Apex Five is a thrilling science fiction story following several races as they try to restore the balance of power to the Plane. What was the inspiration for the setup to this novel?
Thank you kindly! The inspiration for this clash of civilizations largely stemmed from real-world conflict, such as ongoing political strife in the Middle East and the colonization of the Americas and Australia.
We’re introduced to many different and distinct races throughout this book. What were some themes you wanted to capture in each race?
With the dominant nation of Tabira, I seek to capture an adamant emphasis on technology as the primary means of progress. With the Lir and Garo, I aim to capture two nations at war, though each representing a side two the occupier-freedom fighter coin. Each sees the other as the perpetrator of oppression and violence. Finally, the Ayam symbolize the nation least impacted by technology and industrialization.
I really enjoyed the character progression in this story and the ease with which you introduced each. Who was your favorite character to write for?
My favorite character has to be Rohem. Writing for a person who doesn’t even know where they come from is always interesting, as it allows for relatively free reign as far as their life decisions. That said, Oria is a close second, as her proximity to super-human individuals despite not being one herself provides the opportunity for much self-improvement and exploration as she learns how best to help protect her nation.
This is book one in The Plane series. Where will book two pick up and when will it be available?
Book Two will pick up quite literally from the scene where Book One left off. This sequel, Eon One, should be available by late 2019.
For millennia, the people of the Plane have worshipped five megaliths as relics of the mysterious Zaam. In recent years, the nation of Tabira has employed remarkably advanced technology to subjugate the entire Plane and eradicate all belief in the Zaam.
Now, the three remaining nations must uncover the secret behind Tabira’s sudden forward leap in civilization. At the forefront, a doctor, three intelligence officers and a freedom fighter embark on their respective journeys to restore a balance of power to the Plane.
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Future World Rolls follows two FBI agents with psychic abilities as they start recruiting for a mission that will change human history. What was the inspiration behind the setup to this fascinating story?
Research into the 19-year-long career of one individual, a remote seer for the US government. He reported on the existence of ‘buck naked’ green men on the moon and its irregular placement as a protective screen against the solar flares of the sun. By whom? One may well ask.
As always, your characters are unique and fun to read. What is your process like to create such lively characters?
I always loosely base them on real, memorable people like Stan Laurel and the Big Bopper. Disparate? Maybe.
You masterfully imbue your work with music throughout the story. What were some key themes in your choice of music for this book?
Pure relevance to the storyline, plus hefty research into the ways in which these series of songs originated. I used this method to carry on the themes they might have used if they’d stayed on course, like Buddy Holly staying with The Crickets. In some instances, I began writing original tunes as imaginary offshoots. A classic example is the 2190 Overture, which could be sung by the likes of Queen in the same vein as Bohemian Rhapsody.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am well into the first few chapters of book 3 of the Carousels of Life, Simply Spiffin’, Future Criminologist. It is all in my mind, to keep on track.
It starts in the mid-20th century with two talented FBI Special Agents being tasked with recruiting people to undertake a really unusual mission. In the process, they are themselves abducted to take a leading role in that mission, which is intended to save the human race from alien conquest.
It involves time travel into the future, as they lead their hostile hunters on a merry chase across the centuries. They have the full support of other sympathetic races in their imaginative survival techniques, allowing them to go on the offensive.
The characters within embark on a series of adventures that are truly moving in their significance. Based initially on our own Planet Earth, the story employs reported alien sightings and events.
Future World ROLLS to its very core!
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Lifeliners follows Nash as he navigates a tumultuous future with the next evolution of human’s, lifeliners. What was the inspiration behind lifeliners and how did that develop as you were writing?
Lifeliners began as an idea for a short story on a long flight from Europe to Melbourne, Australia, my home. I always have my notebook handy, never knowing when inspiration would strike. Tired of browsing through inflight entertainment, I began jotting down notes to flesh out a story about an emerging new human able to draw energy from someone by touching them. From previous reading and watching documentaries, I knew that birthrates in Western countries have been falling for a while, accompanied by growing sterility. Could this be a product of our high-pressure technological lifestyle and high density urban living? I decided to develop this theme into a story. Nature decided that lifeliners were the answer to who would over time replace normal human beings. Of course, people would not be prepared to simply let lifeliners take over, but that only added to the story’s depth.
