Blog Archives

Through New Experiences

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.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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.

The Battle for Imperiana

The Battle for Imperiana (Patch Man Book 3) by [Rick Stepp-Bolling]

As Imperiana is recovering from its great war the story follows Meesha and her group of allies to uncover a plot to restart another war which threatens Imperiana. The world they know is threatened by former enemies and their intentions for destruction become clearer as they race against time to prevent catastrophe. Former warriors of the previous war must find their own ways to save those that they hold dear to them. Enemies of the past along with a world on the verge of breaking from a fragile peace is about to erupt into war once again. With Meesha and her allies slowly piecing together the mystery of who is causing plans for destruction, they slowly realize that the war itself had never ended completely.

As I first started reading the book, it became quite clear that the “Patch Man Book III” is the third installment of the series. If your new to the series and jumping at this point, it’s a little disorienting at first, but after a few chapters I felt comfortable and enjoyed the story. In either case, the tension throughout this book is palpable. The story line is a fantastic mix of adventure, romance and military suspense. War and its nature of destruction are clear elements which all the characters are familiar with, must endure, and face on their own terms. The number of characters was numerous and sometimes hard to keep track of. But it reminds me of a well developed universe that is reminiscent of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars in the way it introduces the universe as a well established world we’re just being invited into. Nevertheless, the world in which the story takes place is fascinating and intricate. A blend of tribal culture mixed in with cutting edge technology made for some interesting concepts regarding old ways and the new. I especially liked how the author took the time to describe how the characters thought, their methods of battle, and the description of their skills. This added together with the uniqueness of each character made them each important in their own way. Roles assigned to certain individuals with certain skill sets and talents were placed into difficult situations but were able to overcome them using their own style. Some characters are so hyped up that my expectations of them were set high, and when the end came I was a little disappointed to find that they didn’t live up to my expectations. By the very end of the book I was very satisfied with how things ended in general and I was even satisfied with the loose ends that need to be tied in upcoming installments. For readers that like their science fiction to be well thought out then I recommend The Battle for Imperiana.

Pages: 324 | ASIN: B089S8TQ1P

Buy Now From B&N.com

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

Buy Now From B&N.com

Challenges Of The Gods

Challenges of the Gods: One Parallel Earth Too Many by [C. Hofsetz]

Fresh from a harrowing heartbreak, Zeon wakes up in what appears to be heaven. While he’s still trying to process the picturesque surrounding, he’s snatched by a flying alien and made to watch earth get destroyed. He soon discovers that what he saw was one of the numerous “earths” imploding. Now, he has a mission to prevent his planet from suffering the same fate. All he has to do is destroy another earth to preserve his. But this happens to be Mike’s home and he also has been tasked to save it by destroying Zeon’s universe. To help both men accomplish their mission, the messengers of the gods swap their consciousness and plant each as a mole on the other’s earth. It’s now a race against time to see who can save his planet. But who is the true enemy here? Is there more to this mission than meets the eye? Which earth will survive?

Hofsetz’s Challenges of the Gods is a sci-fi novel that cuts across three worlds: earth as we know it, another version of earth and a surreal world called Pangea. Hofsetz stretches our imagination as he paints vivid pictures of Pangea’s outlandish reality and points our attention to the peculiarities of the other earth. I mean, imagine an earth where the shaking of the head indicates an interest in casual sex. That’s Hofsetz’s other earth.

Hofsetz’s weaves every detail of fiction together to deliver his themes strikingly. Chief amongst his ideas is how man’s blind loyalty can cause him to abdicate his senses. According to Hofsetz, we can easily be manipulated when we believe the other party is too good to do evil.

Furthermore, Hofsetz highlights man’s disposition to conflict and his ability to empathize with even the enemy. It is this trait that distinguishes (normal) man from a bloodthirsty maniac. He also touches on betrayal (we have quite the knack for that, don’t we?) and its far-reaching effects on the victims.

Speaking of victims, it’s a miracle Hofsetz’s penetrating sense of humour did not literally crack my ribs. The main character’s knack for silly thoughts, conversations between the characters and the culture of Hofsetz’s earth (Jora) all filled the book with hilarious moments. Hofsetz also did well to catch me unawares with some shocking plot twists.

If you’re a fan of sci-fi and a reader who needs something to help you wind down, Hofsetz’s book should do a great job.

