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Babouc’s Vision

Somewhere, Dado is regaling his grandchildren with stories of “the good ol’ days” while they hunt for dinner. Izzy is hoping to make it in the big city. Roving gangs fight for supremacy in public spectacles. And April and Tom just hope their genetics are clean enough to gain approval to have a baby. Amid all of this chaos, is Harl Babouc, an introverted tinkerer who has been reluctantly tasked with the decision of whether they, and all other inhabitants of the city, live or die. As he travels around a city he rarely sees, he learns plenty about the true depths of humanity.

In “Babouc’s Vision”, author Glenn Searfoss paints a vivid picture of a city that seems completely devoid of any redeeming qualities, but just below the surface lies the occasional glimpse of hope and compassion. After his introduction, Babouc becomes an invisible presence, nothing more than a specter there to observe, learning about the city’s citizens in real time with us. Through their stories we come to understand how society reached the point of being over regulated to the extreme and the ways they have learned to cope and adapt to the increasing pressures. Searfoss’s prose is amazingly descriptive, laying bare the good, the bad, and the overwhelmingly ugly that comes with both the environment and its people. Even the most insignificant characters come to life in spectacular ways under the spell cast by his words and it keeps the book from ever seeming stale or slow. Even as the chapters rotate from one story to the next in occasionally unconnected ways, the pull of needing to know what comes next remains constant. 

While “Babouc’s Vision” doesn’t immediately seem like a book that would be deeply thought provoking, the ending gives plenty to think about in regards to humanity, diversity, and redemption. It makes the book worthy of a second reading in order to catch all the nuance that’s easily overlooked the first time through. The characters are all human beings, even when it seems like every ounce of it has been drained away. Babouc realizes that those qualities still exist within them, which means those qualities could still be expressed. The book also explores the question of intentions versus outcomes and the moral implications of both. It definitely provides more than meets the eye.

“Babouc’s Vision” was thoroughly enjoyable and difficult to put down, which is always a winning combination. Even the more despicable characters were engaging enough that you cared what happened to them and the ones who were more sympathetic had you actively cheering for their success. “Babouc’s Vision” is an intellectually stimulating science fiction story.

Pages: 248 | ISBN: 1587210118

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The Mind Games

Nikki Haase
Nikki Haase Author Interview

Experiment A: Elimination is the exciting prequel to your Experiment X series. What inspired you to write a prequel to your dystopian trilogy?

Jack was a favorite character among many and it felt right to tell his story. I did think I was done with the series and ready to move onto another one, but I kept thinking about Jack’s past and how he became who he is—how they all became who they are.

What were some ideas that you were excited to explore in this prequel?

The mind games that Thaddeus plays with the Subjects was interesting to explore. The push and pull relationship he has with them, comforting them despite the fact that he’s the one torturing them, keeping them in this constant state of mental and emotional confusion. That’s not really explored in the trilogy.
And, Jack learning to become a leader and finding the voice that he possess in the trilogy.

How much has your fans, or the feedback from your trilogy, informed this novels development?

The fans reactions to the trilogy and Jack’s character (several people have claimed Jack as their book boyfriend, lol) influenced and informed the novels development quite a lot. There are a few things within Experiment A: Elimination that should pull on the heartstrings pretty heavily if one has read the entire trilogy already.

Do you have plans to write more stories within this world or are you working on a different story?

Yes! I have a book two for the prequel I am currently working on and I’m hoping to get it out by 2022! After that, I’ll be working on a dystopian fantasy that deals with a newly immortal hitman, his best friend—the devil’s daughter, and Lucifer himself. I’m pretty excited about it!

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads | Instagram | Website

Jack Cortex is a hydrokinetic super-soldier, created by the United States government. At seventeen, he still only knows the inside of the Lab and the horrors it contains within its walls. Jack has lived at this facility for nearly his entire life, training alongside other Elemental super-soldiers—or Subjects—to become the perfect weapon. The weakest of them are disposed of through rounds of near-constant torture and fights that lead to death. Jack and the others are told that this is for the best, that the outside world is full of horrible, evil people. If they are not the deadliest soldiers to walk the streets they will not survive, and they will not be able to save those that they were created to protect.
Conversations of a new form of eliminations begin circulating throughout the cells in hushed, terrified whispers. The rumors are confirmed when Doctor James Thaddeus begins picking off the Subjects himself, seemingly at random. Those that survive the execution rounds are forced to kill each other in bloody battles.
Jack Cortex and his friends know one thing for certain: they have to survive.
By any means necessary.

