first to tell you, he made his mark before Trump in part because there was no shortage of marks in Real America for his political con. Bowie’s career path would eventually lead to a Real America secession and glory as Emperor Supreme for Life of Real America. Bowie keeps the public stupefied with cruel spectacle and the excitement of secession and a 21st Century Civil War.
Your book delivers a stark view of America’s political future. What things do you see in your book as only fiction and what things do you see as possible?
“End Times” is meant to entertain and enlighten with equal amounts of satirical humor, zaniness, and shock. The book is not for the political faint of heart or for those who believe America is on the right path. In a sense it’s not unlike the ghost of Christmas future in “The Christmas Carol”. I’m not saying this or that will happen. I am saying this alternative universe of Real America has the same seeds of decay and fraying of the chords of civility and decency that we see happening each and every day now. Though some may disagree, our American democracy is fragile and ripe for further destruction. Real America is one many dark versions that could replace our current political system – if the slippery slope of more economic and social chaos, less accountability, crueler and blatantly racist policies, and destruction of democratic norms continues.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Penelope will the third and final book in the Real America saga. Hopefully, by 2021-2022 readers will experience the final showdown between Penelope the Psychic and Emperor Supreme for Life Bowie.
Michael McCord’s provocative 2013 political satire The Execution Channel: A Political Fable was the first act of the Real America saga.
The saga continues with the fantastical and farcical End Times: More Great Adventures in Real America. Set in an alternative (yet eerily familiar) political universe, this tale of American dystopia answers the question: What happens when America goes politically bonkers?
The colorful cast is topped by the righteously amoral and thoroughly corrupt Lawrence C. ‘Demon Seed’ Bowie. After surviving an attempted coup in 2018, he has rebounded with his customary good karma. Bowie is Chairman, CEO, President, and toga-wearing Emperor Supreme for Life of Real America, Inc., the Confederate-admiring, whites-preferred, and corporate-run nation that seceded from Old USA in 2020.
As he nurtures a new country combining the best aspects of a national crime syndicate and a death cult, Bowie prepares for a 2021 Coronation Night extravaganza to celebrate his magnificence and dazzle the world. Though his apocalyptic destiny seems assured, a rising resistance and many foes conspire against him and threaten the Real American dream.
Experiment X: Exposed is the second installment of the Experiment X Trilogy. Exposed jumps right back into the lives of Karen and her commands a year after their escape from Dr. Thaddeus’s lab. Those freed from the horrors of their capture spend their days slowly recovering and training their elemental powers. It isn’t long until Dr. Thaddeus makes a grand appearance on national television to unveil his new plan to create an army of superhumans; Experiment R. The unsuspecting population rejoice. Soon droves of volunteers sign up to take part with the promises of wealth and prestige. At the same time, Karen receives a coded message from her former captain embarking her on a journey that once again puts Hher physical and mental capabilities to their limits.
For those who enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend the second. If Sacrifice was about Karen discovering her powers, Exposed is about mastering them. Needless to say, Karen is back at it, supercharged, and ready to go.
Despite the obvious difference in power, Karen is a relatable character. Her anger, pride, and raw emotions are illustrated with such care from a first-person perspective. As the main character, Karen is portrayed with enough detail to make her believable and yet still given room to grow. She is a strong girl with a strong personality. Such perfection with one character made the haphazard way that other characters were thrown in seem jarring. Because the story is from a first-person perspective, all other character growth is described through Karen’s thoughts. Some of the major players are well remembered for their importance to Karen. However, many new characters are not given the time to develop a relationship with the main character.
The pacing, I thought, quickly moved from one event to the next with barely any transition; I was left with no concrete timeline. Although the author mentioned tentative time frames, and the ambiguous period of various events was intentional, every section of the story felt similar.
But these are minor glitches in a book that has a lot of potential for the characters and expanding story line. These issues only stand out to me because I was so invested in the character and story. Nikki Haase has command of an entertaining writing style that elevates Experiment X: Exposed above many of the dystopian fiction I’ve read this year.
Pages: 262 | ASIN: B06W9NC7B7
Saving Time follows two unlikely companions who must band together to save Scotland from a nuclear threat. What were some driving ideals behind this story’s development?
