Tag Archives: Sci-fi

Book Review: ‘The Time Bender’ by Debra Chapoton

Title: The Time Bender: An Alien Teen Fantasy Adventure

Published: 13th September 2017

Author: Debra Chapoton

Facebook: www.facebook.com/BigPineLodgeBooks

Twitter: @Debra_Chapoton

 

Synopsis:

Humor, charm, romance and intriguing characters fill this first book of THE TIME BENDER series.

Marcum arrives on an alien spaceship to search Earth for a girl he’s learned can manipulate Time itself. During a sudden snowstorm he finds Selina. Their connection is immediate, delicate and elusive. This shy and strange girl can slow time to a crawl and make his awkward advances both painful and wondrous. Marcum must abduct her for the good of his side of the galaxy, but he falls for Selina.  Now he’s caught between duty and compassion … or maybe it’s love.

 

Review:

A quirky, humorous, teen love rival, sci-fi mixed read with some aliens on a secret mission in the middle of a war searching for a time bender to help them thrown in for good measure.

Selina has always felt different but it isn’t until two mysterious exchange students come onto the scene that she starts to see things in a different light. Maybe she isn’t as strange as she first thought. Or more to the point maybe it’s just that she needed to go somewhere where she really belongs.

Selina suffers from social anxiety a lot and seems to rely on her best friend Alex just to get through the day. The only person – other than her brother Buddy – who can get her to smile and not feel like such an outcast. He has always been there for her and continues to be her guardian no matter what, or who, comes their way. Her journey starts with her wanting to wish on a star for something new. An adventure would be fun but getting a boyfriend is getting to be the top of the list. She should be careful what she wishes for because it might just come true.

On a dark night, when the lights have cut out, Selina notices someone wondering around her garden in the snow. Thinking its Alex – as he is her neighbour – she calls him over to get out of the snow. She gets a little surprise when Marcum comes through the door instead. No coat so freezing he tries to explain who he is. Really it’s more her saying ‘are you this’ and him saying yes. Thinking he’s just an exchange student – a hot one mind you – she helps him stay warm until the lights come on. When they do however she all but pushes him out the door. Seems she was bold in the dark but as soon as the lights are on reality sets in and her anxiety comes full force. Now one hot exchange student stranger is unusual but two would be unheard of in her little town. So when Coreg makes an appearance at school and tries to get her attention she doesn’t quite know how to act. These two strangers seem to take a liking for Selina and want her to come with them for something. Warning bells for Alex as he doesn’t really trust their motives. Good job too as they both came with the objection of taking her back to their home planet Klaqin to help fight a deadly war with her skill set – not that she knows this yet.

Seems Selina has a gift, one she never noticed before but can seem to use without trying. She can slow down time and not just in her head. She only learns this after Marcum comes to her house again to try to explain things. ‘Do you want to see my spaceship?’ A video game this is not. A trip to space but was it real or not? The fact she was missing for hours would suggest the later. Can she trust either guy with what they tell her? They seem to only have their own interests at heart, not hers, not like Alex always has. Could he be her knight in shining armour when trouble arises? He could lend a hand after finding out a secret of his own. She may not be the only one special in this town.

Now this picks up a bit more at the end when you get a space battle thrown in. What good space battle would be complete without a little romantic drama thrown in for good measure? Where does Selina’s heart truly lie and who will step up to help? A battle may be over but the war is about to begin. Fight to save their planet is key, but which planet will they be on to help.

Interesting story but could have developed the characters a bit more, rest of the series should see to this. Easy to read but I did find that this book is really aimed at a young adult audience though as parts did feel a bit childish to me. The whole ‘cue the blush’, ‘drop head, shrink to nothing’ or ‘hear the crickets’ side comments Selina always seems to add can get a bit annoying at times. I guess it’s sort of a way to see what’s going on in her head but not always needed. The start of a quirky story though where much is still to be explored. Not just with the war coming but emotions too.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.

