|Are the Grays real? Survey says "yes!"|
Between the pages of every book is an entire world created by its author. Each world comes complete with a physical topography, a social and political landscape, a diverse population of characters (heroes, heroines, villains, supporting players, innocent bystanders), even, sometimes, a philosophical or emotional foundation. Building this world and making it believable is one of the most important jobs the author has.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that the world of Unchained Memory, my science fiction suspense romance set to debut February 24, is the familiar one of Earth, here and now. As the novel opens, we are on the solid and well-trodden ground of rural Tennessee (and later, Nashville), a place as salt-of-the-Earth as you can get. This is the heart of country music odes to hearth and home, a land of continuity and tradition, even in the midst of the huge growth of the last thirty years.
Other settings in the novel keep us tethered to that sense of place and connection: the mountains of West Virginia, the lakes of the Adirondacks. A secure lifeline is necessary because what happens to our heroine shakes the foundation of everything she knows and changes the way she perceives her world. That shift in perception alters what the hero sees, too, and, inevitably, what the reader sees. All of a sudden, the world is not what it was.
Asia Burdette experiences a life-altering tragedy. In her quest to understand what has happened, she seeks the help of psychiatrist Ethan Roberts. In their search for answers they draw back a curtain on a much-expanded, much darker vision of Earth and its place in the galaxy. Not only are we not alone, but apparently we are the last ones to know it.
Earth is the clandestine battlefield in an ongoing struggle between an intergalactic slave-trading empire and the abolitionist crusaders that oppose it. The sexy/gutsy men and women of Rescue (the Interstellar Council for Abolition and Rescue), some of them human and some of them not, fight slavery in all the organized systems of the galaxy. Earth, with its proximity to one of the major jump nodes (permanent wormholes) used for space travel, and ready supply of adaptable sentient beings, is a frequent target of the “Grays”
And here a note about interstellar slavery: Imagine a galaxy in which technology is very much available and advanced, but is still expensive and prone to breakdown, especially on, say, mining or agricultural planets. Imagine, too, that space travel is easy and cheap, and labor is there for the taking. Add in a few details: the Grays are puny little things, not very strong, and have a violent psychological reaction to certain vital mineral crystals being mined. Humans breathe roughly the same oxygen/nitrogen mix as the Grays, eat virtually anything and don’t react at all to those crystals. Finally, the Gray society itself is in conflict about the benefits and disadvantages of using slaves, but for now, they can, so they do.
And before you say we’d know if aliens were taking us, well, some people say they are. Do you believe them?
A 2012 National Geographic poll cited by both ABC and Fox News showed that 36 percent of Americans believed UFOs were real. Ten percent had seen one. Seventy-nine percent believed the government was withholding evidence of aliens from the public. And 55 percent believed there were black ops teams, similar to the Men in Black, whose job it was to track down people with knowledge of aliens and UFOs and “silence” them.
Hmm. Sounds like the basis of a good story. (As it happens, Asia and Ethan end up on the run from some of those very same “Men in Black”.) It also sounds like we may already be living in the world I created for Unchained Memory. If we just open our eyes.
DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL!
Stay with us for all the excitement in the next few weeks as Sharon Lynn Fisher’s SFR novel Echo 8 debuts Monday, February 2; meet the heroes, heroines and villains of Unchained Memory and Laurie A. Green’s Inherit the Stars; and both books debut at the end of the month (Inherit the Stars February 22; Unchained Memory February 24). It’s a Triple Launch Extravaganza all month on Spacefreighters!
THIRD ANNUAL SFR GALAXY AWARDS
It’s time to honor the best of science fiction romance in word and onscreen as the 2014 SFR Galaxy Awards are announced tomorrow. Awards program organizer Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express SFR blog has corralled her judges and the selections are in! The website opens for business at 9:00 a.m. EST Saturday, January 31,and the judges’ selections start rolling out at 10:00 a.m. EST. Check in with us all day at the following links:
10 am Charlee Allden
11 am Donna S. Frelick
12 pm Laurie A. Green
1 pm. Marlene Harris
2 pm. Jo Jones
3 pm. Heather Massey
4 pm Anna McLain