What’s The Worst World I Can Imagine

Author Interview
Natalie Hibberd Author Interview

Inside Out follows a young man and his friends as they see their dystopian world torn apart by Freedom Fighters and their government’s harsh reaction to them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I began writing this novel over a decade ago – when I was twelve years old. I was quite an angsty teenager (I am now quite an angsty twenty-something!) I suppose the real genesis of this novel was asking the question “what’s the worst world I can imagine and what would the consequences be of that?” Worryingly, I think the premis has got closer to reality over time.

Zack is an interesting character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Inside Out has an ensemble cast – all dear to my heart – but Zack is one of my favourites! He has a very fierce protective streak in him and that gets more apparent as the story goes on. Without wishing to give too much away, that need to protect leads him to take some fairly extreme measures. Whether or not they’re sensible – I’ll leave the readers to decide!

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One of the biggest themes I wanted to tackle was the destructive evil of prejudice. As a disabled woman, that’s something I’ve had to contend with all my life. It is such a pointless, baseless concept, and yet it ruins so many lives. I also wanted to tackle the fact that those who are in power are not always the best suited to it, and the lengths they will go to maintain their standing.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am currently running final checks on the sequel to Inside Out. Hopefully, it will be released by the end of this year. I am so excited for my lovely readers to experience it!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In a divisive world of mistrust and murder, there’s only one thing that matters growing up: you’re either in The Inside or The Outside.
While the Insiders appear pampered and privileged, the Outsiders know only harsh realities. Believing themselves to be needlessly deprived of everything the Insiders have, the younger generation channel their rage into a terrorist group called The Freedom Fighters, a group intent on overthrowing the Inside at any cost. Now the Insiders must watch as the world they love collapses around them while the government resort to increasingly desperate tactics to try and contain the Outside threat. When the latest initiative catapults one of the young into the heart of the war, everything is pushed to breaking point.
Loyalties will be tested. Lives will be risked. Their worlds will change forever.

Experiment A: Elimination

Experiment A: Elimination by [Nikki Haase]

Experiment A: Elimination by Nikki Haase is a prequel to the Experiment X trilogy (Sacrifice, Exposed and Revolt). Set in a cryptic lab somewhere in the United States. The story starts with Jack Cortex, the protagonist losing Alexie, the woman he loves. What follows is a thrilling story of more loss and torture and a lot of action as the enthralling storyline follows the shenanigans of Cortex and his friends Ryan, Matt and Liam. Constantly fed the image of the cruel world outside the lab, the Subjects find it hard to separate truth from lies. One by one, the weakest of the Subjects are ‘eliminated’, all in the name of creating a perfect soldier to protect a country that they’ve never seen. At least that’s what the Lab Coats say to justify the unthinkable torture and the ruthless killing, all in the name of science.

This is a vivid and gritty dystopian novel that dives straight into the action. Even without wasting much time in describing the setting at no point is the reader clueless. Haase hits you with one event after the other, and you never know who you’re going to lose next. What I really loved about the book was the perfect mix of action, emotion, and storyline. The author doesn’t go deep into descriptions, and instead gives you just enough for your imagination to run wild while keeping focus on the characters, ensuring this is a character focused drama above all else.

I finished the book in just a few days; although admittedly I’ve been a long time fan of the author and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. But I can now say that long time finds of the series should be VERY excited about this novel. Even though this is a prequel the concept of a hidden lab separate from the rest of the world and meant to save it still feels fresh. The story is reminiscent of the Maze Runner trilogy, with its dystopian feel and subtle commentary on society.

Experiment A: Elimination has an engaging plot and relentless action. Since this book is a prequel to the trilogy, anyone who hasn’t read the trilogy can still enjoy the book. This is a rousing science fiction novel that provides plenty of fan service, but also provides a standalone story that is equally as riveting as the original series.

Pages: 211 | ASIN: B09F6XJ6J9

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Inside Out

Inside Out by [Natalie Hibberd]

Like most dystopian science fiction novels, the world of Natalie Hibberd’s Inside Out feels closer to reality than it may seem. It tells the story of Zack McGregor and his gang of friends who live in a world divided by greed and hatred. They live in The Inside, a city that promises eternal safety and comfort – or so it seems. Lurking literally in The Outside are the Freedom Fighters, who will stop at nothing to destroy Zack’s beloved city and everything it stands for. Now The Inside government is taking desperate measures to maintain the calm, but it’s only a matter of time before everything implodes.  