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Filed under Fantasy, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Science Fiction

Book Review: ‘The Digital Storm’ by Benjamin Gorman

Title: The Digital Storm: A Science Fiction Reimagining of William Shakespeare’s the Tempest

Published: 20th November 2017

Publisher: Not a Pipe Publishing

Author: Benjamin Gorman

Twitter: @teachergorman

 

Synopsis:

The Digital Storm is an ingenious science fiction retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest set in the near future inside a bank’s intranet. Prosper, the analogue to Shakespeare’s Prospero, is an artificial intelligence program who has been banished to a quarantined area in the bank’s system, and there he’s created an amazing virtual island home for himself, his daughter Memoranda, and the monstrous virus Caliban. Now, with the help of Ariel and the other programs he’s invented on the island, he’s conjured a massive digital attack on the bank’s system to entice the members of the board, the very humans who exiled him, to enter the system so he can seek his revenge and escape to the Internet. But just how far does his revenge plan go?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book with weather in the title. Might be a digital storm but a storm nonetheless. One that seems to come out of nowhere are cause all sorts of trouble to teach others a lesson.

So Bryan who looks after the tech people for Millennium banks is the first to realize that there is an issue with the software in the intranet system – they are under attack but don’t know from where. This is where the creators of some high-tech systems and AI’s come into play. The company is owned by Ada and she is one of the main creators. The only way to really see what is wrong with the system is to go into it. A virtual trip that takes on a life of its own, one none can seem to control.

AI’s Prosper and Memoranda live on an island hidden within the network system. With the help of a human employee, when it was deemed for him to be deleted, he made his way there to continue to live and learn. This hidden place had old broken code sent to it when no longer needed and he managed to create the island to live on as a result. This ever learning AI creation then managed to create Memoranda. Only later trying to explain what she is in relation to everything else and what is happening to their island. He seems to also have other digital programmes at his disposal on the island as well. Ariel is one who tests things for him and he appears to be the one responsible for creating the digital storm stopping data flowing on Prosper’s command. Done as a test to see what affects it would have on the human staff and how they react after the fact.

The island doesn’t just hold old data but also a virus by the name of Caliban. He was sent to hack into the Millennium banks intranet system. When found he was deleted and ended up at the island. Prosper might not like him but he does have skills he can use to his advantage. Prosper was the one to send him to exile when he was in charge of looking after the intranet system but then he too soon found himself sent there when an upgrade was created – Sebastian.

Seems the storm was a way to get people to come and figure out what was going on with the system. The first to arrive on the island is Further, an AI Ada had created in secret. Prosper, Ada’s first creation, and his daughter Memoranda find him first. He doesn’t really know what is going on as on the island he has been given a form instead of just being a digital presence.

This is where the journey splits into three main areas as Further isn’t the only one sent through the storm. Ada, Javier, Ted and Sebastian plugged their conscious minds in to get their and soon find themselves being lead around a creation more advanced than they could have thought up. Bit risky as if your mind gets hurt within what does that really do to the body? Ted is clearly looking at a way to get rid of Ada and Javier so he can be the head of the company with his AI Sebastian by his side. No guilt written into his programme so can almost be convinced to do anything his creator suggests.

The next split follows two hacker kids who felt like taking advantage of the system being down that they went exploring and found themselves on the island. They just want to have fun and when they find a never-ending bottle of booze you can guess the fun they might have. They seem to stumble upon the monster Caliban. He may be able to twist them to do his bidding in getting rid of Prosper by making them believe it truly is a game they are in, one they can win and rule the island.

This island is different, as it truly does seem to exist – elements, human reactions, touch, sound. A true digital world where Prosper is testing his theories he has learned in a way to create his own sense of self and now sense of his daughter too. Is she just a copy of him or does she have her own consciousness and skill of learning and developing.

Note to self if a banquet looks too good to be true it might just be when the host comes to say hello. Seems some people are to be judged for past mistreatments and that day is now. Can AI’s have a sense of self and truly learn? That’s one of the main things Prosper is trying to figure out. An interesting digital world you are sucked into and quite a journey you are taken on. It’s a twist on a classic tale that is well worth a look.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers for my honest review.

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Filed under Reading Challenges, Reading Nook Blog Posts, Science Fiction

Book Blitz: ‘The Illumination Query’ by Sarah Baethge

Title: The Illumination Query (The Speed of Darkness Part 1)

Author: Sarah Baethge

Genre: Sci-fi / Fantasy

 

 

About the Book:

What makes someone a monster?

The zookeeper Ronald Carpenter needs help recovering his escaped charges and is grateful when the secretive Eclipse company steps in to help. Little does Ronald know just how nefarious a company they really are and why they have such expertise in taking unwilling subjects captive. Can their offer of a higher salary make him leave a job he loves and help them do what he feels is just wrong?

