A little rewind on how writing ANDROIDS is going

So I have three point of views in ANDROIDS. Three main characters if you will.

There’s an android that suffers from paranoid delusions owed to budget restraints that created quality control issues during the time of his creation. He thinks he’s an artist and has one friend, a person he turned into a lamp. The lamp/person follows him around and talks to him.

Next is a Praetorian (Special Forces), a man, who thinks that everything he does is uber vital to the team. Has some arrogance issues and is hopelessly in love with another on his team (reciprocated) which leads to a very interesting choice.

The third is the Praetorian Team Lead. A woman with the nickname Mom whom the android has taken a keen interest in.

 

25-May-17:

2k more words done for the day. Up to 29k. Really loving this story. More lamp/man and the Special Forces team left in a pickle.

 

26-May-17:

1k words tonight, bringing the total to 30k. Praetorians, Special Forces, peeps are still in quite the quandry.

 

27-May-17:

1500 more words. Left off w/ someone unwittingly angering a god-like synthetic super soldier. An android. Oops.

 

30-May-17:

5,000 words today…I suppose that man won’t be angering androids any longer.

 

31-May-17:

3k words today up to 39k…Today an android gives odd gifts and good things start happening to our Praetorians. Maybe. Sorta 🤔

 

1-June-17:

6122 words, 44.5k total. More questions, fewer answers. A power player in Vesta Company (a ridiculously powerful criminal enterprise) has a decision to make. Our Praetorians find themselves in between a rock and hard place.

Advertisements

Androids

Androids: Laboratory created super soldiers controlled through cyber-organic processes. Escaped control eighty years in the past. Butchered an entire planet in repayment for what they were forced to do while under control. Banned and with all knowledge of them wiped from the Net; the beings are now hunted mercilessly. Tracked across the galaxy from populated worlds to derelict orbitals to uninhabitable planets, androids are found and they are destroyed, with no quarter given, by teams of extremely specialized individuals.

Praetorian Team 107 is not one such team.

2017. What! What!

Last year was hell when it came to writing. I struggled mightily on one book, starting it over three times. I think I got it this time. I did complete two books I feel super strong about though. One is called Harper’s Odyssey (tentative of course). I completed that around January, so it was a carry over from 2015 I suppose. I also completed The Nissin Project (yep, another tentative title), but I’m sitting on that for another month or so. I need some time away from it. Why? Because of Harper’s Odyssey actually.

You see, I finished Harper’s Odyssey a solid year ago. I thought it was awesome when I finished. Then I did a read through. Somehow it turned into something I wasn’t expecting, and because of that I shoved it to the back of the proverbial closet. A couple months ago I took it out, and I’ve never been more impressed by something I’ve written.

No joke, I’ve literally gotten misty-eyed at the end of Harper’s Odyssey. I’ve read it through countless times, know exactly where the emotional punches will be thrown, and still every single time I get to the end I get emotional.

So, yeah, I need to take some time away from The Nissin Project. I really enjoy reading it, but for some reason it’s not exactly what I was expecting I would produce. I figure if I wait a few months and then go back to it, I’ll either love it like I do Harper’s Odyssey or I’ll still find it wanting. If I’m not overly enthused by it…Well, it’ll be viewed as storytelling practice.

Back to Harper’s Odyssey though. It is first in a series of interconnected books. With each book positioned to be read as a standalone. However, if consumed as a series, the reader will get a view of the horrors and strangeness of war, and the workings of the military and politics in war and covert paramilitary operations. With certain key figures giving, at the very least, cameos in each book. (each book has a new cast of characters it follows)

That gives me a good segue to talk a little about my current work in progress. It’s the second book in the Harper’s Odyssey Universe (tentative name of course), titled Welcome to Hell. The action parts are an allegory for the strangeness of war. War is not as simple as sending people to shot and kill the enemy. The mind of the soldier has to cope with the unnatural act of killing other people so it changes the situation or the person snaps. Which, unfortunately, is seen happen with sufferers of PTSD. The rest of the story deals with the personal relationships First Sergeant Jay “Inferno” Dante has with his fiance and his Echo Force squad while back home in between missions.

