Change by NG Nelson is the first book in a riveting science fiction saga. This fast-paced story takes place over many worlds. The novel follows Major Patricea Markis and her journey to protect the young prince, Kal Jerran. This is a captivating story of warring dynasties, there are themes of myths, legends, loyalty and deception. Allegiances are tested and questioned, and betrayal is frequent. Change is rife with action to keep the reader hooked, including violence, seduction and assassination. The continuous action ensures Change is an energetic read.
Change has numerous characters that narrate each chapter but overall the story follows the path of Major Patriciea Markis who is charged with the difficult task of protecting the young prince Kal Jerran and evading the forces of the New Imperium. However, there are also many other important characters, such as Paul and Bernadette from Earth, Hellia, a journalist, Vel Toyan, Ral Dannan and Martial Varian. Nelson’s clever use of vocabulary and dialogue help to distinguish between the many characters and their worlds. The characters are further defined by the outfits and descriptions of body language and physical characteristics, ensuring each character is fully developed and easily distinguishable. The rich descriptions of the setting throughout the story appeal to the reader’s sense of sound and sight. The worlds are like characters in their own right. This is an epic space opera with a universe that feels large and intriguing, reminiscent of the Frank Herbert’s Dune series.
Like any good science fiction tale, the story is filled science fiction trappings: teleportation, inter galactic travel, and holograms. Coupled with this and interwoven into the story are the trappings of royal life; servants, military protection and ladies in waiting. These are further juxtaposed with the description and narration of Paul and Bernadette and their everyday life on Earth. These stark contrasts between lives add to the multifaceted story being told.
Change is an enthralling space adventure novel that will appeal to fantasy and science fiction fans alike. Thoughtful world building, intriguing characters, and high stakes ensure readers are consistently entertained.
Pages: 232 | ASIN: B08PTFP27D
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The Pearl Territory is a suspense filled; sci-fi, surreal drama written by Victoria Ray. The Pearl Territory is the story of 1,296 people that survived the near annihilation of earth after a gamma ray hit the earth. Living inside a colony called Netericus, on Titus, people are becoming frustrated with the huge number of rules and restrictions. A group of six Titanians are sent to explore the Pearl. They hope to find a new home that humans can live in.
The novel has a variety of settings, ranging from newly discovered Pearl to Netericus, to flashbacks of earth- in city’s such as San Francisco. The story is predominantly set in Pearl. Author Victoria Ray provides the reader with vivid descriptions of its water covered land, and unique formations that can only be seen if they can be imagined. Flashbacks provide melancholy descriptions of earth, and the towns they miss and love. The time also ranges from the present day (2718) to the 1980’s on earth. These setting changes (both geographical and time) are easy to distinguish by the in-depth descriptions Ray writes.
The majority of the novel is structured as a series of private journals, written by various characters. The journals are easy to follow, entitled with the character’s name, and detailing whereabouts the character is living. This structure makes the novel easy to follow, despite its many characters and settings.
There is a large cast of characters in The Pearl Territory. Thankfully, Ray provides a list of characters at the start of the book. There are some more prominent characters in the novel, such as Pain, Rai, Mr Time, Pastor Hoff and Bou. The character cast is made even more complex by the different types of characters, for example the Titans (primitive and advanced), the heroes, mutants, Hreens, those from the past, those from earth, from Nirvana, and beyond matter. These characters are defined and distinguished by their dialogue – both inner thoughts and dialogue with others, and their actions. An interesting array of diverse characters, sprawling the spectrum of good and evil.
The Pearl Territory had an interesting premise and a compelling story and with intriguing twists and turns. This is a thought-provoking dark fantasy novel with deep commentary on society that’s sometimes satirical but always entertaining.
Pages: 191 | ASIN: B08KY44TBJ
Spiff Tracey is one in a million. Case by case, he takes on the world. Fortunately for the world, Spiff outlives everyone and everything around him. His ability to continue to thrive well into the future is matched by none. Spiff also remains unmatched in his ability to investigate and bring the guilty to justice. When he is tasked with something quite different from all of his other cases to date, Spiff feels he is just the man for the job. Nothing is too difficult and nothing too challenging for a man of his means and vast experience.