Rory is the son of Scott and Caitlin (Stolen Time: Community Chronicles Book 2) and is an emerging leader in a community of survivors founded by his parents. He is the head of his Militia team. Siobhan has grown up in the Scottish Government underground Bunker. She is a child of a scientist member of the Brains Trust, the group of specialists seconded to the Bunker when the world’s situation spiralled downwards after the Stock Market Crash forty-odd years previously. Plus, her team of scientists, technicians and Scottish Defence Force personnel.
These characters, and their respective communities, come from different worlds and have lived under the impression that their ideologies, types of governance, and lifestyles will be at odds. But they find out that they can and, indeed they must, co-operate for the safety of Scotland.
In so doing, they discover they are more aligned and alike than they had been led to believe. Those members of the teams involved, who had previous apprehensions regarding their need to co-operate, find that, with a little effort, they can. But not all are open to this, which causes more problems and threatens the success of the endeavors of the combined team.
I hoped to show that when people put their prejudices, preconceptions, and personal agendas aside they can cooperate and combine their efforts for the common good. And maybe even find something precious along the way, such as acceptance, a unity in common purpose, and even love.
Your characters are methodically and deeply developed. What is your writing process like to bring these characters to life?
I follow loosely the method of character creation outlined by Jeff Gerke in his book Plot Versus Character (2010. Writer’s Digest Books). Donkey was right, we are onions, and I develop my characters a layer at a time beginning with personality type as defined by the Myers-Briggs model. Then I work through the layers including physical appearance, back story etc. and, of course, their internal knot—their inner issue they will be forced to deal with during the course of the story.
For example, Rory is closest to an ISTJ, a sentinel type with defender/protective tendencies. He has a strong sense of responsibility and great loyalty to his family and Community. He struggles with his father’s death and is driven by the need to emulate the hero-figure status of his father. Well, I’ll let readers find out for themselves how that pans out.
What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books in the Community Chronicles?
I wanted to explore the beginnings of restoration. It is over forty years since the world descended into a dystopian chaos after The Stock Market Crash, and now a hitherto silent government is preparing to go up top and govern the country once more. The situation of a leaking nuclear war head on an abandoned submarine from a rogue state is the catalyst, but is Scotland, and indeed its underground government, ready for it?
What about those who have managed by themselves in this changed world without its leadership or intervention? How will the government diplomatically endeavour to connect with a people who have felt abandoned by them for the past forty years?
I wanted to explore the effects time travel may have on a human. Rory has made the journey to the past previously and does so again in this story. How has it changed him? Does he now have a special relationship with linear time?
Rory has a very different view of time travel than his father, Scott. Rory strongly believes the Time Machine should not be used for personal gain or manipulation and is determined it never will. His greatest fear is that the government will discover its existence.
I cannot wait to read book four in the Community Chronicles series. Where will book four pickup and when will it be available?
I’m so pleased you can’t wait to read Restoring Time. It picks up immediately from Saving Time with Rory desperate to bring Siobhan home. There is plenty of action, more time travel, and we meet once more Derrick Lloyd, from The Crash: Community Chronicles Book 1. All I will say is age has not softened him any.
I’m endeavoring to have this book published by the end of the year.
2061, forty-three years after the stock market disaster which changed the world.
Rory, Militia man and son of Caitlin and Scott Campbell, lives in a self-governed Community that exists independently from the Scottish Government.
Nuclear physicist, Siobhan Kensington-Wallace, has lived underground in the Scottish Government Bunker since the Crash. Along with the other children of the Brains Trust, she has been brought up to believe they are the elite who will bring restoration to Scotland.
Their opposing worlds collide when Rory discovers a submarine leaking radiation into a sea loch in the North Western Highlands. Forced to work together to save Scotland from annihilation, Rory and Siobhan discover more is at stake than neutralizing the current nuclear threat.
Will their attraction cause fallout of another kind…or will their allegiances divide them forever?
Avenge the Silenced picks up where we left off after the deadly events of 2065 that changed the world. What were some driving ideals behind this story?