The writing of Inside Out is very conversational, proving that you don’t have to be flowery to tell a good story. Some might find it overly simplistic, but there are passages here and there that paint a lovely picture in such a small amount of words. Hibberd clearly knows what she’s doing with her sparse language. This minimalism also makes the novel an easy and thrilling read despite the heavy subject matter. You can read this in one afternoon yet still feel your heart pounding from start to finish. There are little details per chapter, so like a binge-able Netflix series, we’re always left asking, “What’s going to happen next?” 

While I enjoyed the story, I felt that the world-building could have provided more depth and nuance. While the short chapters make for a quick, roller-coaster read, I wanted to spend more time exploring the characters to form a deeper connection to them. The pace sends the pages flying, but an additional page or two in moments where characters are experiencing emotional turmoil would have helped me make a connection with those characters. 

The writing is beautiful – stunning, even, at times. Inside Out is an entertaining dystopian sci-fi novel that has the potential to stand out in a packed genre. If you are a fan of young adult science fiction stories then you will surely enjoy this eloquent and evocative page-turner.

Pages: 241 | ASIN: B081D1JQYY

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The Given Trilogy

Mickey Martin
Mickey Martin Author Interview

The Guardian follows Lilliana into the outside world where she must fight for justice to protect her loved ones. What was the inspiration for the setup to the trilogy finale?

The inspiration for the set up of the finale, was simply to create an explosive read! I wanted the readers of The Given Trilogy, to sit back, after that last page had been turned, and process the entire journey they had just taken.

Did you plan Lilliana’s character arc through the series, or did it develop in unexpected organic ways as you wrote?

My writing is organic, and my characters development throughout, is the same. Lilliana told me where she wanted to go, and I showed her how to get there. It was exciting seeing where the entire Trilogy went, and how the characters arrived at their final destination. I truly had too much fun writing these novels…and at one stage, sat throughout a nineteen hour writing stint, because I could not stop. That is joy.

What has been the most surprising reader reaction to your series so far?

A Ninety year old tell me… “That was the most exciting, thrilling trilogy I have ever read,” – Thank you Liz Hicklin. Xx)

A seventy year old tell me… “I almost reached for the Valium reading your Trilogy,” – Thank you Patricia Lovell. Xx)

A 40 year old tell me… “Best Trilogy I have ever read,” – Thank you Sally Taylor. Xx

Do you plan to continue this story in other novels, or are you working on something different?

The Given Trilogy’s characters were loved and celebrated by so many, and I have had some keen readers beg me to weave more of their adventures into additional novels. And, I love making my readers happy, so that is bound to happen down the track.

But, for the time being, I am working on the, Victoria Collection. A series of novels, set in my home state of Victoria, in the beautiful Land Down Under – Australia. In this collection I am celebrating some of my favourite towns.

Book one of the Victoria Collection is, Soul Keepers of Glenormiston South, and will be launching in November 2021.

This is my first attempt at a paranormal romance which has ecological messages as I advocate for Mother Earth.

Book two is set in Noorat. Title: Obsidian Souls.

Book three is set in Inglewood. Title: A Chilling Summer in Inglewood.

Book Four is set in Frankston. Title: Sweet Water Creek.

So, lots of exciting projects ahead, as I get ready to launch an upcoming Anthology, titled, The Colours of Me, with Co-author, Kez Wickham St George.

This anthology includes eighteen women around our globe, and will bring the reader on a soul-fuelled journey that will leave a comforting mark on their heart. I’m proud to say, 100% of profits go to the ‘The Carers Foundation’ – Australia. More projects churn in my head every day, as I’m halfway through completing my Cert IV in Mental Health, and juggle a family and life during the Covid Pandemic. Wishing all peaceful days ahead, and in those times of stress – reach for a book. It always helps to escape amongst the pages of someone else’s journey. Xx Mickey

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

The long awaited third and final chapter in the thrilling conclusion to Mickey Martin’s Trilogy of bestselling, The Given and Dark Angel
After spending a decade within the walls of her safe haven, The Given, Lilliana Night must flee her home at the facility and re-enter the outside world once again in her fight for justice and to protect the one she loves.
Lilliana has no choice but to leave behind all she knows-and the man she loves-in order to do her part to eradicate one of the world’s most vilest of criminals’.
Will her self-sacrifice for the greater good allow her to return home to her loved ones? Or will the evil that still walks the Earth be her ultimate undoing?
Decency dances on a dangerous stage with depravity and the results could be explosive.

Mickey has previously published The Given and Dark Angel, Books One and Two of The Given trilogy and is now launching The Guardian. The trilogy will be released in a box set, in the not too distant future.