Simply Spiffin!, by Terry Tumbler, is the third installment of the Carousels of Life series. Spiff Tracey, the book’s main character is virtually ageless and manages to bring his brand of investigative genius into every decade and every major world event. This futuristic tale smacks of science fiction while at the same time offering humor and bits of intrigue and drama. There is nothing Tumbler hasn’t thought of in book three of this series, and for a third in the series, I feel it can stand alone well.
It is always a breath of fresh air to come across humor in a book otherwise steeped in drama. Tumbler’s books have all of that and more. The bigger-than-life characters are well-developed and stand out against a backdrop of what can sometimes be overwhelmingly technical elements. Each new character is a treasure in Tumbler’s writing. It is not often that readers find themselves just as enamored with the supporting characters, but Tumbler manages to achieve just that effect.
One of the most unique aspects of Tumbler’s writing is the inclusion of song lyrics. There is nothing quite like Tumbler’s work. Nowhere else will readers be able to find the words to their favorite classic tunes woven throughout a work of engaging science fiction. It’s a special blend of music and mayhem and, as odd as it may sound, a nice fit. It’s a technique that is present in each of the works I have read by Tumbler and always makes me look forward to the next one.
Tumbler has again handed readers a fantastic main character, a stand-out cast of supporting players, and a wonderful science fiction plot. Spiff Tracey, the private eye and world traveler, will invite readers in, but Tumbler’s unique brand of writing will keep them coming back for more.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B08Q9YKT6L
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SECRETS HAVE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES, ESPECIALLY IN A DIGITAL WORLD.
What if all things that happen in life—good and evil—are not random or coincidence, but really intentional cyber events? Kevin Albright is relocated to a foreign country, with a new identity. Trapped between the living and the dead, he’s a lone wolf left to fight evil global cyber forces, and his past life demons, alone. His unrelenting search for the truth about what really happened to his family puts him on a collision course with enemies from his past as he uncovers a plot that will bring world superpowers to their knees.
With no home country and uncertainty about whom he can trust, Kevin develops an elaborate plan to catch the deadly invisible enemies and stop their planned attack. As his plan unfolds, on the dark side of the World Wide Web, he learns the full scale of evil’s resurrection—the reach and power of the Internet places the fate of ten percent of the world’s population and seven world leaders in his hands. With the minutes counting down he unleashes a “cyber rendition,” luring evil into his world and putting himself in its cross-hairs.
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The Guardian War Chronicles Vol I follows a brash truck stop intendant as she is unwillingly thrust into a game of cat and mouse with the fate of the universe in the balance. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?
I’ve always enjoyed the written word. It had been a dream of mine to write a book and tell a story my way, with my own voice. To be honest, and not intentionally confusing, “Vol II” had always been the first book in the series. Vol II (for now we’ll call it RISE) was edited, the artwork was in process, ready to publish, but something didn’t feel right. I was pleased with RISE and was told it was a fun read (staying in the vein of science fiction/action adventure) by my editors and beta readers, and I was ready to commit, but something was out of place.
That was… back in 2016.
The Surrender Game (the new Vol I) then became the backstory (an epic prologue), to what would become the rest of the series, continuing with RISE as Vol II. And the series title “The Guardian War Chronicles” came into existence.
I had a “what if” idea, and one day after work, I sat down at the computer and started putting the pieces together.
I come to the hard realization after RISE was completed, certain “items” needed more context and definition. The contents of the black backpack needed some explanation. Specific characters (even the “villains” perhaps) needed to be fleshed out a bit more. The Surrender Game became my outlet to unify all those things I believed were missing/lacking in the bigger story.
