This God, I, written by Rocco Ryg, is a novel based around a group of teenagers turned Japanese superheroes as they band together in a battle against evil. The group of ordinary teenagers have their lives upturned when they gain superpowers from a ring adorned with a black rock from Sierra Leone that was passed down to Chikara from her mother. Together, three of the teenagers, Chikara, Gen and Ren band together and travel to America to help rescue their friend Michiko from the evil Damian Chillingworth. However, they soon discover there’s another evil at work, RAMPAGE; a vicious group of white supremacists and anti-government terrorists. The teenagers must learn to work together in harmony if they are to stop the world from being destroyed.
Rocco Ryg has an extraordinary talent of being able to engross the audience deeply with his powerful and exciting story line- right from the first page. This God, I, begins in 1993 where you meet Mika Kaminari, a successful woman who can foresee future events and then soon flashes forward to the year 2012. It’s in 2012 where you meet Mika’s daughter, Chikara and her friends, Gen and Ren. A ring, superpowers and a crazed up white supremacist group of militia combine together for a story of epic proportions.
Japanese anime styled characters cross political extremists set the tone for this action packed adventure. There is a super power for everybody- from an empath who can manipulate the emotions around her to others who can sift through memories to extract the deadliest ones that they need. Personally, my favourite power was being able to heal someone- imagine what we could do with this in the real world!
The superheroes come from a range of backgrounds, such as the Chillingworth family who exude power through their billionaire, lavish lifestyle. The son Damian, sometimes violent psychopath, sometimes brilliant crusader is a complicated character that the reader will quickly form a love/hate relationship with. His rich boy demeanour and sleazy lack of compassion seem to be a cover to an inner child who wishes to be seen as a superhero.
This book has political undertones and I found some of the themes to mirror some of the political issues we are facing today. The story clearly outlines the different political parties which will help explain any terms you may not be familiar with. However, the main theme of the story revolves around the mystical powers given by the ring and the ability to use them for harm or good. This can provide a breath of fresh air when the political plot begins to thicken.
Epic battles crossed with an intense torturous drive to gather intel means the reader will be unable to tear themselves away from the book until the very last page. The reader will question the values of the character as each one faces the ultimate battle of deciding to cross a line between good and evil. It questions the integrity of the human race and raises the question- what would you do if you were given a super power? I would recommend this for anybody who enjoys action crossed with a touch of politics and mystical powers.
Pages: 361 | ASIN: B008HL4XM0
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In The Second Sphere humans live longer, but terrorists aim to remove all life from the moon and Mars and return humans to Earth. This is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, thriller, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I try to tap the things that I love to read. People like George Pelecanos, Walter Moseley, and Michael Connelly are huge influences. I’ve always appreciated their characters; those who have their own unique ways of viewing and interacting with the world. I’ve always loved sci-fi, particularly dystopian futures, think Blade Runner. And I’ve always been fascinated with and a bit scared of conspiracies, particularly when it comes to government involvement with extraterrestrial life. All of it just came together when I sat down to write.
In this story human bodies are reduced to synthetic versions and the main character Orion has lived for a very long time. Where did this idea originate from and how did it develop as you were writing?
A good friend of mine introduced me to Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the singularity, I don’t know, maybe five or six years ago. The more I thought about it, the more the singularity kind of horrified me. Certainly there are some practical and humane possibilities when it comes to the intersection of technology and health. But at what point do we consider what we lose by literally giving up our bodies in the search for ever-lasting life? Part of this book is about processing the dark underbelly of technological advancement and scientific discovery.
It’s not easy to envision this type of a future. I ended up rewriting the details over and over because I felt that I was projecting my biases as a person living in the 21st century on a future that is barely on the horizon. Of course I couldn’t escape those biases completely, but I tried to.
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
I tried to write what I enjoy reading. At one point in my rewriting process, I eliminated nearly all of the science in order to keep the story moving. A reader of mine really let me have it. He was right. My goal was to make the story as lean as possible, but I’d diluted the setting. So I re-inserted the portions that grounded the story a little bit more. I wanted to give the reader just enough without being burdened.