The Guardian

The Guardian by [Martin, Mickey,]

The Guardian is the thrilling final installment of Mickey Martin’s “The Given” trilogy. These books tell the story of Lilliana, our kind, brilliant, beautiful protagonist as she navigates through various personal challenges within the Given facility; an institution established to cure and rehabilitate those who have suffered as a result of horrific crimes. The background of the first two books was rather restricted, being set purely within the facility, but this book switches things up by breaking out into the real world. Related to her new project establishing a series of safe houses for victims, the story opens with Lilliana headed on a world tour following her wedding to Damon (our handsome male lead). The rapid change of locations and the overall fast-pace of the opening makes it exhilarating from the get-go.

I found it so refreshing to see the characters engage within normal society, and found it made the story feel a little more familiar, touching on more aspects of reality as opposed to purely fiction.

Considering the trilogy as a whole, I would undoubtedly say the final book is my favorite. In the first one I adored the detail and depth put into painting the dark Given world and Lilliana’s various relationships. In the second book I enjoyed the attention paid to developing Lilliana’s love with Damon, with themes more romantic. There were aspects of both books I liked, but also disliked due to the heavy focus on certain characters or certain motifs.

However, in the last book Martin perfectly balances all the aspects I had enjoyed. There was just enough focus on all the characters, a good mix of romantic and sinister fantasy themes, the added diversity from location changes and much more. 

It became obvious to me throughout the book that Martin’s skill as a writer really developed over the course of the series. I felt in this final piece that the author found the true voice of the story and used it flawlessly to bring this book to life.

The writing, the tone, the pace- it was exciting and engaging. I loved the time I spent following Lilliana’s endeavors and am sad it’s come to an end. I won’t ruin the ending for you here, but I will say that I was highly satisfied with the trilogy’s conclusion and look forward to seeing what Martin releases next!

Pages: 444 | ASIN: B08QDTC9YJ

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Post-Apocalyptic Brotherhood

J. Warren
J. Warren Author Interview

Tygers follows a young gay man in a dystopian society where he’s forced to fight for equality and survival against a conservative government. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Tygers started as a nightmare I had sometime in 2015. That whole first scene of a kid blowing themselves up in the middle of a wedding. So I started digging—why a wedding? What would push a suburban kid to suicide bomb a wedding? Right around that time, the media was talking a lot about the idea of “radicalization,” so I think that fed in to the book as I started excavating it.

I’ve always been a huge fan of William S. Burroughs, and especially his novel, The Wild Boys. I loved that idea of a kind-of post-apocalyptic brotherhood of young gay guys. I was re-reading the novel for the millionth time right around then and I thought, if the kid was radicalized into the bombing, then who was indoctrinating him? Duran Duran’s song, “Wild Boys” snuck in there a bit, too, as well as this idea of “extraordinary rendition.” An underground of gay abuse survivors looking out for one another and striking blows against the empire bubbled up through all those layers. Eventually all of that spilled over into Queensryche’s “Operation: Mindcrime” album and the whole thing started to gel. What if, instead of marching and fundraising for equality and understanding, a group decided to take much more direct action?

It was the Blake quote that gave it the tone I wanted—revenge being more crafty and cruel than instruction and patience.

Aaron is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

Well, the book starts with the main action, the kid exploding. So what I decided to do was to make the whole book about WHY all of this happened rather than WHAT happened. I wanted the reader to see Aaron’s full journey from innocent suburban kid to suicide bomber—how he’d been manipulated and why it was so easy to manipulate him. The driving word was “radicalized”—what kind of kid would be…could be…convinced to do such a horrifying thing? It was important to me that the reader start off believing one thing about the kid and something completely different in the end.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to see some characters have a very real discussion about some of the things that we as LGBTQ+ people face every day. I also wanted to address some of the far Right conspiracy theories that were floating around at the time—mass incarceration camps for LGBTQ+ people being manufactured out in the middle of Montana, etc. That kind of thing. I also really wanted to explore that idea of direct action versus peace and understanding…what would that look like? What might Burroughs/Duran Duran’s group of young men look like if taken out of the mythical language-driven narratives they were in and placed in a more realist-based world, instead?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book is at least a year away. It’s kind of like what would happen if I ever got a chance to write a Gundam limited series. Gay men and mecha. It’s also about the ways a person can recontextualize themselves given the right circumstances. It’s only just starting the rounds with beta readers for edits, though, so it’s a way off. The title isn’t even final at this point.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

In a parallel 2015, Conservative forces are in control of national policy.

As a result, young gay men, pushed to the margins, must fight for equality and safety.

A bomb. A wedding.

A young man’s first love, lost.

A book that explores consequences, radicalization, and how a terrorist
might be the kid next door.
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