The Formist Series is Almost Complete!

The Formist Series is Almost Complete!

Hey folks! As always, I feel like I’m overdue in posting an update and letting you know what’s going on. I guess it’s just the nature of my work, but at the end of the day, I just seem to have very little energy left to write anything. But that’s no excuse. So as always, allow me to apologize for not posting this sooner!

As the headline says, my first series of novels – which includes The Cronian Incident and The Jovian Manifestois nearing completion. It’s been quite the long road and there’s been plenty of peaks and troughs. But now that the finish line is finally in sight, I’m feeling excited! So let’s do this right and start by talking about this final installment in the series…

Inspiration for the Title:

First, a little Astronomy 101. Within our Solar System, as with all star systems, there is a line of demarcation of sorts. Within this line, volatile elements like water, carbon dioxide, methane and ammonia will exist is gaseous or liquid form. Beyond it, these elements will freeze.

As such, scientists have taken to refer to this border as the “Frost Line” (aka.”Snow Line” or “Ice Line”). In this case, the Frost Line refers to the space beyond the Main Asteroid Belt. This border is significant because the Belt represents the boundary between the Extropian factions of the inner Solar System and the Retros of the outer Solar System.

Whereas Venus, Earth, the Moon, and Mars are all populated by people that are super-advanced, the moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus are populated by people looking for a simpler existence.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Initially, I was going to name it the Frost Line Accord, which (no spoilers) obviously refers to something important in the story. However, it was a friend of mine (hey Paco!) who recommended the word Fracture! He felt the word was appropriate for capturing the sense of disharmony and conflict that is taking place by this point in the series.

And so I decided to name it The Frost Line Fracture! You got to admit, it sounds better. And (no spoilers!) it also works better as far as the plot is concerned.

New Characters:

Several characters from the series of reprising their roles in the finale. These include Janis Amaru, Franklin Houte, Veronika Gallego, Adelaide Cheboi, Emile Chandrasekhar, Pinter Chandrasekhar, Xenia Elenko, Alastair Fionn, and Michael Adler. However, characters who have been introduced already (but only in passing) will now have their own important parts to play. They include:

Paulo Auriga:
Auriga is the leader of the Illuvian faction, a group dedicated to the terraforming of Venus. For years, he and Emile Chandrasekhar have been partners, but there relationship has become somewhat rocky since the events of The Cronian Incident took place.

However, with everything hitting the fan and Emile coming back from the brink, Auriga and Emile are once again plotting together. If there’s anything thing more dangerous than an Extropian with a ruthless mind and limitless resources, it’s two!

Terraforming Venus. Credit: Watsisname

Seamus Crannog:
Crannog is a terrorist or a freedom fighter (depending on whom you ask). He leads the Children of Jove (CoJ), the insurgent movement on Ganymede. Since its inception, the CoJ has fought for reform and the overthrow of the Jovian Alliance, which it views as a collaborationist government.

However, since the attack on Selket (for which they were implicated), the movement went underground and began fighting a guerilla war against the Alliance. He and his people are in a protracted conflict with the Jovian authorities and are fighting to stay alive.

However, his group is thrown an unexpected lifeline when a mysterious backer provides them with the necessary weapons and information to make a conduct a major strike. The only problem is, there’s a good chance he’s being played…

Rebecca Van Dinh:
For years, Van Dinh has controlled the Aquiline Front, an insurgency based on Callisto and the Jovian system’s oldest rebel front. Like the CoJ, they are currently in hot water because of the violence and the backlash of the past few years. Luckily, Van Dinh has been training her people for some time to be ready, and those skills have come in handy against government forces.

Unfortunately, Van Dinh and her cadres find themselves put in an impossible position. On the one side, Crannog appears to be taking marching orders from a third party who may not have the Jovians interests at heart. On the other, they swore to present a united front to the enemy. But as time goes on, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell who the real enemy is.

