Genesis: Vision of the New World – D. Ellis Overttun @neoverttun, author from The Terra Nova Series, A #GuestPost

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

blog-guest post

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but I’m sharing a guest post written by D. Ellis Overttun, author of The Terra Nova Series to promote the second book ‘Genesis: Vision of the New World’.
Before I let you read it, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

Synopsis :

Title: Genesis: Vision of the New World (Terra Nova book 2)
Date published: 13th August 2018
Genre: Sci-fi

A light streaking across the predawn sky, an explosion and an impending menace from above, seemingly unrelated events but connected to space time distortions predicted by an obscure scientific paper over 250 years ago. That same paper has predicted an end to the universe.
Has the unthinkable become a reality?
The ruling class Celesti see the danger as real and imminent since planet Arkos could become compromised in as little as 1,000 years. To them, that is one lifetime. That same timeframe is ten lifetimes to the servile class Gendu. To them, the threat does not even exist.
There are those within the Celesti who see the Gendu as a more immediate threat. Their solution is to genetically engineer a more pliant servant class and leave Arkos for an unknown planet. Is that even possible?
But will it even matter? The leaders of the Celesti, the Transcended, know a terrible secret: The Celesti are dying.
Against this backdrop of extinction lies the politics of power. A new leader has just assumed her role as the head of the Gendu Houses. However, she is an outsider. Will she be accepted or will she be cast out as an interloper?
Also, the leader of the most powerful religious organization on the planet is missing and presumed dead. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone bold enough to seize the moment. Who will fill this void? Someone with a hunger for influence and privilege? Or someone with a calling for higher purpose?
Finally, there is a prophecy from the Codices of Taru which foretells of a time of darkness when the “head will be cleaved from the body” that will announce the coming of the “Deceiver”. Ancient superstition or a vision of the future?
Genesis: Vision of the New World tells this story in vivid detail, an evolution of the narrative begun in Universe: Awakening. As part of this journey, it takes a fascinating look into the world of the Gendu and introduces readers to a host of new characters and relationships. It is a potpourri of science, political intrigue and discovery driven by characters with selfish and selfless motives.

Amazon

20190330 Genesis - Cover (400 DPI).jpg

Guest Post :

Our story takes place on a planet called “Arkos”. It is inhabited by two peoples. The Celesti are the ruling class minority, and the Gendu are the servile class that comprise the vast majority of the population. The Gendu are governed by 12 houses, each said to be descended from the 12 children of the Great Father.

As the chapter opens, there has been a recent passing of Sodai Charif Darius, the Leader of the Houses. There is uncertainty surrounding the normal transition of power because Darius has chosen Kallista the Seer, someone not of House Artaxiad or any house, to succeed him rather than his grandson, Ra’id. Kallista reluctantly agreed to assume this role in order to groom Ra’id for the blood sport that is Gendu politics. But it is not so simple because one not yet ready to be a sodai charif would also not be ready to be a charif of his own house.

As an outsider, she understands that it will take all of her efforts to hold on to what has been bequeathed to her. At the same time, she cannot leave Darius’ grandson to the internecine intrigues of House Artaxiad. In either case, it is a matter of life and death. Save herself or save Ra’id? To attempt both would be to fail at both. She would appear to be faced with mutually exclusive alternatives. Or is she? To find out, please read Genesis: Vision of the New World, Chapter 10 – “Journey to the Sugar House”.

* * * * *

It was early afternoon, and Kallista sat at her desk in deep contemplation. Ra’id had left the Ministry for the Temple, and her quarters were being readied for occupancy. With the signet of her office now in her possession and pledges from her staff, she had successfully taken the first steps in securing her position as Minister. However, her situation was far from secure. Many of her aides had only given her perfunctory acceptance. She had their words but not their hearts. The rest of her staff, including Rith and Tamar, were another matter. From the morning’s inspections, she knew they were loyal. However, it might prove troublesome. They were all from House Artaxiad. How would that look to the Hagdola?

Then, there was Ra’id. He needed guidance. Clearly her choice of Rith as a temporary advisor was a mistake. His talents and predispositions were making things work that were already in place. He was an operator, not a builder. No, this would not do. However, none of her aides were appropriate either. All of them had stronger personalities than the reluctant Charif. In addition, while Ra’id would have been content to remain an aide, they were another matter. Most had good intentions, but she had learned that good intent is often compromised by ambition. She would have to deal with this next. She felt an obligation to Darius to watch over his grandson. On a more practical note, she would have a more difficult time in the Hagdola if House Artaxiad fell into turmoil. Ra’id needed a senior aide who was capable but untainted by ambition. That could potentially eliminate siblings, relatives or those with close family ties.

Did such a person even exist?

“Computer, access all background information pertaining to Charif Ra’id.”

“Acces granted.”

Ra’id would have undergone the standard, formal education common to all houses. The first seven years, known as the “common period”, would have included the children of nonfamily members whose parents were in service of the House. It was a policy designed to establish loyalty among the servant class.

“Display visual records for Charif Ra’id during the common period.”

A large holographic screen appeared before her filled with dots arranged neatly in rows and columns. Each one represented one still picture or video recording.

“There must be thousands,” she observed. “Filter records to include only those where a nonfamily member is the focal point along with Charif Ra’id.”

The screen shrunk in size.

“Still too big,” she thought.

“Filter these records to include only those where the nonfamily member is of similar age to Charif Ra’id.”

“Clarify age range.”

“Within the common period.”

The screen maintained its size, but the number of records were significantly reduced and had increased in dimension to fit the screen. The resolution was clear enough to just be able to make out the outlines of people.