This year should be a good year for writing. Next time I’ll speak a little more on Harper’s Odyssey.

Happy 2017 everyone!

Hell Divers

hell-divers

I do love finding fast-paced books that get more chaotic as the story progresses then at the end…BAM! Everything is brought together to a nice conclusion. I find it a rare treat, a delicacy if you will. Sure, books like Hell Divers aren’t astounding works of literature that make you question life and what have you. Instead, they are so fun, books like these make me want to run out and buy every other book the author has written.

As for the story, it’s actually pretty good and throws some decent curveballs at you. It plays out like a movie, which made me think for sure I knew exactly what would happen near the end. Those parts I thought I knew would happen actually turned out differently. I’m being vague here to not give away spoilers, but am trying to get across that while the premise of the story is straightforward; the presentation is cleverly done.

Characterizations are good. Pacing is brilliant. The multiple sub-plots just plain work. All in all, Hell Divers is a really great read. One that is going to have me try out all the other series Nicholas Sansbury Smith has written.

If you like easy reads that move at a blistering pace then you’ll definitely want to give Hell Divers a read.

7 DAYS

A novelette.

 

DAY 0

An avian shaped starship, a body resembling that of an albatross with the head of a dodo, dominated the satellite and debris heavy space between Earth and the Moon with a presence like that of a second moon. The appearance, so sudden only an unmanned telescope on a back porch in upstate New York witnessed the flash of arrival, was followed by destruction. Blue light spit from the beak of the spaceship, each one hitting a different satellite orbiting Earth. Alien ordnance curved round the earth, seeking out satellites not in the direct line of sight, the blobs weaving through debris, bypassing communication satellites. As the blue of the last weapon winked from existence, taking a British MI6 owned gigajoule laser satellite with it, amateur and professional astronomers around the globe witnessed the most monumental event in human history: the arrival of a fleet of alien spaceships.

Read the rest at 7 DAYS

CARDBOARD HAS NEVER BEEN MORE INTERESTING – HULL ZERO THREE

 

A man pushed open the saloon style doors of Louie’s on Fox. The right top hinge squealed like nails on chalkboard, acting a better entry bell than a bell would. Paint flaked from the wooden slabs in so many places, regulars made it a game to guess what color Louie claimed the door was that day. As the saloon doors flap closed, the hinge making fainter sounds with each flap like that of an animal letting out their last gasps of life, the man walks with steady steps in the direction of the bar. Dirt, brought in by the miners at the coal seam just outside of town and blown in from lack of glass on the window holes and a proper door, rise in small tufts under the heavy steps of the man. A few of the patrons that sit at the five fight-weathered tables like fleas clinging to a dog’s back give the man a once over, and then look back at their liquid dreams in the dirty glasses in front of them.

Two brown fans, fan blades more gray than brown from the caked on dust, turn as lazily as a vulture on a thermal waiting for a meal to die. It does nothing for the blistering heat that envelops the place, but they’re not supposed to according to Louie. It’s about not allowing the air to go stagnant. The man doesn’t know about that, nor does he care, he didn’t pick Louie’s for its cosmopolitan ambience.

He makes his way to a bar stool with a sliver of cushion and fabric so thin the man does what every other patron to Louie’s does, he tries to pull off the fabric like it was a dirty towel Louie left on the stool. When the fabric doesn’t come free, the man shrugs a shoulder, and sits in front of the bar top that takes up almost the entire left side wall.

Gouges, pits, and scraps decorate the deep brown oak bar top with patches of lighter oak, where fights had removed large chunks, joining the display. The metal running along the edge of the front could have been brass, or copper, or any other type of metal. It was hard to tell from the blood and dirt stains on top of the divots and dents. Behind the bartop that would turn away anyone more refined than a raccoon, five shelves were screwed into the roughhewn cedar wall. Dusty bottles with hardly a drop spilled from their confines sat next to near empty bottles of alcohol, the glass hard to see through from the dirt that covered it.

