Archive for the ‘#sciencefiction’ Tag

Cover Reveal for “A Threatening Fragility”   Leave a comment

A Threatening Fragility Front Cover

Provisional Disaster Plan   Leave a comment

lela-markham-book-cover#free 1 day only Life As We Knew It. “Terrorist attacks on distant cities forces a small town to forge its own disaster plan. What would you do?” Book 1 of Transformation Project

Interview with Angela Guidolin   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Angela Guidolin. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

a-gFirst of all,  thank you Lela for having me, I’m honoured.

After graduating in Business Economics in 1995 in Venice, Italy, I went to London, UK, to polish my English.

That was a magical time in my life. London was a fantastic cultural melting pot. The three months I had planned to stay stretched to eight years, during which I got married and worked in different jobs.

Craving sun, warmth and sea, we left London and headed to the South of France, but wound up in the North. We ran our coffee shop and although tough (we used to work 70 hours a week), life was sweet, especially after the birth of our daughter.

A few years later we moved to Italy to live near my family for our daughter’s sake. There I worked in my parents’ business (ice cream!), assisting my father in Sales and Marketing. For a while, I held also the position of Quality Assurance Director. I was good at my job, but emotionally and spiritually it wasn’t for me.

Eventually my muscle problems, that had started in 1998 and not yet healed, worsened so much that I could work only for half a day. After many tests and visits, I was diagnosed with acute stress and bacteria pain and no remedy was offered to me.

I left the company five years ago and since then we’ve been living on the beautiful English Riviera in the South East of England, UK, where I’ve been getting into shape, taking care of my family and writing.

 

That sounds lovely. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

 

Nebula Rift Vol. 02 No. 05 by [L. Prentice, Joshua, J. Lucas, Andrew, Harris, Philip, Guidolin, Angela, Sheldon, Clay]I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer, the idea was implanted in me!

It was the year 2000, and for the past two years I’d been struggling to keep my job in a travel agency because of the crippling pain in the upper part of my body, especially in my wrists.

One day I passed by my favourite bookshop in London, Watkins, and on their shop window there was the ad of a tarot reader. I went in and booked a reading.

During this reading, the tarot reader told me, “You’ll write a book in the next couple of years, but you have to study and prepare yourself for it.” No, I’m not making it up.

Although I had no idea of what I would write about, I heeded her words and, 14 years and a few relocations later, I published a novelette titled Homecoming in the SF magazine Nebula Rift. It took me longer than two years, but I got there at the end.

 

 

Tell us about your writing process.

I’m a plotter and a discoverer. When I have an idea I let it grow until I feel it’s ready to be dissected and caged in a plot. I can spend a few weeks tweaking it before I’m confident enough to start writing the first chapter. And when I’m happy and let my guard down, my characters hijack the story and force me to change the plot.

 

Plotting is a way to put my mind at ease, to pretend I’m in control. The same thing happens in my life. So much so that I’ve stopped making plans a long time ago. I mean, I have goals and plans which I modify along the way.

 

Once I finish a chapter, I edit it on my laptop, then I print it, edit it again and send a digital copy to my first readers. As soon as the story is finished, I print it out, check it all again and send it to an editor.

 

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

 Science fiction. It seems I can’t write in any other genre. My new book, Across Spacetime is based on how I met my husband. The idea was to write a romance, but it soon morphed into a SF romance story.

To use Ray Bradbury’s words:

“Science Fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself.  … Science Fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’re talking about. “

 

I totally agree. Of course, it’s Bradbury. We can’t not agree with the don of our genre. What are you passionate about?

Our civil liberties, like free speech. They’ve never been so much under threat. Governments are taking them away from us “to keep us safe”. Well, politicians lied to us in so many occasions (the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were never found, for example), that more and more citizens distrust them. Censorship in any form is the only way for them to stay in power.

If you read 1984, Brave New World and The Hunger Games, you see that what’s in these books is not science fiction anymore. For the most part it has been implemented and I don’t like it. I want my daughter to grow in a free, abundant and caring society.

 

You and I are of similar mindsets on that subject and for similar reasons. What is something you cannot live without?

Meditation, writing, and my daughter’s love.