Syfy Channel

Xaver:
People may remeber this individual from the first book. As a resident of Hygeia, Xaver presides over a rather large human trafficking operation. In the old days, Jeremiah Ward was tasked with bringing him down, but failed when his addiction to Glow caused him to leave two witnesses high and dry (who were then murdered by Xaver’s men).

Xaver is known for a few features, like the long dark crop of hair on one side of his head, or the dynamic tattoos (aka. dynamos) that mark his face. But the real draw are the rhodopsin and phosphorous implants in his corneas, which give his eyes a natural bioluminescence. It also provides him with natural night vision, which comes in handy when you’re spelunking around in Hygeia’s rocky corridors.

In time, Xaver will find himself face-to-face with another one of Ward’s old enemies. Will they get along, or is there room enough for only one monster inside the Frost Line?

New Locations:

Ares:
People who have read the first two novels ought to recognize this place. It’s the massive installation that sits atop the Martian space elevator, where two counter-rotating sections provide artificial gravity and all major shipping to and from Mars takes place. It’s also where the home of the Formist faction is located, in a compound known as Sarak Lovelock.

Interesting fact, this place takes its name from James Lovelock, author of “The Greening of Mars” and a major proponent for terraforming the Red Planet.

Granted, Ares and Lovelock were both featured in the first story and served as important locations as far as plot incitement was concerned. However, in the final installment, they will be featured more prominently as the location where the story reaches its denoument. You could say there’s a “the circle is now complete” thing going on here! 😉

Christian Darkin/Science Photo Library

Gaia:
Similar to Ares, the Gaia Installation sits atop Earth’s space elevator, and is where people coming and going from Earth have a bit of a layover. As a massive transportation and commercial hub, it also has a few dens of eniquity tucked away within it. What better place could there be for evil men to meet up and share details of their grand machinations?

Hygeia:
Speaking of dense of eniquity, the asteroid Hygeia is also a location of some importance in the story. Located in the Main Asteroid Belt, Hygeia is the fourth-largest body between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, behind Ceres, Vesta and Pallas. Like all of the larger bodies in the Belt, Hygeia was hollowed to create a facilitiy and its rotation was sped up to create artificial gravity.

It is here that a certain someone (let’s call him Adler) is looking to discreetly book transport to Mars. Not surprising, since Hygeia is the place people go if they are looking to smuggle goods (and people) back and forth across the Frost Line. But to do this requires that they understand the inner workings of Hygeia and its operations, which are ruthlessly controlled by a series of clans.

These include the Devata (denoted by the mark देव), a clan run by the Bhakta family who control the docks and take a piece of everything coming and going through there. Then there’s the Chang’e clan, a gynocentric organization established by the matriarch (Qingshan) and denoted by a crescent moon who run all of Hygeia’s “special services” and a piece of the recreational substances market.

There’s also the Jokos, an old family clan that are identifiable by the Basque crosses on their necks who control the rest of that drug racket, as well as gambling and credit. Last, there are the Galeans, who represent themselves with an icon of an ancient sea-faring ship and who (predictably) control shipping and emerged in response to the Devatas taking control of the docks.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Phobos:
For those who don’t know, Phobos is the larger of Mars’ two moons. In truth, its two moons are believed to be asteroids that were kicked out of the Main Belt in the past and were captured by Mars’ gravity. As the larger of the two, Phobos will undoubtedly serve as a sort of gateway to Mars once it is colonized.

The way I see it, a base on Phobos would be built in the Stickney Crater, which is located at the tip of Phobos and measures about 9 km (5.6 mi) in diamter. This would allow for the colonists to simply build a dome over the crater’s rim and fill the inside with all the housing, buildings and utilities they needed.

Since the gravity on Phobos would be near-negligible, getting around inside would be interesting. The only way to avoid drifting around would be to have magnetized or adhesive boots, and people would have to reorient themselves as they moved from one place to another (since the moon is not round and travelling along the surface would be ill-advised).