The Second Sphere is book one in the Three Spheres Trilogy. Can you give us an idea of what the next book will be about and when that will be available?
My goal is to have book two, tentatively titled Red Death, out by next Spring. This second book is going to be pretty dark. I wanted to have the book out this year, but it’s taken me longer than I imagined to get the story itself in shape. I wanted to will it in a more optimistic direction, but that’s not where it wants to go. So I have to listen to the story that’s being told to me.
In the future, advanced technology allows everlasting life. But enemies remain, including the Green Revolution, a “terrorist” organization bent on returning all life from the moon and Mars back to Earth. After Orion Cox, Deputy Intelligence Chief for the Laslow Corporation begins an investigation into a devastating bombing in New Mumbai, Mars, supposedly undertaken by the Green Revolution, he witnesses a vicious attack caused by a virus that threatens life throughout the Three Spheres.
Posted in Interviews
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In Beyond Cloud Nine Ace fighter pilot Brooke Davis stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
The plot of BC9 was born of two initial premises.
First, as a kid, I loved anything with fighter planes, especially fighter planes in space. Many shows and movies featured the brash young male fighter pilot of which we’re all familiar, but few works of fiction starred a female lead pilot. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced a female lead would give a story a different feel, and it hadn’t been done nearly as often, so I rolled with it.
Second, we’re all familiar with the standard alien invasion story. Powerful aliens hover their gigantic motherships over our big cities. The human military is powerless against them, can’t punch through their shields, etc. Just when all hope seems lost, we humans find the one glaring weakness that will defeat these intelligent yet negligent invaders and hallelujah! The world is saved and everyone bands together in harmony. Can I get an eye-roll, please? With that in mind, I thought to myself, “How can I turn that premise upside down and leverage it to my advantage?” I thus had the antagonists in BC9 use a seemingly cliché alien invasion in a very non-cliché way to push their agenda.
I felt that the technology and science in Beyond Cloud Nine were delivered in such a way that anyone could understand it. Was this by design?
Absolutely. I seek to make my writing accessible to as wide of an audience as possible. I try to take after Arthur C. Clarke, who was a master of taking complex scientific concepts and simplifying them into an easy, breezy read.
The editor of BC9 deserves a lot of credit for teaching me the difference between telling, showing, and experiencing. We’ve all heard that an author should show rather than tell–most of the time; there are instances where telling makes sense. Don’t just write that something happened (telling). Write descriptive language that demonstrates it happening (showing). However, there’s another level beyond showing that better speaks to readers. Don’t just show something happening. Show how it affects the character, physically, mentally, and emotionally (experiencing). Rather than bogging readers down with the technical details of how something works (a pitfall some hard science fiction authors fall into), I try to place my focus on how technology and events affect people.
Brooke Davis is an interesting and well developed female character. What were the driving ideals that drove the characters development throughout the story?
With Brooke, I definitely indulged my inner pessimist. I took everything that annoys me and magnified it tenfold. Also, as discussed earlier, I tried to create a lead that contrasted with the typical suave fighter jock. Brooke is anti-social. You won’t find her in bars tossing back shots.
The guilt of believing she killed her father taints her perception of everything.
A main story arc that’s every bit as important as whether the antagonists are defeated is her journey to work through that guilt and grow.
I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Where does Brooke Davis’s character go in the second novel?
The sequel, Beyond the Horizon (Beyond Saga Book 2), was published in May 2016. It stars Brooke’s niece, Maya, as the girl embarks upon humankind’s first interstellar mission. Brooke plays a critical supporting role even though she remains in the Sol system. “Demoted” to a civilian flight instructor because of her actions at the end of BC9, Brooke seeks to earn her way back into a cockpit. When she learns of the tragedy awaiting the interstellar mission, she takes a series of bold actions to try to get out to Gliese 581 to save her niece and the mission.
While we’re on the subject of sequels, I just sent Beyond Yesterday (Beyond Saga Book 3) off to the editor. The third installment in the tetralogy should be available in the summer of 2017.
