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Teamwork, Determination, and a Strong Moral Compass

Author Interview Michael J. Farlow

Crucible: Records of the Argos follows a young captain who embarks on his first mission and finds an enemy threatening his ship and the inhabitants of the system he was sent to investigate. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The previous series, The Host Saga, had come to an end. I wanted to try something new with new, young characters. I picked the son of the previous lead character from The Host Saga to be the lead in this series. His assignments and adventures, however, would be completely different. His crew would be a diverse mix of characters that he meets along the way or is assigned. I had in mind that this new young crew and ship would develop as a team in their own rights and that they would find themselves in new places and in circumstances that would challenge them and see them grow. Finally, I wanted something different to separate this crew and ship from those of the previous series. That comes in the form of an onboard AI that undergoes a dramatic change when the ship, the Argos, strikes something odd when exiting hyperspace. The changes in the AI become, to be nice, quirky with an odd sense of humor.

Nick Hall is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

First, there is a link to the previous books in that Nick is the son that Van Childs did not know he had until the end of the Host Saga. Therefore, he has some of his father’s characteristics but has his own style. He has a mix of military experience as an intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy and experience in Iraq. Second, He wants to be his own man and chart his own future with a team and a ship he can trust. Third, he will make mistakes and learn from them. Fourth, the team operates an old, tired cargo ship which has been extensively upgraded internally to support an intelligence mission. It also has some unique but limited combat capability. Finally, even though women have thrown themselves at Nick in the past, he has still not figured them out.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Teamwork, determination, and a strong moral compass. Nick will normally choose what he thinks is morally correct even if it conflicts with his orders. His attitude is that if his superiors don’t like it, he will quit and move on. Both Nick and his crew never give up despite the odds or the difficulties they face. The crew count on each other, are proud to be the team they are and have no plans to separate.

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

Unfortunately, the prime antagonists from Crucible escaped capture. Nick’s next set of orders is to find them and bring them to justice. The follow-on book, Retribution, follows the crew of the Argos as they seek out the Arkon Red, Gurko, and the Arkon Blue, Berzalius. As in life, nothing is easy. In a new planetary system from their previous adventure, the team is exposed to a more complex and diverse group of countries than in Crucible. The countries in this book are less advanced than in Crucible, making the team’s job more of a challenge. They are also hampered because of tighter restrictions on their actions from higher authorities. Finding the bad guys might be the easy part. Capturing them, not so easy.

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Nick Hall, the young captain of the disguised intelligence ship Argos, embarks on his first mission. He soon finds the task is not simple and straightforward. An enemy springs forward which threatens not only his ship and crew but all of the inhabitants of the planetary system he was sent to investigate. Cut off from his homeworld and with only his small crew and a quirky AI, he must improvise to save himself, his crew, and all the inhabitants of a threatened world. This science fiction thriller combines continuous action, suspense, and a little humor with a cast of new and diverse characters.

Dark Enemy

In Dark Enemy, we see the struggles and victories of Van Childs of the Galactic Force against the Arkon force as well as against the new force that betrayed them. The Allies have been promised more than six hundred Naskapi ships, making the force of Van Childs the largest group of Allies. Earth is not happy with this new development, and the dissatisfaction is fueled by a politician named McDuff for his gains. While all the politics from earth prevented the expansion of Allied forces, the Arkon forces were collecting in their space. This caused Van Childs to act fast and thus began the battle in space and politics.

Author Michael J. Farlow opens the book by giving readers some explanation regarding the background of the fight that has been occurring between several space forces. This leads to the political drama that is happening back on Earth, which is directly impacting the space forces. The ongoing political battles in this novel are not so unlike what politics look like currently. Each politician has their own agenda and wants to make sure their plan is executed.

This intriguing science fiction story is told in a third-person narrative. The author gives readers in-depth details regarding the mission background; which is fantastic for readers who love strategy. Farlow knows how to capture the excitement and anticipation that comes with battles. The descriptions are brilliant, and readers will get to see the battle plan as it is developing before the actual fight starts.

The author gives a captivating description of the battle, fully immersing the reader in the story. I found the euphemistic description of the deaths of those who die in the fight to be an interesting take, and I was able to empathize with the officers. In addition, I enjoyed reading about all of the technological advances of this Galactic Force world. The author made the creation of the technology feel achievable.