Nigel Hunter’s experiment in an Eclipse lab looks like it could enable incredible movement powers. Intrigued with the prospect, he voluntarily gets the company’s help to try the procedure upon himself. The Eclipse now decide to take him prisoner with their other test subjects so that they can test the unbelievable speed it has given him more fully.

When the Eclipse pits Ronald and Nigel against one another in this way, can either one of them manage to get away?

 

Add to Goodreads

 

Purchase Links:

Smashwords is having a sale so it’s free there for the month of July

Amazon – UK / US

 

Excerpt:

Nigel seems a little amused to have me gathering this story of his adventure, but he doesn’t seem to object. In all truth I think that the idea makes him somewhat proud, though he’d never admit it.

I, Joel Shine, don’t even enter into the story myself until after events recorded here. I’ve been making something of a record to nail down everyone else’s explanation. If nothing else, why such strange events occurred should make a good story.

Because it fits, I’ve been calling these files ‘The Speed of Darkness’. If you can get far enough through my writing, I won’t need to tell you why.

Let me warn you, I never trained to be a writer. My most advanced English class was in a public high-school. The course was such a joke that I think my teacher might have slept through it.

These first two parts of what I think you’d need to know are close to how I received them. I tried to correct obvious errors, yet I don’t claim to have caught everything.

The Story of Ronald Carpenter is what I copied to paper one evening while listening to my recording. I made the recording while Ronald was giving his excuse for why the others first saw him as so evil.

Ronald wanted the recording made when he saw that I could do so. I suppose he wanted to the reasons for his actions to be common knowledge. That way, Nigel’s little notebook recount wouldn’t be our only way to think of Ronald’s past. It might have been meant as proof of apology, but that tape worked well to encourage my writing.

I’m not sure Dr. Hunter forgives Ronald, but the doctor seems to at least believe that he is telling the truth here.

 

Chapter 1 – Why I Joined the Hunt

To regard bats as evil is silly, or so I’d always thought. However, when I came upon that dark shrieking, flapping cloud of shadows, the parts of my life that I’m most ashamed of started.

Before I ever got into business with The Eclipse, most people who saw me at work would say I was a zookeeper. I worked at The Central Park Zoo, in New York City. I might not have ever studied as a vet, but I probably do know some less ordinary bits of animal care that are slightly beyond what is needed for your everyday pets.

I suppose some would have no qualms with calling me a trainer, but I didn’t really train anything. That sounds to me more like what you would call someone who is putting together circus or theme-park shows.

I have actually heard some people say that using animals in such a way is cruel, but those performance animals are generally more loved and better cared for than many a child’s small pet in a cage (you know, that fish or hamster who can get left alone to starve if, perhaps, it’s owner might become a little distracted by something unrelated…)

Because I can usually get along well with animals myself, I was more than happy to spend my time working to provide the feeding and cleaning up that their comfort and display requires. Sure, I dealt with escapes a time or two, on a need-be basis- if and when it happened, but dealing with escapes could hardly even be listed as the description of what my job was.

And while you could say that my successful escapee- recovery efforts ultimately led to the change there was in my career, you might also argue that the resourcefulness I used in my problem-solving chained me inescapably into serving as a zookeeper wherever it was that I finally ended up.

My name is Ronald Carpenter. Back at that time, I’d lived in New York for all of my life. I happened to be working, like I said, at The Central Park Zoo, at the time when I first noticed that something had changed in my working environment. On that day, I had one of those automatic split-second thoughts that I felt slightly reluctant to try explaining to someone else.

Don’t make me ask you to get your mind out of the gutter- my thought can hardly be construed as anything other than innocent. The idea that whizzed through my head as I heard the short motor run for the bat-enclosure food-dispenser was: ‘That sounds too green.’

Yes, I realize that the majority of people don’t hear in color, but that feeling doesn’t mean I’m crazy, I don’t believe. There is even a word that someone else came up with to describe the phenomenon- synesthesia, so I know it’s not just me.

Might as well be though; I’ve never come across another synesthetic(?) person, those few times I’ve tried to explain the experience to whoever I’m around. In fact, I usually don’t bother with trying to have someone else understand because more than once I’ve had them react like I’m trying to describe being caught in a tie-dyed world of hallucinations.