“How many different nonfamily members are there?”

“Seven.”

“Enlarge and display these nonfamily members in decreasing order of frequency, indicating frequency of occurrence.”

The screen cleared. Then, the pictures of seven children were displayed.

“There you are.”

* * * * *

“I would advise against this,” said Rith.

“As would I,” added Tamar.

“Then, it is fortunate for me that I have not asked for counsel from either of you,” Kallista replied.

“Venturing out in this manner is far too dangerous,” Rith noted.

“Rith, who knows that I am Minister?”

“Well at present, only your staff and a small group within each of the houses, the ministers on the Governing Council and their staffs.”

“Precisely. There will be no official announcement until after the funeral.”

“While that may be,” Tamar argued, “the information is not secret and is bound to leak out.”

“Then, I should move quickly,” she replied, as she walked purposefully to the office foyer.

Rith and Tamar quickly followed.

Then, Tamar moved in front of her and blocked the doors that led to the corridor. “Minister, I cannot allow you to leave.”

“Tamar, it would displease me to see you in a cell,” she said to him, with a twinkle in her eye. “Remember Kenric?”

“Very well,” Tamar grumbled, “but at least, let me get some more men.”

“That will draw unnecessary attention to us. It’s bad enough that you look like a bodyguard, even in civilian clothing,” she said, as the doors opened.

Kallista and Tamar disappeared down the corridor leaving Rith behind shaking his head in disbelief. They made their way to the main doors of the ziggurat.

Just before they exited, Kallista, wearing a dark‑tan traveling cloak, put her hood up.  “Remember, Tamar. I am Kallista the Seer.”

“Yes, M…Kallista.”

“And there will be no name‑calling, regardless of what happens. I do not wish to have a repeat of what happened earlier today.”

“Yes, Kallista.”

Once on the walkway in front of the Ministry, Tamar flagged down one of the many electric vehicles that could be commandeered for site‑to‑site transport.

“Destination?” the driver asked.

“Port of Eden Detention Center West,” Tamar replied.

“The Sugar House? What are fine people like you doing going to a place like that?”

The Sugar House derived its name from an area where sugar, molasses and a popular alcoholic beverage distilled from sugar known as “melikaf” were once stored. Much later, when the detention center was constructed, the old name was retained by the locals. The West Docks was not only the part of the Port of Eden that serviced the Gendu population. It was also the center for illicit waterborne trade along the River Danu and the focal point for the cast of characters who participated in such activities. The Sugar House was populated with some of the most dangerous criminals on the planet.

“I’m going to visit my brother,” Tamar said gruffly.

“Oh…what’s he in for?” the driver asked a little nervously.

“He is being held for murdering a driver who asked too many questions.”

Kallista gave Tamar a look.

“There was no name‑calling,” he said matter-of-factly.

The journey proceeded in silence.

* * * * *

“We are here to see Colwyn, son of Mazur,” Tamar said to a clerk, at the front desk of the jail.

“Visiting hours are over for the day.”

“I would ask you to make an exception,” Kallista said. She reached into her cloak and pulled out a 50‑akuro note.

The clerk’s eyes widened as it slid discreetly across the counter. His hand slowly moved to retrieve his prize.

“We will also require one of the interrogation rooms,” she said assertively, as her fingers pressed down on the note, halting its progress.

“I’ll see what I can do,” the clerk replied, with a nervous smile. He left his post but returned a short time later. “I’m good with it, but my supervisor has some concerns.”

“I would speak with him. I am sure we can work something out.”

“Down there,” the clerk said, pointing to a solid metal door.

The area around the information desk had seen better days, but that did not compare to the setting beyond the door. Their eyes had to adjust as the lighting grew dimmer. Their footsteps crunched as though they were walking on small pebbles. The walls were covered in black mold, and insects and rodents scurried about. The moist air reeked of body odor and was filled with the muffled sounds of angry screaming. Just beyond the door, they were met by an unkempt‑looking, older man who looked as though he could have been one of the prisoners under his charge.

“Are you the supervisor with concerns?” Kallista asked.

“Yeah,” he replied gruffly.

“Will this assuage them?” she asked, holding out a 100-akuro note.

“Yes,” he said, with a smile.

He led them to a dimly lit room and told them to wait. The only furniture that occupied this drab space was a table and four chairs. A short time later, the door opened, and a young man was thrown in. His hands were bound behind his back, but he nevertheless rose to his feet just as the door slammed shut.

“COWARDS! FILTHY PIGS!” he screamed, as he hurled himself against the door. He very quickly sensed two silent figures standing in the shadows in the far corner of the room. He turned to face them, ready for a confrontation.

“Colwyn, son of Mazur?” Kallista asked.

“Who wants to know?” he snapped back.

Colwyn reminded Kallista of a young Darius. He had the same chiseled features as many Gendu males, but it was his eyes that drew her comparison, eyes that never wavered from hers.

“I am Kallista the Seer,” she said, removing her hood.

“Kallista the Seer? Of course, Kallista the Seer,” he replied sarcastically. “Pleased to meet you. I am Taru. You know Taru…the Creator.”

“You cannot be.”

“Yeah?! Why not?!”

“Because in all the images I have seen of Taru, his hands are not bound behind his back.”

“Well, you got me there,” he smiled. “Now, who are you really?”

Normally in these situations, Praana would have descended on him, and he would have been able to see the truth of Kallista’s assertion. However, this time was to be different. Kallista wanted him to arrive at any conclusions unassisted.

“As I said, I am Kallista the Seer.”

Ok, Kallista the Seer,” he again replied sarcastically. “What do you want?”

“I have an order from the Minister authorizing your release. Someone in House Artaxiad requires your service once again.”

Hah! Darius would not need to send a woman, especially Kallista the Seer, to this shithole to have me released. All he would need is a runner.”

“Listen, stupid,” Tamar said, “hear what she has to say. It’s not like you have anything better to do.”

Kallista gave Tamar a look.

“There was no name‑calling,” he said matter-of-factly. “I only pointed out his lack of common sense in this situation.”

“Well, Darius wouldn’t need someone like me,” Colwyn concluded, “Who then?”

“Ra’id.”

“Iddy? Of course, why didn’t I think of that? How is Iddy?”

“He is in trouble and needs your help.”

Colwyn was taken aback. His sarcasm, an indication of his disbelief, left him. “He has grown to manhood. Next in line for charif and minister. He would not need me. He has not needed me…”

“Since the common period.”

“Yes,” he replied, a genuine smile coming across his face.

“He was of normal size but lacked the aggressiveness of the other boys.”

“Yes.”

“So, you protected him.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because…he did not look down on me.”

“You were gifted. One of only a handful of the servant class to ever be educated beyond the common period. With some urgings in the right places from your friend and your father, you were even accepted to be trained as alessos. But you are not alessos.”

“No,” he said sadly.

“Why?”

“In my youth, I was arrogant. Strong in mind and body but lacking experience. I was alone, easily baited.”

“You have been purged of this flaw I take it.”

“Yes,” he replied, with certainty.

“The records show you were expelled for fighting. So, what better place to come than the Docks? I understand that underground fights are alive and well.”

“Yes.”

“But illegal and so we find you here.”

“You spoke of trouble.”

“Yes, those boys have grown.”

* * * * *

Normally, I would go into the background and commentary of a post. I will only mention that the Sugar House is a place I nicked from the sugar house prisons in New York during the American Revolutionary War. What I really want to do is turn the commentary over to my wife, Natasha. For those of you who have been following my guest posts, her visuals always feature somewhere. That “where” is here. So, without further ado…

Thank you, David, and hello all. The inspiration for this visual came to me as I scanned the table of contents of Genesis. In this case, “Journey to the Sugar House” caught my eye. As I reread the chapter, I was struck by the difference between the office and the prison environment. On one side was civilization, on the other barbarism. The imagery of a blackhole came to mind with the event horizon being a metaphor for that metal door. The woman represents Kallista looking sadly on as a faceless Colwyn desperately struggles to maintain his humanity. I want the viewer to ask: Does Colwyn cross the event horizon and fall into the blackness or can there be hope in this despair?

20190330 Universe (2nd ed) - Cover (300 x 480 72 DPI)
Despair? | Natasha Evelyn Overttun

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Genesis: Vision of the New World – Excerpts and Commentary:
Themes in Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on The Book Hole
Chapter 2 – “Person of Interest” posted on My Bookish Bliss
Chapter 45 – “Tok and Maag” posted on Hair Past A Freckle
Chapter 55 – “Memories of Origin” posted on B for Bookreview
Chapter 65 – “Proof of Concept” posted on Don Jimmy Reviews

Series Overview:
Author Q&A posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Author Q&A posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Author Q&A posted on The Book Hole
Author Q&A posted on From Belgium With Book Love
Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on On The Shelf Reviews
Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series posted on beforewegoblog
Indies of Christmas posted on The Reading Closet

Universe: Awakening – Excerpts and Commentary:
Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
“Prologue” posted on Simply Phil’s Blog
Chapter 1 – “In the Darkness” posted on beforewegoblog
Chapter 2 – “Beyond a Program” posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Chapter 6 – “Confessions” posted on Read Yourself Happy
Chapter 8 – “In the Darkness” posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
Chapter 46 – “Tsai and Citrus” posted on Herding Cats
Chapter 60 – “The Awakening” posted on The Reading Chemist
Chapter 66 – “The Second Way” posted on The Tattooed Book Geek
Chapter 83 – “The Dream” posted on Reads & Reels
Chapter 85 – “Heron of Edenoud” posted on On The Shelf Reviews

For a deeper dive:
Universe:  Awakening 
Genesis:  Vision of the New World

image

#GuestPost by D. Ellis Overttun @neoverttun, author from The Terra Nova Series ‘Universe: Awakening’ and ‘Genesis: Vision of the New World’

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

blog-guest post

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but I’m sharing a guest post written by D. Ellis Overttun, author of The Terra Nova Series ‘Universe: Awakening’ and ‘Genesis: Vision of the New World’, to promote his books.
Before I let you read it, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

Synopsis :

Title: Universe: Awakening
Date Published: 7th October 2018
Genre: Science Fiction

The year — 526,780. A probe is deployed from ISV Intrepid at the outer edge of the universe. It is the last of a complement of twelve that is part of the Deep Exploration of Uncharted Space or DEUS. Its mission: collect data on the redshift of light and spatial distortions. Time horizon: 1,000 years.
Before ISV Intrepid can return to base, something goes wrong. There is an accident. The ship is later salvaged but its pilot is missing, its copilot in a coma.
The probes collect their data with uneventful regularity.
Fast-forward to 526,880. A sole-surviving probe still sits in the darkness at the outer edge of the universe. Now, unseen to the naked eye, the space around the probe begins to stretch and distend. Then, the probe disappears, engulfed by an energy of unknown origin and unknown composition. However, it manages to transmit one final message.
CD3C has monitored the disappearance of each probe over the last three years. While the interpretation of the data remains a mystery, speculation is that something has invaded the universe and is moving a superluminal velocity. Its effects could be manifested in as little as the next thousand years. To the Celesti, this is one lifetime.
What can be done?
The one person who might be able to solve this problem is the copilot of ISV Intrepid. He has been lying in stasis suffering from mental trauma. He has been this way for the past century, the longest recorded case in medical history. His unchanging condition has been a convenient solution to stall any inquiry into the accident that put him there.
This threat changes everything. Now, he is needed.
Is it possible to unlock his mind?
The task falls to Auberon, a career nobody inhabiting the lower level of the hierarchy of the Ministry of Science. Can something be awakened in him to allow someone ordinary do something extraordinary?
Universe: Awakening answers this question. In the process, it explores the world of the Celesti, a highly evolved humanoid species with advanced technology, physiology and a unique way of procreation. It blends science and political intrigue to reveal the interplay of storyline and character development that forms the staging ground for the Terra Nova Series.