Well, that’s what I’m working with, what’s new, and what’s familiar. I was hoping to have it finished this month, but history has taught me that deadlines need to be a little flexible. Regardless, it is coming together and it will be the culmination of this trilogy! I hope people like it when it comes out.

Ten Day Book Challenge: Day Four

Ten Day Book Challenge: Day Four

And I’m back with another entry in the Ten Day Book Challenge. I’ve been very bad at keeping up with these, but I am determined to share my choices for the top ten most influential books I’ve ever read. So what I lack in punctuality, I hope to make up in sincerity and selection :).

Okay, so as usual, here are the rules of this challenge:

  • Thank whoever nominated you with big, bold print. If they have a blog, link to the post where you got tagged there.
  • Explain the rules.
  • Post the cover of a book that was influential on you or that you love dearly.
  • Explain why it was so influential to you.
  • Tag someone else to do the challenge, and let them know they’ve been tagged.

Thanks once again to RAMI UNGAR for the nomination, and you can find him at ramiungarthewriter.com. And here’s my third selection for the challenge, the post-cyberpunk classic The Diamond Age!

This book takes place in the 21st century after the world has been fundamentally changed by the introduction of nanotechnology. If Eric K. Drexler’s book The Engine of Creation was the authoritative treatise on how nanotechnology would change our lives, The Diamond Age was definitely the fictional counterpart. In this novel, Stephenson treated fans to his usual mix of weirdness, genius, historical and social commentary, education and growth.

For me, this book remains immensely influential, not because it introduced me to the concept of nanotechnology, but because it did so in a way that had such depth. Anyone who reads this is sure to feel that this book came along at exactly the right time to offer commentary on a concept that was slowly moving from the realm of science-fiction to science fact. And as this concept becomes more and more realized, I feel that this book will become required reading for people looking to understand the evolution of nanotechnology.

But, as I said, this book went beyond mere technological commentary, and contained some very interesting thoughts on social change, historical patterns, and the role of culture in development. While I didn’t agree with everything he asserted, it was interesting to see Stephenson detail how specific cultures may go about embracing technology differently, and how the pendulum of history can swing back and forth depending on the time and place and what means are available to people.

If nothing else, it got me thinking in a very serious way, like most of his works. And it was also delightfully fun to read and inspired me as a science fiction writer to take more risks and tackle issues I felt were previously inaccessible to me. Again, I highly recommend this book.

Okay, now for my nomination. This time around, I nominate the Tousled Apostle herself and a long-time friend and colleague of mine, Jamie A. Hughes!

 

Cover Art Reveal for the Future Days Anthology!

Behold! When the anthology drops, this will be the beautiful artwork that adorns the cover! This anthology is a collection of short stories by Castrum authors and is being released in advance of a number of new books by said authors (one of which is the second installment in my Formist Series – The Jovian Manifesto). My wife thinks there’s a strong resemblance between the child wearing the jet pack and yours truly. Yeah, I suppose I can see it too! 🙂

For those interested, my own contribution is the story Jericho, a story that takes a look at a generation ship that arrives at its destination many centuries from now. The colonists are what are known as Seedlings, people who use advanced nanotechnology to seed and terraform other worlds in advance of colonists. When they arrive, their homes, cities, streets, industries, and all the basic amenities are already built. All they need to do is take their places among the colony and get things working.

This story takes place in the same universe as The Cronian Incident, thought not the same time frame. Speaking of which, stay tuned for cover art for the second installment in that series, The Jovian Manifesto!

The Jovian Manifesto, More Good News!

The Jovian Manifesto, More Good News!

Some good news on the publishing front. My latest novel, the Jovian Manifesto (the second installment in the Formist Series), is back from the editor and I’m now making corrections. Once that’s done, it’s back to the publisher for another run-through, and then it will be ready for publication. While I can’t give a precise date, a realistic estimate at this point places the release date early this summer. And I’ve already seen some sample artwork, and it looks awesome!