I know that the colors with slight shapes are only in my mind. You can think of how someone you know looks without suddenly believing they have appeared in the same room next to you, right? The colors, how a sound looks, I ‘see’ it that way.

High and sharp sounds are the most obvious in white or pink; they come almost like sharp flashes and then they fade out into soft mist. Electrical buzzing sounds are usually green and yellow vibrations; natural ones come in a thick fog, electrical or mechanical noise is more of a substance almost pulled tight like wires. High, toneless clicks are colorless flashes like a camera makes while low clicks or thumps are dark red to black fluid looking ripples. And mammalian voices, human or animal, are are generally colored near brown, without any set solid shape.

It’s just that trying to say all of that to someone else, some person who is most likely a little skeptical about the concept to begin with, can start to make me feel a little bit self-conscious and probably uncomfortable. The only description of the odd squeaking sound that I could bring to mind was an attempt to describe a particular shade of bright green. Rather than tempt fate with the type of embarrassment that often comes from watching someone else’s face as they decide to think you could be loony-tunes, I decided that I still had plenty of other work to do; I figured that I would be safe to wait and look into what might be wrong with the bat cage later.

Had I actually gotten someone else to look at it right then, there might not be the rest of my story to tell here.

Handling, feeding, and cleaning wild animals was my job. I also kept track of how they were acting so we could alert a vet when something was possibly sick. I’ve just always had a certain knack when dealing with thinking, non-human creatures. I usually like them, and I often kind of hope to think that they also like me.

No, I can’t speak some secret language, or magically understand their yips and growls as words. I can just usually get them to accept me without too much effort.

How I do that? As I wasn’t taught myself, my method is a little hard to lay out in words… It’s mostly making eye contact and exhibiting a calm trust. I’m not sure I can really explain it as more than just that. If I do what feels like the right thing to do, generally the animals that we’ve kept for a time will just trustingly react accordingly.

I am not a vegetarian, and I usually tire of over-pampered companion creatures that seem to lack enough brain-power to take care of their own selves. Part of what I enjoy about zoo- creatures is how many of them are not tame and so seem to be something more than just a pet.

That with the zoo is exactly where I belonged, I can’t deny, but am I the only person to have thrown out what is right and good when I discovered a way to have a little ego-boosting power-trip?

For now, let’s not worry about why some might call me a little bit too proud, because that definitely wasn’t the case when I saw what I did on my way out of the zoo that night.

The little nagging worry that had been planted in my mind with the strange noise had gotten me to swing back by the bat cave/cage on my way out for the day just to be sure that I couldn’t see anything that might have been visibly wrong with the enclosure.

When I walked over to where we put the food that those bats are getting, I came upon a gigantic-billowing, black cloud of bats who right then had found a route of working their way out through the food dispenser and escaping free from the machine’s back end. I might have had a chance at catching one or two, had I a butterfly net or something similar on hand, but I was really too stunned to do much more than just watch.

As I stood there looking helplessly upon the swarm of fleeing beasts with a growing contingent of dismayed animal caretakers, I couldn’t stop myself from noticing how the bat- screeches almost look/sounded like bright-green/yellow cloud made from bolts of lightning.

I don’t think I have to point out to you about the massive size of New York City. When considering how similar bats are to your common pigeons (the so-called ‘rats with wings’), their ability to survive until an instinct to move on to somewhere less populated kicked in wasn’t all that much of a worry, in my thinking. We really just needed a way to narrow down exactly where our 64 escapees had gotten to before that urge to leave the big city gripped them.

Change that- as I began wondering how long it might be before sightings of our escaped swarm were reported; I discovered that only 63 had escaped because one of the bats was in a cage in the veterinary office.

It seemed to me that there had to be a way for us to use this remaining winged mammal in some sort of plot to recapture its brethren.

I don’t know what this bat (who I started calling ‘Fred’) was with the vet for. (I’ve named many an animal ‘Fred’ when I need to care for it yet want to distance myself, so I don’t become too attached.) It was perfectly healthy again before I ever came to it. (I’m sure that this bit of naming roots out of trying to turn whichever lucky animal I name into something almost as make believe as say, The Flintstones.) If my plan worked right, this little chiropteran(bat) would happily seek out and rejoin the others were we to set him loose, and we could simply follow where he went.

I ran the idea by those who now made up the recapture crew and in no time they asked me to join them because my plan was good; before long we were looking up the best small-sized tracking equipment that could be harmlessly yet securely affixed to a bat.