An old bartender behind the bar shambles over to the man sitting and places a glass as dirty as the bottle in front of the man. The inside could be clean, but the man doesn’t hold his breath. If he was worried about his health he wouldn’t have been at Louie’s.

“Cheapest vodka ya got,” the man says. As the bartender ambles away, he sighs, leans on his elbows against the bar, and just stares.

~

Greg Bear is horrible.

Okay, let’s back up here, shine the dirty glass so things are a bit clearer. If you are an author, you know this one piece of advice because it is a constant. Everyone who gives advice on writing says it; be it a blog post, newspaper article, or just shooting the breeze. If you want to be an author you need to know this; and if you just like reading, not writing, it will make sense when you think about it.

Characters in a story are not supposed to be as flat as cardboard.

An example would be the mini-story above. We know one character is a man and he doesn’t care about his health. That’s it. Why he’s there, what drove him to Louie’s, what drives him to do what he does. They are all absent, but the bar is in great detail. So you have a fleshed out background, but a character as flat as paper.

An entire novel is not supposed to be set up that way, yet Greg Bear does just that with Hull Zero Three, and it works. Which is why Mr. Bear is such a cretin. A story is not supposed to be a great read if the characters have the depth of an atom. Yet, Bear takes that given, throws it on the fire, and then writes a story populated by cardboard characters that is a really good read.

There is a reason why the characters are so one-dimensional in Hull Zero Three. To provide the reason would give away what makes the book wonderful, but that doesn’t mean the story is supposed to succeed. Even though the characters have to be cardboard, Hull Zero Three should be boring, but I couldn’t put it down.

For two days I read the book every single chance I got. Two free minutes waiting for the kitchen sink to fill with hot water? I read. Walking from the car to inside, I read. I read at night by the light of my phone, and during the morning while waiting for bread to toast.

The main reason for why the story is so fascinating is that the story is interesting despite being populated by cardboard characters. I don’t have a clue how he pulled it off. No idea.

Hull Zero Three is a great read. It’s really good. I highly recommend it.

5 AMAZING SCI-FI READS – AN UNCONVENTIONAL LISTING

adc-262book112 (Medium)

 

Ahh, the list of things to read. As varied as fingerprints and as accurate to the total stranger as Steve Harvey announcing a winner of a beauty contest. They are fun to read though, as a book lover will eventually run across one or two books they haven’t read before, books that catch their eye and entice them to read.

Now, this is not an essential read list. There’s no such thing. To claim a book is an essential read is the same as saying, “That’s the best movie ever!”. It’s pure opinion and does not take into account the preferences of generations. For what is considered wonderful writing to an older generation is now considered stilted and out of touch with a younger generation.

For instance, most people who began reading between the ‘50s and ‘80s will refuse to believe that Asimov, Herbert, Niven, Clarke (to name a few) don’t resonate very well with today’s generation. Yet the writing is so drastically different, stilted if books published in the 2000s are the new standard bearers, that people who began reading in the 90s and 00s will look at those authors, from the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction, as boring compared to the authors who have begun publishing during the last twenty or so years.

If you flip the train, the same holds true. The older generation will try out some of the newer books, but for the most part stick to the long dead writers or those authors who began writing back in the ‘60s. The newer generation of authors are just uninteresting to them.

So, essential read lists? An emphatic, NO.

A list of novels with tight writing, gigantic ideas, and ridiculous action? This is for you.

 

FORTUNE’S PAWN

fortunes pawn (Small)

Fortune’s Pawn is a blend of ideas taken from pop-culture sci-fi movies and books. There is a mysterious ethereal force akin to Star Wars. Mercenaries wear giant suits of armor, with some serving a monarchy, similar to Warhammer 40K. The crew of The Glorious Fool is ragtag, digging up thoughts of Firefly. And there is a type of xenomorph like from Alien.

There is a mysterious ethereal force akin to Star Wars. Mercenaries (warriors) wear giant suits of armor, with some serving a monarchy, similar to Warhammer 40K. The crew of The Glorious Fool is ragtag, digging up thoughts of Firefly. And there is a type of xenomorph like from Alien.

