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Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest

Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest (The Rathen Series Book 2) by [Smith, Grant Elliot, Stohler, Steven H.]

In the science fiction genre, many stories share similar plots. The authors, Grant Elliot Smith and Steven H. Stohler, in their co-venture, Rathen: Into Bramblewood Forest, expertly utilize concepts from great sci-fi classics. With this they create a very entertaining story that keeps readers rooting for the protagonist, Rathen, and his crew throughout their quest to vanquish evil from their world and other worlds in the galaxy.

The story begins roughly a year after the first book left off in a dark scene where Rathen and his companions—Bandark and Rulo—nervously approach a terrible foe that is capable of destroying the group with his magical ability that allows him control of many elements and also the dead. The result of this meeting then forms a core group that joins in a quest in search of a powerful book called The Book of Ziz that will allow its wielders to vanquish a terrorizing deity known as Gothoar. The story has much more depth as the characters face personal issues and other forms of conflict as the story unfolds.

One concept that makes this book a great read is the discussion of social dynamics through the interaction of fictional races. The group contains several humans, a lich, a half-orc, and people from other worlds in their fold. Therefore, the authors found a way to talk about and resolve racial conflicts. The details of the story show that some people have to live in certain neighborhoods and have to be defensive regarding their heritage. Thack, a capable warrior who is half human and orc, has apparently had a history of racial persecution because he chose to live in an area away from his home where he has found acceptance, but with the introduction of a love interest, feels defensive about his mixed heritage to seek acceptance.

Other social issues like gender disparity are discussed. Caswen—a healer—and her sister Drynwen—a protector—feel gender bias in their organization and have to fight harder to receive missions than their male counterparts. This book seeks to show that the bias others hold can often overshadow dreams and skills. The sisters get their opportunity to sharpen their skills on the road. They find their niche amongst the team allowing them to shine brighter than many of their order back home.

Rathen is able to shed new light on old tropes. Most everyone is familiar with the hero and company on a quest to save the world from destructive foe. The story adds plenty of depth through the implementation of human nature with nonhuman characters and the exploration of human tendencies like the search for redemption, acceptance, contentment, immortality, and even revenge in some cases. Smith and Stohler did a fantastic job telling a story that goes much deeper than the words on the pages; their work sticks with their readers well after the words are read.

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Pages: 282 | ASIN: B07HWNK13Z

Literary Titan Book Awards December 2018

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.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

House of Pain (The Forsaken Ones Book 1) by [Holm, Denna]Apex Five (The Plane Book 1) by [Katz, Sarah]The Infinite Wisdom (The Snow Adventures Book 2) by [Estes, Danny C]

American River: Confluence: Book Three of the American River Trilogy by [O'Connor, Mallory M.]

From Despair to Hope and Healing: One Woman’S Journey in Poem by [Mezera, Barbara K.]An Indian Goes Around the World – Ii: What I Learned from My Thirty-Day European Odyssey by [Prabhakaran, M.P.]Once Upon a Blog: Then and Now by [Hallmark, Shelley L.]'A Swift and Deadly Maelstrom: the Great Norwich Flood of 1963, a Survivors Story by [Moody Jr, Thomas R.]

East Wind Blowing by [Leeward, C. U.]Seven Ghostly Spins: A Brush with the Supernatural by [Bossano, Patricia, Gerard, ft. Kelsey E.]So, You're Raising Your Grandkids!: Tested Tips, Research, & Real Life Stories to Make Your Life Easier by [Hodgson, Harriet]Christmas with Snowman Paul by [Lapid, Yossi]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Mage's Tome: Cry of the Acere Duology: Book I by [Hampton, Arisawe]

Damnation: A Grimdark Fantasy Political Drama by [Valec, Igor]Phoenix : A Novel by [Arti Chugpai]Destiny Revisited by [Tremayne, Eleanor Tremayne]

Kumite For Love by [Malcolm, Judy]Angel Virus: A Novella Trilogy by [Squire, Joshua]Sunken Spanish Treasure Quest by [Johnson, Richard Joseph]

Frolicking Friends by [Welsh, Karen Leis]

Anticipating Temptation by [Perrin, Randi]Paper Safe: The triumph of bureaucracy in safety management by [Smith, Gregory]

 

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

 

Imprisoned Within The Pages

Danny Estes Author Interview

Danny Estes Author Interview

The Infinite Wisdom follows Braxton into a genetics lab, while looking for his fiancée as he stumbles across the origin of the hairless apes. The mythology of the world is that mankind has vanished. Are you looking to further that mystery or will we see the hairless apes reappear?