I’ve always been a huge fan of high energy, fast moving, quick pace, rapid-fire, snappy dialogue, action packed content, and never letting up for a second. I’m a child of the 80’s, a teen of the nineties, raised with Star Wars, Star Trek, adventure flicks, cop/buddy movies, and science fiction novels and comic books of the time, and in those make-believe places, I found my escapes. Those faraway locations in my imagination were what guided me to want to tell my own stories, generate my own characters and “bad guys” from the ground up, build places and make things, and create my own universe from scratch. Staying inside that lane I’m comfortable and familiar with. Always being myself.
I wrote these books initially for my own personal enjoyment. Writing has always been a hobby and a coping mechanism for me. I had never thought of publishing, until I was instructed by a trusted friend in the author community that I should publish my work.
I longed to write something in which the reader “wants” to turn the page, read every line, and itch to read the line after, and be curious to what happens next. I wanted to write a story “I” could read and get lost in. I wanted to create something that doesn’t let up, has the appropriate cliffhanger moments, and has that same high energy I enjoy. Even those areas where the story slows down momentarily, are not slow for very long. I desired a certain uniqueness with different characters, a level of fun, mysteriousness, excitement, on edge, gritty, with a mystical/mythological/fantasy quality. Sticking with what I know.
Liberty Bell is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I’ve always been of the belief that we are all products of our environment, and life experiences. Who we are, what we’ve become, is an amalgamation of everything we have been through, and experienced personally throughout our lifetime, good or bad, up to this exact moment in time. When High Intendant Liberty Bell was in early stages of character creation, (believe-it-or-not), she was the anthesis, mirror opposite, to the character you’re familiar with, today.
She was in her late twenties, sweet, loving, caring, yet stern with her subordinates when necessary, but kind to all she interacts with… giving, selfless. Prim and proper. Dressed to the nines. Immaculate quarters. Decorative/pretty surroundings. Always willing to do the right thing. Stepping on no one to get ahead in life.
One night while working on her back story development I had a moment where I said to myself, “Nope. The High Intendant of Truckstop One, Liberty Bell, is not the sweet, “southern belle,” bed-and-breakfast owner, accommodating rig pilots and local truckers with a gracious attitude; always smiling and pleasant to be around.
It had to be the opposite. Her life experiences, environment, early teenage trauma, those “Markena” encounters, the routine and reality of her lifestyle, the dangerous unpredictable setting within the walls of her Truckstop, mixed with the isolation and permanency of being a fueling station owner/operator, her shady “friends” and colleagues of the industry, the stress, would eventually mold her into something a bit more hard, forthright, no-nonsense, brash, and perhaps a bit self-centered. Tyreel would say to her, “we’ll create an empire in Truckstop One, Liberty. Trust me. But to create an empire, one needs to think like an emperor.”
Tyreel had a large role to play in her development as well. She was forced to rely on his expertise and advice in the early years. She had to trust him and believe what he said was true. With Tyreel’s daily influence, the ongoing training, being that little voice always whispering in her ear, helping Liberty find that respect and level of success she so desperately wanted; Tyreel played a large part in her growth over the span of thirty (backstory) years. She became a product of her environment. She became “honest”.
What were some themes you wanted to focus on in this book?
I do believe the “good versus evil” dynamic is an obvious prevalent theme throughout the novel, however, I wanted to wiggle free from the stereotypical hero(s) versus villain(s) concept and play around with the idea of, “what if those lines of good and evil are not clearly defined? What if the villain is right? What if ‘doing the right thing’ is vague, and doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons could be a foggy area, difficult to navigate? I wanted to explore that area of thought and the repercussions of those choices made.
Which then led into some of the other themes I enjoyed exploring: Love, friendship, sacrifice. How would we react and respond to certain situations, and how far are we willing to go? Is there truly a gray area regarding ethics? Are my characters willing to cross that line, and if so, what is the outcome or potential outcome? What is the villain capable of? Is there really such a thing as a no-win scenario? What could happen if the rules of the game are always in flux and open to interpretation? Is there really an “at all costs” mentality? I’m hoping I pulled that off with the Surrender Game. I’d like to believe Liberty navigated those paradoxes and self-discoveries in the only way she knows how.
This is volume one in The Guardian War series. What can readers expect in volume II?
I included the first chapter of Vol II, at the end of the Surrender Game, to allow a glimpse into what could happen next or where the story potential could possibly lead in the future. Allowing some room for reader imagination (while waiting for its release, stay tuned) and hoping the reader desires to remain in my universe to find out what happens next. The overall story, over the span of the series, is quite large and all ends need a beginning. Vol II splays out the foundation to how the story will be told moving forward. Vol II is the true beginning to the grand tale. Keeping with the same pace and action as the Surrender Game.
The Surrender Game ends, in what some have described as a bit “uncomfortable”, “a gasper” and that was the intention. Vol II provides some breathing room after the uncomfortable gasper and takes the reader elsewhere for a time, but never deviating from the storyline.
Readers can expect more action, more unique characters, science fiction content, twists and turns, and maybe some of those mystical, mythological fantasy type facets of the story, will begin to take shape.
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The Guardian War Chronicles, Volume I. The Surrender Game, by Jeremy Morang, is a science fiction novel that revolves around a distinct struggle to reach an ancient piece of weapon. This weapon is a symbol of dominance and authority and confers power and glory over the person who possesses it. Liberty Bell is a High Intendant of the Truck Shop One fueling station. She is wealthy, brash, straight-forward, greedy, a gambler, rude, and an alcoholic vapor addict. By accident, she gets involved in the struggle of the Guardians to reach a fragment which is a small part of the powerful ancient weapon. Liberty Bell gets stuck in this fight with little more than a clue, as the fragment of the sacred weapon is delivered to her house by chance. This puts the entire universe out of balance. The guardians of the weapon want to have it and Liberty is standing between their goals. They are coming for her at her truck shop to reclaim it and continue on their quest of ultimate glory.
The Guardian War Chronicles, Volume 1. The Surrender Game is the first in, what promises to be, an epic science fiction adventure story. Author Jeremy Morang’s thrilling space opera is a unique fit in a packed genre. Liberty Bell is an intriguing character that is well defined within a short amount of time, which is great because things move rather quickly after the opening scenes. With little time to waste readers are thrust into a universe of danger and mysticism that feels as if it is only barely revealed in this story.
Liberty Bell is a lot of things, pick your adjective, but she is definitely a character who’s rough charm grows on you, and once you take a liking she is easy to root for. It is nice to have a grounded character in a story with dense lore.
This novel reminds me a bit of the movie Legion with Dennis Quaid, add in a bit of the movie Priest with Paul Bettany and you’ve got a story that knows how to setup intriguing characters and propel them through an action filled adventure. The Guardian War Chronicles, Volume I. The Surrender Game is a riveting novel that is consistently entertaining. I can’t wait for volume II.
Pages: 257 | ASIN: B08P5QC6N5
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Space Taxis by A&H Frosh is a thrilling adventure through time and space, following the life of one Mike Redolfo. Redolfo is a cab driver in the 1970s who is abducted by aliens from the planet Vost and finds himself unable to return. A parallel storyline is set in the 1940s, where a couple is trying to escape the horrors of the Nazi regime. The stories of both these timelines intertwine in interesting and unexpected ways- with references to both history and science.
The worlds built in both timelines are imaginative and compelling. Even though Vost is obviously (or at least I hope) a fictional planet, the intricacies of its social and political world were laid out in great detail. In many ways, it felt similar to how things unfold here on Earth. Even the rituals and beliefs of the alien leaders had some parallels with history.
Redolfo is a mysterious character with a haunted past- but he is also very intriguing. He faces a dire situation with a dark and charming humor that makes him instantly likable. Similarly, Marianne and Dominik were also really easy to root for. The author clearly has a knack for writing endearing yet flawed characters. Even Tannis, the antagonist, had a realism that made him all the more vile and insidious.
While I enjoyed this vivid science fiction story, I felt that the plotlines were a little complicated and chock-full of characters from various dimensions and timelines. Helpfully, the author has provided a descriptive list of characters at the end that I often turned to for context. It can be a little hard to keep track of what’s happening where and when, but I trudged on and it all made sense at the end. I think even a second read could be worth it just to see how everything was put into place. I wouldn’t think that historical fiction and a science-fiction would mesh well, but they definitely do. There’s something so interesting about being propelled back and forth between the past and future, and between reality and fiction, that makes it a much more unique read.
Space Taxis is a quick-paced and adventurous novel that I found to be deeply intriguing and consistently entertaining. I loved its uniqueness and would recommend it to anyone interested in science-fiction or mystery/thriller books.
Pages: 302 | ASIN: B08H19CCWR
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The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel follows a savvy woman who must protect her DIY time travel device from some dangerous people. What was the inspiration for the setup to this fun story?
First off, thank you for your review and kind words about my novel! It’s always a thrilling and humbling moment when I hear that someone actually enjoyed it!
The list of things that inspired The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel would take up about 514 pages, but here’s the very condensed version. Time travel stories like Back to the Future, the delightfully comedic works of authors like Christopher Moore, Alexander C. Kane, and Jenny Lawson, the current socio-political climate, my own experiences as a Mexican-American, and, of course, my love of strong, female leads.
I wanted a story about a very exceptional but downtrodden character who, despite all her gifts and skills, just wants a normal, simple life. But because of those gifts and skills, normalcy just isn’t in the cards for her. With supervillains, evil corporations, and guardian demons and angels alike coming after her, the story really is about Quality having to decide whether she’s going to rise to the challenge and reluctantly embrace her role as badass heroine.
I wanted a funny fish-out-of-water adventure where this character has every reason in the world to be a jerk…yet somehow remains positive and committed to protecting this pesky little thing called the space-time continuum.
Quality Jones is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I wanted her to be, at heart, a good, moral character despite a lifetime of never fitting in, never being accepted, and forever living under the fear of persecution and even death. It was important for me that she remain true to her core despite all the temptations to just give in and make lots of money off of her time travel technology. More importantly, I wanted her to be real. She’s not perfect by any means. She’s kind of selfish, a little bit immature despite her age, a little bit ditzy despite being very clever, and not the wisest person despite being a technical genius.
But I wanted her to endure lots of suffering, including the loss of her great love, but still be able to bounce back and fight through. Even though she prefers to live an anonymous, normal life, things outside of her control push her into extraordinary circumstances, and how she chooses to respond is at the heart of this planned trilogy.
Finally, I really wanted Quality to serve as a lens through which to view our own reality. She is, after all, an outsider that grew up in a parallel timeline where there never was a United States. Now, she’s in a world where corporations can invasively enforce brand loyalty, where corrupt police can do whatever they want to whomever they want, and where it’s illegal for someone like her (i.e., half Mexican) to hold a good job. Quality’s earnest observation of things is, in my opinion, the perfect vehicle for some much-needed satire for this day and age.
This novel delivers some very entertaining scenes. What was the funnest thing about writing this novel?
Without giving too much away, there are some characters that serve as perfect foils to Quality, and it was a blast to just put them in the same room and see what happened. When you have a character as relatively straight-laced as her, and when she has to deal with some genuinely absurd people (I’m looking at you, Sevastian), the results were often unpredictable. I’d have plot ideas, yes, but the most fun part of writing this was just letting loose and letting the characters’ respective foibles play off one another.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m torn between doing the sequel to my second novel, The Perfect Teresa (which you also reviewed, by the way!), and the sequel to this one. The good news is that the sequel to The Modern Aztec’s Guide to Dating and Time Travel is already kind of written. I began this story much farther along before realizing that the backstory was just too much (and too funny) to leave as backstory. So that’s how this particular book came about, and why I’m technically far along into writing the sequel.
And while I’d love to say, “Oh, the sequel is coming out in 2021,” every time I put a date on things, I tend to jinx myself. So let’s just say, it’s coming out in the near future!
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