Firstly, I wanted to expose the inner workings and thought process of the Crimson Angels and UNR leadership and soldiers. These different perspectives, that of the politician, the soldier, the freedom fighter, and the civilian, help flesh out a world that isn’t always as simple as it appears. Secondly, I wanted to explore government responses to acts of terror. Sadly, in this day and age, there are very few countries that are untouched by terrorism. It’s that real-life fear that I wanted to be reflected within the world I’d created. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword: for every bit of technology and policy meant to prevent such acts, freedom is curbed. I hope readers walk away from AvS cautious of this.
Has your perception of the story changed since you went back and wrote the prequels?
Oh yes, definitely. For one thing, my perception of the story expanded. The first four books were concerned with the viewpoints of UNR citizens and rebels. Starting with the VOCA trilogy, we are slowly starting to get a global view of what’s at stake in the story. This reflects a personal view of mine that is shared by probably billions of others: we should strive to better our nations, but it should never be at the sake of other countries and their people. We should strive to see the viewpoint of others at all times.
What is one reaction that readers have to your books that surprises you?
The Reverence series is usually known for either fast-paced action and/or its alarming dystopian setting. There have been a few different responses, however. One reaction that always surprises me is how people zero in on religion in the story. I did not intend for either side to be outright saints or demons, but readers have often referred to characters such as Will and Halsey as saviors, even Messiah-like. The interpretation is interesting and there are a few parallels. I’m glad readers can get different things from the book series.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
First there was Reverence Itself. Then there was the EOK arc which was a direct follow up and brought Will and Venloran’s storyline to a close. Then there was the VOCA arc, serving as a prequel for the entire series. AvS is the first entry in the Scourge of men arc, and next up is Reverence: Creeping Darkness. We will continue to follow characters such as Gabby Neeson, Captain Halsey, and Patrick Noels, while exploring many new characters as well. The scale, as readers will find out, has grown massively. What I’m most excited for is Vanzetti editions to the story. I enjoy writing villains, and he is one of my absolute favorites to write. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say this: Chancellor Venloran is DWARFED by Vanzetti. If Damien hopes to win against the forces of Europe and their allies, he may have to cross a line even Venloran dared not touch.
The next Reverence entry will be available around summer 2020. Long wait, I know, but fans won’t have to wait too long. I’m also working on my first urban fantasy novel. I’m aiming for a December 2019 or January 2020 release date for that one.
Last we left off, October 23, 2065 went down in history as a night of bloodshed. The International Summit was rocked by an attack led by William Marconi. After hours of brutal fighting, the smoke cleared and revealed heavy losses on both sides. Even though both sides are wounded, neither will back down. Damien, the son of Will Marconi, must rally the surviving UNR Cabinet to lead the country and carry out justice. Under their tutelage are the nation’s deadliest cyborg warriors, among them Pamela King and Ptolemy Jethro, but who shall command them?
Meanwhile, Gabriella must pick up the pieces of their attack on the International Summit. The Crimson Angels should be rejoicing, but instead they are near broken. On top of that, their allies are weary of their every move. With enemies seemingly on all sides, she’s no longer sure who to trust.
Watching from atop his tower, Secretary General Vanzetti revels in the upheaval. There is money to be made and graveyards to fill, and the man will see his own vision to the end. Unlike all the others, however, he is determined to do so with a smile. The story continues with Avenge the Silenced.
It has been a full trilogy of books, since we have come back to the main timeline of Joshua Landeros’ Reverence series. Having established an entire prequel series to flesh out his world, Landeros has come back to deal with the fallout and what is left of the UNR. Both sides have taken huge losses, but neither will retreat. And it will be up to the last Marconi, Damien, to rally the surviving UNR Cabinet to lead the country into this brave new future. Meanwhile, the Crimson Angels are in a difficult place, despite their successful strike on the International Summit. Gabriella will have to pick up these pieces and decide who she trusts more. All of this coming to a head to see who will end up in a grave or standing astride it, in this new installment of an epic military science fiction saga.