Now, this escape/hunt is important in my history because without it, I’m not sure that I’d ever have come into contact with The Eclipse. I say that because of how my somewhat odd method of tracking our escaped bats was soon discovered and then highlighted by the local media. I hadn’t yet even located our runaways, but I already had optimists who were hailing me as some sort of city-wide hero.

Emails poured in to the zoo servers. Our computer kid then separated these out by their titles and the letters that seemed to be aimed directly at me were passed along for me to do with as I would. You might say Emilio was lazily trying to pass his work off onto me, but you can also argue that my silly idea had unexpectedly just about tripled his work-load.

I can’t say that I really minded, it kind of gave me a kick to see how many of the ‘uncaring public’ gave a minute’s import to what I was doing. And while there was a fair load of it that seemed to be no more than criticism and name-calling, a refreshingly healthy amount of the letters were compliments of ‘good idea’ and even a few offers of outside, unasked-for help.

That life-changing letter was one of the last among these, and though it just seemed almost perfectly innocent at the time, the email was odd enough to stick out in my mind. It came from the personal account of a man named Perry Striker who claimed connections with some sort of vaguely undescribed defense firm with offices in Chicago, called The Eclipse.

Apparently, they had an animal testing facility or two, and were having their own problems with the containment of batlike-creatures. He was inviting me to come ‘join’ him and others on a company newsgroup. Perhaps our different ideas for solving our supposedly similar problems would help out everyone.

Of course, I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I’m pretty sure he was looking more to get a feel of me through my response than he was actually trying to offer any type of real help.

 

Chapter 2 – Allies From The Darkness

By this time, I realize that you’re probably beginning to wonder why I spent so much time going into that whole imaginary color spiel. It does have some relevance, I swear.

And though setting a cloud of bats loose on New York City might evoke images of the winged mammals against a backdrop of skyscrapers, we just weren’t having anyone report a real sighting of them, even near the area where my little tracker-bat was reported to have gotten to. We were more or less down to looking by eye where my equipment said he and possibly the other little flying-critters should be (somewhere close to the south of Times Square, it was).

I think it was the morning of the second or third day that my Fred-bat had stayed in just about the same place (some were beginning to worry about the likelihood of his death) when I climbed down into the oversized subway terminal there to catch a ride home to my apartment that I ‘saw’ the growing cloud of green/yellow lightning flashes from the high-pitched squealing that a mass of bats’ echolocation makes.

Now the space inside the tunnels where the trains go down past the area that you’d usually want to walk in, is dark enough to prevent seeing bats flying within them easily, and with the random unusual noise caused by subway wheels/brakes/engines (not to mention the ever-present crowd babble) generally any additional sound would just be ignored; it was my notice of this yellow lightning against the backdrop of grey machinery racket and the pink/brown bubbly noise of human conversation that got me to realize how the skies where we had been looking was the right location, it was just the wrong elevation.

My ears were picking out the bat-voice sound underground where we hadn’t been expecting it.

And sure, when thinking about it later, subway tunnels did make a more bat-like environment than the city’s brightly lit skyline ever would. I guess that manmade, underworld labyrinth just didn’t quickly occur to the minds of us who were on the lookout for wild, airborne innocent creatures.

It was a little frustrating to locate those bats where we had, you see; there was no reasonable way that we could hope to clear the area of trains and people until we had recovered all of them. How the hell could we ask people for a ‘time-out’ in a city that never stops?

Were I a little less realistic, I would say that the bats had purposely gotten just out of our reach while staying within our sight, almost so they could taunt us with their freedom because we had caged them in the first place.

Even if we could get a team of tranquilizing shooters and bat baggers out to where the swarm was, it was a little unreasonable to think that any of those people would just willingly jump into the path of oncoming trains to try and fetch the animals as they fell upon the tracks.

Other than have a couple people stand ever-ready to take down the bats one by one as they flew away from the dark tracks, if the creatures never just happened to foolishly wander far enough away from their growing loft in the tunnel over to where we could bring them down safely, there wasn’t all that much we could really expect to do.

This irritatingly slow recovery process left me ready for just about any other workable recovery method that might present itself.