Well, I wrote the short story, posted it on my website, and I thought I was done with it. Time to finish what was then my latest book project Legitimate Power. Once I had it published, I began reviewing ideas for a new book – and kept coming back to lifeliners. It was one thing to write a short story, but fleshing it out into a full-length novel was not something I had in mind, wanting to write another contemporary political drama/thriller. But the bug had bitten me and the characters clamored to have their say. Lifeliners began to haunt my days. The only way I would have peace was to write the damned book, and I was glad that I did.
I really enjoyed Nash’s character and the relationship he has with Cariana. What were some important themes for you when creating these characters and their relationship?
Nash was a lifeliner in a social environment that is growing increasingly hostile, fanned by propaganda by governments the world over – it was easy to blame lifeliners for the problems people had. His natural instinct was to survive, and if possible, secure his future, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. Having someone to love, raise a family, was an obvious and normal goal, but one he was not sure he could achieve. Would it not be better to wall himself in from social contact and ride out whatever troubles might lay ahead? That is how he lived for a few years, especially after thugs murdered his first love, Sally. Meeting Cariana, not a lifeliner, generated normal human feelings, and he ignored his inner warnings and allowed himself to become ensnared by her, which regrettably led to all the subsequent unpleasantness. Having found out that remaining walled in did not work, he needed to change things, not only for himself, but other lifeliners as well. This led to a gradual transformation of his world view and as a person.
Falling in love with Cariana, cool, beautiful and accomplished, was easy. Her work as a geneticist alarmed Nash, knowing that she could expose him, and if the relationship was to mature, he would have to reveal himself to her anyway and face possible rejection. For Cariana, starting to fall for Nash, she faced a psychological burden having her brother killed by a drunken lifeliner. It embittered her against all lifeliners. She recognized the sick nature of her attitude, but she could not help herself. When she learned that Nash was a lifeliner, the image of him as a dashing prince was shattered, and she hated him, yet she could not extinguish her love for him. I believe the interplay of emotions and feelings the two had for each other, and the emotional baggage both carried, hopefully made them more real, something readers would expect in any couple.
I enjoyed the realistic portrayal of science in this story. Did you conduct any research for this book, or were these things you were thinking about?
Although the idea of drawing bioelectromagnetic energy from another person is a fictional foray, I spent a lot of time researching material for Lifeliners, which reinforced the information I already had about the complexity of human biochemistry. The loss of our ability to synthesize pyruvate into leucine and valine is a fact, as are their functions. However, I have taken some liberty when I suggested that lifeliners can also synthesize vitamin C. But who knows what nature may have in store for us in the future. Although Lifeliners is a work of fiction, I always thoroughly research every one of my contemporary novels to ensure the validity of my facts and that I do not stray too far from what is scientifically possible with my science fiction.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Having just completed Lifeliners, and busy marketing it, I need to take a break and recharge my creative battery. It usually takes me a couple of months before I start nurturing ideas, seeing which of them can be turned into a novel. However, this does not mean that I have stopped writing. As a matter of fact, I just added a new short story to my collection, Doorways of the Mind, and I have another that I will write within the next few days. Until the urge overcomes me to tackle a new novel, I will be spending some of my time doing book reviews and editing for other authors.
When everybody is against them, it is tough being a lifeliner, as Nash Bannon found out. Lifeliners are ordinary people…almost. They can draw energy from another person; they live longer and are smarter. Scientists claim that Western high-pressure living and growing sterility in developed countries has triggered the rise of lifeliners, and homo sapiens will replaced by homo renata within ten generations. So, what’s not to like about lifeliners? Protest marches by extremist groups, riots, attacks against lifeliners, repressive laws enacted by governments everywhere, were portents of a dark future. Young, successful, Nash Bannon did not like what was going on, but he thought he had the world at his feet and life in Australia was good, provided no one found out he was a lifeliner. A chance encounter with Cariana during a lunchbreak develops into something he considered important. The Australian government calls a snap election, and Nash stands as a Senate candidate on the Lifeliner Party ticket. Unless lifeliners rise up and fight for their rights, they can expect sterilization, incarceration, and possible extermination as democracies everywhere turn into autocracies. To survive, the Lifeliner Party must employ the same dirty tricks the government used against them, but they were not prepared for what awaited them.
