Tag Archives: invasion

Something Wicked: The Astral Conspiracy Series

Your Story Empire authors are on tour this week. It’s my great pleasure to host Staci Troilo today, but she’s incognito. This series is published under one of her pen names. Make her feel welcome, and share this on your social media if you can. I’ve read this one and think it’s awesome.

Thanks for welcoming me here today, Craig.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! For the last two days in the Story Empire Something Wicked tour, I discussed some of the ancient lore woven into my Astral Conspiracy series (specifically the first book, The Gate).

Today, I’m going in the other direction.

My series is a combination of ancient history and futuristic tech. It’s time to delve into the futuristic tech part.

Science fiction can be a fascinating genre, with story worlds as rich and complex as the fantasy genre. But instead of magical realms filled with dragons, elves, and ogres, we’re looking at medical, communication, and transportation advancements.

A Typical Unwatering

Photo Attribution: Phylyp [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D

There’s a trick to writing sci-fi tech that fantasy writers don’t necessarily need to concern themselves with, though. And that’s believability. To an extent. Let me explain.

In every novel (set in “real life” or not), readers have certain expectations about what the world is like. Obviously, the real life stuff is easy enough to deal with—research the time period or, if it’s contemporary, design the story-world to be like what you encounter every day. Fantasy worlds are limited only by their imaginations. If they want something to be a certain way, they only have to attribute it to magic. (Most fantasy fiction has an element of magic in it.) It’s a little different for sci-fi.

Science fiction has “science” right in its name. That means the author has to rely on scientific principles, or the readers won’t buy into the story. Those principles can be pushed well beyond our current bounds, but everything has to be rooted in science fact.

Take, for example, worm holes (a favorite subject of mine, and if you’re interested, you can read more here). Einstein proved worm holes are theoretically plausible. Do we have the technology to use them now? Not even close. But they’re a possibility authors can use in science fiction because the theory is rooted in proven fact.

In the Invasion Universe, a lot of scientific technology is introduced. Some things, like self-driving cars and holographic entertainment, are easy for readers to accept. We’re on the cusp of those technologies becoming commonplace, anyway. Other things (like intergalactic space travel and medical mesh that heals injuries) are barely on our radar.

So, how do writers get away with these advancements?

Simple. It’s a matter of introduction.

Things that take a lot more explanation and suspension of reader belief are better introduced as alien technology instead of human invention. That way, readers aren’t bogged down with trying to understand something that isn’t logically explicable. (It’s kind of the scientific version of the magical workaround fantasy authors can use.)

It doesn’t have to be that way. But it helps. It’s a solution I relied on to make things more acceptable to my readers.

How a sci-fi author handles writing about advanced tech will inevitably vary. The most important thing is to not get lost in techno-babble. Readers don’t want or need a four-page description of how something functions. Fiction is an immersive experience. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. You want to experience this world just as you experience our reality. In real life, you don’t get a dissertation anytime you use technology. You turn on your television and expect to watch a show. You aren’t told how that happens (and thank God for that); you just trust that it will.

That’s the most organic way to introduce technological advancements in fiction. The characters live with it, so they know what it does and don’t over-think it (or maybe don’t think about it at all). And if the characters come across alien tech, they would discuss it in their own terms. They might marvel at what it does, but they won’t take it apart to learn how it works.

Save that kind of writing for instruction manuals.

There is a lot of advanced technology in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. I think I introduced these advancements in a believable and organic way. If you’re interested in seeing how I handled it, I encourage you to read the book.


The Gate

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

***

That’s some awesome advice that goes beyond science fiction. Thanks for that Staci. We’re all on tour today, and we’d appreciate you finding us and checking out our posts. I’m over at Staci’s today, by pure coincidence of the schedule, if you really miss me.

Connect with Staci online:

Website | Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads | Social Media

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Science Fiction: The Gate

Staci Troilo is one of my closest author friends. She’s got something new for all of us under her pen-name of D. L. Cross. Let’s make her feel welcome and share this around today.

“No Idea” Excerpt from New Sci-Fi Novel: THE GATE

Thanks for inviting me here today. I’m excited to share an excerpt from The Gate, Book 1 of the Astral Conspiracy series in the Invasion Universe. 

Excerpt:

“You do realize I’ve never done this before. I have no idea what’ll happen up there.”

“You better hope it’s what I want to happen. Or you won’t be coming back down.”

Landon gulped, no longer certain he’d made the right choice to stay on Lorena’s behalf. So far, the mercs had been more or less gentlemanly toward her. She’d probably walk out of this ordeal alive. 

The same couldn’t be said about him.

They followed a path around the mountainside, but in the opposite direction of the gate. The trail started at a gentle rise but grew steeper as they ascended. About an hour into their trek, Lorena stopped at the entrance to a cave. 