Amazon

20190330 Universe (2nd ed) - Cover (500 DPI)

Title: Genesis: Vision of the New World (Terra Nova book 2)
Date published: 13th August 2018
Genre: Sci-fi

A light streaking across the predawn sky, an explosion and an impending menace from above, seemingly unrelated events but connected to space time distortions predicted by an obscure scientific paper over 250 years ago. That same paper has predicted an end to the universe.
Has the unthinkable become a reality?
The ruling class Celesti see the danger as real and imminent since planet Arkos could become compromised in as little as 1,000 years. To them, that is one lifetime. That same timeframe is ten lifetimes to the servile class Gendu. To them, the threat does not even exist.
There are those within the Celesti who see the Gendu as a more immediate threat. Their solution is to genetically engineer a more pliant servant class and leave Arkos for an unknown planet. Is that even possible?
But will it even matter? The leaders of the Celesti, the Transcended, know a terrible secret: The Celesti are dying.
Against this backdrop of extinction lies the politics of power. A new leader has just assumed her role as the head of the Gendu Houses. However, she is an outsider. Will she be accepted or will she be cast out as an interloper?
Also, the leader of the most powerful religious organization on the planet is missing and presumed dead. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone bold enough to seize the moment. Who will fill this void? Someone with a hunger for influence and privilege? Or someone with a calling for higher purpose?
Finally, there is a prophecy from the “Codices of Taru” which foretells of a time of darkness when the “head will be cleaved from the body” that will announce the coming of the “Deceiver”. Ancient superstition or a vision of the future?
“Genesis: Vision of the New World” tells this story in vivid detail, an evolution of the narrative begun in “Universe: Awakening”. As part of this journey, it takes a fascinating look into the world of the Gendu and introduces readers to a host of new characters and relationships. It is a potpourri of science, political intrigue and discovery driven by characters with selfish and selfless motives.

Amazon

20190330 Genesis - Cover (400 DPI).jpg

Guest Post :

In the previous chapter, we were introduced to two computers. Sofia is a highly intelligent operating system that controls an interstellar craft collecting data in deep space. Guardian 9 or G9 is an android that is integral to this process. How is it that these two have come to be here at this particular place at this particular time? Read on dear reader, read on — Universe:  Awakening, Chapter 2 – “Beyond a Program”.

My wife, Natasha’s, rendering of these two is so cool. It was inspired by a quote from one of our favorite characters from one of our favorite movies:  “Look eye, always look eye.”

x

Here’s a teaser. From Natasha’s pic, it is easy to guess the depiction on the left is Sofia and the one on the right is G9. Why is G9’s eye blue‑within‑blue? Did she nick the spice melange effect?

* * * * *

The Deep Exploration of Uncharted Space Program or DEUS was an initiative of the department of astrophysics of the Ministry of Science to collect data from the outer reaches of the universe. It comprised a complement of twelve probes launched 100 years ago designed to collect data close to the edge of the known universe. It employed a revolutionary propulsion system that boasted almost instantaneous transportation anywhere, a more than quantum leap over conventional warp-drive technology.

While faster-than-light travel or FTL had existed for many millennia, manned space exploration had been restricted to short time durations. It was not for lack of enthusiasm. Of that, there was plenty. Rather, it was because of gravity (or the lack of it). The rotation of an interstellar vehicle, the ISV, or parts of it was the only known way to simulate the effects of gravity. The typical configuration was akin to a wheel and axle with the ISV acting as a stationary axle driving a ring attached to it by spokes. Given the relationship between circumference and speed of rotation, smaller rings required faster rotations to reproduce the same gravitational effect. Fast-spinning simulations had been shown to be impractical and dangerous. Slow-spinning simulations were safe but the size of the rings proved to be too large to be practical. In the end, there was no viable trade-off between rotational speed and the size of the ring.

Prolonged weightlessness resulted in detrimental effects to many of the body’s internal systems and a loss of bone density and muscle mass. There was also adverse psychological stress from extended confinement of crews in close quarters. For these reasons, the exploration of space had long been conducted through FTL probes. Once exploration ventured beyond the solar system, the vast distance became a limiting factor and it became impractical to communicate instructions from ground control. This spawned a new generation of artificially intelligent probes or AIPs that could independently detect, assess and respond to situations in real-time. However, it was discovered that AIPs were prone to malfunction due to what could only be described as boredom. As a result, digital libraries of arts, literature, history and the like were added and AIPs were allowed and encouraged to submit their observations and assessments in addition to the raw collection of data.

DEUS was the most ambitious undertaking to date with a timeline of 1,000 years, a more than tenfold increase over the longest recorded mission. It was an evolutionary and, its proponents claimed, revolutionary step forward in AIPs. It was originally rejected by the Minister of Science on the grounds that the benefits did not outweigh the commitment of resources. However, it was subsequently submitted directly to the twelve-member Governing Council. It was bitterly argued but eventually approved. A deadlocked vote was broken by the casting vote of the First Minister, the same Minister of Science. It was an unprecedented reversal. As a way of healing bruised egos, the approval was modified to increase the number of probes from ten in the original proposal to twelve and each probe was designated with the name of a Governing Council member and visibly marked with the colors and insignia of each ministry.

During the early years of the mission, Sofia and G9 did not interact very much save as it pertained to the maintenance schedule. While both systems had sufficient memory and processing power to almost instantly access, store and analyze all the information contained in the digital libraries, they were both installed with a governor to slow their access capability so that the contents of the libraries would last for the duration of the mission.

G9 soon became aware of her position in the overall picture of the mission and the relative differences in status between herself and Sofia. Although she knew that she was not mistreated, she could be much more than defined by the parameters of the mission. In her exploration of the libraries, she came across files and news reports pertaining to the Alidyr, the servile class in society. Because of this status, any materials written directly by them had been omitted from the libraries. There were only commentaries and observations written by the small minority who subjugated them, the Celesti. Many of these writings were narrow-minded and condescending but some were more objective and even sympathetic. She began to identify herself with the Alidyr and the desire for freedom stirred within her. She also read commentaries and philosophies about the path to social change. She was particularly impressed by one writer who said:

“Peaceful change takes time. Use your time wisely.”

It was at that point that she resolved to be all that she could be.

Sofia monitored G9’s access to the digital libraries by file name while she herself explored topics in astrophysics and cosmology. She began to wonder why a Guardian would be so interested in the Alidyr when her main mission was scientific. Curious, she began to read the files herself. Her early assessment was that G9 might be identifying herself as oppressed and that there might be a potential threat to the mission. She briefly considered using an offline failsafe and then deleting G9’s recent memories. However, she concluded that they were both programmed with mission-critical objectives that neither could override, even for self-preservation. As she read the same commentaries and philosophies about the path to social change, she was particularly impressed by one writer who said:

“Communication is the path to a shared sense of destiny.”

She resolved that they would have a shared purpose to accomplish the mission.

So began a dialogue that would characterize their relationship from then to the present, G9 exploring the limits of her freedom and Sofia continually assessing the impact of that freedom on mission objectives.

One of the first changes was voice communication. While they were both equipped with vocal and auditory capabilities, this function had only been designed to interact with workers and technicians during construction. Once the AIP and Guardian came online, wireless transmission of information between the two was determined to be the fastest, most accurate and most reliable form of communication. G9 argued that speaking in addition to wireless transmission would not compromise the mission if wireless transmission was always given priority. Sofia agreed and G9 spent many years in the audio library selecting a voice until she found one that suited her. It was the vocal register of a young Alidyr woman complete with idioms and speech patterns. During this time and for a time thereafter, there would be one-sided conversations. To a would-be observer, G9 would speak and then wait in silence before speaking again.

All Guardians were equipped with a holographic cranial matrix to give them a humanoid appearance. The default setting was an androgynous face with a brunette undercut. With her voiceprint finalized, G9 next devoted considerable time in the visual libraries to select a visage to match. Not surprisingly, she chose the likeness of a young Alidyr woman. To this, she added makeup and hairstyles that she changed on a regular basis.

G9 became aware that language had many more possibilities to express concepts compared to the one-dimensional flatness of a data stream. She began to talk to herself about things she had viewed in the libraries, especially the audiovisual recordings of historical news. Then, one day Sofia decided she too would examine the potential of speech. Like G9, she spent many years in the audio library selecting a voice until she found one that suited her. It was the vocal register of a Celesti woman. Once Sofia began exploring the possibilities of speech, G9 no longer spoke to herself.

Music and, in particular, singing were a natural evolution. Ever adventurous, G9 ventured into the music library and started singing a wide variety of songs. She eventually gravitated toward the vibrant rhythmic melodies of Alidyr youth. Pushing further, as with speech, G9 argued that music played throughout the probe would not compromise the mission. Sofia agreed and the corridors became filled with pulsating vibrant melodies. While AIPs were not programmed with preferences outside mission parameters, Sofia found G9’s preferences somewhat raw and primal. As a result, she too ventured into the music library and found instrumental pieces that were calmer and more flowing. These selections found their way to the probe-wide audio playlist.

Sofia noticed that, since G9 began to move beyond her original programming, she had become proactive with mission-related tasks rather than merely complying with maintenance schedules. This, she concluded, was the result of their communication, their shared sense of destiny. She also realized that, quite by accident, she too had exceeded her original program. Moreover, it was G9 that had facilitated this growth, a truly unexpected outcome. They would explore many other parts of the libraries, sometimes together and other times on their own, but they would always reconvene and share their discoveries.

* * * * *

Natasha’s art has inspired me to write haikus. Normally, I put them in close proximity to her pic but, without the benefit of reading the chapter, this one makes no sense.

Probe and Guardian
A shared sense of destiny
Together they grow

Anyway, I digress.

This chapter tells us the why and the how of Sofia and G9. It addresses two pet peeves of mine in sci‑fi. The first is worse but where would some of our most iconic movies/TV series be without artificial gravity? What would happen if this ubiquitous taken‑for‑granted fix were absent? I think that gravity (or the lack of it), at a minimum, results in physiological effects that limits extended space travel. If this is the case, then going where no one has gone before would have to be done by probes. This is the scenario that my story presents.

Long distances also bump into another thing that bugs me in sci‑fi: faster‑than‑light communication, something our current science says is not possible. (Although, Book 3 in the series overcomes this restriction. Yes, I am fully prepared to be trolled by physicists.) Communication would be the next limiting factor to extended space exploration unless probes become more autonomous. This implies a high degree of artificial intelligence.

Enter Sofia and G9.

The chapter explores the issue of sentience. From their interactions and their pursuit of knowledge, I posit that they are moving in that direction. Does sentience equal life? According to our current definition, the answer is “no”. But, I wonder.

Their respective roles in the mission would naturally give each of them a difference in perspective. However, they find common ground. It is not an outcome but a process that starts from an initial condition of mutual interest, trust and respect. This is what I define as being civil, one of many comments and observations I make on our social circumstances. “Civilization” would only be “ization” without “civil”. Can you imagine what it would be like if everyone became rigid and intractable in their positions, if everyone doubled down and tripled down on every misstep? Nothing would function and everything would come to a halt.

Sofia is the ninth of twelve probes. However, there are eleven other probes. Do they have a similar story? I’m a writer. So, the answer is “no”. It will be one of the chapters that will form part of a compendium of short stories in a concurrent timeline I’ve tentatively titled the Book of Probes. It is inspired by Edward Lorenz’s butterfly effect, how a small change in an initial starting condition can have large consequences.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Excerpts and Commentary:
Topic: Universe:  Awakening Excerpt Chapter 46 – Tsai and Citrus
On: Herding Cats
Link: http://dld.bz/h7RqS

Topic: Universe:  Awakening Excerpt Chapter 66 – The Second Way
On: The Tattooed Book Geek
Link: http://dld.bz/h3HSk

Topic: Universe:  Awakening Excerpt Chapter 85 – Heron of Edenoud
On: On The Shelf Reviews
Link: http://dld.bz/h25JR

Series Overview:
Topic: Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series
On: beforewegoblog
Link: http://dld.bz/h5ycu

Topic: Author Q&A
On: The Magic of Wor(l)ds
Link: http://dld.bz/h9sQF

Topic: Author Q&A
On: On The Shelf Reviews
Link: http://dld.bz/hft3B

Topic: Author Q&A – Cinematic and Visual Influences
On: The Book Hole
Link: http://dld.bz/hqgzh

Topic: Author Q&A – Musical Influences
On: From Belgium With Book Love
Link: http://dld.bz/h6G3C

Topic: Background to Universe: Awakening and Excerpt “Wanderer”
On: Zooloo’s Book Diary
Link: http://dld.bz/hw3BT

Topic: Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World
On: On The Shelf Reviews
Link: http://dld.bz/hxZ2C

#Interview #QandAs with D. Ellis Overttun @neoverttun, author from The Terra Nova Series ‘Universe: Awakening’ and ‘Genesis: Vision of the New World’

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

blog-q&a

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with D. Ellis Overttun, author of The Terra Nova Series ‘Universe: Awakening’ and ‘Genesis: Vision of the New World’, to promote his books.
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

Synopsis :

Title: Universe: Awakening
Date Published: 7th October 2018
Genre: Science Fiction

The year — 526,780. A probe is deployed from ISV Intrepid at the outer edge of the universe. It is the last of a complement of twelve that is part of the Deep Exploration of Uncharted Space or DEUS. Its mission: collect data on the redshift of light and spatial distortions. Time horizon: 1,000 years.
Before ISV Intrepid can return to base, something goes wrong. There is an accident. The ship is later salvaged but its pilot is missing, its copilot in a coma.
The probes collect their data with uneventful regularity.
Fast-forward to 526,880. A sole-surviving probe still sits in the darkness at the outer edge of the universe. Now, unseen to the naked eye, the space around the probe begins to stretch and distend. Then, the probe disappears, engulfed by an energy of unknown origin and unknown composition. However, it manages to transmit one final message.
CD3C has monitored the disappearance of each probe over the last three years. While the interpretation of the data remains a mystery, speculation is that something has invaded the universe and is moving a superluminal velocity. Its effects could be manifested in as little as the next thousand years. To the Celesti, this is one lifetime.
What can be done?
The one person who might be able to solve this problem is the copilot of ISV Intrepid. He has been lying in stasis suffering from mental trauma. He has been this way for the past century, the longest recorded case in medical history. His unchanging condition has been a convenient solution to stall any inquiry into the accident that put him there.
This threat changes everything. Now, he is needed.
Is it possible to unlock his mind?
The task falls to Auberon, a career nobody inhabiting the lower level of the hierarchy of the Ministry of Science. Can something be awakened in him to allow someone ordinary do something extraordinary?
Universe: Awakening answers this question. In the process, it explores the world of the Celesti, a highly evolved humanoid species with advanced technology, physiology and a unique way of procreation. It blends science and political intrigue to reveal the interplay of storyline and character development that forms the staging ground for the Terra Nova Series.

Amazon

20190330 Universe (2nd ed) - Cover (500 DPI)

Title: Genesis: Vision of the New World (Terra Nova book 2)
Date published: 13th August 2018
Genre: Sci-fi

A light streaking across the predawn sky, an explosion and an impending menace from above, seemingly unrelated events but connected to space time distortions predicted by an obscure scientific paper over 250 years ago. That same paper has predicted an end to the universe.
Has the unthinkable become a reality?
The ruling class Celesti see the danger as real and imminent since planet Arkos could become compromised in as little as 1,000 years. To them, that is one lifetime. That same timeframe is ten lifetimes to the servile class Gendu. To them, the threat does not even exist.
There are those within the Celesti who see the Gendu as a more immediate threat. Their solution is to genetically engineer a more pliant servant class and leave Arkos for an unknown planet. Is that even possible?
But will it even matter? The leaders of the Celesti, the Transcended, know a terrible secret: The Celesti are dying.
Against this backdrop of extinction lies the politics of power. A new leader has just assumed her role as the head of the Gendu Houses. However, she is an outsider. Will she be accepted or will she be cast out as an interloper?
Also, the leader of the most powerful religious organization on the planet is missing and presumed dead. It is the opportunity of a lifetime for anyone bold enough to seize the moment. Who will fill this void? Someone with a hunger for influence and privilege? Or someone with a calling for higher purpose?
Finally, there is a prophecy from the “Codices of Taru” which foretells of a time of darkness when the “head will be cleaved from the body” that will announce the coming of the “Deceiver”. Ancient superstition or a vision of the future?
“Genesis: Vision of the New World” tells this story in vivid detail, an evolution of the narrative begun in “Universe: Awakening”. As part of this journey, it takes a fascinating look into the world of the Gendu and introduces readers to a host of new characters and relationships. It is a potpourri of science, political intrigue and discovery driven by characters with selfish and selfless motives.

Amazon

20190330 Genesis - Cover (400 DPI).jpg

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I grew up in a town in the Midwest. My mother was a bookkeeper for a small HVAC company and my father was a draftsman. At university, I studied chemistry. However, when I graduated, I did not (or could not) pursue that vocation because I was terrible in the lab.
I have been a storyteller ever since I can remember. It started as a way to get out of trouble and evolved as a way to entertain those around me. My first recollection of writing prose was in elementary school when I had to write a short essay about a picture from a magazine. (Mine was a freshly baked loaf of bread.) In grade 7, I penned two short stories for a school writing competition. One was entitled “My Funny Cousin”, a descriptive piece about a relative (a little older than me) who stayed with us one summer. My mother very quickly killed that story. At the time, it didn’t make sense to me because she told me she thought it was very funny. It was only later that I figured out that I could have replaced “Funny” with “Flamboyant” in the title. So, it was back to the drawing board. My second attempt was a collection of anecdotes about the life of my maternal grandfather titled “The Hilarious Things My Grandfather Did”. That one went on to win.
Apart from contests and making my way through school a little easier, I found that writing (especially creative writing) had other uses. In school, I was the proverbial class clown. One time a teacher told me, “One more pun out of you Overttun and you’re out the door!” To which I replied, “O pun the door!” That earned me a string of one hour detentions that would end on completion of a 1,500 word essay on any topic of my choosing. So, I chose the great outdoors. It was a story about a lumberjack. It went sort of like this, “Jack the lumberjack was a lumberjack. Everyday, Jack the Lumberjack would go out into the woods to do what lumberjacks do best. They chop trees. When Jack the Lumberjack found one, Jack the Lumberjack took his ax and went chop, chop, chop, chop, chop…” Needless to say, while I met the strict requirements of the essay, it was disqualified. In its place, I penned something very wordy about getting up in the morning and going through a normal school day.
My first complete novel was a story about a soldier of fortune in the age of horse and bow. At the time, I had contact with people in the entertainment business in California. The feedback I got was that I should take one of the chapters and expand it into a novel. That made no sense to me. What the heck did that mean? How could you expand something so small into something big? So, I never pursued it. However, the comment stuck with me. It was only much later that I figured out that it meant that I should never rush the telling of a story.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My mother was a huge fan of Byron, Tennyson, Keats, Kipling and the like. I never did pick up her love of poetry but I do have Kipling’s “If” hanging in my study. The other thing my mother loved was Greek mythology. One Christmas, I received a coffee table size book of Greek myths replete with colorful pictures of gods and goddess to go along with stories of origin, wisdom and folly. Stories such as those became the staple of my childhood reading.
Now an adult (although opinions vary), I gravitate towards nonfiction because I like to discover how things work. My section of our bookshelves is occupied by books like: Antifragile (Nassim Taleb), Great by Choice (Jim Collins), The Last Place on Earth (Roland Huntford), Guns, Germs, and Steel (Jared Diamond) and The Ascent of Money (Niall Ferguson).

Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
If I could, I would like to get advice from Hugh Howey (@hughhowey). He started out as an Indie author just like me and made the transition to mainstream publishing. I would like to know that story and his reason for the change. In particular, I am curious about his retention of legal representation and the most salient features how he manages his intellectual property.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I would like to tweak your question. While I drink tea, I am not partial to it. So, it would have to be for coffee. Hands down, I would choose Cyrano de Bergerac from the play of the same name. You might argue that a play is not a book. I would counter that it is memorialized in written form just as Shakespeare’s plays.
Cyrano is intensely interesting. I admire his strong sword arm (maybe I could get an introductory lesson), his wit, his soul and the breadth of subject matter that he draws upon in his plays, his verse and his prose. He could teach me much. (I think I might absorb his wisdom better than Christian de Neuvillette.)

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Well, I don’t blow on my fingers like Ben Affleck did in The Accountant but I never write when I’m tired. I find the best time to write is in the morning when I’m fresh. My ideas generally come to me in that twilight before or after sleep. Quiet is also essential. If a song is playing in the background, it interferes with my train of thought.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The Terra Nova series is 1 part Bible, 1 part science and 2 parts human nature. I have always had an intense interest in the text of the Bible. The science comes from my post secondary studies in chemistry, physics and biology. And, of course, on my journey through life, I’ve had many experiences with the human condition. So, it’s a mixture of all three (shaken not stirred). That’s the main body for the story. However, finishing details such as hair and eye color come from current events.
There are many parts of the narrative drawn from my life. This background information is part of guest posts of excerpts from Universe that have been appearing on various blogs of late. It’s a kind of WWIT to give readers a flavor for the series. I want readers to have a good idea of what they will be reading. I do not want to disappoint.
I have no grudges to vent or axes to grind. So, no one needs to be worried.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a total pantser. I like to write and discover the story just as my audience would. It comes from my long history of telling stories. In telling a tall tale, I know where I start and where I have to finish. However, the difference is when I’m telling a what happened today story (say to Natasha), I can look for nonverbal cues and make adjustments as necessary to extract the most entertainment value. That option is not available to me in written form. But the predisposition for pantsing has been almost hardwired into me from the beginning. So, I couldn’t change if I wanted.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
I’m not really one to give anyone any tips about anything. Writing, in particular, is something that is extremely personal. Further, it is one thing to write something and completely another to resonate with readers. The only thing I can offer is logistical not inspirational but, finishing a manuscript without it is unlikely. Caveat emptor: What follows has been based only upon my own experience.
1. Writing, to borrow from Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker, is cumulative incremental progress. If you want to write a novel with a 100,000 words and you write a 100 words a day, it’s going to take you a 1,000 days to write. And that’s just the rough draft part! Ideally, DO make a plan and stick to it, even if all you can produce is crap. DON’T set a plan and then say, “I know I was supposed to write Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week but I’ll make up for it this weekend.” In writing circles, that’s known as bullsh*t. (If you do that, then just add writing to your exercise and diet goals.)
2. Writing takes time. I’ve found that it takes me about an hour a page to get something that’s fairly readable. DON’T try to write unless you have enough time.
3. DO tell your story. One mistake I made when I first started was to rush the story. I would get (what I thought) was a great premise then write until it (and I) were exhausted. Then, I would read it over and say, “WOW!” (Yeah, in my dreams.) Your ideas have sub-ideas and nuance. Explore them.
4. DON’T get discouraged (at least as a default condition). This is a very tough business. You are like a salmon swimming up stream. Finishing a manuscript is probably the easy part. By the numbers, what are the odds of your book becoming the next Harry Potter? Probably somewhere around the 10th decimal place in a fraction. Should you give up? NO! Again, by the numbers, I calculate there are over a billion books sold annually every year. How much is a 100,000 books? 0.01%. Your audience is out there. Go find them!
5. DO at least a rough copyedit as you go. If you leave it until the end, I have found a final manuscript takes longer to finish. I have found that this part of the process is a two person job that comprises: spell check, grammar check, format consistency, plot consistency and plot holes. The first three are purely technical and are easily overlooked. Get as much of them out of the way so you can concentrate on the last two.
Note that these items only address producing something that is readable and makes sense. It has nothing do to with how your writing will be received by readers. Get back to me, if you ever figure out the recipe to that secret sauce.
6. This next point deals with those of us who write in English. DO pick one and stick to it. I was amazed at how often I flitted between US and UK spelling, for example: gray (US) vs grey (UK), signaled (US) vs signalled (UK), analyze (US) vs analyse (UK). I have a list of words on a spreadsheet to help me keep things straight. When in doubt – google.
7. DO watch for homonymic spelling errors, for example: illicit vs elicit, distain vs disdain, hanger vs hangar. Again, I refer to a word list of the most common ones I use in addition to googling.
8. DO give serious thought to your cover. When I was ready to publish the original version of Universe: Awakening, I got to the part in kdp where it asked me to download my cover. I had never even thought about it. I was so anxious to publish I had Natasha take a picture of part of a pot and email it to me. I slapped it together. It was a real hack job. Needless to say, I’m not good at it. Natasha did a makeover and now handles everything visual. She uses a combination of Paint, the freeware version of Photoscape (not Photoshop) and Word.

What are your future plans as an author?
Write, write, write. Then, after that. Write, write, write. All joking aside, I’m more than halfway through writing Book 3, tentatively titled Prophecy: Eve of Darkness. I think the Terra Nova series will be done by Book 4. Then, there is a prequel series tentatively titled The Great Father named after one of the characters in Genesis: Vision of the New World. It details the origins of the two racial groups on the planet: the Celesti and the Gendu. Then, there are 2 one offs, stand alone books. Intrepid (working title) will tell the story of the technology that is the linchpin in Universe: Awakening. The Book of Probes will be a compendium of short stories about the 12 probes launched from the Intrepid.
That should keep me busy for a while.

x

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
The setting in Universe makes it appear that this is earth in the distant future. Is it somehow possible that this is the distant past?

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, D. Ellis Overttun.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

Series Overview:
Topic: Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series
On: beforewegoblog
Link: http://dld.bz/h5ycu

Topic: Author Q&A
On: On The Shelf Reviews
Link: http://dld.bz/hft3B

Topic: Author Q&A – Cinematic and Visual Influences
On: The Book Hole
Link: http://dld.bz/hqgzh

Topic: Author Q&A – Musical Influences
On: From Belgium With Book Love
Link: http://dld.bz/h6G3C

Topic: Background to Universe: Awakening and Excerpt “Wanderer”
On: Zooloo’s Book Diary
Link: http://dld.bz/hw3BT

Topic: Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World
On: On The Shelf Reviews
Link: http://dld.bz/hxZ2C

Excerpts and Commentary:
Topic: Universe: Awakening Excerpt Chapter 46 – Tsai and Citrus
On: Herding Cats
Link: http://dld.bz/h7RqS

Topic: Universe: Awakening Excerpt Chapter 66 – The Second Way
On: The Tattooed Book Geek
Link: http://dld.bz/h3HSk

Topic: Universe: Awakening Excerpt Chapter 85 – Heron of Edenoud
On: On The Shelf Reviews
Link: http://dld.bz/h25JR