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A Completely Foreign Environment

John Wilker Author Interview

John Wilker Author Interview

Space Rogues is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, action, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Organically, I’m more pantster than plotter so the stories just sort of form as they go. In hindsight it makes sense, since as a reader, I’m drawn to similar stories.

Wil was an interesting and well developed character. What was the inspiration for his character and backstory?

Wil is a mix of TV scifi characters. Some John Crichton (Farscape), some John Jaqobis (Killjoys), and a healthy dose of Mal Reynolds (Firefly). I like the idea of the out of his depth character, just getting by. He’s smart, but in a completely foreign environment and even the smallest things is a huge learning curve.

I’m assuming you’re a fan of the space opera genre. What are some books in that genre that you felt most inspired this story?

One of my favorite genres to read for sure 🙂 Omega Force by Joshua Dalzelle, Ryk Brown’s Frontiers saga, Randolph LaLonde’s Spinward Fringe, and Jamie McFarlane’s Privateer Tales are kind of my top four, I devour every new book that’s released in these series.

This is the first book in your scifi series. Where will book two take readers?

I view each book as a sort of episode or movie, so I like to sprinkle in a little bit of “Stuff happens before the story starts; a weird mission the crew is talking about, etc. Book two finds the crew in another “Save the galaxy, even though no one asks them to” kind of scenario. I like using the crew to explore big ideas I have, and letting the story play out from their perspective.

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Space Rogues: The Epic Adventures of Wil Calder, Space Smuggler by [Wilker, John]

Wil just wanted a crew for his ship.

He got a galactic conspiracy.

Wil Calder is a human, the only one to leave our solar system.

But that was years ago.

Now, he’s a lonely smuggler, looking for a crew, because space is lonely and boring.

Just a few folks to boss around once in a while, is that so much?

What he definitely isn’t looking for, a galactic conspiracy.

But that’s what he and his new crew find. They’ve just met each other and now they have to save the commonwealth from war, no big deal.

Does this untested crew and their entirely out of his depth human captain have what it takes?

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Pegasus

Pegasus

Pegasus, by Ken Cressman, is the story of Justin Thorn’s revelations about a mining company working from a base on the moon and the fateful trip endured by his crew of five unlikely and unassuming heroes. Thorn himself is a laidback, hard-on-his-luck man given to long stretches of solitude. When he is offered a single job transporting cargo to the tune of six months’ his normal income, he is unable to turn it down. As he assembles his crew and prepares for their journey to the moon, Thorn cannot fathom the ways in which his life and the lives of his crew will change over the course of what is supposed to be a ten-day venture.

Cressman, as always, has handed readers a memorable main character full of quirks with a relatable backstory. Justin Thorn, throughout this first-person narrative, reveals much about his fears and suspicions in addition to regrets about his history with Kelsey, his lost love. I found myself rooting for a Justin and Kelsey reunion from the first mention of her name. As I continued to read, however, I believe Justin’s lone wolf type character is much more suited to the vagabond lifestyle with no romantic ties. Cressman has drawn his main character exceptionally well.

I am always amazed at the amount of technical knowledge Cressman incorporates into his plots. What I find more astounding is that he manages to successfully describe complicated procedures with ease for even the most clueless reader. Cressman is a master at making these aspects of his writing readable and enjoyable. I am always able to successfully visualize his characters’ technical challenges.

Steven Wilson, a huge part of the success of Justin Thorn’s mission, is a character I would like to see further developed. As far as the ins and outs of flight and space travel, Steven is the brains of the operation. His backstory involves an inordinate amount of time sustaining himself on library books during the Armageddon-type setting of his youth. He is self-taught, self-assured, and dead-on in all his predictions. He could easily grow into a regular character.

The imagery created in Pegasus is quite stunning. Justin Thorn reveals bits and pieces of his past and describes both a commune and a scene rivaling any dusty and dried up town in the old West on the verge of becoming a ghost town. Where his characters also describe the invention of anti-gravity units powered by sapphires and ships owned by private citizens equipped for multiple trips to the moon, Cressman keeps things grounded with snapshots of struggles here on Earth following the collapse of nations as we know them.

