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Literary Titan Book Awards November 2020

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

   

The Enigma Threat by Roxanne Burkey and Charles Breakfield

Silver Award Winners

The Touring Pro: A Person of Interest by Frederick L Malphurs

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

The Hainan Conflict

The Hainan Conflict (The Net Book 2) by [DM Coffman]

The Hainan Conflict by D.M Coffman, is a fast paced thriller with incredible and fascinating adventures combined with fast-paced action, and traces of romance. The shadowy hidden cave reckons to end the military conflict of the loyal troops, the island hosts some wicked organization. U.S attorney, and undercover detective YI along with Sarah, a Tibetan judge, are on a mission on the Hainan Island, all are in pursuit of clues relating to the discovery of a refined computer system, concealed in the heart of this aboriginal village. As Sarah, is recovering from an attack, Yi realizes the operations of the internet along with other bio –weapons, all in the underground cave.

D.M Coffman, has used engaging and descriptive language along with intense imagery that clearly reveals the essence of intelligent and brave, but sometimes manipulative, characters. The tension is set high early on in this book and explodes every time the tension breaks with fast action scenes. The mystery of the dynamic personalities of the characters is what intensifies the essence of conflict since every moment brings new discoveries.

As a thriller fanatic, I am particularly impressed with D.M Coffman’s style of delivery, the intrigue that comes along with divided interests even among the inner circle of main characters. So amazing, that there is a heightened tension between Sarah and Yi, yet they have to resolve their differences fast and amicably lest they are defeated by their mysterious enemies.

I liked the turn of events from the time Yi, the undercover detective discovers the enemy’s plan to attack. How he quickly needs to form a secretive military conflict whose fundamental requirement is to be in sync with the US-Sino collaboration. These calculated series of events are the real grounds of the Hainan conflict which eventually result into a forced landing on the island.

The conspiracy among individual characters which pops us in every chapter only heightens the suspense and curiosity. The Hainan Conflict is a captivating political thriller that fans of a Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum will heartily enjoy.

Pages: 254 | ASIN: B082WMGYF9

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An Unbridgeable Chasm

James Morrow
James Morrow Author Interview

And the Last Trump Shall Sound consists of three novellas depicting a chilling imminent future for the U.S. How did this anthology come about?

The book was the brainchild of Shahid Mahmud, who runs a small press called Arc Manor out of Rockville, Maryland. He invited me into the anthology back in October of 2019, explaining that he’d already lined up Harry Turtledove and Cat Rambo.

I believe the project crystallized in Shahid’s mind when he observed the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, which he thought captured in microcosm what was happening to this country on both the public level—an unbridgeable chasm between Democrats and Republicans—and the private level: families split into warring camps over the

Donald Trump phenomenon. Shahid sensed that we’d become divided to the point of acute instability, and he wanted to do a book that would somehow address the crisis.

Three amazing writers penned the stories in this anthology. What was your collaboration process like?

The essential premise, a string of Republican White House victories leading to the secession of the three West Coast states, emerged from conversations between Shahid and his friend Harry Turtledove, one of sf’s premier practitioners of alternative history. When Shahid proposed that I join the project, an early draft of Harry’s novella existed, and I was expected to pick up where “The Breaking of Nations” left off.

At first I turned Shahid down. The mere idea of a second Trump term followed by eight years of Mike Pence depressed me so profoundly I couldn’t image wanting to write within such a universe. But I couple of days after Shahid approached me, I remembered a detail from his pitch: when “The Breaking of Nations” opens, Trump is already in his grave. I thought it would be fun if Pence got the idea—reinforced by an adult-movie star masquerading as his spiritual counselor—that with the help of Heaven he could bring Trump back from the dead.

So I emailed Shahid and was delighted to learn the slot hadn’t been filled yet. I penned most of my contribution during a Christmas visit in Denver with my wife’s side of the family, including my intended climax: Trump’s resurrection in the Washington National Cathedral—not a miracle but a feat predicated on a robot doppelgänger.

Shahid passed my first draft on to Cat Rambo, who then faced the formidable challenge of writing a novella that would give readers a self-contained narrative that stayed within the parameters of “The Breaking of Nations” and “The Purloined Republic.” Cat came through in spades with a dystopian vision titled—from the Stephen Crane poem—“Because It Is Bitter.”

All of which is a complicated way of saying that And the Last Trump Shall Sound was not so much a collaboration as a round robin experiment in freewheeling extrapolation.

What is the main thing you hope readers will take away from the book?

I hope that Harry, Cat, and I might help readers understand that the American experiment, with its roots in sophisticated political philosophy and the 18th-century Enlightenment, is in dire jeopardy right now. They won’t come out and admit it, but the men at the top—Trump, Pence, Mitch McConnell, and so on—obviously no longer believe in this experiment. The President would like to see our republic become a monarchy, Pence would like to see it become an evangelical Christian theocracy, and McConnell is doing everything in his power to sustain the kleptocracy.

That said, And the Last Trump Shall Sound is not a counsel of despair. It’s a warning, not a prophecy. All three novellas, I feel, leaven their darkest moments with a certain buoyancy and between-the-lines affirmation. As I often say, pessimism can be its own sort of naivety, cynicism its own sentimentality. There is still a common good.

What are you are working on now?

Way back in 1986, an editor at Henry Holt, Marion Wood, bought a manuscript from me called Those Who Favor Fire. At the last minute we changed the title because it had just appeared on an sf novel by Marta Randall, and we wanted to avoid confusion (though titles cannot be copyrighted). My nuclear-war comedy ultimately rolled off the presses as This Is the Way the World Ends.

Thirty-four years later, I am applying Those Who Favor Fire to my satire-in-progress. It’s an absurdist take on the climate crisis, spun from the notion that the Hollow Earth theory is correct. It turns out that our surface world is mirrored by Quondonia, a subterranean civilization menaced by global freezing. The conceit is ridiculous, of course, but I’ve found that if I live long enough with my premises—I’m a slow writer—I actually start to believe them at some level, and I come to imagine the reader will too.

From New York Times bestselling author, Harry Turtledove, critically-acclaimed novelist, James Morrow, and Nebula Award winner, Cat Rambo, comes a masterful anthology of three sensational novellas depicting a dark fictional future of the United States.

And the Last Trump Shall Sound is a prophetic warning about where we, as a nation, may be headed. Mike Pence is President of the United States after years of divisive, dogmatic control by Donald Trump. The country is in turmoil as the Republicans have strengthened their stronghold on Congress, increasing their dominance. And with the support of the Supreme Court, more conservative than ever, State governments become more marginalized by the authoritarian rule of the Federal government.

There are those who cannot abide by what they view as a betrayal of the nation’s founding principles. Once united communities break down and the unthinkable suddenly becomes the only possible solution: the end of the Union.

The authors’ depiction of a country that is both unfamiliar and yet unnervingly all too realistic, make you realize the frightening possible consequences of our increased polarization—a dire warning to all of us of where we may be headed unless we can learn to come together again.

A Nest for Lalita

A Nest for Lalita by [Ken Langer]

A Nest for Lalita, written by Ken Langer, centers around domestic violence in India, a sensitive subject definitely, but displayed expertly. In all honesty, this was a struggle at times to read, not due to poor writing or story, just the opposite. Langer writes these topics with an unrelenting force, displaying all of it in all its ugliness – to put it lightly.

It also revolves around corporate greed, infuriating politicians, a budding love in a country that, at times, seems to fight against everything the protagonists, Meena and Simon, fight for.

As a reader, I wholly believe that first impressions matter. If you are able to capture my attention in one chapter – or at times in a prologue – then that is a book worth reading. Fortunately, A Nest for Lalita is one of these books. I was intrigued, angry, furious, and devastated, all in a four-page prologue. Which also established the tone for the novel – though without the little ray of hope shining in the rest of the book.

This is where we meet Lalita, who is ultimately not a protagonist but a catalyst for other characters and this felt like a missed opportunity. The short prologue had me wanting more from her, however, Meena and Simon are great protagonists that were a blast to read.

The setting is also intricate and fascinating. Langer teaches and explores Indian culture and religion thoroughly, especially religion, and he accomplishes this through natural means. That is, through multiple characters, and Kesh embodies this greater than any other character. Part of Kesh’s motivations and flaws involves the deep and rich Hindu religion.

It may sound like Langer delivers an unforgiving story encapsulating multiple sensitive topics, and it does, but there are brief respites throughout, splashing the reader with a refreshing bucket of water, a short break where the reader can take a breath and hope for the protagonists and their goals.

I really enjoyed A Nest for Lalita, I was left unfulfilled with Lalita’s absence, in some senses, the novel changes slightly after the first quarter, and there seemed to be a greater focus on plot instead of story in the later parts of the book.

Overall, A Nest for Lalita is a powerful, although tough, read but it was absolutely worth it. Ken Langer has written a riveting political thriller that will keep you entertained throughout.

Pages: 324 | ASIN: B08HJPZTWB

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And the Last Trump Shall Sound

And the Last Trump Shall Sound by [Harry Turtledove, James Morrow, Cat Rambo]

In the not-too-distant future, Mike Pence has ascended the ladder to the presidency, but the foundation that was laid during Donald Trump’s time in office still stands strong. The United States has become little more than a caricature of its former self as its people grow more and more extreme about almost literally every issue imaginable. Finally reaching a breaking point, the west coast declares its independence and comes Pacifica, prompting the northeast to consider following suit. As both nations adjust to the change, the stories that emerge range from terrifyingly feasible to laugh out loud absurd, with just a little of the bizarre thrown in for color.

And the Last Trump Shall Sound is a trilogy of novellas that explore a different aspect of the future of Trump’s America in the wake of Pacifica’s succession. Each entry is penned by a different author and as such, projects a drastically different voice. Although each story is connected and follows a linear timeline, using different authors helps to keep it fresh. 

“The Breaking of Nations” by Harry Turtledove illustrates the first days of Pacifica and the struggles faced by its leaders. Of the three, this one is easily the most frightening for its plausibility and passages that read more like non-fiction at times. Turtledove paints the picture of a future devoid of any semblance of morality or democracy and the people who want desperately to salvage what they can.

In contrast, “The Purloined Republic”, by James Morrow takes a more absurd approach to solidifying Pacifica’s status as an independent nation, a couple of years down the road. Taking a page out of classic spy and espionage novels, Morrow’s tone is much more tongue in cheek as our heroine Polly agrees to go undercover in the hopes of undermining Pence’s legitimacy, even among the most devoted Americans. What follows is a series of events that can only be described as both ridiculous and wildly entertaining. 

The final entry is “Because it is Bitter” by Cat Rambo, and this one gets weird. Set six years after the formation of Pacifica, it veers firmly into science fiction territory, and stops just short of portraying life in America as dystopian. It combines the implications of Trump’s future with a complete lack of privacy that raises plenty of questions about freedom and manipulation. It provides a fitting end to the trilogy as it leaves the door open for both hope and uncertainty.

For me, the opening story was the weakest of the three and made getting into the book a little slow, but it was nonetheless well written and a necessary read for the other two to make sense. I thoroughly enjoyed the differences in style and tone, and would love to read more from these writers in the future.

Pages: 257 | ASIN: B086Q1M8VQ

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A Nest for Lalita – Trailer

Meena Kaul is riding high in her position as director of Behera House, a safe haven in India for women who have survived domestic violence. But when the stock market crashes, Behera House loses its funding to expand. The right-wing Hindu Democratic Party (HDP), seeing an opportunity to win women’s votes before a national election, steps in with a multimillion-dollar grant. While Meena is reluctant to accept the offer, it is the only way for the project to proceed. Her worst fears come to pass when the HDP wins the election and begins to chip away at a hundred years of progress on women’s rights. Meanwhile, Simon Bliss, America’s foremost “green” architect, who had been commissioned to design the new facility, falls for the alluring Meena and is drawn into the perilous world of Indian politics. In his attempt to loosen the HDP’s grip on Meena and win her affection, Simon takes on reactionary politicians, shady priests, and crooked businessmen. In the process, he comes face to face with disturbing truths about his past, while Meena finds herself trapped in ways she never could have expected.

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The Demolition of Democracy: Has America Lost Its Soul

The Demolition of Democracy: Has America Lost Its Soul by [Ted Bagley]

The Demolition of Democracy is a compelling analysis of the policies and the behavior of the Trump administration and how they are destroying the democratic foundation of the United States. Ted Bagley has written this book as an attempt to get people to realize that it does matter who we choose to lead our country. This book delivers a clear perspective on the current state of the U.S. government and Ted Bagley does not sugar coat his words. The author seeks to open the reader’s eyes to the realities we live in today, and open them he does.

Ted Bagley shines a light on all the issues the country and world are facing. He fearlessly reviews and examines the broken-down of our political and judicial system and the absence of democracy in the country. The Demolition of Democracy takes a good look at the people at the top and the general climate of the country they operate in. This book makes it clear that the United States of America has been going through a dark period with less than proper leadership. Issues like racism and prejudice have become staples of the administration. Ted Bagley states his stance clearly, unequivocally, and with reverence.

This book is not for people who are easily offended as it can be viewed as aggressive, but I choose to see it as passionate. The Demolition of Democracy is a hard hitting book that investigates and diagnosis the political problems facing Americans.

Pages: 262 | ASIN: B07W8MJ1P2

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The Oppenheimer Alternative

The Oppenheimer Alternative by [Robert J. Sawyer]

The Oppenheimer Alternative by Robert J Sawyer is an exciting science novel inspired by true events. The book is sure to keep readers turning pages from the start. The story follows Robert Oppenheimer, the book’s main protagonist who many consider to be the father of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist, is put in charge of America’s project to create the atomic bomb as World War two rages across the globe. In a race against time, the protagonist is forced to work extremely hard as America seeks to outwit its allies and enemies alike in the quest to discover the strongest weapon ever made.

As ideologies collide, Robert is forced to choose between his beliefs and what is right. The story is set across various backgrounds but the main being wartime United States as seen through the eyes of various scientists who were hired by the government to create the greatest weapon known to man. The author expertly uses dialogue to engage his audience in the story creating a truly captivating aura around the book in general. The use of vivid description by the author proved to be a key aspect in promoting the development of the plot and also in engaging the author’s audience. There is good character development in the story as the author describes the protagonist’s emotions and feelings in the most vivid way possible keeping the story interesting from the beginning.

This riveting story tackles various moral issues that face humanity in such a tumultuous time. The author clearly shows the struggles that people in positions of influence and power face in maintaining a picture of perfection and fulfilling expectations placed upon them by society in general. This book really captures the feel of that era, and I enjoyed how emotional this novel is, which I suppose was a surprise to me as I didn’t expect it to be this dramatic.

The story has several bits of foreign language which you may not understand, but certainly lends the book some authenticity. In addition to this, there are several references to poetry which the reader may not know, but is still thought-provoking. Robert J. Sawyer has crafted a master piece of science fiction that presents an alternate history that is absolutely thrilling.

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