And while I don’t want to spoil anything, I can say that the second book has plenty of action scenes! One thing I worried about in book one was that it had a rather slow buildup. Of course, that’s a consequence of having a story with multiple settings and an intricate plot. Nevertheless, I wanted there to be more action scenes in the second and third books, and ensure that they occurred throughout.

Credit: NASA

Suffice it to say, there are a few combat scenes that involve powered exosuits, some exotic locations, and the aforementioned space combat. Writing these scenes was admittedly a bit of a challenge, since its kind of hard to predict what combat would look like where super-advanced technology is involved. In a society where anything can be synthesized and manufactured at the atomic level, what kinds of weapons, armor and ships would be possible?

In other news, The Cronian Incident is still getting reviews. At this moment, it has accrued 12 reviews on Amazon (with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars) and 16 on Goodreads – with an average rating of 4.0 out of 5 stars. Hopefully, the second book will do just as well.

 

The Jovian Manifesto is Complete!

The Jovian Manifesto is Complete!

Yes, after a good six months of planning, plotting, writing, rewriting, and worrying about deadlines, The Jovian Manifesto is finally done! And by that I mean I’ve finished writing the manuscript and the process of editing and polishing is about to begin. I’m also expecting some artwork in the coming weeks so there are plenty of surprises ahead!

In addition to being the sequel to The Cronian Incident (released in September of 2017), The Jovian Manifesto is the second book in the Formist Series. So based on the release date of the first book and assuming I can get all the edits done by the end of this month, that would make this the second books that I’ve written in the past six months. Would now be a good time to take a wee break? I hope so!

Here’s the preamble that I’ve been saving for the release:

“Months have passed since the incident on Titan. For Emile and the Formists, life is returning to normal now that their enemies have been dealt with. Or so they thought. On the Jovian world of Europa, a mysterious document has been released that threatens to reveal everything. The Jovian Manifesto, as it’s called, has the Outer Worlds up in arms and the Inner Worlds fearing a civil war. The Solar System is on the verge of ignition, and all that is needed is a spark.”

As I stated in a previous post, this sequel will feature a whole new bunch of characters and locations. In fact, all of the new leading characters in this novel are women, which surprised me even. I did want to move away from male primary characters since the first book was a little heavy on them. But even I was a bit surprised when someone pointed this out to me.

As with The Cronian Incident, my publisher will be the venerated UK-based company known as Castrum Press!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to say congrats to my friend and fellow writer, Rami Ungar! Rami recently signed a contract with Castrum Press to write horror and suspense (his specialty). Thanks to Castrum’s pro-active approach to recruitment, I was able to set up a meet between him and Rami, and the two hit it off! Good luck to the both of us, Rami! Busy times ahead 🙂

Press Kit for The Cronian Incident Goes Live!

Press Kit for The Cronian Incident Goes Live!

Castrum Press has just released the Press Kit for The Cronian Incident. Basically, its a rundown of who I am and the book they just published (which bears my name, of course!) For those interested in doing an interview with your’s truly, there are suggested questions and all the relevant info you would need.

http://castrumpress.com/the-cronian-incident/

New Trailer – Blade Runner 2049!

New Trailer – Blade Runner 2049!

After many years of starts and stops, the fandom community has been pretty excited that we are finally getting a Blade Runner sequel. Whether or not it will be the sequel we want  remains to be seen (we all remember Jar Jar!). In any case, the first teaser trailer has just come out. As you can see, it shows Ryan Gosling in the lead role, with Harrison Ford reprising his role as Rick Deckard.

As was likely the intent, this trailer establishes that there is a passing of the torch between Ford and Gosling, who has become a Blade Runner himself. And if I had to guess, I would say the whole exchange (which takes place at gunpoint) indicates that the plot will center on what Deckard did at the end of the previous movie – which was to run off with Rachael (a Replicant) to make a life with her.

The movie is scheduled for release in October of 2017, and includes performances by Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, and Ana de Armas.  Check it out!