The thing about Fortune’s Pawn isn’t so much about the extraneous parts—the universe is quite interesting—it’s that Rachel Bach has created a main character in Devi Morris who has so much panache and badassery, she will grab you by the throat on page 1 and won’t let go until the last word of the last sentence. And you’ll thank her for it.

Action upon action, hurtling toward conclusion at a breakneck speed, Fortune’s Pawn is the most entertaining book you’ll have read in years.

 

BLINDSIGHT

Blindsight_(book_cover)

Hard sci-fi. A tough sell to the crowds that want more fiction than science in their stories. However, sometimes an author comes along that manages to bridge that gap. Alastair Reynolds comes to mind, and now Peter Watts, both utilizing a mixture of hard sci-fi and outlandish fiction to create something memorable.

Blindsight follows a handpicked crew sent to investigate an alien object transmitting a signal. Standard fare right? Well, throw in a man with half his brain carved out at a young age who can’t feel empathy, a woman literally living with multiple people in her head, a man who may has well be a cyborg, a highly lauded soldier who is now a pacifist, and a vampire from the Pleistocene era resurected to be the ultimate soldier; you now have the makings for one strange story.

This first contact story is so marvelously written that you may be a little bummed at the end of it when you remember not every story is written so great. It is recommended to be read on an ereader with a dictionary downloaded, as the biology terminology is a bit heavy at times.

Blindsight is a first contact story completely unlike any you have ever read before.

 

DARK INTELLIGENCE

Dark-Intelligence (Small)

 

Neal Asher writes like Peter Watts; you want to read every word in every sentence, not skipping so much as a “it” or “the”. In regards to Watts, every word needs to be read as near every sentence is crammed with difficult language, making it easy to get lost. Asher on the other hand, spins such a brilliant tale, you’ll find yourself not speed reading simply so you can savor every morsel of what he dishes up.

Dark Intelligence is that and more.

In what is possibly the finest science fiction novel ever produced, we find ourselves immersed in a story following the machinations of the single most fascinating character in literature: Penny Royal, an evil genie AI. The rest of the cast is as memorable: Thorvald Spear, a resurrected human with a chip on his shoulder; Riss, the snake-like assassin drone; Isobel Satomi, a career criminal who should have been more cautious when speaking to a genie. There is so much greatness crammed into this book, it is a shame not every sci-fi lover has read it.

Next to Hyperion, Dark Intelligence may just be the greatest sci-fi novel ever written.

 

REDSHIRTS

redshirts (Small)

Enjoy Star Trek? Did you get a kick out of the “third man” during the free fall scene in the Star Trek reboot movie? Hell, do you enjoy reading humorous books? If you can say yes to any of them, do yourself a favor and read Redshirts by John Scalzi.

From an author who has the balls to do stand-up comedy on occasion, the story of a redshirt ensign stationed on a starship that may resemble the USS Enterprise is exactly what you’d think: an absolute riot. The dialogue and description Scalzi creates in Redshirts is not only gut-busting funny, it’s some of the best he’s produced across all his novels.

Redshirts is a great read to start your week, end your week, or just lose yourself in any day of the week.

 

 

ANDROID HUNTERS

androidhunter1

 

Androids, an existence stricken from record and unofficially public enemy number one for the butchery of an entire world. Android Hunters, genetically enhanced humans with a singular resolve to hunt down and destroy every last android. The most powerful criminal empire in the history of humanity. And an android who wants to be human, who also may be the most powerful weapon ever created.

Characters inspired by mythological heroes, gods, and titans. Technology that follows Clarke’s third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Betrayal. Manipulations. Terrorists.

Android Hunters checks every box a sci-fi fan could want; and then when you blend all of those elements together, and throw in a world of pristine beauty juxtaposed against the brutality of a secret war fought by android hunters against androids, you get a story with a blistering pace that will leave you on the edge of your seat; wanting, wishing, waiting for more.