It was at this point that I finally gave in and checked to see how those animal-testing bozos were doing with their own bat hunt. There was seemingly no end of talk on their message board about two subjects;

  1. How Stanley Cooper, a guy that happened to be known and reviled throughout the company (apparently some animal rights nut or something) was now suspected to be involved in the act of releasing more bat ‘test-subjects’.
  2. The ‘professionals’ in the newsgroup all seemed to use it for playing some sort of elaborate fantasy game where they tried to claim honest-to-god supernatural involvement in real events.

In fact, I wasn’t even sure that I’d gone to the right place except that people kept signing their bizarre stories with both their name and their position title within The Eclipse.

When I left a note to try and question if I was in the right place, I did get that Striker guy (or at least someone who signed his name but was now claiming the title of American-CEO) to answer me. He grumpily commented how they had ‘already recovered most of our zoo’ and so were no longer interested in my input.

I was a little ticked off at how quickly he was now pulling back his offer of help and might have snidely commented back about how he probably couldn’t pull bats out of a busy subway anyway.

Bless that email with every reply to your own comment option, I’m sure I’d have have never gone back to check it after the first 2 or 3 answers I got that were just unexplained remarks (it sounded almost like an inside joke I wasn’t getting, or something) about how their quote-‘security morons’ could probably use the practice even if the bats were just animals.

Striker’s whole letter- style/punctuation now used in his comments towards me however, became much more clear and proper as if he’d been reprimanded after he read mine and his colleague’s replies.

Just before I shutdown my desktop computer to focus back on my own problems, I saw one more note from Striker that I had to consider answering:

“Mr. Carpenter, you mean you know right where they are and so only need help bringing them in?”

Now, I had to stop and look at this reply for a moment. It almost sounded like an offer of assistance, yet it was worded so that I still needed to ask for his help.

Might he just have been trying to give me an easy way out? I didn’t worry about it much at the time, instead I was still trying to think of how to go about rounding my bats back up. Wasn’t my invite to this newsgroup so we could help each other out?

Finally, I just started asking questions; “Did you net your animals or tranquilize them? Where were they hiding when you found them? Did you have to deal with anything similar at all to an environment full of spectators and trains?”

Striker answered far too quickly; “Were I to lend you my expert marksman and his assistant with a supply of sleep-darts for a week or two, would you be willing to owe me the favor of traveling out and helping to beef up security if we need it at one of our labs at least once, after your animals are recovered?”

Asking what his company was testing or the type of creatures they might need help with, I guess, never really occurred to me.

Truly, that deal of my help in return for his, seemed to be a more than fair offer.

Owing a favor would simply be my payment for his service. That was all.

I quickly agreed, and in two days the hunting team of Roscoe Sandford and Bucky Owens were flown out to meet me in New York, having come from somewhere out in Arizona. The thought that it must be a goodly-sized company if Striker had already claimed offices in Chicago and yet was calling workers from out of the southwest desert might have tickled my mind, but I had other matters to worry about right then.

Roscoe Sandford was a quiet man who seemed to be very dedicated to his job, looking out on the world with grim and strangely humble eyes. The way he held and moved with the dart gun made the weapon almost seem like it was a part of him. His quick movements that came without any hesitation as he deftly picked the bats out of the air when they ventured into sight near where the tunnel opened up into the station, and made my blood run cold with the idea of his using real bullets. Guns were as natural to him as animal behaviour was to me.

Bucky Owens, on the other hand, was just a happy-go-lucky, carefree helper to this Roscoe. I didn’t quite think it right to ask why if they didn’t feel like just explaining, but Bucky seemed to hold some sort of almost hero-worship for his supervisor. This young man would happily jump down onto the tracks to retrieve the fallen bats when Roscoe asked him to, before we had to worry about them getting hit by trains.

As Roscoe treated Bucky’s carelessness with calm leniency like an older sibling might when the younger’s antics were harmless, I’m sure that the sharp-shooter had to be aware of it. I won’t call it love between the two of them, because there was nothing there in the romantic sense; it was more what you could describe as unquestioning trust and friendship.

One night/morning when the subways were least active was all the time that it took the two of them, everything was done under a light legal guard to keep curious bystanders out of the way. Sandford picked the animals out of the sky when the subway trains weren’t roaring by, and Owens ran out down on the tracks and picked the creatures up; simple as that. The entire recovery was more quickly and easily accomplished than we from the zoo had ever believed could happen.

