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Kenneth   Thomas
Kenneth Thomas Author Interview

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

I wanted VanWest to be relatable – a man that also just happens to have some special abilities. Raised to become an Enforcer and a servant of the Universal Council, all he knew growing up is what they taught him (to follow their commandments). Much like us all, through new experiences we get different perspectives, in his case learning about his past, falling in love with a rebel, travelling through time. He starts to question the actions of his masters.

However, right from wrong isn’t so clear, much like in real life. The Utopians and rebels he chases want to change the past, wipe out the last thousand years of Earth’s history, for some their reasons are more selfish than ‘Utopian’. VanWest must weigh this all and come to his own conclusions.

I enjoyed the future dystopian world you’ve created. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your world?

Hopefully this future world does not become a reality, but it very much reflects how humans have been treating Earth in the 20th and 21st century. In VanWest, the outcome of destroying our planet and making it uninhabitable is the creation of a totalitarian government (an elite few) that exploits Earth’s refugees for their own gain. In this new world, there are a few groups: the Elites (Universal Council, rulers of Earth’s habitable zones, the solar system and business), the citizens (refugees) and the Jerseyans (a small population that lives underground in the uninhabitable zones – New York and New Jersey).

The Natural Earth Alliance (NEA) rebels and Utopians (adherents to a new age religion) challenge the Universal Council. The Utopians see the rapid advance of 20th Century technology as the cause of Earth’s ills, hence wanting to prevent its creation.

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

The Present: the second book in the series. VanWest confronts his dark past, taking him on a journey to Mars. This book does not include historical fiction and time-travel rather it has more epic science fiction. I’m planning to release this book at the end of July.

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The Past is the first book in the VanWest series, about an Enforcer who lives in a dystopian Earth of the year 3000 and works for an authoritarian ruler called the Universal Council. Tasked with travelling through time to stop a renegade sect, that seeks to change Earth’s past, he comes to learn about his dark origins and his unique ability.

Falling in love with the daughter of its leader, Mad Newton, he returns to the present to face a difficult choice, whether or not to save her. And be part of the New Beginning.

VanWest The Past

VanWest The Past by [Kenneth Thomas]

VanWest The Past by Kenneth Thomas is a thrilling intergalactic, dystopian space adventure taking place in the year 3000. Captain VanWest is our infallible protagonist. His mission is to escape the authoritarian society under the control of the Universal Council in order to reach the year 1951. The scenes and settings of all the years and places are extremely vivid and detailed, whether it be the futuristic Black Mirror-esque 3000 or simply 1990s Florida. VanWest has to prove again and again the strength of his character as he battles impossible odds, so that the restoration of the Earth to an earlier, brighter time may be possible.

It wasn’t a stretch for me to imagine that this would be our world in a few centuries or so. The author has created an extremely believable dystopia, simply by extrapolating the consequences of mankind’s current issues: everything from the deteriorating state of the environment or an increasingly unstable global political atmosphere. The best and scariest dystopian novels are those which aren’t too far from our reality.

The side plots are also well-developed. Even though VanWest is single-minded with his mission, he faces numerous other personal issues, including a complicated romantic situation that poses a threat to his goals. The way he navigates his moral, social, and ethical dilemmas is also presented in a very interesting way. Even though he had to make some tough choices along the way, VanWest remained consistent to his character and had me rooting for him throughout.

A lot of the creepy crawly creatures and characters of this book reminded me of a variety of other great stories I had read in the past. It harkens back to everything from Brave New World in the way it portrays the nature of the ruling body and Percy Jackson in the way its action scenes are jam-packed and relentless. I thought it was the mark of  great science fiction noveol the way it incorporated the best elements from some of the best examples in the field.

The pace is extremely fast, but it is suitable for the nature of the plot. Even though it ended in a cliffhanger, it felt like a well-rounded end to an enthralling story. I cannot wait for the next in the series.

Pages: 168 | ASIN: B088WYFK9Q

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