Cressman offers a science fiction piece for both fans of the genre and readers who may wish to experiment with something outside their comfort zone. The author ties up loose ends quickly in less than 200 pages but does seem to open the door to more books with Justin Thorn and his beloved ship, Pegasus.

Pages: 160 | ASIN: B0101DHBLQ

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Lockheed Elite

Lockheed Elite

Tyler Wandschneider’s Lockheed Elite is a thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi crime adventure akin to an episode of Firefly than anything else. We jump between the perspectives of a cast of intergalactic anti-heroes as they dance on the edge of the law, caught between the authoritarian Galactic Command and the ruthless criminal underbelly of the galaxy. The plot is spiced up with more than a few twists and thoroughly human and flawed characters that keep you engaged right up until the end. If you’re a fan of the science fiction genre, you won’t go wrong with picking up this book.

I think the word that really summarizes Lockheed Elite is: competent. The writing doesn’t sparkle off the page; it’s straightforward in its delivery. There’s a certain relief to not having to dig through layers of purple prose to find any kind of enjoyable story. It’s an easy read, especially if you’re already au fait with the science fiction genre.

The writing was absorbing precisely because it was easy to digest. I found myself chewing through ten to twenty pages at a time before I even realised it. If the goal of a writer is to engage the reader, then Tyler Wandschneider has certainly achieved it.

This is not to say the writing is flawless; it occasionally struggles with articulating emotions. Characters will pontificate on the stakes or over-explain themselves, even at points where the tension and pacing should be amping up. The effect is something of a stumbling block in some of the most exciting scenes, as we read through one character or another describing how and why they feel a certain way.

The book develops it’s characters slowly throughout the novel, letting them build into complex characters towards the end of the novel. Although characters don’t feel like they have their own voices in the beginning, it feels more real towards the end of the book.

Lockheed Elite is engaging, and it kept me reading all the way through to the end. Despite my above quibbles, I really did enjoy it. I think Wandschneider has done a great job in writing a solid, exciting book. I only wish that it perhaps had a bit of a stronger start and I think this would be a stellar example of a science fiction genre piece.

Pages: 416 | ASIN: B073VHM3QG

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Lockheed Elite

Lockheed Elite

Tyler Wandschneider’s Lockheed Elite is a thoroughly enjoyable soft sci-fi crime adventure – more akin to an episode of Firefly than anything else. We jump between the perspectives of a cast of intergalactic anti-heroes as they dance on the edge of the law, caught between the authoritarian Galactic Command and the ruthless criminal underbelly of the galaxy. A predictable plot is spiced up with more than a few twists and thoroughly human, flawed characters that keep you engaged right up until the end. If you’re a fan of the science fiction genre, you won’t go wrong with picking up this book.

I think the word that really summarises Lockheed Elite is: competent. The writing doesn’t sparkle off the page; it’s straightforward in its delivery. But straightforward isn’t a negative word in this context. There’s a certain relief to not having to dig through layers of purple prose to find any kind of enjoyable story. It’s an easy read, especially if you’re already au fait with the science fiction genre.

The writing was absorbing precisely because it was easy to digest. I found myself chewing through ten to twenty pages at a time before I even realised it. If the goal of a writer is to engage the reader, then Tyler Wandschneider has certainly achieved it.

This is not to say the writing is flawless; it’s occasionally hamfisted in its delivery, especially when trying to describe emotions. Characters will pontificate on the stakes or over-explain themselves, even at points where the tension – and thus the pacing – should be amping up. The effect is something of a stumbling block in some of the most exciting scenes, as we have to sit through one character or another describing how and why they feel a certain way. The characters, too, can feel generic. As with all genre fiction, a certain amount of archetypal cliché is to be expected, but it’s important to expand on those clichés too. The book takes too long to flesh those characters out, leaving many of them feeling like empty slates until it’s too late.

But I complain about these small things because I truly enjoyed this book and I see so much potential. It’s engaging and it kept me reading all the way through to the end. I think Wandschneider has done a great job in writing a solid, exciting book. This is a stellar example of a sci-fi genre piece.

Pages: 416 | ASIN: B073VHM3QG

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