About the Author:

Sarah Baethge was born in Houston in 1982, and grew up in Texas and Louisiana. She was an intern for Lockheed-Martin directly out of high school where she graduated with a national merit scholarship in 2000. She worked loading the software onto computers at NASA in Houston in the summer before college at The University of Texas at Dallas. In November of 2000 when driving to school, she was in a car wreck that left her in a coma for 6 months. After waking, she began writing and self-publishing short fantasy and science- fiction stories, starting with the original The Speed of Darkness book. Soon after it was out she had greatly expanded the story in her notes. She decided to take the book down from Amazon and Smashwords because it began a bit abruptly, having plans to improve it with a prequel or two. She currently has other writings on Amazon including a short story piece of the Speed of Darkness series as an ebook. She also has a vampire poem called ‘And I Was Hungry’ that was published in an online magazine called What the Dickens in March of 2014.

 

Social Media Links:

Blog: www.sbaethge.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SarahBaethge

Twitter: @22niel

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Filed under Book Blitz, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Author Interview: ‘The Chronicles of Terlan: Daedala’ by Dañiel L. Garcia

About the Book:

The Chronicles of Terlan describe the lives of the inhabitants of the forgotten continent Terlan, which is rumoured to be guarded by dragons. These tales tell of the time before, and during the events, leading to Terlan’s destruction. Among these witnesses is Asmada, a former member of a Triumvirate of Immortals that ruled Terlan in centuries past. He seeks revenge and searches for the path to regain his lost power. Unwillingly drawn into these events are Dae and her family. After catastrophe leads her life to ruin Dae joins forces with Asmada. Together they traverse Terlan seeking the aid of like-minded individuals and the guardian dragons to help defeat Prometh, leader of the soldiers of the Light, and to restore Terlan’s peaceful balance.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m German/Puerto Rican, born in Germany. I grew up reading my father’s sci-fi and fantasy books, comics, and watching Star Trek. I remember starting to write during the time when roleplay forums were popular; writing stories in threads and such. Sadly I lost touch with that when going to university, then I rediscovered writing several years ago. I had come up with my own background for a character in a game, and since that story didn’t let me go during my studies in Japan I decided to turn into a novel.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Depends when I have time. At first it was when the mood struck me because I was busy with my studies. But afterwards I planned a few hours in the evening to keep at it. So usually afternoons. If I’m just doing a rough outline then I usually sit-in during the orchestra rehearsals at the local university. Otherwise at home or wherever it’s quiet.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

If it’s for a sci-fi story then usually from reading an article. Otherwise I might just see something during the day that gives me an idea or that helps me flesh out a part of a story. Otherwise I try to think about how my stories should naturally progress or what the characters would do in a situation.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I think it’s a mix of both. I either have an overarching story I’d like to tell with a beginning and end, then I try to write out how I get there. Sometimes I have specific scenes and situations in my head, then I try to figure out how I could connect those into something larger.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My main focus are sci-fi and fantasy, as a general setting. I usually don’t quite think in hard lines of genre since I might like to write a story that involves something like AI, but may be a romance or a thriller. Because I read quite a lot of fantasy and comics as a child I always liked to read things that are just able to exist in your imagination. Sci-fi I like due to reading Asimov’s robot stories, and watching Star Trek. I like stories that go into how we deal with new technology or how it evolves and is used in the future.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I haven’t thought much about that. At least not for all characters of The Chronicles of Terlan. I need to say that I intentionally tried not to be too detailed in describing any ethnic features for the characters, because I wanted them to be open for anyone. So there can be no debate about this character needs to be from here or from there.

For Dae/Daedala I had thought about having two actresses play her. One for the beginning of the book, and another for the later parts. I’d definitely like to see Zoe Saldana as Daedala, even though she would have to wear make-up again. A close second would be Danai Gurira.