 

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

My life and science news, although the core idea for Homecoming was given to me at a workshop I attended in London a few years before.

 

What sort of research do you do for your stories?

For the scientific part, in Homecoming I studied how the Sun works and how auroras form. For Across Spacetime, I researched theories on the multiverse, Mars, the Saturnian system and especially the moon Titan within it.

For the spiritual, esoteric part, I’ve been researching and practising it for the past 30 years so I don’t do much ad hoc research.

 

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

A reader told me that my style reminds him of Vonda McIntyre, whose works I haven’t had the pleasure to read yet. I would say it’s essential, without long descriptions of characters and places.

I create an atmosphere and let the reader fill in the details, so make the story his or her own.

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

In the sitting room, facing a window which overlooks a beautiful garden.

 

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

First person singular. I feel it’s a more direct way to involve the reader in the story and keep he or she wondering how the story will unfold.

For example, in Across Spacetime there are two main characters, Samir and Beatrice, each one telling the story from their point of view.

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

 

I meditate for 3 or 4 hours a day, then go for a walk to ground myself and remember all the things I’m grateful for. In the evening I use the knitting needles and wool I’ve brought with me and make jumpers for my daughter’s toys-I’m not that good at making jumpers for humans, yet.

After a walk to admire the midnight sun, I snuggle up in bed with SF books like Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson and yours, Lela. They’ve been in my wish list for a while.

And whenever inspiration strikes, I write on a notepad. Better let my laptop have a rest too!

 

Talk about your books individually.

Homecoming is a short story about an immortal being, Shr who lives on the Sun. As part of her training to advance her career chances, she incarnates on Earth for a few lifetimes and this experience changes her in ways she could never have imagined. Her forced homecoming has a deep impact on the Sunnians, the inhabitants of the Sun, because her actions have shed a light on their political system.

 

You can download Homecoming for free when you subscribe to my mailing list, the Seekers’ Starguide .

 

Across Spacetime is my brand new SF romance novella, which will start pre-sale on 3 February 2017 and will be released on 31 March 2017.

 

It’s the story of two time travelers from the future, Samir and Beatrice, who meet in London in 1995. They fall in love despite a very wide cultural gap and must decide whether to stay in the past, where they feel free to be together but where they don’t belong, or go back to the future and face the prejudice of their society.

Pre-sale starts on 3 February and sale on 31 March. For details please check my website .

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

My stories have always a message because I want to contribute, in my small way, to create a happier society.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I’d like them to feel empowered. Everyone matters.

 

Where do readers find you and your books?

You can connect with me on:

 

US Amazon is:http://amzn.to/1X9ZPAh

 

UK Amazon is: http://amzn.to/1WKsDic

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angelaguidolinauthor

 

Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/guidolin_angela or http://bit.ly/1NkwEse

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/angela-guidolin-6832057 or http://bit.ly/1rw9EMZ

 

Goodread https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15287679.Angela_Guidolin

 

My website:  http://www.angelaguidolinauthor.co.uk/

Dark Future   Leave a comment

To celebrate getting all of my books out of boxes (for the third time since moving into our house 14 years ago), I’ve been reading some old favorites and last week’s discussion about the science fiction I read as a teenager got me over in that area of the shelves, reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation

If you’re unfamiliar –.

Hari Seldon knows with certainty that the galactic Empire will soon fall apart, ushering in a thousand generations of chaos. Hari also has a plan to keep the chaos to a mere 1,000 years, assuming things go right. He’s gathered a large group of scientists, and sets them up on a backwater planet called Terminus, where they will create the most extensive and comprehensive encyclopedia in human history.

Of course, this being science fiction and Asimov not being a utopian, Hari Seldon has not told them everything.

This book actually consists of five novellas, each seperated by several years of events. The first is about Seldon’s work and plan for The Foundation. The second and third share a common protagonist, Salvor Hardin, though they take place about 30 years apart. The fourth and fifth are about traders and merchants.

When I read Foundation so many years ago, I was engrossed in the science fiction of it all and didn’t really notice that the “good guys” were really pretty evil. Such is the maturity of age and wisdom of experience. There are two types of characters in this collection – hyper-competent good guys and extremely foolish bad guys. Present the good guys with a problem and they will MacGuiver their way out of any crisis. The bad guys aren’t really villainous, but they are portrayed as greedy, violent and lacking in vision. Normal folks are largely portrayed as wallpaper that follows the leader and women might as well not exist.

My anarchist senses began ticking over as I read. What were the real differences between the good guys and the bad guys? Both were determined to conquer and control people and maintain their power base. The Foundation used different (perhaps kinder and gentler) methods, but tyranny by another name still strangles.

Asimov was an atheist, so religion plays a very cynical role in The Foundation.

Terminus is the last remaining beacon of nuclear power as neighboring societies degrade. They set up a religion around nuclear power, complete with a deity called The Galactic Spirit. Terminus is advertised as a holy land where a priesthood is trained in maintaining nuclear power plants without really being taught much of anything. Religion becomes simply a means by which The Foundation expands its power and influence — a “conquest by missionary.”

In the third story, the Kingdom of Anacreon wants to attack Terminus, so Hardin uses this priesthood and the beliefs they have instilled in the people as a weapon. Hardin doesn’t believe in the Galactic Spirit and the Foundation leaders of the religion do not believe any of the religious aspects they teach. but they are quite happy to make use of it to manipulate the gullible people for their own ends.

When other planets’ kingdoms send people to Terminus to learn about nuclear power, the knowledge is dressed up in the trappings of a fake religion that The Foundation created. Hardin explains it, “I started that way at first because the barbarians looked upon our science as a sort of magical sorcery, and it was easiest to get them to accept it on that basis” (page 92).

He puts a more plainly a few paragraphs later:

“The best men on the planets of the kingdoms are sent here to the Foundation each year and educated into the priesthood. And the best of these remain here as research students. If you think that those who are left, with practically no knowledge of the elements of science, or worse still, with the distorted knowledge the priests receive, can penetrate at a bound to nuclear power, to electronics, to the theory of the hyperwarp— you have a very romantic and very foolish idea of science. It takes lifetimes of training and an excellent brain to get that far.” (page 92)

In Asimov’s world, religion is merely a weapon. If a weapon ceases to give the desired results, it is to be discarded, as it begins to be in the last story, when the Kingdom of Corell wants nothing to do with missionaries and the religion of the Foundation. The protagonist in that story, the trader Hober Mallow, says this to the ruler of Korell, “…I’m a Master Trader. Money is my religion. All this mysticism and hocus-pocus of the missionaries annoy me, and I’m glad you refuse to countenance it. It makes you more my type of man” (page 190).

Some aphorisms caught my attention, in part because they had stuck with me in a vague way for three decades. One is “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” (page 90). They define “violence” very narrowly. To me, “conquest by missionary” is as much an act of violence as conquest by an invading army. Being robbed by identity theft (or taxation) is just as much an act of theft as being robbed at gunpoint. Intellectuals like Hardin may not want to use violence in the most literal sense, but he’s quite happy to make use of the threat of violence in the events that concluded the third story.

Hardin is quoted as saying, “Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right!” (p. 143). What a great summation of relativism! It assumes we can determine right and wrong without morality and suggests that what is right might possibly be immoral.

The Foundation series continues from where I ended reading the other night, but I don’t have those books on my shelves. A lot of my paperbacks were picked up from used book marts, so I would guess I never ran across the others before my interest moved onto other genres. I read all of Isimov’s original Foundation stories by checking out books from the library. So I won’t speak on those.

Maybe the Foundation stories get better in later books, but I was surprised to find this first book filled with shallow and undeveloped characters and buffoonish bad guys being outsmarted by clever good guys. Hari Seldon has an almost God-like presence as the man who predicted almost everything. The Seldon Plan has a messianic feel to it. The characters will keep it going whether they understand it or not. If lies and manipulations are needed to keep the plan on track, HOO-HA.

If mankind’s only hope is a group of elites leading it to some made-up promised land, then I’d like to get off the bus now, because that version of the promised land will only be another disaster. Asimov may have discarded God, but what he uses to replaces Him is not something thinking people could realistically worship.

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