Tag Archives: speculative fiction

What’s Next for The Dream Box Series?

I’m excited that The Wolf of Descarta, the first novel in my new series, has earned some accolades from reviewers:

“A remarkably descriptive dystopian sci-fi adventure.”

“A backdrop of psychic/machine-world-melded/phantasmagoria impels the coolest of stories with ease.”

“Pike shows an ability to blend good solid science fiction with today’s RPG craze.”

“A rollercoaster ride, filled with hard turns and twists, unpredictable and thrilling.”

“Wonderful and terrifying.”

“It wasn’t what I expected and I found it uniquely interesting.”

“The pace is moderate with good grounding and the world building is amazing.”

“Each chapter, like a game level, reveals surprising new information about the world and character abilities, creating greater engagement for the reader.”

“So if you are a sci-fi aficionado, and love original concepts mixed with ax-wielding badassery and sexy vixens, this book is for you!”

I’ve also learned some things about my readers’ expectations that I’m incorporating into the sequel to TWoD, which is scheduled for release during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Take, for instance, which characters are currently considered popular and which ones readers are curious to learn more about. My universe is much larger than I could hope to introduce in a single book, and receiving feedback about which aspects of it should be brought into the foreground is helping to guide my hand as well.

So, what can readers expect from a sequel to TWoD?

Jaren Reese (and Balmus) will obviously return, as will the love triangle between Kara Faldern (Petra) and Brea Morgen. Readers can expect to see a lot more of Renton Hayes and Isaac Zephyr, as both of these characters have their own arcs in the expanding universe that will become just as important as Reese’s story. Victoria will struggle with becoming “human” in a universe where biological beings are breaking down yet machines have no personal rights. Miyoko Hirigashi will struggle with a decision she and her comrades could regret for the foreseeable future. Janus Almani’s backstory and the Asenti Convention will be further explained through neurological meddling (that I don’t intend to spoil at this juncture). How the Ravers, as an organization, fit into the Shadow Government’s post-postmodern model of society will become clearer, and, of course, a new enemy will emerge that will make the showdown at the end of TWoD look like the video game equivalent of a turn-based battle with a mid-boss.

As for fully explaining what the aliens are up to and why the Dream Box exists? Leave me something for the third installment. I can promise to tease you a little, at least.

Betrayal at Phobos will probably fit more easily into the genre of Science Fiction than the first book, which has caused some reviewers to refer to me as a “Fantasy author”. Because much of the action of the book takes place in our solar system, I’ve had to do some research into things like the moons of Mars and speculate quite a bit about how the human race would logically expand throughout space. (As a small spoiler, the blue collars and red collars that signify castes within The Dream Box series originally designated residents of Earth and Mars respectfully.) There will be space combat this time around, more political intrigue, more plot twists, more mind hacking, more simulation, more wild Fantasy battles in Cyberspace, and, as the title implies, no small amount of betrayal.

Yes, chivalry will still be a theme despite the futuristic setting. Balmus’s characterization demands it, and I wouldn’t dream of writing a story without some representation of knighthood. I’m pretty sure it would unmake me to do so.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on The Wolf of Descarta and are interested, click on “Order My Books” for more information. Please feel free to leave me a review on Amazon. I believe that storytelling should be a dialogue between the writer and his or her readers, not a lecture.

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So I’ve Been Busy… (And The Book Is Out Early!)

Yesterday, I had an interview with Daniel Dullum at the Florence Reminder and Blade Tribune regarding The Dream Box series and the balance I’ve struck between writing Speculative Fiction and teaching high school English. The feature is scheduled to run in the Thanksgiving weekend newspaper. I couldn’t be more pleased!

This afternoon, The Wolf of Descarta, the first novel in the trilogy, received its first review, which came from Fabulous and Fun. Mike (who got his hands on my book early) had this to say:

“This was a remarkably descriptive dystopian sci-fi adventure that you will need a map, some notes, and possibly a chart or two to keep up with! Multiple layers, upon layers, upon, layers of plot twists intertwine through a large cast of characters and several planes of existence to weave together a story that will leave you wanting to know what will happen next.

The book manages to toss around some hefty concepts such as sentience, free will, artificial intelligence, caste systems, and such without getting heavy handed. I thought it also does a good job of pacing itself so the reader isn’t too overwhelmed with the depth of content involved. That being said, I’m sure I missed stuff, so I’ll gladly re-read this when the next book in the dream box series is unleashed!”
5 Stars (5 / 5)

Tonight, I realized that–for whatever reason–Amazon is already selling the Kindle edition of the book despite its official release date being tomorrow. You can get it right here. Charge your batteries and let me know what you think!

If you’re holding out for the print edition of The Wolf of Descarta, it’s scheduled for release on November 29. I’m sure it’ll be easier to sign than your e-reader, and as you’ve seen, the cover alone is worth the ruthless murder of a few unsuspecting trees…  

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So, What’s Your Book About?

The-Wolf-of-Descarta-3 (1)

This is the question all writers dread. When my editor asked me if I wanted to write my own blurb for The Wolf of Descarta or have the marketing department at TZPP do it for me, my response was, “Yeah, that’s all yours. Go nuts.”

Yes, to a point, all writers should be able to string together synopses or treatments of their novels, but doing so is kind of like “squeezing the universe into a ball”–a line which I constantly crib from Eliot.

So what is my book about? I think the answer to that question is really going to depend on who you ask.

A teacher might read the novel and note the effects of the Dalian Exam, which is taken at the age of 13 to bypass the genetic caste line between red collar and blue collar, and decide that I’m taking a stance against standardized testing in public schools.

A video game junkie might describe it as, “A scenario in which gamers and hackers finally take their rightful places as the future heroes of humanity.”

A romance fan might fixate on the love triangle between Balmus/Reese, Brea, and Petra because this serves as the driving force behind the story and Reese’s personal quest for meaning.

An English professor might argue that the book is really about the limitations of human identity and call it a cautionary tale about the role simulation may already be playing in shaping society. He or she might also drop the word bildungsroman.

A cellular biologist might call it a love letter to Charles Darwin that explains the evolution of robots.

A Fantasy fan might call it an experiment in bringing the staples of that genre–including heroic knights, trials by combat, magic, legendary creatures, true love, and weapons of power–into a Sci-Fi context without necessarily writing Space Opera.

A conspiracy theorist might call it a metaphor for big brother policing the Internet.

A devout Christian might read it as a parable for the need to make a true connection with God through prayer.

A string theorist might see those same connections as the equivalent of mental wormholes between dimensions.

An Erotica fan might gravitate towards the futuristic choice between the physical act of love making and the simulations that are replacing it.

A soldier might see it as statement about how warriors transcend the governments they serve through heroism at arms.

A psychologist… Hell, I don’t even want to think about that one.

A Sci-Fi fan might (hopefully) call it a refreshing break from the typical fair where rules and boundaries make stories predictable by limiting their scope–because in the Dream Box, reality is limited only to what the human mind can imagine.

So, what’s my book about? When you read it, you tell me. It’s scheduled for release November 21st.

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