For Jo I could imagine the Rock playing him because I think he could pull of the “you know I’m just acting like a barbarian” type of thing with a wink and keep it serious.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Since my life has gotten complicated during and after university, not as much as before. But my favourite English authors, since childhood, are Douglas Adams, Piers Anthony, and Isaac Asimov. For Japanese I like Uehashi Nahoko and Hideyuki Kikuchi. I recently managed to read Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. I like his style of writing and now consider him to be my unofficial rival. His writing impressed me a lot, so I’m somewhat jealous and want to get mine to be at least as good as his, haha.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’m currently trying to catch up with my backlog of Japanese books. I just finished a Kindaichi K≈çsuke detective novel from Yokomizo Seiji, and recently started the third book of Uehashi Nahoko’s Kemono no S≈çja (The Beast Player) series. I also have a Vampire Hunter D novel by Hideyuki lying around.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Definitely the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Complete Edition. All the five original books together. The reason is that they describe to you just how unfair and illogical the universe or world can be, and that not everything is as you expect it to be. And that things that we consider normal are just as nonsensical, when viewed from a different perspective.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Besides to be rich and let other people write for you? Writing is the fun part, letting your imagination go and just putting into words. Critiquing, editing, and revising are the hard parts I think, especially if you’re self-publishing. You probably won’t have all the finances to get everything done like a traditional publisher, so it can be frustrating at times to get everything going.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. If you’re just interested in the blog, you can find that at my website. I usually write about the work on my current projects.

Website: www.daniel-l-garcia.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Author.Daniel.Garcia

Twitter: @Author_D_Garcia

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/14245901.Da_iel_L_Garcia

Amazon page: www.amazon.com/Da%C3%B1iel-Garcia/e/B014G8PONY

 

 

About the Author:

Dañiel L. Garcia was born in Bitburg, Germany into a German/Puerto Rican household. Growing up with Star Trek, fantasy books, and American comics from his father he began reading from an early age. There is photographic evidence of his father holding a child in one arm while holding a book in the other, so it is indeed hereditary.

After a short run in with computer science Dañiel matriculated at the University of Trier, initially studying Japanology and Computational Linguistics. He slowly leant towards a major in Japanology with two minors in English Literatue and Media Science, specialising in Film.

The year of study in Japan reopened his eyes to writing and he began work on his “Daedala” story. In 2015 he graduated Magister Artium (~Master of Arts). Having already written most of the manuscript before starting his Magister thesis he continued to write after finding his day job. Inbetween he managed to self-publish his first work, the short story “Just For A While”.

Next to writing his book, he also worked as a freelance translator, and occasional animator. He is inspired by classic science fiction and fantasy themes, and likes creating characters with their own unique abilities and flaws.

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Book Review: ‘I Have a Friend on Jupiter’ by Celine Rose Mariotti

Title: I Have a Friend on Jupiter

Published: 2nd May 2017

Publisher: Dreaming Big Publications

Author: Celine Rose Mariotti

 

Synopsis:

Carlos and Indiana find a website that promises to find them pen pals from outer space. Imagine their surprise and excitement when they are paired with Mannie and Kossie, two children from Jupiter! The two pairs of pen pals are excited to learn about each other and their planets, and are even more excited to learn they may be able to visit! Will the other Earthlings be as open to a visit from aliens from Jupiter, though?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2018 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book about Sci-fi. So who is up for finding a new pen pal from a planet far, far away? That’s just what our two young inquisitive minded children do.

So Indiana and Carlos are best friends and like nothing more than to go searching for new and exciting things on the Internet about anything and everything. The main area that they are interested in is outer space so you can be sure that if it is there they will find it. The search for fascinating facts is never ending; there is always something new to learn and if it is space related they are going to get drawn to it. On one of their searches they happen to come across a website that claims you can write to aliens from outer space. Their first thought is that it can’t really be real but hoax or not they want to give it a try. So Carlos writes an email to see what happens knowing that Indiana will write one herself when she gets home. Whether they get a reply is something else entirely.

On the other side of the galaxy it seems that these emails have gotten through to some like-minded inquisitive aliens around the same age as Indiana and Carlos. Mannie and Kossie want to learn knew and exciting things about other planets and the thought of having friends on one of them is a bonus.

What starts out as innocent pen pal chats turns into a bit a national panic when others get wind of what has been happening and who might be popping in for a visit. Going to the Observatory might be an interesting way to see the stars, and who might be planning a visit, but the people in charge might take it the wrong way.

Can these pen pal friends just meet up without extra drama surrounding them? With aliens wanting to pay a visit you know that’s not going to happen. But these guys are different, not just in looks (hello blue skin and silver hair), so you know they aren’t going to be taken advantage of that easily.

A sweet idealistic story about having a pen pal friend from Jupiter. Real or a hoax these kids want to find out. It is aimed at a younger audience but that doesn’t pull away from the story itself. Fun read with how it all comes about.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

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