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The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.
Gold Award Winners
Silver Award Winners
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The main character, Nash Bannon, is hopelessly interesting and charming from the very first chapter. We learn so much about his past, his family life, siblings, and upbringing that by chapter two you are utterly fascinated and rooting for him no matter what. His love interest, Cariana Foster, is equally enchanting and the dialogue between these characters is so raw that you can’t help but fall in love with them. There is a huge elephant in the room regarding their relationship, but I don’t want to give away any big spoilers so let’s just say that it keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The idea of the Lifeliners; human beings that have evolved into some other state of existence not yet fully understood, is absolutely engaging. The way the author writes about the political atmosphere of the world surrounding these super-humans is realistic and you can feel the pain of their humanity (or non-humanity?) and the fear elicited from them by the rest of society.
The politics in this book is one of my favorite aspects. Because of how realistically the author conveys these ideas you feel like you’ve been transported into Nash’s world. Even though the idea of co-existing with humans who have super-natural abilities is un-realistic and physically unrelatable, the dialogue and world view portrayed in the book is so natural and believable that you feel like you are really dealing with the emotions of the characters on every page. The relationship between Nash and the homeless child Aleya (a lifeliner) is touching and tragic at the same time. To think of a world that can cast aside children like garbage just because they have different abilities is really upsetting to think about.
I also enjoyed the scientific aspects of the story. Literally no detail is left out when it comes to the genetic anomalies of the Lifeliners and Cariana’s work as a geneticist is fascinating. While liberties were obviously taken (as this is a fictional story), this aspect of the book is also frighteningly realistic. I felt as if this evolution within the human species could actually happen and that these types of moral dilemmas might really someday face the human race.
Overall, I would recommend this book, it was a page turner from start to finish. There aren’t many books that I can see myself reading multiple times, but Lifeliners is definitely one of them.
Pages: 431 | ASIN: B07GN8QV83
Posted in Book Reviews
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Ray Collins’s book, What if it Were Possible?, is a space-age adventure set not too far in the future. Protagonist, Ray Holland, finds himself heading up a top-secret mission that he didn’t sign up for. He had spent his career working in public relations for NASA, and is a self-proclaimed “average guy.” He couldn’t have predicted that he would be leading a crew of ex-cons on a recognizance mission into the unknown. Ray and the crew set out on this dangerous mission knowing they won’t see earth for years, if ever again. Like any good adventure, there are I was figurative and literal bumps throughout the journey.
This is an entertaining space adventure story that appealed to the kid in me that is always hoping for a whirlwind adventure. The book flows well, but sometimes hit patches where it would drag. I wanted them to get to space so badly that the buildup was killing me. I liked the way the middle section was written with Ray’s logs giving insight into current scenarios and how much time had passed. I preferred the writing in the parts that dealt with space travel. Apart from a few typos the book is written very well. They were few and far between.
Collins did a great job of explaining how the ship flew with the cabin area moving independently of the ship to keep that area level. He explained the ship’s technology in an understandable way. He also explained the wormhole and other space elements in a way that made sense. I didn’t get too lost in the details and could get a pretty good grasp on what was happening and how.
I wasn’t a big fan of the “aliens” being so similar to the people of earth. I could have gotten past the physicality being the same, but there were an overwhelming number of similarities that I couldn’t wrap my head around. Being an 80s/90s kid, I loved the Star Trek and Star Wars throwback references. It was a nice way of keeping everything from getting too technical or heavy. It also showed Ray’s humanity and made his character one that will be identifiable to readers. The references also made it feel like the story wasn’t too far from our own reality or time.
There is a love story that develops in the begginging chapters that I would of liked to see developed further, but the story takes a sharp turn into an entertaining space adventure story and left that bit behind.
What if it Were Possible? was a good read that I recommend to readers of the Sci-Fi genre, especially anyone looking for a space adventure story that stays true to it’s roots. The journey through space was my favorite part and kept me engaged. Readers will root for Ray and his crew of misfits. I look forward to reading more of their adventures in the future.