Ace star fighter pilot Brooke Davis lives for pushing hundreds of gees in orbital combat, but she’d give it all up in a moment to become the first human to fly faster than light. When Brooke stumbles upon a conspiracy involving terrorists, aliens, and the highest levels of government, she finds their goals seductive but their methods abhorrent. With the moral core of human civilization hanging in the balance, she must risk her shot at history, her family, and her life to prevent the schemers from forcing their nefarious brand of salvation upon the solar system.
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What if you could live forever? Alternatively, would living forever truly make you happy? These are questions asked and answered in Peter S. Banks’ The Second Sphere. The first in a trilogy we find ourselves in a world where living for four hundred years is simple and human bodies are reduced to synthetic versions of what we have today. In our story we meet Orion; a man who has lived far longer than perhaps is acceptable for humankind. He’s got family but he hasn’t actually touched them in quite some time. He’s like a washed up business man or detective whiling away the years of his life at a job he doesn’t seem to care for. While he spends his free time caught up with illicit drugs and companions Orion is about to find out what it’s like when that seemingly peaceful life is ripped apart and thrust to hell.
No matter the genre, people are looking for ways to identify with it and make it more real. The fact that Banks tells his story in the first person allows readers to feel more connected to the protagonist. The technology in The Second Sphere is obviously advanced from our present lives but the time between now and then and the sort of technology written about isn’t too unrealistic. Just enough is explained and just enough is left for readers to accept as being normal.
Due to a spike in the population, since no one dies anymore, humanity has branched out to colonize both the moon and Mars. It is while attempting to live on the moon that Orion finds himself wrapped up in a battle against the terrorist organization known as the Green Revolution. There are bombs and there are conspiracies. As an agent working for the Laslow Corporation it’s Orion’s job to connect with his informants and find out exactly what is going on. The story picks up from here as the readers are left trying to unravel all the mysteries with Orion. When it comes down to it, however, will Orion be able to make one of the most agonizing choices humanity faces? Will he be able to partake of the plot to sacrifice the many to save the few? If that wasn’t bad enough, the plot twist that comes screaming through after Orion makes his choice is bound to leave some bitterness in the reader’s mouths.
As a first installment in a trilogy The Second Sphere is quite able to stand on it’s own. While the ending does leave readers asking questions, it would still be able to function alone with a retrospective demand on readers at the end. Peter S. Banks definitely delivers on exciting action and an uncannily accurate description of what life would be like if we were able to live forever. There must be an end for there to be a new beginning. If the human race never ends, how can anything new begin?
Pages: 248 | ASIN: B01DM9VH5W
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A sterilization syrum is being inserted into genetically modified super bulls, threatening to hurt the profits of the beef industry. Semi-retired, former Special Forces bad-ass Joe Garner is hired by a private security firm to track down the culprits, a cell of Islamic terrorists, and to take them out by whatever means necessary. Joe and his crew of ex-military tough guys track down the scientist who created the syrum, all the while getting in plenty of gunfights with Jihadists. In the end, they team up with a Russian General, with whom Joe has a history, and together, they take down the Imam, and restore the scientist to the cattle industry.
The 2016 Presidential election has made it very clear that there are two United States of America existing simultaneously: the coastal, liberal thinking, urban populous, and its white male dominated conservative counterpart. Taurus, Taurus, Taurus, a novel by Gordon Rayner, will appeal to the latter. It is chock full of espionage tech, a litany of government organizations bumbling through red tape towards a collective goal, descriptions of guns, and derogatory terms for people of Middle Eastern descent. America, fuck yeah!
Most of the book follows the protagonist, Joe Garner, a former special ops tough guy extraordinaire with too much integrity to toe the company line, who goes to work for a private black ops security company. (Bruce Willis could play him in the film). Joe’s got a bad leg, drinks a lot, and makes frequent mention of other men’s cowboy boots. Joe’s wife is also some kind of operative who goes on “spooky wooky missions,” though her character is for the most part left unexplored. In one of the least plot related, and kinkiest scenes in the book, Joe and his wife go to Jamaica, get “ganja” from the “tall black porter,” and then they end up back in the hotel room with his wife dabbing cannabis syrup on her nipples?! The sexy talk doesn’t stop there. There is a physical therapist who reads porno mags at his desk, and at some point the operatives are implanted with scrotum tracking chips.