It is refreshing to be back in uncharted waters, having spent so long in the past, and Landeros ensures readers hit the ground running and wondering where all of our heroes of the past have landed after the last battle. The tension ramps up with little effort and with trademark pacing. The story unfolds with our cast of characters struggling against one another as they seek to either win the upper hand or to make sure they enforce justice.
Landeros’ prose continues to improve with each installment and his stories are becoming more and more complex, rather than a simple military sci-fi thriller they initial books were when the series began years ago. It is a pleasure to see how an author has not only grown, but developed his own flavor in the genre as well. This is another solid entry in the ongoing series and it shows little sign of slowing or stopping anytime soon!
Fans of military fiction or military science fiction should already have Avenge the Silenced on pre-order. Readers, who enjoy gritty action among thought provoking themes would also find themselves quite intrigued with this book.
Pages: 366 | ASIN:B07NNV7GKB
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The Final Wars Begin is a thrilling science fiction novel following Lieutenant General Bastien as he sets in motion the collapse of a civilization. What was the inspiration behind the plot to this novel?
I’m fascinated by the butterfly effect and its examples in history. Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination leading to WW1 or Genghis Khan’s invasion across Asia sparking the decline of science in the Islamic world & introducing the black plague to Europe – these types of scenarios have always captivated my attention. That plus my love for science fiction and technology (my day job) led to The Final Wars. I wanted to show that small things/events/people can have profound impacts on their surroundings.
You’ve meticulously built an intricate world and backstory in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind the development of the world your characters inhabit?
The main goal was to create a realistic world. Often, science fiction introduces a new world to its readers but isn’t able to convince them of the setting’s realism. That can thoroughly sour the reading experience. I wanted to explore how humans separated by vast distances developed in terms of technology, morals, and economics after an all-out nuclear war, and I wanted to do it in such a way that readers wouldn’t question the future setting’s plausibility.
I enjoyed how the characters were well defined and contrasted each other. What were some themes you wanted to explore with the characters?
Great question. One theme I wanted to examine was the existence of morality in a world seemingly devoid of any morals. In the story, Bastien’s mentor, Father Paul, says, “Just because we are surrounded by monsters, doesn’t mean we have to become one ourselves.” – this is a significant part of Bastien’s inner conflict. How do you survive in such a dark world without turning into a monster yourself?
This is book one in the Final Wars Trilogy. Where will book two pickup and when will it be available?
Book two will pick up with Bastien struggling to survive in Nippon One. It will be available on February 1st, 2020. Readers can join my email distro on SAwritesSF.com for further information.
ONE MAN SETS IN MOTION THE COLLAPSE OF CIVILIZATION.
It’s 2209. World War III has left humanity fragmented. Three colonies survive, each on a different world – Earth supports New Paris, its moon has become Nippon One, and Mars has Port Sydney. Trade and tensions bind them, keeping peace balanced on the edge of a precipice. A cruel dictator rages on one world. A failed experiment plunges another into financial ruin. Diplomatic pressures bear down on the third. All it would take is for one man to tip everything over into conflict.
ENTER BASTIEN LYONS.
A man on the run, Bastien’s moral compass has made him a fugitive in the colonies. The odds against his escape are stacked high – a military robot built to erase outlaws hunts him. So do bounty hunters. What’s worse: Bastien finds himself caught in a deadly political chess match between Earth and Mars. He must not only outwit those threats but also create alliances to live. In doing so, Bastien will push the world towards…
THE FINAL WARS.
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An explosion rocks the city to its very foundation; the sole survivor Asylia has no memories of her past. She finds herself in a world divided between those who are talented and those who aren’t. Vici a city governed by an egotistical Praetor driven by his hatred for the gifted individuals the tallents whom he considers a plague.
Risen from the ashes, Asylia pieces herself together while taking control of her emerging fire talent. Harbored by a mysterious group called Revival, she discovers that the people of Vici are disappearing at an alarming rate. Together with her new friends, she must rally against the Praetor’s tyranny, racing to free the city in hopes that she isn’t too late to bring peace to this world in turmoil. She must be careful; one mistake and she will end up like all the other Tallents who have faced the Praetor’s wrath.
Posted in book trailer
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