Dark Enemy is a fast-paced space opera. Readers that look for detailed action sequences and fascinating technological advances will find a lot to enjoy in this science fiction novel. A post-apocalyptic world with alien forces as friends and foes creates a drama that will have readers on edge as they continue the Host Saga series.

Pages: 269 | ASIN : B083S1X8QZ

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New Horizons

New Horizons, the fourth installment of the Host Saga by Michael Farlow. This science fiction, drama, and action novel feature Van Childs and his allies as they prepare for imminent hostile contact with the Arkon. When losing crew members and mysterious sabotage efforts hinder the shipbuilding process, Van and his allies struggle to gain the upper hand as the Arkon fleet approaches. Will Van find a way to gather the allies and resources the Galactic Host needs before it’s too late? The suspense has never been greater than in this installment of the series!

This novel excels for several reasons, but the biggest is the apparent military experience from its author. It will be clear to anyone who reads this exciting novel that the writer authentically understands the politics and drama of the military and knows how to instill it into the plot of his story. If you’re a military enthusiast, these books will be an excellent addition to your library.

For me, though, I have been fascinated with each book and the growth of these characters. Specifically, I’m heavily invested in how they interact with Van, their leader. It says quite a bit about the author that there is so much attention given to interpersonal conflicts, even amid space warfare. It really is about the people, no matter the setting, and Farlow captures that sentiment entirely. I’m not a military buff, but these books have captured my attention because Farlow has made likable characters, and you want them to succeed in their endeavors. If this author continues to publish books, I’ll continue to read them. He knows how to develop characters, build suspense, and paint an action scene while staying authentic to the military experience of his past.

New Horizons: Host Saga Book 4 is a well-crafted space opera that takes readers on a suspenseful and thrilling action-packed adventure through space.

Pages: 311 | ASIN : B07L1CRSBH

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As Alien As Possible

Bert-Oliver Boehmer
Bert-Oliver Boehmer Author Interview

Three Immortals follows war hero to the fringe of the galaxy where he discovers an ancient alien civilizations and their legendary powers. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I am a computer scientist, so one of the civilizations discovered by the protagonist had to be an AI/machine dominated one. Working in bioinformatics for many years, I developed a deep fascination with biology. We can only speculate what extraterrestrial life will look like. I like aliens in fiction who are truly alien, as alien as possible while remaining relatable as characters in a story. Introducing non-carbon based aliens with a different evolutionary backstory and having them “adopt” a human to live among them was a lot of fun to write about.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

“I did not like […] having existence happening to me, instead of shaping it!” says the hero in the story. All main characters act and change the course of galactic history for good or bad. I wanted to tell the story from the perspective of passionate people who plow ahead despite adversity. None of them is all good or all evil. The hero has massive flaws, the antagonist has a relatable backstory and even the traitors’ perspectives offer some redeeming qualities.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The story presents itself in a way I like to read space opera and military science fiction and it will check all boxes of expectations if you prefer these genres. Underlying the story thread is questioning the saying “what does not kill you makes you stronger” and the book asks if this is true or not. The (human) galactic government, for example, has idolized this notion in their creed “strength through adversity” and makes war and suffering a desirable natural state for the life of trillions. The machine civilization pushes this one step further through their ability to perceive many realities in the multiverse, and always pursue the most difficult one. The hero, learning this ability, will have to choose if he prefers an easy life or not. The ending invites the reader to decide what they would have chosen for themselves.

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

Three Immortals brings its main story to a conclusion – but it leaves the arcs of many interesting characters open for continuation. 2400 Earth years of galactic history are woven in when the story requires, but there are many things left to explore with the reader – including the true nature of the Dark Ones, who nearly destroyed the galaxy. The next book is part 2 of a trilogy set in this universe. We will see familiar characters return, but also new threats and antagonists emerge. The scope will be larger, and the interstellar conflicts of Three Immortals are going to expand beyond the galaxy.

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Extra-galactics ravaged the Milky Way and humans saw their interstellar civilization burn. 2400 years later, humanity has risen again. Its immortal rulers are challenged by a ruthless empress. When popular war hero Kel Chaada rises to lead a small nation of mining worlds, his life gets crushed between the clashing powers. Charged with murder, he has to flee human space. At the fringes of the known galaxy, he discovers ancient alien civilizations, and the legendary powers they have to share.

Why was their existence purged from the historic records by the immortal elite?

Crucible: Records of the Argos

Crucible: Records of the Argos by [Michael J. Farlow]

Crucible: Records of the Argos by Michael Farlow is a tense, space-faring story that follows Nick Hall and his crew aboard the Argos as they investigate strange ship disappearances in a nearby system. Throughout the story, Nick finds himself in danger as he seeks to uncover who, or better yet, what kind of powerful organization, is seeking to collect these ships and wield them. When their backs are to the wall and all of the cards are on the table, will Nick and his friends choose the moral high ground, or will they follow orders? The decision is a difficult one, but the fate of many rests with Nick and the crew of the Argos.

It is easy to tell that this author has had some military experience. Dealing with espionage, hostages, tense confrontations; it is in these moments that the author excels, creating a plot that is dripping with drama and tension. Further, he also does well to develop each of the main characters into well-rounded individuals, giving the reader no choice but to care deeply for them and their situation.

While the author excelled with his physical descriptions of the characters, as well as their motivations and personalities, I would have really enjoyed if that same descriptive power was applied to the settings visited in the story because what we are given is very interesting and I wanted more of it. There is a lot of opportunity in this sci-fi thriller for exotic and varying locales, but I understand as a significant portion of the story takes place onboard the Argos and various other ships.

I’ll be looking forward to the next installment of this story, hoping that Nick is able to take on another mission, or maybe we can see another ship and their crew adventure through this galaxy that seems to be full of unique and compelling characters.

Crucible: Records of the Argos is a spellbinding space opera that takes readers on an action packed adventure through space. With intriguing characters at every turn, what I like most about this lively science fiction story is that it never forgets to entertain the reader.

Pages: 278 | ASIN: B08STPGBB5

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The Universality of Man

G.W. Morgan Author Interview
G.W. Morgan Author Interview

Tribes is the beginning of a riveting space adventure story that tells and deep and vivid story of two empires at war. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

We are not alone in the universe. There are other human tribes, many others, and they all have their own stories.

What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

In order to best contribute to the common good, be creative in one’s own self-interest.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The Universality of Man. The similarities in the development of societies and cultures far outweigh their diversities.

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

The collection of stories drawn from the stellar web production, ‘The Praetor and the Second Alliance War’, the historical drama depicting the interstellar war that took place 350-400 years ago. Three of the eight titles are currently available on Sol-Earth in print and e-book version.

Available now are:

Shatrujeet! – Vanquisher of Enemies‘, introduces the Valerian Monarchy through a young cavalry officer assigned to hunt down and destroy a band of ruthless trans-stellar slave raiders.

Conquest! – Empire Builders‘, introduces the Sacorsti Alliance, the series antagonist, yet this story is told from their unabashed point of view.

Redemption – A Tale of Trans-Stellar Liberation‘, the story of most controversial battle of the 2nd Alliance War is told in detail to Sol-Earthers and, for the first time, to Commoners as well.

The work-in-progress is ‘Divided Worlds’. In the modern-day Commoners’ popular culture, the global civil war on the world called ‘Bajhan’ was a root cause of the 2nd Alliance War 10 years later. However, new facts emerging from the Sacorsti histories show this was not the case. The Sacorsti aquistion of the Bajhan stellar group was in fact part of their overall strategy to prepare multiple invasion routes into the Nursery Crescent.

Follow-on titles include but are not limited to: Task Force Liberty; Allies; Macksey’s Gambit, Puto’s Gate, Commoners of Draken.

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads | Amazon

November, 2013. Commoners from Task Force Draken discovered our tribe of fellow humans while in pursuit of their Alliance enemy’s prized research vessel. Their maverick commander received additional orders to explore our region and study our people. Over the next year, the Commoners ended up defending Sol-Earthers against Alliance infiltration and conquest. The question is, now what?

The Unknown In Human Society

Jon Gray Lang
Jon Gray Lang Author Interview

Secret Matilda seized by the Consortium while creatures invade and revolution ignites the edges of space. What were some sources that guided this novels direction?

One of the ideas that held fast to me was how would an oppressive government that had shortchanged its military handle an invasion and a burgeoning revolution at the same time? One of the more recent historical examples I researched was how the Chinese National government handled the invasion by the Japanese military during World War II, and how this fomented the revolution fronted by Mao Zedong. Another example I read up on was the Russian Empire during World War I and after for context. My story and characters are not an analog of these events, but they both made for good examples to work from.