Book 3 of “The Snow Adventures”, will reveal more information concerning the hairless apes. In addition, new developments in the reason for the space station will come to light, but not without its costs. For this information will cause a tragedy amongst the animals which will change the characters’ lives. Shaking up the norm for the path of Book 4.

I enjoyed the underlying technological theme throughout the book. Did you conduct any genetics research for this book?

Although science can fascinate and inspire my writing as we continue to stubble into the future, I conducted no research into the making of this book. All genetic hypotheses and advance sciences presented within this book comes from the countless movies and science fiction books I’ve read or watched over the years. I merely laid out the ideals and incorporated what aspects of each I felt would best open imaginative minds to concepts our current technology are already adventuring within.

The cover art for this book is awesome. What was the development like for this cover?

For a writer the cover is the most important beginning for any book. Never mind all the hours, days, months or even years of hard work that goes into a book’s development. If the cover arts not appealing, all the investment an author has made will be for not. For a reader must have their interest peeked to invest their time in simply picking up the book for a curiosity look see. This is why I spend a lot of time considering the cover. It must convey an imagery of events to be found within the pages of the book while not promising any falsehoods. With these concepts I had to considered what would best convey the plight of the characters. Who besides Braxton should or shouldn’t be portrayed. The fact that Joann, his sweetheart is a driving factor in the book told me she had to be included. But how then do I present them? Escaping? Boarding the space shuttle? Talking with the unicorns, Mr. Thelin and his sister Ms. Thelin? All good avenues of presentation. Yet everyone’s desire to be free felt to be the most important aspect for the cover. For a reader will see our heroes’ plight and wonder as to how they got there and what must be done to escape. This then seemed the most obvious choice as it invited the reader to at least explore as to how they were imprisoned within the pages and I hope, would invest the reader to continue reading in order to see our heroes gain their freedom.

Where will we find Braxton in the next book in the Snow Adventures and when will that be available?

Braxton will find himself back into his old job of investigations. Though in truth he’s rather be with his wife, Joann and their growing family. Current circumstances however will lead him on a chase for an escaped murderer who somehow has vanished from a secured holding cell. How and why will leave the animals shaken to the core. This Book 3, of The Snow Adventures, I’ve slated for an appearance on amazon sometime in 2020.

Author Links: GoodReads Facebook | Website

The Infinite Wisdom (The Snow Adventures Book 2) by [Estes, Danny C]

Braxton Snow, P.I., big city arctic wolf, is back!

While escaping the glacial clan of his birth, Braxton lands in a sinister genetic laboratory established by the hairless apes long ago. With the help of his new allies, Braxton navigates this alien technology to find his jackrabbit fiancée. But the curious archaeologist red fox has nailed all their coffins by pushing buttons he shouldn’t. They know where the hairless apes went now—somewhere the animals should not have followed! Will they ever return home?

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Real-World Conflict

Sarah Katz Author Interview

Sarah Katz Author Interview

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.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

Apex Five (The Plane Book 1) by [Katz, Sarah]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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Can Good Win Over Evil?

Denna Holm Author Interview

Denna Holm Author Interview

House of Pain is a uniquely creative story unlike any fantasy story I’ve come across. What was the inspiration for the idea behind this novel?

For the setting of this story, I imagined what could happen if we continue the self-destructive path we seem to be walking. Wars, hatred, greed, power-hungry politicians. I’ve always worried about the possibility of a nuclear war, but what if Mother Nature herself finally got fed up and decided to help wipe us out? The little, insignificant people are usually the ones who suffer most. I imagined those in power wouldn’t hesitate to call on demons for help if they thought they could maintain control over them. And, as with most arrogant people, they have no idea what they’re getting into.

Maggie is a human-demon hybrid who grew up in a whorehouse, but still manages to hold onto her humanity. What were the driving ideals behind her character?