A chill of foreboding skittered up Landon’s spine. The side of the mountain wasn’t carved, but damn if it didn’t look like it had been — into the shape of a face. It took no imagination to see large eyes, pointed cheekbones, and a thin nose above a gaping maw. Not just any mouth. 

The cave mouth.

A hell mouth.

Smoke trailed from the opening, the beast belching odoriferous brimstone from the bowels of perdition.

Landon’s muscles tensed, primed to run.

Wolf’s beefy fingers pressed into his flesh, bruising his shoulder. “Uh-uh, Professor. You’re not going anywhere. This was your idea, remember?”

Lorena yelled something that was carried away on the wind. Before Landon, or anyone else, could ask for clarification, shadows swelled in the opening of the cave. Despite the chill at that elevation, flop sweat formed on his brow and dripped down his face. He swiped at the salty perspiration stinging his eyes, then he squinted into the cave mouth. The shadow got darker, longer …

Then a man stepped onto the plateau.

Lorena approached him. They placed their hands on each other’s shoulders and bowed slightly until their foreheads touched. After a brief pause, they separated. Then she turned toward the group. “This is Eduardo, my grandfather. He is the shaman who will guide us on our spiritual journey. He bids us welcome.” 

“Grandfather?” Wolf muttered. “Feels like we’re being taken advantage of.”

“How?” Landon asked.

“I’m sure we’ll see soon enough.”

Tex ignored them, talking over their discussion and approaching Lorena. “You speak English?” 

“Obviously.”

“Why didn’t you say so?”

“Why didn’t you ask?” She smiled then gestured as an invitation for them to enter.

Tex led the group toward the cave mouth.

“Welcome,” Eduardo said. “Allow me to introduce you to Mother Ayahuasca.”

Blurb:

He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.

Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.

Until an alien armada targets Earth.

Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.

They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

Universal Purchase Link | More Information | Invasion Universe Newsletter

Bio:

D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.

 

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Incursion, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey there all you space marines, special ops, and saboteurs. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you the characters from the books you love.

I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Irene Sol Vianini. “Welcome to the show, Irene.”

“Thanks for having me. So many interesting people have been here before. It’s a true honor to be one of them now.”

“Your story is a bit different than many people we get on the show. To set the stage a bit, aliens are about to invade Earth. A special unit is assembled to wreak havoc upon them, prior to them reaching the outer Earth colonies. You are part of this special unit. What can you tell us about that.”

“I’m a scientist on the factory ship Lapland. Our part of the mission is to build any parts the marines and fighter arms might need, and also to do any quick development. Let me give you an example of why a factory ship needs scientists and not just engineers: let’s say the marines are seeing action on some surface where the conditions are bad for their suits. The science arm might get called on to create a mono-molecular coating to protect them. We can then put that formula into the nano-factories and presto, one less thing for the troops to worry about.

“Let’s cut the crap here. You are part of a radical group of pacifists. Mission Specialist might be your cover, but what is your actual mission?”

What? I can’t believe… I see someone’s been talking out of turn. All right, if that’s the way you want to play this, then yeah, let’s discuss it. Sure, I’m trying to stop this mission. It’s just another case where humans are aggressors. We’ve been killing each other for millennia, so why are we going to stop now that we have someone else to be unpleasant to? I see this radio panders to the militaristic side of things – even your intro talks to marines, specialists and saboteurs… tell me something: can you be any more jingoistic?”

“Nice try, but the question was about your actual mission.”

“Look. I know you have to sell advertising space, so the truth isn’t what you want on this show, but let’s be honest. Anyone with more than a few brain cells to spare knows that this is all our fault, and if we stop listening to the arms manufacturers who are making trillions out of this war, the aliens – if they even exist – will just go back o their lives and leave us alone.”

“I understand your point of view, but you have to be absolutely correct. You’re risking the lives of millions of people upon a theory. Aliens are headed toward Earth, and they have some huge assed weapons with them. Certainly, you can’t ignore that.”

“Of course they have big-ass weapons. What would you do if you came into contact with a species as destructive as ours?”

“Okay, the direct question isn’t working here. How about this one? What are you going to do to make sure the space marines and others don’t prolong this war?”

“I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve. A few other sane people have managed to sabotage he launch of this mission. They’ve messed with the navigation systems to ensure that the task force won’t end up anywhere near where they think they should be. They’ll end up in a system that looks similar enough to pass muster but is actually really far away from the fighting. My job is to keep them in the dark for as long as possible so they don’t even try to turn around and do something about it until it’s much too late.”

“Okay, so a team of zealots on a suicide mission are infiltrated by a different zealot with an opposing mission, but all during this time there are aliens approaching Earth, bent on destruction and packing enough firepower to get the job done. Makes my processors heat up. Does that sound about right?”