Pages: 292 | ASIN: B077ZDCWBN
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A Fire in the West is a Christian fantasy novel that is the third installment in the Stonegate Series. The third book takes place a hundred years after the first two, in the west of the Rocky Mountains. Even though the book takes place in the future, it seems that civilization has taken a back step. The novel takes place in the United States, and even though some locations are easily recognizable to the reader, it’s evident that they have changed in many ways. The one thing that has completely changed are the characters within the novel. They are left without the technological advances needed or wanted to face life’s challenges. They’re faced with evil and have to work together to battle it while keeping their basic values intact.
One of the big things that I appreciated within this novel was the authenticity of the main characters. I found there to be a good mix of characters and all were believable. Harry James Fox and Lucia Mudgway do a great job at giving each character a level of complexity that makes them more interesting. The authors also do a good job at setting up the dystopian future that the characters are living in, so these aspects of the novel are believable to the reader as well. I can see how the break from the social norm and downfall of technology came about.
Even though this was the last book in trilogy, the reader can still follow along with the story line without having to read the first to books. It’s a good enough story to want to go back and read the first two however.
I thought that the theme of Christianity within the story was a bit off from what I was expecting. We understand from the beginning of the novel that Christianity has remained with the characters despite the collapse of just about everything else. This story line provides the argument that once everything else is gone, our faith in God remains. But the characters don’t discuss or display an intimate relationship with him throughout the novel. I felt that there was no specific relationship with God illustrated throughout the novel, and I thought that the characters also don’t seem to give a second thought to the devil or the idea of hell. He’s present within the novel, but I never got the feeling that the characters actually feared him, it was more of a loathing towards him. These missing pieces aren’t necessarily a bad thing, just something that I thought might have been incorporated into the tale.
This book can be read and enjoyed by adults and young adults. Fox and Mudgway work together to create an interesting story that keep the reader’s attention and harkens back to an important aspect of any society, culture, or religion – morality.
Pages: 343 | ASIN: B07DRRMZLF
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Julia’s Memories is a fictional futuristic memoir that recounts the life of an artist and activist going into her 55th birthday. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this novel?
First I want to thank you for reading the novel, it’s not an easy read. But to answer this first question: I can’t really remember right now anymore what themes I was thinking of when starting with the writing of this novel. I guess I wanted to explore Julia’s live as the daughter of Henk, the protagonist of The Game Changer, and I wanted the atmosphere to be different then this book about the harbor of Rotterdam. I think I remember just now that I had something like the writing of Proust, Nadas and Faulkner in mind. In this sense though the novel is finished for me and the notes I wrote have been burned.
Julia is an artist and activist and it seems that shes has done many interesting things in her life. Did you put anything from your own life into this book?
No, not that I recall. But probably there is some of this influence in between the lines, although the main character is a woman. Probably it’s more present in Daan his letter after her asking how he sees events of the past.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Now that part 1 and 2 are being proof-edited by Cate Baum, I am working on Part 3 of the Amor Mundi series. I have no idea when it will be finished yet. Thanks for having this interview.
Julia’s memories (part 1 of the Amor Mundi series) is a biography and coming of age novel, written from the future.
Julia, a passionate artist and activist, writes her memoires. She does so within the year 2050. This gives us an idea how the Transition has been shaped, how the social revolution is partly achieved through her artworks, after her father fled the Netherlands in 2014.
June 2050. Julia, a renowned artist, celebrates her 55th birthday. Encouraged by the mayor of Rotterdam she decides to write her memoirs. She wants unravel her past, to understand it better, and hopes that youth will be able to learn something from this candid quest in her hard-won life. Being the daughter of a born entrepreneur and businessman and partly raised by the high society family from her mothers site, being confronted with tragedy in her youth, she describes how she struggles to get a grip and slowly manages to form her own, powerful, identity. Fortunately, she gets help from her imaginary friends, from a local artist and from the Romenian secretary of her father. Meanwhile however, during her writing, fragments of another reality, fragments that increase in quantity and intensity, distract her and influence her memoirs.