Maggie represents all of us who struggle with our dark half to hold to good. It would have been easier for her to let go and embrace her evil side, but she held tight to her dream of one day having a family to love and who loved her. Of course, as in real life, she couldn’t fight this battle alone. Maggie understood the concept of love and goodness because center stage in her horrible childhood were three men, her handlers, who pushed her toward another path, one where she didn’t need to hurt others. Under almost impossible circumstances, they helped her develop a conscious, gave her choices. Though obviously exaggerated with Maggie, I used my own struggles trying to raise my daughter to show the difficulties we face as parents in today’s world. There are so many distractions fighting for our children’s attention, and much of it not good. It’s difficult to try to keep them on the right path?

The world in this story is a dark post-apocalyptic Earth and I enjoyed the unique backstory. Did you develop the backstory before writing or did it develop organically while writing?

The backstory came first. Watching the news, it worried me to think about a possible nuclear war and what it would do to our planet. I also noticed that we appeared to be having more and more natural disasters and I wondered if Mother Nature had finally had enough of our abuse and decided to fight back. But no matter what happened, I imagined some people would find a way to survive. But how? This is where the demons came into play and the people who thought they could control them. There will always be evil in the world, but I believe there will always be good too. The real question is can good win over evil? I believe it can. Maggie became my representation of this battle. Daniel, her love interest, and his young son were her reward for holding strong. They gave her hope for a new and better life, one I think we all strive for.

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

I’m working on a Science Fiction Romance called Claimed by Nicolai right now. It is an alien abduction story involving a young woman from Oregon. My novels tend to revolve around the woman in the story, how she must fight for her own path in life and not just depend on a man to provide what he thinks she needs. Love can develop from this struggle, but it needs to be a relationship where both parties are equal. Claimed by Nicolai will be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing sometime in the spring of 2019.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsiteAmazonCrimson Cloak Publishing

House of Pain (The Forsaken Ones Book 1) by [Holm, Denna]

Buy Now From Amazon.comMaggie Shelbador is a half-breed succubus with a heart. Though raised inside one of the worst whorehouses in the world, all she wants is to find one man who will love her despite what she is. She dreams of one day being free of her nightmarish life but fears no man will ever truly trust her.

The year is 3515 and most of the world has been destroyed by a combination of natural disasters and man’s neglect. The whole human race faces extinction. To survive, the leaders of the day approach demons for help, not understanding the high price they will be forced to pay. Normally bound by the summoner’s magic, the demons know Maggie is the key to giving them free access to Earth.

Daniel is a widower with a young son. He is out hunting one day when his settlement is attacked and his son abducted. He tracks them to House of Pain, not realizing a trap is being set for him. Though tortured, Daniel refuses to break when they try to force him to prostitute himself—until a beautiful blonde woman is brought into the room, her power stripping away his self-control.

When Mother Calls (The Josepha Chronicles)

Josepha Brown has quite a unique background. Found as a young child and taken in and raised by Maggie Brown, Josepha is burdened by memories of her past. The problem? Josepha is the only one who cannot recall these events. As she moves into her thirties, she relies on the memories of friends and family to piece together the mystery that is her bizarre ability to tell the future. When Josepha answers a call to come to her eccentric mother’s home one evening, she is met with a small group of friends who may or may not be on the up-and-up and want something Josepha is not even sure how to give them.

When Mother Calls, by Genevieve Fosa, is a blend of mystery and science fiction. Josepha Brown, the book’s main character exhibits more patience than most people could ever imagine having. As she endures torture at the hands of people she believes to be friends of her mother, she attempts to continue with her life until it becomes virtually impossible to do so. As her days become increasingly difficult to recall and her neighbor enters the picture as an almost morbid caregiver, she finally gives in to the madness that consumes her and decides to pursue answers.

Fosa has created a most unique plot centered around the abilities Josepha cannot recall using. As amazing as the plot is, it is easy to become frustrated with her patience and the incredibly long and drawn out process of realizing Harold’s true intentions.

Speaking of frustration, Maggie is a character I would love to shake. Her behavior at the outset is infuriating to say the least. Fosa does a fabulous job of molding a character who is both naive and childlike while maintaining a certain devious quality. My heart bleeds for Josepha as she endures session after session of torture and the excruciating recovery that follows. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that her mother is an integral part of it all.

Time travel is not an aspect I saw coming at the outset of the first two chapters. I was fully prepared to read a book based primarily on the paranormal. I was pleasantly surprised at the turn of events. Fosa has melded the best of both worlds as she blends the paranormal with elements of intrigue and a secret world of people living between two very different times in our history. It is a fascinating plot and one that keeps the reader guessing at every turn.

Fosa has succeeded in producing a beautifully written and intricate plot with a strong main character who endures more than her fair share of hardships in order to succeed in her mission without negatively impacting history. Fosa’s plot is highly-involved and moves quickly–a plus for readers who enjoy a briskly paced science fiction story. Fosa is, no doubt, highly skilled in character development, and it shows in Josepha Brown’s turnabout. When Mother Calls is a must read for fans of the paranormal desiring strong female leads and an element of mystery.

Pages: 298 | ISBN: 1976843391

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Angel Virus

Angel Virus: A Novella Trilogy by [Squire, Joshua]

Think of the worst scenario you could possibly imagine. Got one? Chances are Joshua Squire can think of something worse. Angel Virus, Squire’s inaugural novel, paints a nightmarish scenario: all of the world’s children suddenly, inexplicably die. And the rest of world might not be too far behind. The story follows the lives of four people (Dutch: a Wisconsin metal worker, Jin: a small business owner in Beijing, Aletta: a European pediatrician, and Aysi: a teacher at a church in Africa) all of whom are recovering from past demons when the world starts falling apart. The novel wastes little time detailing the titular epidemic that kills the world’s children before zeroing in on the lives of these four protagonists. Squire, a poet by nature, flexes his linguistic muscles best in these personal scenes. At one point I found myself wishing that Squire would show the exposition instead of telling it. But when the narration focuses in on the individual suffering, the scenes cut deep enough to make the reader yearn for the safety of the omniscient narrator.

It’s in these dark, visceral images where Angel Virus shines the brightest. Subtle details such as place names and character backstories invite close reading. But at other times the reader races forward at full speed as characters flee through the jungle, get entombed in the city, or suddenly discover that allies can become one’s worst enemies. In addition to great images, Squire successfully creates realistic characters who inspire empathy within the reader. The dialogue comes off as believable while still maintaining a poetic quality.

Unfortunately, Squire’s excellent descriptions and well written characters also work against him. Angel Virus takes place over a wide variety of settings and includes many secondary characters. All of this helps create a believable disaster on a world-scale. But trying to tackle this much material in a novella length story sometimes becomes disorienting. In addition, while each of the four protagonists add compelling drama to the story, they all follow a similar path. Since the story is relatively short, none of the protagonists are allowed to fully develop.

Overall, Angel Virus is an exciting first novel. While the scope of its story and lack of versatility in the heroes’ narratives threatens to hamper the novel, the writing is strong enough to keep the reader interested. The novel’s conclusion left me wanting more, and that’s exactly what this trilogy plans to offer. But even if you stop at its last page, Angel Virus compels you to consider the link between psychology and spirituality, the nature of good and evil, and why you should cherish your loved ones long after you finish reading it.

Pages: 96 | ASIN: B01JZXY0JY

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The Journey Down South

Mia Kingslie Author Interview

Mia Kingslie Author Interview

Survivors of the Sun is a thrilling post-apocalyptic adventure story following Georgia as she struggles to keep her family safe in a new dangerous world. What was the inspiration for the setup to this novel?

Inspiration for the book came while I was living in an isolated farming community sixteen miles from the township where I had my Jewelry Studio. At one point I was cut off, with one other family, for ten days by raging flood waters. We were not prepared. None of us were able to get into work or school. There was no internet, no phone, no electricity and absolutely no means of communication with the outside world. Both households pooled their food and the kids and dogs ran wild. Even so, it was a wonderful time and it led me to think of how different it would have been if something similar had occurred in a large city.

Georgia starts the story as a happy wife and mother, and manages to survive several obstacles by her will and determination. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?

Firstly that she was not a well prepared, gun totting superhero. She was a normal woman, in an average household confronted with the unexpected and the unthinkable. I wanted her to have her failings, insecurities, and self-doubt; as well as a strong set of values, showing her inner need, despite the situation, to remain honest. I also wanted to reveal her developing relationship with the children and how her steadfast influence, determination and loyalty encouraged the positive development of those around her.

This is an entertaining post-apocalyptic story; did you start writing with this in mind or did the story develop organically as you wrote?

It was always going to be a post-apocalyptic story, but I did not have a plot. When I started writing I knew about as much as the characters did, and it seemed to me that they took over and led me on the journey down South.

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

It is a sequel to Survivors of the Sun and I am planning to have it ready by May 2019.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter

Survivors of the Sun: A post-apocalyptic thriller by [Kingslie, Mia]Georgia was not a survivalist and she did not have a bug out plan. She was a happily married woman, at home with three children and their Boston Terriers. In an instant everything changed. The power went off, and no-one knew why. By nightfall, Nathan, her husband had still not returned. In time, the water stopped running. With only three days of food left in the house and dwindling water supplies, she has no choice but to flee Kansas City.

Their world changes dramatically, entering a post-apocalyptic age, with looting, rioting and violence becoming the norm. As they escape across country, Georgia has to overcome her fears and keep her loved ones safe. Together they face heart wrenching decisions as they encounter the inconceivable.

Their journey leads them through a harsh new reality. The struggles and hardships that they endure, threaten their very existence, testing their loyalty, fortitude and love for each other in ways they could never have imagined.

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Apex Five: The Plane

Apex Five: The Plane, Book One by [Katz, Sarah]

Apex Five: The Plane, is a science fiction novel that details life on another plane of existence. We are given a very brief history of this world in the prologue, and then in Chapter 1 we find the story propelled forward about 12,000 years from a life altering event known as The Storm.

The first character we are introduced to is Nasin, and the story immediately takes a rather political turn. Nasin was sent to Tabir to try and secure a sort of trade deal between her own nation of Lir and the people of Tabir. The story and dialogue are well written, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was rather dry reading from the onset and it had a hard time keeping my attention. However, once we are introduced to Hazard 14, the story becomes a lot more intriguing.

The character Hazard 14, whose real name is Rohem, is absolutely fascinating. I think the author did a great job of describing his physical differences (anomalies?) from other people; the scene where he is being examined by the doctor in Lir was a great way to introduce the reader to his unusual abilities. From this point forward, it’s hard to put the book down. It’s clear from the beginning that the Tabirians think that Rohem is a dangerous criminal, while Nasin sees a vulnerable little boy who needs protection. The distinct differences between the Tabir and Lir nationalities really become apparent through their treatment of Rohem. I really loved how the author brought these things to light through his character, rather than in a more direct way.

I always think it’s a little bit difficult to get acquainted with characters in a science fiction novel of this type; where all the races and customs are new to the reader. As well as some of the names being a little difficult to pronounce. However, overall the author did a good job of creating dialogue between the characters that explains the characteristics and histories of the races while still seeming like natural conversation. A lot of times this type of description can seem forced and pretentious but I did not think that it came across that way in Apex Five.

I also found the imagery in the book to be really great. I could envision the different terrains; the dunes of Lir, the industrial feel of Tabir, the rainforests of the Ayam. The evolution of all the different groups of people, from the The Storm forward, is a very believable progression and also written really well. It’s clear that while their relationships with one another are largely diplomatic, there are undertones of distrust. For instance, when Nasin is in Tabir she is asked if they’ve (the Lir) succeeded in making any weaponry, to which she fibs and tells them they have not. The reader is quickly privy to the fact that something is culminating between the different races that is soon going to come to a head. This suspense definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall, I ended up enjoying the story thoroughly and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up any other book by this author.

Pages: 338 | ASIN: B07BRCRD8V

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Imaginary Offshoots

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

Terry Tumbler Author Interview

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.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blogspot

FUTURE WORLD ROLLS!: We Are Family (Carousels of Life Book 2) by [Tumbler, Terry]This Space Opera is set to Rock n’ Roll and classical music, many of the songs being entirely original and composed by the author.

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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