“No. You’re like so many others. You’re looking at the details, the crap in the news. You have to look at the bigger picture here. If we don’t stop this vicious circle once and for all, humanity will be locked in this disaster forever. A few thousand marines, or a million human lives are a small price to pay to finally save the race. My own life is such a tiny thing. To die knowing I made such a huge difference would be worth it.”

“So you know that you’re on a suicide mission too. If your group gets destroyed, you will too. How do you plan for something like that? Did you write a Will, or did you leave more of a Manifesto?”

“A manifesto? I’ll leave a legacy much greater than that. I’ll have saved us from ourselves. And if a few thousand marines get killed for it, or a couple of colonies that shouldn’t even exist get wasted, well, then tough luck. Screw this. Why do I even bother talking to you people? I know who’s paying your bills. The same people getting paid to build more weapons and fighter ships. I sincerely hope you’re among the casualties. Go to hell.”

“Sorry about that everyone. Apparently Irene killed the connection. We have young people in uniform going into harms way. They’ve been infiltrated from the inside by a third faction. I wish I had more for you, but you will have to read the book Incursion, by Gustavo Bondoni to find out what happens. I’ll post all the deets on the website.

I encourage everyone to use those sharing button at the end of this post. I can’t speak for Irene, but Gustavo is pretty cool and he’d do it for you when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.

***

It was supposed to be a desperate suicide mission, a holding action designed to delay a deadly enemy bent on destroying humanity: five starships sent to their doom, thousands of men and women knowingly laying down their lives to buy time for the besieged human race. And then things got really hairy. Tristan, a highly trained shock marine, wakes up after the trip to find that nothing works: not his equipment, not his ship, not even his body… He joins the race against time to bring their equipment back up to fighting trim and begin to understand what has happened to them and to unravel the layers of confusion and betrayal. But the enemy waiting for them doesn’t care about any of that. They just want to destroy the human incursion as quickly as possible.

Pick up your copy of Incursion

Bio: Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist and short story writer who writes primarily in English. He has recently released three science fiction novels: Incursion (2017), Siege (2016) and Outside (2017)  His latest book is a comic fantasy novel entitled The Malakiad.  He has over two hundred short stories published in fourteen countries.  They have been translated into seven languages.  Many of the stories are collected in Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011). The Curse of El Bastardo  (2010) is a short fantasy novel.

His website is at www.gustavobondoni.com.

Twitter:  @gbondoni

Website:  www.gustavobondoni.com

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Gustavo-Bondoni/e/B004FRVMO2/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

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Let’s all speculate a bit

Last night was a pretty rare celestial occurrence. I watched the eclipse from my Idaho driveway last night, and thought it was wonderful. I’ll spare you my pitiful iPhone photo, because others have posted some wonderful images online.

Events like that get my creative juices flowing. This was not only a full moon, it was a super-moon. Add into that the designation blood moon, and that is enough for most people to be pretty rare. This was also a total eclipse. There are frequent eclipses, but they are partial eclipses.

I’m more likely to avoid such an occurrence in my fiction. It’s just so rare as to be unbelievable. It’s also likely to be glommed onto by half the speculative authors out there. It has that special snowflake thing going for it in my mind.

Still, it’s a hot topic right now. So here’s how I might speculate about it. I always start off asking questions, the most prevalent one being “what if.” Note that many times the first few aren’t all that great.

What if it disappears and never comes back?

The moon influences the tides. What if all the special circumstances gave it an influence on other liquids, like magma?

It was called a blood moon. What if the tidal influences were felt upon our very blood. What would happen?

Geologists tell us the Earth has reversed polarity multiple times. Could this gravitational pull cause that to happen? What would happen if it did?

Perfect night for werewolves. Could the eclipse screw them all up? Maybe they line up and dance the Time Warp.

There certainly has to be an arcane ritual that takes advantage of the situation.

What if the shadow on the moon looked more angular and geometric than Earth’s shadow? The cloaking device worked perfectly for the invasion fleet, but the shadow gave them away.

Some ancients believed a monster swallowed the moon during an eclipse. What if it were true?

What if it were a solar eclipse? With the sun behind the moon, it revealed an image like candling a giant space egg. What if during the lunar eclipse, astronauts saw something similar inside Earth?

Maybe the fact that everything lined up caused what we used to call a radio skip. A spy agency gets wind of some pending terrorist action. Maybe alien messages are intercepted.

What if they predicted the eclipse and it didn’t happen? Something changed celestially. What is it?

To be honest, this doesn’t trip my trigger as a speculative element. I’m much more interested in the idea of flowing water on Mars. I enjoyed it immensely, but that’s the limit of where I’m going with it.

I think this particular eclipse is going to find its way into a lot of fiction. My only suggestion is not to take the easy way out with it. It screams druids, witches, lycanthropes, and demons. Maybe that isn’t the best way to incorporate it into a story. There will be a lot of competition in this arena too.

What do you folks think? Is this the speculative element of your dreams, or are you inclined to pass it over?

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