Not surprisingly, this book is about sperm. In a meeting with a client, Joe discovers that a big beef conglomerate based in Houston is the top provider for cattle worldwide, and has developed a “dream sperm machine.” But, the plant where the super sperm was being developed has been blown sky high. Years later, a mysterious ransom note appears from the dream sperm’s creator, Dr. Gambil, who turns out is in cahoots with terrorists from Kyrgyzstan, setting the plot in motion.
Joe and his highly paid team of former special ops trained killer-cowboys travel around the globe chasing down the doctor and the Jihadists. From New Jersey to Argentina to Kyrgyzstan, Joe and his guys are always one step ahead of the Islamic Brigade, whose attempts to sterilize the super bulls continue to be halted by American bullets. They win every battle in overwhelming fashion.
In one section, Joe and his guys realize that since they are a private organization, the Geneva Convention can be disregarded. They discuss the best ways to torture an Islamic militant, including making him watch a pig get slaughtered and then covering him in its entrails, and having a naked woman attack him.
This book is for meat eating, red-blooded, cowboy boot wearing country boys. Fans of John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum will enjoy the way these all American heroes kick tons of ass.
Pages: 271 | ASIN: B01H8WPPNE
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Ian Page has written a book that will change the readers view of how the typical apocalypse novels play out. This is unlike anything I have read before. One key difference is the apocalypse is not triggered by zombies, or a nuclear war that leaves the planet desolate. Instead there is a sickness that strikes in what appears to be a random selection of people. It is taking over the world, people and animals. Another refreshing difference is the main characters are not your typical white Americans. The first two characters that you meet are women, Deeta Nakshband, a doctor that was born in India and whose family moved to the US, and Janelle Jefferson, also called JJ, a bodybuilding black women from Bridgeport Connecticut. Both women have military experience. This breaks from the traditional lead characters you find in novels and puts this book in it’s own category from the start. Another key difference in Sanctuary is Ian Page’s ability to write like you are living with the characters. Most books focus on the action and fast track the reader though one action scene to the next throwing in some personal information in-between, sometimes feeling awkward or like you are looking back in time. Page brings the characters to life through their interactions with each other in the mundane day to day activities. Things like making a cup of tea, eating dinner, or working out are all part of the daily interactions that make the characters come to life. You really get to know them as they live and not just a quick bio to push the plot along. This personalization of the characters is what draws the reader in and keeps them turning the page to see how they all interact. I kept wondering, who will make it through this alive.
Some of the other characters in the book are Gary, who is a Buddist monk, adventure climber, and skilled fighter, the couple of Wesley and Hakura, that bring their own set of servile skills to the group, and various other doctors and family members. The world is coming apart all over. There is another world war brewing and hate crimes are skyrocketing. Reminiscent of the internment camps that were created in WWII for the Japanese citizens, Muslims are being rounded up as terrorists and detained for questioning. Deeta’s family tries to hold together despite many losses and terrifying close calls. She realized she needs to get her family and friends to a safe place. All the preparations that her collection of friends have been making are put into action and they set out for what is called the Sanctuary.
Santuary is a realistic contemporary story that plays off many of society’s current fears. Page talks about the conflict between North and South Korea, the conflict in Muslim countries, the fear and hate that infects society all through the world. All these modern and current issues are played out this this complex novel. The underlying message I feel though is that there are still good people out there that want to help others and are willing to do what is needed to keep society from falling into total despair.
If you are interested in modern timelines and current events this is a great novel. It is gruesome in its details at times. The murder scenes are vivid and plentiful. It’s an interesting look into the human mind and how people handle the stress and complex situations that the mass sickness brings out. Ian Page gives readers a glimpse into what humans are capable of, both good and bad. Sanctuary ends in a way that leaves room for a sequel and there is more than enough action left to happen, and many questions left unanswered as the book draws to a close.
Pages: 540 | ISBN: 192504792X
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