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Undercurrents in Time follows Tabitha as she sets off on her own adventures to try and understand what will happen to her family in the future. What were some themes that you felt were important and wanted to explore in this novel?
I felt the theme of balancing family and personal identity were very important, as this is something that happens to may women. Hence, the focus and tone does become a little different in Undercurrents in Time. There is also a theme of love/romance, as one’s expectations of love sometimes experience drastic changes as life goes on. However, there is still some fun in this book. Tabitha is a little rebellious as she tries to deal with her perceived loss of personal identity. She is a stubborn, strong-willed woman just as she was in Detours in Time.
Tabitha is an interesting character that I enjoyed exploring. What served as your inspiration while you were creating her character?
They say to write what you know. Well, I sure don’t always do that, however, I have spent a lifetime of holding in my opinions and second guessing the things I have said. Maybe that is what turned me into a writer. I revisit and reinvent my responses to scenarios from my life. I made Tabitha a strong-willed, outspoken woman, as that is what I have been taught not to be all my life, yet, I have always been stubborn. I think she deals with it in a healthier way. She is also never a peace maker just for the sake of being a peace maker. Her experiences in this book go back to some of my experiences with marriage and motherhood. I imagined some of the things I really longed to do when I was at that point in my life. However, I wanted to make her heroic. So, she was based on a mix of myself, the person I wish I was, and the personality of Jodie Foster’s character in Contact. (If I had to choose an existing character).
What were some ideas you wanted to carry over from Detours in Time and what were some new ideas you wanted to expand on in this book?
I wanted to revisit the character of Sal and expand a little bit on the character of Louise as well as giving some story to their family. In between, we have Calais. I also wanted Sal to have more backstory in this timeline while giving more backstory to Tabitha’s brother, Jared, whose life is drastically different in this timeline.
Ideas I carried over were the differences between Milt and Tabitha’s personalities, and how Milt really does not try to change her. Another was the suffering we do for our family members, learning to love them while stepping back a little and balancing our concern for them with concern for ourselves. Another thing I wanted to expand on the reality of love, how the illusion of new love is never the same as what you have a few years later. Yet, there is hope. I am trying not to give away key plot points here….
Are you a fan of the science fiction genre? What are some of your favorite time travel movies or books?
I certainly am a fan of the science fiction genre! When I was younger, I’d read my mom’s Stephen King books and just loved how they warped my understanding of reality. I loved Planet of the Apes, Back to the Future, Dr. Who, and many futuristic dystopian books and movies. I loved reading Kings 11-22-63 and the Outlander series, though I am hard-pressed to read her recent 1,000 pages tomes. I also loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, which was a mix of time travel and romance. To be honest, I haven’t read that many time travel books, it is more the time travel shows that have impressed on me, that and historical fiction or dystopian fiction. I love to ponder how things would be different if we tweaked just one little facet of our lives.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
Malachi (from Undercurrents) is speaking to me. It’s funny, I also started a story last fall about Norrie from the Made for Me series, but I think Malachi will be next. However, that could change. Can you tell I don’t write full-time? Sometimes I write to shave off remnants of a bad day, or I catch a mood. I get inspired at times by the oddest things. I am sure this is why the tone in my novels is not always the same. At any rate, I write a lot in Nov. and Dec. when there is less daylight, then I send to beta-readers, ruminate on it, revise, etc. Summer is usually when I like to publish a book because I teach, and summer allows me time to devote to releasing a book. However, I have short story ideas that I may release in the fall or spring. Following my newsletter is a great way to get notice of my stories or new releases, as I sometimes send free short stories to those on my newsletter list. I have ideas for other characters from Undercurrents in Time as well as new ideas that may not get the attention they need until I retire. Please don’t ask when that is. I have got to play the lottery more often…For sure, I will have plenty to keep me busy!
Now it seems the very things that cemented their bond will also drive a wedge between them emotionally. Travel to the future, discovery of a long-lost, troubled family member, and an unplanned baby all have taken a toll. Tabitha struggles to accept her new identity as a mother while remaining a strong, independent woman. She longs for a getaway, even a short one, but that getaway puts her on a collision course with danger.
