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Adam’s Stepsons

Adam's Stepsons3 Stars

Adam’s Stepsons by M. Thomas Apple is an interesting science fiction piece. We follow Dr. Heimann who designs the perfect super soldiers for the United America’s in their war against the Martian colonies. Heimann quickly discovers that he did not anticipate the brutal efficiency of the military, nor the attachment that arises from his creations. These clones are not only the peak of what the human form can do, they actually transcend humanity through intelligence and strength. They are the weapon that the United Americas will use to crush the rebellion on Mars. Dr. Heimann is shocked when one clone, Six, begins to call him “Father” and then the can of worms truly opens.

Apple’s novel is almost painfully short, only because I wanted to have more to read and dive into. He anticipates the future of inter-solar system colonization and the struggles that can arise, such as this between the United Americas and the Martian colonies. He does not neglect the complicated matter here or the scope considering the Terran governing force is losing the war and needs these clones to pan out.

The struggle between scientist and soldier is an old one, but one that takes on a new twist with the rise of cloned super soldiers. Apple goes along the lines of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, but does not seek to critique war itself. Instead, the author goes further and asks whether these soldiers are “truly” human or are they  just “equipment” as the military officer Marquez calls them.

The conflict deepens even further when “Seth”, clone number six, as Dr. Heimann calls him when no one else is around, begins to call him “father”. The book bounces between the POV’s of the scientist and Six, which is interesting because as the book goes on Heimann becomes more and more unstable and uncertain of his mission of designing soldiers, who resemble the people that their genetic material comes from. Six, or rather, “Seth” becomes increasingly more confident in his abilities and his intelligence. All of this leads to a climax that may polarize readers, but one that will still make the reader ponder on far after they have finished the novel.

Overall, I enjoyed Apple’s prose. It reads crisp like that of Asimov or Heinlein, but I am still unsure if the short length of the work was appropriate. There is a lot of dialogue and not enough actual “action” going on throughout, so I was expecting more digging into the rich themes of personhood and philosophy of the soul. I realize that may be asking too much.

Adam’s Stepsons is a fun addition to the long canon of science fiction that dares to ask the “what if” of the future. It also seeks to ask the “should we, if we can” question that not enough science fiction is retrospective enough to ask. A good read for any science fiction lover, especially of the Heinlein or Asimov variety.

Pages: 92 | ASIN: B06XJRT8CS

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A Whole New Reality

Sam B. Miller II

Sam B. Miller Author Interview

The Origin of F.O.R.C.E. is about an alien invasion that’s stunted, but the alien’s will be back and humans must prepare. What was your inspiration for the lizard like alien antagonists and their culture?

I wanted an alien race that was not human but could be related to easily by the reader. The race had to walk on two legs and with the proper disguise be able to walk among regular people. They had to be fearsome but not so alien as to be physically outlandish. Finally the decision was made to create the Chrysallamans, an alien race of lizard people. Their culture would be similar to Earth in that there were all kinds of citizens, from educators to the military. I’ve read books where the description of the alien and its culture is so complex and foreign, the story becomes hard for the reader to follow. I want the reader to comfortably read the story without having to constantly remember odd words and customs. In my opinion, the reader has to be able to somehow relate to all the characters.

In the story scientists must manipulate human genes so they are better equipped, physically, when the aliens return. I found the science in the novel to be well developed. What research did you undertake to make sure you got it right?

I used my imagination and thought a virus would be the perfect tool for the scientist to use to alter a person’s DNA. The changes had to be understandable to the reader. If they were too outlandish, the reader would reject the story. Wikipedia was a great source for ideas. One of my daughters earned a PhD in genetic research and works in the field.

Major Blunt is the one that raises the alien boy. What was your process in writing their interactions to develop the bond they have?

I have 5 children and 2 step children. My interactions come from real-life experiences raising my kids.

The Origin of F.O.R.C.E. crosses many genres; sci-fi, action, adventure. What books or authors were the biggest inspiration for you?

John Campbell, Robert Heinlein, and E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith were the biggest influences on my story ideas. They could really take me to a whole new reality in my mind as I read their stories.

The second book in the series is Dawn of Chrysalis. Can you tell us what’s next in the story of F.O.R.C.E.?

The human race is in trouble. After narrowly claiming victory in the first invasion, an assault by advanced militaristic aliens armed with light speed capable spacecraft is a continuing threat. Humans have to discover the secret of faster than light travel. Chrysalis has been attacked by a new enemy and the Emperor flees to Earth thinking his armada is waiting for him. Whatsit is on a mission to return to Chrysalis and save his fellow Chrysallamans from being wiped out by the new menace. Whatsit returns to Chrysalis but some evil humans trick him and allow him to be captured by the new aliens. The Chrysallaman Resistance finds him. Right now I’m writing Chapter 6 of the third book. Very exciting.

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The Origin of F.O.R.C.E.The first scout ships of the Chrysallaman Empire made contact in 1947. Their mission was simple: find a suitable planet for colonization. Earth—HG-281—was the perfect target. Rich with land, minerals, and water, the blue planet could boast only of a primitive race of defenders known as Humans, bugs who could be easily squashed by the might of a single Chrysallaman’s mind. When one of the scout ships is unexpectedly brought down, the advance party is forced to return to their home planet 30 light-years away to report and regroup. In their wake, they left behind a broken ship, dead crew members, and a young alien boy who would grow to become one of Earth’s greatest assets—and her greatest ally. The lizard-like aliens would be back, and in force. Mankind must prepare a strategy capable of defending against not only superior technology, but superior psychic ability and strength. It will take an elite group of military personnel, brilliant scientists, a sombrero-wearing alien, and another generation to plant the seeds that will grow into a World Wide Defense, the likes of which the Chrysallamans have never known.

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