Pages: 269 | ASIN: B07KNCXDSX

Buy Now From B&N.com

Metal Bones

 

Metal Bones is an enthralling science fiction story that connects two separate story lines. The first one is about Leo and Gaeth, brothers who are on a mission to cure Gaeth’s contagious “steel elbow.” After their neighbors have unfairly shunned them, they set off on a space faring journey to Oblurn, where all those affected by this mysterious condition reside. They encounter a series of interesting and unique characters which sets off a bunch of misadventures along the way. The second story line follows one of the most interesting sci-fi characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading this year: Tank, a man on a mission. His father has been missing for a long time and Tank almost loses his own life in search of his long lost father. A mysterious woman saves him and gives him an arm cannon (yes! a cannon for an arm) under one condition: he must protect a Myca, a child, at all costs. Tank agrees but soon discovers that everything is not as straightforward as it seems.

Metal Bones is an action packed novel with a quick pace interrupted only by necessary exposition that drives a far flung plot that’s held together by intriguing characters. Although the premise and situations of the characters are somewhat difficult to believe (a steel elbow? How would that work?), Kathleen Contine makes it work and the suspension of disbelief is pulled of quite easily. Everything is serious without being grave, and the light touches of humor really add to the whole experience.

Some of the comments and behaviour made towards his “disease” spoke multitudes about the way humans themselves deal with those with disabilities or conditions. I’m not sure whether the author intended to make a comment or draw attention to this situation, but it was a topic that was subtly and sensitively explored; I greatly appreciated that.

The characters and their motivations were also portrayed with great depth. Leo was not simply the selfless, sacrificial brother to Gaeth. And neither was Gaeth a helpless, grateful, steel elbow victim. All the characters were complex and human- that’s what made them so compelling.

Metal Bones a fun and interesting book that sets up an intriguing universe and places some engaging characters within it. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a science fiction novel with a bit of humor that’s rife with action.

Pages: 299 | ASIN: B084H9BMDF

Buy Now From B&N.com

A Galactic Eternal War

Robert J Stephens Author Interview

Robert J Stephens Author Interview

XHOSETI: AD 2492 is the second novel in your Xhoseti series where the Guardians must prepare humans for the coming war against the Xhoseti. What were some ideas that were important for you to explore in this novel?

The idea for the books started when I was in South Africa over a few beers with my father who was convinced that the human race had come from another galaxy and that there were 7 tribes who had been sent to Earth to see if we can co-exist with each other. This is an ongoing experiment as there is a galactic eternal war happening between many different species and they are at a stalemate. Project Earth is what I am writing about, and as such will terminate in the end of the experiment – eventually…

You give a new perspective to human history in a way that leads to one goal; preparing humanity for the coming war. Where did this idea come from and how did that develop while writing?

In the story, the human race has colonised a planet approximately 12000 light years from Earth namely, Termite, and they have discovered a future prediction machine which the Freemasons on that planet use to prepare for a war with the Xhoseti. They know they will lose the war and need to come up with a plan ‘B’ if mankind is to survive, so they head of to Earth. Which they have already tried to colonise one in the past and failed, another story in the wings.

Was this book a natural extension of book one Xhoseti Moon or did come after you finished the first book?

I have unfortunately sent the books to Literary titan in the wrong order. The first novel is the start of the story and is Xhoseti First Contact, which I might add is still to be reviewed. So the Xhoseti Moon story is a follow-on from Xhoseti AD2492 which in turn is a sequel to Xhoseti First Contact.

Will you write a third book in this series? If so, where will the story pick up?

The third or first book I will send through to you for review as soon as I get my a into g. I work as a full time piping stress analysis engineer and move around from country to country quite a bit, my apologies.

Author Links:  Amazon | GoodReads

XHOSETI: AD 2492 by [STEPHENS, ROBERT J]The Pyramids are complete. The weapons have been installed.

All that remains is to stop the wars and unite mankind against the Xhoseti when they arrive.

Will the Grand Master succeed with Plan “B” and finally create a united front against the insectoid invaders?

War advances man’s technology. As man advances, the Xhoseti become more empowered with every human they absorb.

Will man unite to defend the Earth against the Xhoseti or will their infighting be mankind’s downfall?

United man will survive…divided man will fall.

The eternal war between the two species wages on,one trying to survive the other trying to enslave… in the 2nd book in the Xhoseti series.

Buy Now From B&N.com

Aliens Are a Secret After All

Jim Cronin Author Interview

Jim Cronin Author Interview

Aeon Rises follows Justin, an average teen, as he stumbles upon otherworldly beings that are trying to kill him. How did you come across this idea and how did it change as you were writing?

