Capricorn follows Montague, a vigilante that delivers justice as he sees fit in a dystopian future where crime rules the city. What was your inspiration for this story and how did it develop as you were writing?
Capricorn was based on a poem I wrote in my late teens. The poem was basically Montague’s entire monologue in the first few pages of his introduction when he is describing the city as a cancer.
The character of Capricorn is purity, but with a childlike persona; which, when put into an adult woman, makes her appear to be crazy. Capricorn’s character is loosely based on Kai, who is kind of a strange, childlike girl in the PlayStation 3 game, Heavenly Sword.
I had much of the dialogue previously planned out before writing and I knew how it was going to end. The hard part was trying to make it feel justified. Montague had to find internal resolution and defeat his own demons. That’s why his 7 trials had to take place.
Montague is an intriguing character. I wasn’t able to pin down if he was an anti-hero or a good or bad guy, which was part of his appeal. What morals did you try to capture while developing his character?
Montague is someone who has given up on humanity. Everyone is a villain in his eyes. He abandons his own name in an attempt to forget his former self and become something similar to the angel of death. His job, he gave himself, is to bring some sort of balance back to the world and to do so means killing everyone who is unjust; which seems to be mostly everyone.
The only thing that makes him human is his compassion towards the innocents trapped in this city of violence. He saves a woman from being raped, but when a thief is murdered right in front of him he merely just walks over his dead body. He wants to protect good people, but at the same time believes there are no good people. This conflict puts him in a dark place.
I felt the backdrop of the crime ridden city was vividly developed. What themes did you want to use while creating your backdrop?
The main character of this story is the city itself. It’s tainted, dirty, rundown, and lying in ruins, but it remained this way because no one wanted to fix it. If you mixed the city in “The Book of Eli” and the city in “Judge Dredd” you would get the city in Capricorn. It’s a criminal’s paradise. It was never mentioned in the story, but you can almost imagine the sky being permanently overcast; it’s a type of hell and only Montague is fighting against it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when can your fans expect it out?
I’m a world builder. I put a lot of time into crafting the landscapes and populating them with life and a history. Even before I begin writing a story I come up with names of places and things or animals and peoples. That’s where I am now; writing pages and pages of notes which will eventually become appendices. They are developed mostly for me so I can keep track of everything; adding them into the book for the fans is just a byproduct of my writing process.
In the aftermath of a civil war the city is in ruins and without order. Montague administers his idea of justice with his black steel sword until he discovers Capricorn. He becomes drawn to her and vows to protect her, but this is challenged when a group of thugs kidnap her.
Montague is sent on a determined rescue mission, but in order to succeed he must battle the thugs of the city and their leader. Montague finds himself on a path of seven trials in order to gain entry into Mammon’s domain to save the one he loves.
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Lockheed Elite is a genre-crossing novel with elements of science fiction, space opera, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
That’s a very good question. The short of it is organically. To get the long bit I think we should dissect a bit what my tastes are in literature. I’m not a huge fan of hard science fiction or of technical science fiction. It only interests me if there is a good story there fueled by real and engaging characters getting into trouble. For example, if Andy Weir had written The Martian without a funny, snarky Mark Watney, I would have still “kind of” liked the book but I would not have LOVED IT and read it in one sitting. I love adventure stories with character(s) who struggle to an end. Right now, I’m re-reading, my childhood favorite Where the Red Fern Grows. For me, a story needs adventure with characters that are after something or it’s not all that exciting. I’m adventurous by nature it’s what my brain needs and does, apparently.
With Lockheed Elite, I wanted a space adventure. I wanted something that felt movie-like and I needed to have different character points of views so I could hide what others “off-camera” where up to. That’s what I thirsted for when I started writing Lockheed Elite so that’s what we got. A solid Sci-Fi Adventure with a bunch of twists and surprises. The space opera thing…I’m still trying to figure that one out. J
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Thank you, that feels so good to hear. Severn, is my answer. I like Wicked a lot too. He seemed to identify with the younger me and I drew on that a bit while writing him. But with Severn, I saw her character arc as soon as I introduced her in chapter one. I really wanted her character to develop well. For me, she was the key to this whole thing fitting together and I loved developing her role in the story.
Plus as a writer, I need to always be getting better at building characters that aren’t me. So with Severn, I worked hard at writing a woman. A strong woman. One that can help carry a storyline, if not carry it herself.
Severn is tough. She is strong. But she’s also caring and has a true desire to do good. I wanted her character to shine, not the fact that she can kick some serious ass. Her toughness is a tool of her trade so who she is and who she becomes inside the story must be paramount to that. So yeah, Severn is my favorite.
I do wish Jones would have played a bigger role, though. You can’t say enough about a solid, loyal friend, ya know?
The characters are caught between the authoritarian Galactic Command and the ruthless criminal underbelly of the galaxy. What was your inspiration for these two groups and their role in the story?
Honestly. We’ve seen the “Galactic Command (Military Law)” picture before and we’ve seen the evil villain too. When I started writing Lockheed Elite I thought long and hard about one and then the other…and then I got sick about it. I asked myself. “Am I really going to do a story with another one of these troupes?” The story needed one of these but I didn’t like the idea of it. I don’t want be a story factory doing the same thing. Then I figured out how to do it so it satisfied my need for complexity and opened doors for my desire for twists and turns in the story. The solution for me was to put them both in and pit them all against each other. I’ve made the troupes my own and made a beautifully complex storyline, I hope.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
Okay! You caught me. Only four questions in this interview so now I feel the overwhelming push to tell. I was asked this in another interview and I laughed and went on to the next question keeping it a nice little secret. It doesn’t appear I will be able to do that here.
So let’s have it then.
Last November I finished NaNoWriMo by writing 60,000 words of an outline for my next thing. 60,000 words in an outline IS A LOT OF STORY! So I think it’s going to be a three book thing. Right now, it’s titled The Rift in Saela (you can track the progress on my website). Like Lockheed Elite it’s a science fiction telling but it’s on a huge generation ship that feels like a city so you’re not so crammed in like we were on Elite One.
I will tell you there will be suspense and mystery and a good round of characters again. Think whodunit with a big ass what the hell is happening kind of surprises. At least that’s the goal right now.
Oh and also I started outlining a new installment of Lockheed Elite titled Lockheed Elite – Devil’s Run. The more people ask for a second Lockheed Elite, the more I’ll work on it.
I’m diggin’ both projects pretty heavily but something should be out in a year or so. I’ll be posting quarterly updates on my newsletter on how that’s working out. I’ll pick one of those soon and go full speed ahead on it so we’re not waiting forever for something new.
Unfortunately, Anders has hired an undercover military operative bent on using them as bait to draw out a mastermind who has been attacking the public with deadly mechs.
While on the scav op, things go from bad to worse as the crew of Elite One recover an abandoned woman aboard the claim. Now Anders must decide quickly—stay and fight or cut cables and run.
Either way, it’s too late. Someone has other plans for them. The trap has been set, they’ve rescued the woman and taken the bait, and before long Anders and what’s left of his dwindling crew must navigate with caution through the grips of the military and an especially vile outlaw.
But Anders doesn’t captain just another team flying the black. With a genius mechanic who uses his ragtag high-tech machine shop to aid them in getting in and out of trouble, they’ve earned a reputation as the best of the best. With Anders’s careful planning, this motley crew must band together and flip the military to use them on a monster heist and dig themselves out from the heat pressing in from both sides of the law.
Fly with them. They are clever, they are fierce, they are Lockheed Elite.
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Day Moon is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a history, science fiction, and peeks at the future as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I would say it was a little of both. When I was first inspired to write the story I knew it would be set in the future and because of the nature of the premise it would start to pull in threads of science fiction. I also knew I wanted to include the quotes from Shakespeare to help reinforce the importance of the book Elliott’s grandfather gave him and to fill the novel with a contrast in sound and nature to highlight a key theme of the book. That is the conflict between the old world and the new emerging one. Elliott lives in an area caught in that struggle, which is fortunate because it lets him realize that there are aspects of this new world that are not just dangerous but incredibly sinister. I think for any theme to work well in a book, the author can take steps to draw out the theme, but ultimately there has to be that kind of organic innate vibe to a story and the prose in order to make it resonate the way it needs to. Since I’m by nature someone who thoroughly enjoys history and science fiction, and am a dreamer as well, I think those aspects of me got carried through strongly enough to Day Moon to accentuate those elements and hopefully imbue that old world meets new feeling.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
First of all I’m glad you found them to be so. I had a lot of fun with just about all of the characters and how they interacted, particularly Lara and Elliott as they sorted out their feelings for each other. It was kind of an unexpected pleasure to write Director Ohlmstadt’s character. He’s only physically in the novel briefly, but his presence and philosophy kind of ripple out and touch so many other characters. Whether they realize it or not, both of Elliott’s co-workers Kendra and Terrance have bought into his “whatever it takes to meet an end” ideals. Though Agent Amar also has that conviction, he wouldn’t attribute it to Ohlmstadt.
There are plenty of references and quotes to Shakespeare in this book. Did you do a lot of research to maintain accuracy of the subject?
I used an online tool that lets you dig down into each of Shakespeare’s manuscripts and search them line by line and by keywords and phrases. That helped ensure I go the quotations right and I tried to keep them contextually and thematically in line with the original text’s spirit. It helped that I’ve been reading Shakespeare’s plays just about all of my life. I knew including them would be a way to ground people in the familiar as well. Most people know at least a little bit of Shakespeare, whether they realize it or not. And though I think Day Moon’s world already looks much like ours, with a futuristic veneer, I wanted to make sure people had some elements woven through it that they could reach out and relate to along the way.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I’m working on Veiled Sun, the next book in the Tomorrow’s Edge Trilogy and its about 75% of the way through its first draft. Originally I meant for Day Moon to be a standalone but realized towards the end of what is Day Moon that the story arc was too big to reasonably fit in one novel. Particularly for a new-to-publishing author. Making it a trilogy has broken it up enough that the chunks should be manageable for readers and make it more appealing to my publisher. I’m hoping my publisher likes it and it can be out by mid or late 2018. Veiled Sun has some competition with me though, because I’ve had another manuscript that kicks off an epic fantasy series rooting around in my mind for almost ten years now. It’s been through multiple drafts and rewrites and finally taking a shape that I think makes it ready for publishing. I call it Quest of Fire, and I’m hoping it will find its way to readers by late 2018 as well.
In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.
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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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In The Wagon Driver, Earth is overcrowded and Kyle’s job is to collect bodies for government disposal, but soon learns of a more nefarious reason why he’s employed. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
I initially wrote this story in the mid-nineties, when I was working at AT&T in Lake Mary, Florida. Computers had already begun taking over, and the Y2K phenomenon was being considered globally. My imagination, as usual, went into overload, and I began having dreams about the Government using technology to move into the home, take over completely and systemically select who would be permitted to exist and who would not.
Kyle grows up an in orphanage and I instantly felt the isolation and loneliness that he felt. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
Being an orphan as well as a loner, Kyle has never felt the bond of friendship before and frequently uses humor and sarcasm to disguise his shyness. When he meets Allie, he thinks he has developed his first true friendship, but when he realizes she has let herself become just another cog of the System, he feels betrayed. And when both Allie and the System turn against someone who could have truly become his one and only friend, he knows he can no longer stick around because he will eventually cease to exist as well.
Do you think over population is a serious concern today? What do you think are the causes and solutions?
I think it is a major concern, especially in many other countries. I don’t want to get political here, but in this country we could eliminate much of it ourselves, without Government intervention. However, I really can’t see it happening.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a Christmas novel entitled, Yesterday’s Journey. It is a fantasy, and should be ready to be published on Amazon and Kindle in early or mid November.
In the not-so-distant future, population control becomes a necessity. Turning eighteen, Kyle Sonnet leaves the State Orphanage and becomes an employee of the Department of Population Control. As a wagon driver, he follows the ambulance to emergency calls and collects bodies for Government disposal. However, it isn’t long before Kyle understands that, due to the collapse of the healthcare system and contrary to what he has seen on the news, euthanasia has become the universal solution. But when he suddenly witnesses a horror he cannot accept, Kyle is forced to decide whether to become another pawn of Society or risk escape, which will result in certain death.
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Beth Nielson doesn’t need any more drama in her life. Her hectic job at the Willis Mortgage Company has become unstable, leaving her with a shaky future. What’s more, she’s dealing with a violent ex-boyfriend who is stalking her, and now a serial killer is on the loose in her city—and the monster is killing women who look just like her.
Meanwhile, her brother Russ has dedicated his life to building a time travel machine; he’s now completed it and is ready for experimentation. Beth hates the contraption and wants no part of it; she fears that possible paradoxes may tear their lives apart. Russ promises his sister that while traveling through time, he will not intermingle with the inhabitants of the past or the future, nor will he change history. Unfortunately, when Beth’s stalker threatens her, she flees by the only method available – the time machine. It sends Beth to a farm in the year 1860. With a broken-down machine, only time will tell if she can survive this challenging life while she waits and hopes that her brother will find her.
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Beyond the Horizon follows Ensign Maya Davis during humanity’s first interstellar exploration. When you first sat down to write this story, did you know where you were going, or did the twists come as you were writing?
Both / all of the above. Before I start writing a book, I always have a premise in mind. I usually have a good idea about how the novel will start and end. I pretty much know where I want to go because I have a high-level plan for the themes I want to explore in a given book series. However, even though I’m pretty clear on the beginning, end, and a handful of scenes in between, I don’t often know how I’m going to connect the dots until I’m in the act of writing.
For example, in Beyond the Horizon, I knew I wanted to use some clever aspects of time travel to drive and resolve some of the conflicts in the book. However, it actually wasn’t until the second or third draft that I came up with Maya’s clever realizations that help save the day. The rough draft of the story had a number of unresolved plot issues.
Maya gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore interstellar space while her aunt Brooke suffers with inner turmoil regarding her past. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
One of the fundamental tenants of my writing is to craft conflicts that pit morally-ambiguous agenda vs. morally-ambiguous agenda. I don’t write about good vs. evil because, in my opinion, that’s not representative of real life. Plus, good vs. evil is too black-and-white–too straightforward. Writing about the gray areas of life yield much more dynamic conflict.
One of the specific questions that underlies the theme of the books in the Beyond Saga is do the ends justify the means? It’s not a new dilemma, but it’s one that shall never have an easy answer.
The one thing that matters to Brooke as much as her career or flying is her niece, Maya. Thus, Brooke will stop at nothing to rescue her niece even though she has to take some morally questionable actions to accomplish that goal.
As for the Vril, the surreptitious terrorist organization manipulating things behind the scenes, they seek to ultimately save the human race. It’s not only a noble goal but a critical one. However, if the Vril intend to sacrifice another intelligent race to save mankind, is that taking things too far? Do humans deserve to survive any more than any other race? The catch phrase for the novel, “Extinction or genocide . . . us or them?” encapsulates this question.
In the face of all the moral ambiguity, Maya embodies the not-so ambiguous side of right. Shielded from the darker sides of society all her life by her Aunt Brooke, she believes in the good in people. She’s optimistic and excited about the future. The rest of the Beyond Saga is about her illusions being shattered. She has to find a balance between her optimism and doing what’s necessary when morally questionable acts are required for survival.
One thing I really enjoyed about this novel was the effort you put into describing the technological advancements. They were all interesting, ingenious, and well described. What was your favorite tech to write for and what was the inspiration?
There are quite a few pieces of fun yet plausible tech in the Beyond Saga. One of the reasons I write science fiction is because real possibilities for the real future are what get me excited.
For now, I’ll pick the wave gun. The handheld tool/weapon is definitely a next gen type of device. Powered by an antimatter battery, it’s capable of destabilizing/shattering matter at the molecular level, using sonic levitation to make things float, causing objects to spontaneously combust, and much more. The gun gets its namesake from how it uses different wave effects (sound waves, gravity waves, electromagnetic waves, etc.) to achieve its results.
The wave gun helps Maya out of some sticky situations in book 2, Beyond the Horizon. In book 3, Beyond Yesterday, the gun gains even greater significance because of what its capabilities could’ve been used for by aliens in Earth’s past.
Where does book three, Beyond Yesterday, in the Beyond Saga take readers?
Beyond Yesterday picks up ten years after the events of Beyond the Horizon. After Maya earns a promotion to captain, she takes command of the space-time vessel Yesterday and travels 200,000 years into the past to learn the origins of the piece of ancient human technology she found on an alien world (in book 2). Meanwhile, the consequences of Brooke’s spark (drug) use finally catch up to her. And the level of conflict between the two women reaches new heights as they take opposing approaches to the dilemma in the book.
Humanity’s First Interstellar Exploration
Ensign Maya Davis has had her sights set on the captaincy of a starship since she launched her first toy rocket into Earth orbit as a child. After four years of study at the new Interstellar Expeditionary Force Academy, Maya achieves her lifelong dream of exploring the stars. She earns a commission aboard humanity’s first deep space exploration vessel, New Horizons.
˃˃˃ A Desperate Situation
Not long after New Horizons departs the solar system, sabotage cripples the ship killing a third of the crew and stranding the expedition light years from home under the siege of hostile forces. Only junior officers are left to command the ship. Without knowing who she can trust, Maya must risk her life to get the crew home and prevent the genocide of the very exospecies New Horizons set out to contact.
˃˃˃ The Conspiracy Back Home
Forty-two-year-old civilian flight instructor Brooke Davis, Maya’s aunt and former UN Aerospace Defense pilot, receives a disturbing visit from a covert operative. The visit prompts Brooke to head to the Martian south polar ocean, where she learns how a secret society known as The Vril manipulated the current political and social climate into being. She also uncovers the society’s nefarious agenda regarding New Horizons’ voyage. With time running out, Brooke races to save her niece light years away.
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As the first book in the Tomorrow’s Edge trilogy, Day Moon is an outstanding contribution to the world of futuristic creation. The author, Brett Armstrong, provides a novel which allows any reader to question the “what ifs” of the world.
The story is set in 2039, where a seventeen-year-old boy, Elliott, is assigned to work on a project instigated by his deceased grandfather. After all forms of print are destroyed, Elliott must let go of his beloved book of the complete works of Shakespeare.
Elliott soon realises that in the complete works of Shakespeare, something unusual occurs. For some reason, an extra sonnet “Day Moon” had been inserted. This unusual event is the start of the unravelling journey of Project Alexandria; a journey which has no intentions of using the project for its original purpose. Can Elliott unravel the mystery and prevent Project Alexandria being launched?
A fantastic attempt to draw upon the unknown possibilities of the world. Armstrong creates a strong, imaginative plot line, with relatable characters and emotions; this is a remarkable read which creates a vibrant and thought-provoking storyline.
Based on the originality of his ideas, and Brett’s noble attempt to write in a world of pure creation, I could look beyond our everyday lives, and recognise a possibility of how the world could look in years to come.
What I thoroughly enjoyed about Day Moon was a mixture of themes including passion, distrust, uncertainty and suspense. What also sets this book apart from others in this genre, is the small quotes inserted at the beginning of each chapter. Each quote has been taken from a work of Shakespeare; which ties in beautifully with the underlying concept of the narrative. In that respect, I think Brett Armstrong demonstrates a huge amount of commitment and passion in regards to his ideas for his trilogy in Tomorrow’s Edge.
Whilst reading through this book, I recognised that the author had put a tremendous amount of attention to detail in regards to his layout, consistency, flow in writing and grammar, which all adds to the book’s qualities. Not only does the book contain a strong narrative full of suspense, drive, and futurist qualities, but it also blends our world of reality with a world that could be.
A fast-paced, diverse, intense piece of writing that falls under categories of Historical Fiction, Science Fiction and Futuristic genres. I highly recommend this book for anyone who shows an interest in the genres as mentioned. Although the narrative lagged at times, this does not detract from the quality of Brett Armstrong’s creative writing.
Packed full of inspiration, creation and innovation, this novel provides a great insight in to a world that is not real, but not impossible either. A fantastic read, and a great beginning to the Tomorrow’s Edge series.
Pages: 389 | ASIN: B06XWDM49Z
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A futuristic, dystopian story which combines elements of mystery, tension, and eccentricity. The Wagon Driver is one of David Berardelli’s many stories inspired by the works of Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon, Ian Fleming, and Rod Serling.
The story is set in the not-so-distant future where eighteen-year-old Kyle Sonnet lands his first job as an employee of the Department of Population Control. Population control is the pivotal theme throughout The Wagon Driver, and leaves the reader to believe that Earth’s population is more than it can bare. To resolve this issue, wagon drivers are required to follow ambulances and collect bodies and dispose of them. Unsettling, don’t you think?
Kyle Sonnet is the main protagonist of the story, and instantly you feel a sense of empathy towards him. The early chapters of the book point out themes of isolation and loneliness; illustrated by Kyle’s childhood background of growing up in an orphanage. Now, he has left his younger years and is trying to find his feet. However, when he lands this job and is stated that he “cannot quit”, as a reader, you soon realize that Kyle’s luck has not improved.
What I loved about this book is how the story follows the life of a young adolescent who is simply trying to find his way in the world. Instead of finding a job to gain some independence, Kyle soon realizes that he is in over his head. As the story unfolds, we soon realize that the issue of population control alongside the collapse in the healthcare system, means that euthanasia has taken over. Kyle finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy when he witnesses something of utter horror; Kyle needs to make a crucial decision. Does he continue with his job and accept what has happened, or does he face a challenging escape and risk his life in attempt for resolution?
The story moves at a steady pace, and I was pleasantly surprised by the twist in the narrative. What makes for good reading is uncertainty and uniqueness, and I believe the author of The Wagon Driver does this remarkably. The grammar and punctuation is strong, and the narrative is creative and unique.
The Wagon Driver, a book full of entrapment, isolation, and shock is a great read. An emotive, intriguing and dramatic novel set in a dystopian American society. The story goes against the American dream, and instead shows real concern and fear, in the hope that things can change. At the expense of everyone, the world and how it is portrayed is now simply in the hands of a naïve, inexperienced eighteen-year-old boy.
Pages: 402 | ASIN: B0725V6ZKH
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Pamela Schloesser Canepa’s novel, Detours in Time, is anything but your run of the mill science fiction novel. It follows Professor Milton Braddock, who has conveniently developed a time-traveling car, and his assistant turned traveling companion, Tabitha (cutely nicknamed “Pinky” by the professor). The pairing of the older and more experienced Milt with young, spunky Tabitha will feel comfortably familiar to Doctor Who fans, as the two travel through time, encountering futuristic adventures as they begin to feel a bit closer than just friends. Though their time travels begin as scientific examinations into both the past and the future, Milt and Pinky’s present and future lives begin to unravel when they break their golden rule of not disturbing the future.
Canepa’s novel excels by creating three distinct time periods that each feel relatable to readers: 1997 (the “present” for Milt and Pinky), 2018, and 2047 (where most of the novel occurs). By creating a recent past setting, a practically present setting, and a not too distant future setting, Canepa creates a science fiction novel that relies on her well-developed plot and inter-character relationships rather than the spaceships, aliens, and high-tech gadgets of many science fiction works.
Detours in Time begins mid-adventure in 2047, without skipping a beat. Though 2047 is certainly more futuristic than what readers in 2017 experience in their daily lives, it is not so high-tech as to be completely beyond belief. But perhaps most shocking to readers will be how the citizens of 2047 describe the war that tore apart the United States in 2019, with reasons for division painfully realistic: “how tax money was spent, which citizen’s rights could or could not be limited and for what reason, the role of the military, who was allowed to immigrate into the country…” Milt and Pinky are aghast at the country’s divide, but readers’ hearts in 2017 will ache at the accuracy of what Canepa describes.
But, thankfully for readers, Canepa does not spend too much time dwelling on the demise of the United States, but rather takes a closer look at the questions that time travel inevitably brings: What happens when you interfere? Could a single action reroute history entirely? Are you better off not knowing? The last question is one that Pinky and Milt find themselves asking after they look into their own futures and decide to take a bite of the forbidden fruit: trying to change the future.
A truly five-star novel, Detours in Time is a well-written and interesting story with characters who are developed independently and whose relationships are carefully crafted, not flung together as if forced. Detours never stalls or bores readers, but it invests enough time in explanations and detail that it feels thought out. Readers will find Milt and Pinky’s 90s naïveté charming (What’s a text? What does it mean to swipe? Why would anyone eat food out of a truck?) but also eye-opening: how long ago were we asking those same questions ourselves? Milt and Pinky’s present is just twenty years in our past, which begs the question, what wonders or terrors does twenty years in our future hold? Canepa brings Detours In Time to a natural close, but leaves the door wide open for a second novel in the series, hopefully one that readers will not have to travel too far into the future to experience.
Pages: 305 | ASIN: B0711ZW6XF
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