Milt is busy trying to prevent a horrible future disaster at the hands of an enemy he has not yet met. While concerned, Milt doesn’t even suspect Tabitha’s plans, the very plans that will have her facing Milt’s nemesis.
Tabitha risks it all on a brief escape. How will she handle the unforeseen dangers she faces and make her way back home? How far will Tabitha and Milt go to prevent tragedy?
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The Korpes File follows a technician born into the underclass of his world when he is marked by the ruling class as a threat due to his genetic make-up and is forced to fight back. What was the inspiration for the idea at the core of this exciting novel?
This is a complicated question to answer because the inspiration came in stages over the course of thirty years.
I was an artist long before I became an author. Concepts for the world of Tamyrh started showing up in illustrations while I was still in high school in the early-80s.
In 2012, a friend approached me to brainstorm on a game he was designing. I suggested that he let me do some world-building for him, and I wrote two pieces of flash fiction to go with the maps I’d designed. The game was shelved (unfortunately), and my work was returned to me, but that burst of writing led me to dig Tamyrh out of my portfolio case and look at it again. That was it; my objective became “write something that I would want to read,” and books one through five were plotted by the following summer.
Dystopian themes in science fiction are popular, and I wanted to create something that depicted both the protagonists and antagonists as living in the shadows and light between good and evil. To have a worthy, three-dimensional hero, you must have an equally worthy, three-dimensional adversary. Each one has to have reasons behind what they do, and regardless of how they start out they each have to have the potential to redeem or to condemn themselves. Thus, my series is about life, people, flawed, challenged, and hopefully tangible enough to touch. Ultimately, the reader’s sympathies will decide who the heroes and villains truly are….
Nash Korpes is an interesting character that, I felt, continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing his character?
First, thank you for the compliment. If I’m going to be honest, I didn’t start off with a theme for Nash apart from the fact that he was taken from his family in the Diaspora at an early age, and that he was isolated because of his ‘gifts’ and heritage. I wrote a few short scenes of interaction and dialogue and then let his personality emerge organically as the plot points presented themselves. I’m still learning things about him. At heart, he’s a good man, he tries his best, but like everyone, he falls down, gets dirty, and can make terrible decisions that have lasting ramifications. By the end of book one, I felt he was a non-angsty, relatable protagonist for everyone who’s ever felt like they were on the outside looking in due to their ethnicity, a disability, or their socio-economic background.
This book is a gritty thriller and action-packed adventure to the very end. What were some sources of inspiration for the detailed world in this book?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled widely and lived abroad in my early years, and those experiences can’t help but factor into my world’s design unconsciously.
As I mentioned earlier, I consciously began world-building Tamyrh back in high school; I’m an artist, so creating maps, designing the aliens, and doing concept art was fun. The toxic jungle, “The Seep”, as well as the ancient history of Tamyrh were invented then, but, I didn’t officially begin adding in the hard-science behind my world until 2012. Since then, I’ve been compiling research to give my world a sense of dimension and reality.
Now, I have an entire Pinterest account dedicated to ‘novel inspirations’ – it includes flora, fauna, visuals for the racial groups, cluster city concepts, diaspora inspiration, articles on real-world developments in science and physics, and cutting-edge technological advancements. They do say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
On an associated note, I’m planning to release a limited edition character sketchbook in 2020 – Patreon funded. A bestiary and world atlas are also in the works.
This is book one in the 942 Series, when will book two be available and where will the story pick up in that book?
I’m finishing up book two right now, and I plan to release it in December. The story picks up with Nash and Davis, roughly two months after the end of book one. A collection of short stories from the series will be published in October.
For those that love classic “Star Trek” and modern “Battlestar Galactica”, “The Korpes File” taps a fresh vein of science fiction gold.
“As if being born Diasporan wasn’t enough, Technician Nash Korpeshas the bad luck to match his Tyran ancestors in form and manner. Thesetraits, though highly prized by the special projects division at Korlune Military Research and Development, mark him as a specter from theirwarlike past. With only his intellect to save his sanity, he wages aprivate war against the entire socioeconomic status quo and uncovers anemesis that threatens them all.”