Something else I had to research heavily and modify to fit my story was how would a nomadic people exist in such a ‘world’. An obvious example is the Romany people, but I also dug into the Sami people of Norway and Russia. Other pieces came from the gatherings of ancestral family groups where trade, marriage and the like would occur. Human history is rich with information, and I can never know enough.
On a more fun note, I had already done tons of research on tardigrades you know… because you do. To be honest, that was the part I was most looking forward to, and ‘Surprise!’ it was my favorite part to write.

What were some challenges you felt were important to defining your characters in this story?

Some of the challenges I wanted to showcase was how the crew of the ship each have their strengths and weaknesses and how those play into their decisions. How would each of them respond in a highly tense situation? How would each of them respond to capture or dealing with the unknown in human society? In the end, it was important to me to show how they truly work best as a team… as a family.

Equally challenging was how would Galena make sense of what is happening to her? She isn’t alone under the skin of her body or in the confines of her mind. This was easily the hardest part to write for me, but also one of the more interesting.

Another thing I wanted to highlight and give some precedence to was Jacquotte Delahaye. We’ve only come to know her a little bit, from being born on the Matilda and living her life onboard. But there is more to her. This book gave me the chance to flesh out more of her story.

What has been the most surprising reader reaction to your series?

One of the more interesting reactions to me over the whole story is how certain characters seem to resonate with different readers. It’s been a fascinating experience talking with readers and how some really like one character and not like another only to get the reverse from the next person! As the story has unfolded, some of the readers have warmed to the ones they didn’t like or at the very least, seem to understand them. I mean I love them all, and I know some of them are not very likable folk… at all. So, it was a lot of fun to learn this.

But one of my favorite responses is that moment when the reader realizes that all of the chapter titles and all of the book titles are song titles from Luli’s playlist. It makes me grin like a Cheshire cat every time!

What can readers expect in book five of the Matilda series?

What wouldn’t you expect? More action! More adventure! More mystery! Some answers! New tarnished bits of the universe to explore! And finally, the story of the Matilda will come to a close.

The real question is, with only Galena on Jacquie’s mind, will a dead engine stop her? Will the alien invasion get in the way? Will the revolution be a roadblock? Can anything stop her and her intrepid crew? I can’t wait to find out!

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Website

Rebels. Crime Lord. Cyborg. Doctor. Prisoners.

Far off into the future in a distant part of the galaxy, the Consortium controls the human colonies held together by the jump gates. Where the Consortium doesn’t hold sway, crime flourishes. Through the use of a hellish engine that goes where no one should, the crew of the Matilda slips its way between the two. But it all went pear-shaped once the Consortium seized them.

Revolution ignites on the edges of controlled space. Nightmarish creatures invade other systems. All while Jacquie and her crew remain powerless under the boot of the Consortium. And the thought on everyone’s mind is, where is Galena?

What does the organism within Galena want? Is there a chance Jacquotte Delahaye can find her friend when no one knows where she is? With a shot-to-hell Matilda in lockdown, is escape even possible?

Burn your sublight engines hot and blast into the fourth book of the series, Secret Matilda.

Tribes

Tribes (G.W. Morgan's The Enlightenment Protocols Book 1) by [G. W. Morgan, Don Ciers]

Tribes by G.W Morgan is an action packed space opera which follows the trials and tribulations of two empires and wars that encompass many worlds. We are first greeted with a very detailed introduction to the world in Tribes, showing how technologically advanced the civilization is and the various struggles faced by the empire. As the war comes to an end, one soldier of the alliance is about to start a whole other conflict based on a dislike for the empire’s actions. The book then takes an entertaining turn, driving us through a decently paced science fiction adventure that is full of twists.

This is an engaging and intellectually invigorating story with a detailed and compelling world that I feel we are only scratching the surface of. The book was engaging, relying on science fiction tropes many fans will recognize and appreciate if you enjoy classic science fiction.

The book is relentlessly moving forward. It is filled with war and conflict, making this is an action oriented story that utilizes its characters effectively to move the story along and serve readers a compelling plot rather than getting bogged down in character development. While I felt the characters were overshadowed by the fascinating and well-developed plot I still felt that the characers felt authentic and will resonate with readers.

Tribes tells a rich and thoughtful story that was entertaining to the very end. The novel leads the reader through some interesting wars and sets up a classic battle pitting one philosophy against another. Readers who enjoy space fleet science fiction will be engrossed in this vivid and intense story.

Pages: 434 | ASIN: B01HH2O77A

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