I wanted to write a story that would be fun for middle school or high school student to read. A scifi story with characters they could relate to and who they could identify with. Even though I was a secondary teacher for over thirty years, it had been a few years since I retired and I was sure some of the slang and habits of teens had changed some over that time. I enlisted the aid of a class of eighth graders to read portions of the story and give me specific feedback about the teens characters. Their feedback was incredible and guided my writing of those individuals in the story. The changes they suggested made the Justin, Kevin and Myah much more true to today’s teens.

Justin isn’t exactly an average teen, he has an aversion to most electronics. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to Justin’s character development?

Due to his inability to play video games or watch the same shows most others his age took for granted, Justin faced a fair amount of ridicule and bullying from his classmates, except for Kevin. I drew on my own experiences growing up being the brunt of several bullies, but I wanted Justin to rise above it and, though it still hurt, not give in to the abusers. He relied heavily on Kevin to get beyond it all, and then he learned about his abilities and his importance. That made everything else pale in comparison, even though he could not rub it in his tormentor’s faces. Aliens are a secret after all.

The Skutarans see Justin as a threat and want to destroy him. What were some sources of inspiration for you when creating their race?

I watch a lot of scifi movies and read a ton of scifi books as well. I simply took characteristics of evil aliens I have read or seen over the years and blended them into traits of the Skutarans: Arrogance, Hyper Ego, superiority complex, all combined with advanced alien technology. What more could you want in an evil overlord alien?

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

I have recently been recovering from a major surgery, which has affected my ability to focus on anything for long. It is only in the past few weeks I have been able to start thinking about a new novel. To get back into practice, I am working on a short story about ice miners on Europa, a moon around Jupiter. From there, I have an idea about fusing scifi and fantasy in a story about aliens digitized into a LOTR style movie who are discovered by a fan of the movie and their collaboration to rescue the aliens from the orcs, wizards, etc. and return them home again.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Aeon Rises by [Cronin, Jim]Justin Madrid always considered himself an average nerdy freshman in high school, and an outcast because intense migraines prevent him from playing video games or watching television. Even looking at a phone screen hurts. But when the aliens, disguised as local librarians, started trying to kill him, everything changed. And now it is up to Justin and his cool new power to save the earth from invasion.

Buy Now From Amazon.com

A Completely Foreign Environment

John Wilker Author Interview

John Wilker Author Interview

Space Rogues is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, action, and adventure as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

Organically, I’m more pantster than plotter so the stories just sort of form as they go. In hindsight it makes sense, since as a reader, I’m drawn to similar stories.

Wil was an interesting and well developed character. What was the inspiration for his character and backstory?

Wil is a mix of TV scifi characters. Some John Crichton (Farscape), some John Jaqobis (Killjoys), and a healthy dose of Mal Reynolds (Firefly). I like the idea of the out of his depth character, just getting by. He’s smart, but in a completely foreign environment and even the smallest things is a huge learning curve.

I’m assuming you’re a fan of the space opera genre. What are some books in that genre that you felt most inspired this story?

One of my favorite genres to read for sure 🙂 Omega Force by Joshua Dalzelle, Ryk Brown’s Frontiers saga, Randolph LaLonde’s Spinward Fringe, and Jamie McFarlane’s Privateer Tales are kind of my top four, I devour every new book that’s released in these series.

This is the first book in your scifi series. Where will book two take readers?

I view each book as a sort of episode or movie, so I like to sprinkle in a little bit of “Stuff happens before the story starts; a weird mission the crew is talking about, etc. Book two finds the crew in another “Save the galaxy, even though no one asks them to” kind of scenario. I like using the crew to explore big ideas I have, and letting the story play out from their perspective.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Space Rogues: The Epic Adventures of Wil Calder, Space Smuggler by [Wilker, John]

Wil just wanted a crew for his ship.

He got a galactic conspiracy.

Wil Calder is a human, the only one to leave our solar system.

But that was years ago.

Now, he’s a lonely smuggler, looking for a crew, because space is lonely and boring.

Just a few folks to boss around once in a while, is that so much?

What he definitely isn’t looking for, a galactic conspiracy.

But that’s what he and his new crew find. They’ve just met each other and now they have to save the commonwealth from war, no big deal.

Does this untested crew and their entirely out of his depth human captain have what it takes?

Buy Now From Amazon.com

%d bloggers like this: