Shabby Martian Colony Suddenly in Struggle to Survive – Meet the Author #scifi #sciencefiction #Mars #author #read

Author Cheryl Lawson with her book We Are MarsToday I welcome a fellow Martian – well, another author of scifi on Mars – Cheryl Lawson. Cheryl grew up in South Africa and lives in Canada. She’s an artist and photographer too, but today I want her to talk about Mars.

So Cheryl, tell us a bit about your book We Are Mars – What’s the main premise of the book and who are the stand-out characters?

We Are Mars starts out as a story about a Mars settlement, Rubicon, that is getting a little old, shabby and down on its luck due to the repeated funding cuts of the mission from Earth that runs it. Things get a lot more difficult and dangerous when a virus breaks out in the confines of the colony. A group of characters from conflicting backgrounds suddenly find themselves in a life-or-death situation and need to work together to overcome some threatening challenges or die trying.

There are no particular standout characters as I focus on a core group of characters that each feature in individual vignettes, moving the story forward from their own points of view.

Why would fans of Mars science fiction like We Are Mars? What can they look forward to?

Planet Mars white backgroundIf you like science fiction based on Mars, you’ll love We Are Mars. It has all the elements of a sci-fi story on Mars – cool science, a grungy and dilapidated habitat, danger, adventure, romance and suspense. There are subplots that bring in a little spiciness in the form of political intrigue as well as spy drama. The characters are an awesome ensemble of very human people just trying to survive. There’s nothing over-the-top unbelievable and it makes for an absorbing read.

Are you currently working on a writing project? If so, when can we expect it to launch?

I’m working on the follow-up to We Are Mars, book two of the Rubicon Saga. It is entitled Storm at Dawn. I expect to be able to release it next year, but I can’t offer more than that as it’s very much going to depend on how well the story continues to come together and how much editing is involved. Stay tuned!

Tell us a bit about yourself: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer? What prompted your change in career? Where do you get your inspiration to write?

Creative Manifesto book coverI knew I wanted to be a writer when I got the idea to create a manifesto for myself that laid out my creative thoughts and process. I spent months articulating the ideas before I finally wrote them down. When I’d finished writing I knew I had a book, not just some notes. I took another swing at it and formalized the entire thing into a useful work that explained much of my process and thinking in a way that other people could understand it and benefit from reading it. After that, the ideas for creative writing came easily and I, basically, followed the same process and landed up with the bones of We Are Mars.

It was only after that that I recognized the part of me that had always been writing – the student writer for school magazines, the letter writer, the magazine writer submitting articles, the volunteer editor… It was all there, and I hadn’t even realized until We Are Mars was in front of me.

I am inspired by good stories, interesting people and the desire to tell a compelling story. My writing influences vary from Stieg Larsson (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) to Michael Chriton (Prey, Jurassic Park). I enjoy rich settings, complex characters and solid endings. My love of science fiction and space helped me choose the genre as I feel it is comfortable and familiar.

What’s your current favorite reading material?

I have lots of favorites – I like articles, comic books, novels, poetry, short stories, flash fiction and even people’s twitter posts for various daily writing challenges. I read a lot and always have a stack of books I’m moving out of the way!

Thanks to Cheryl and to our readers. You’ll find Cheryl on several places on the internet:



Facebook for Authentic Creativity:



PW Booklife:

Websites: We Are Mars:

And look for her Authentic Creativity (creative manifesto):


Science Fiction Story with Real Science and Wonderful Young Woman Hero #scifi #sciencefiction #physics #reading

Two races of humans, several alien species, multiple starships and planets – this story ranges across a galaxy in Marcha Fox’s Beyond Hidden Skies.

The Brightstar family is moving from a safe but restrictive planet to a dangerous outpost world. Creena is a young teenager, a hybrid of the two human races, angry at her brother, in constant trouble for breaking rules, and also my favorite character.

As her family travels via starship to their new world, she seems to be accidentally trapped in an escape pod that launches to the wrong planet. But it may not have been an accident – a powerful man is trying to manipulate her father.

Creena’s reactions are realistic without being annoying (well, only appropriately annoying for a young teen) and her problem-solving feels plausible. Her longing to be back with her family is something I can relate to.

Fox infuses her story with the physics of space-time. The ships are traveling near the speed of light, using Time Dilation Modules. Three main subplots spin out in the book, involving Creena and various members of her family and some interesting comrades they find along the way.

As the characters navigate relations with alien species and space-time, they ponder the role of logic versus feelings, and debate taking action themselves versus trusting the Universeto provide. Growing up for Creena and her brothers requires confronting and overcoming “a serious challenge, [to] learn the meaning of courage.”

This is the first volume in a series, so all those ships, worlds, and species continue over the course of three more books, all available now. Cool.

What others are saying
“I really got involved in the story. I found it quite imaginative and entertaining. I felt that the author did a wonderful job of portraying a young teenage girl, full of fire and yet torn in so many directions.” Jay B. Cutts

I’m a sci-fi space fan and this story ticked all my boxes.” Wendy Scott

“The authors background with NASA plays a big role in the development of these books. I read the entire series.” Dawn Ireland

Personally, I like real science in my science fiction, but one reviewer said “too much techno-babble.” sterling r walker

Peace Force, a Harriet Walsh novel #scifi #sciencefiction #ebook #amazon #giveaway #read #review #bookreview

Peace Force book coverScience fiction with humor, that’s Peace Force. On a planet colonized long ago by humans, Harriet is unemployed and newly homeless. She’s recruited by a crazy robot (funniest robot since Hitchhiker’s Guide’s Marvin) to become the sole member of the police force on a planet that’s so peaceful, it doesn’t need a police force.

Or so it seems.

As new-hire training turns real, Harriet picks up an orphan pickpocket partner, an artificial intelligence car that can’t wait to get out of the garage, and a retired police officer who isn’t ready to leave it all behind.

The story is good entertainment and there are two more books in the series. Comments on Amazon call it a fun romp. Though there is a darker twist at the end I wasn’t expecting, I think the description is spot-on: “It’s good clean fun, written with wry humor.” And the day I’m posting this, it’s free on Amazon.

Blogging note: this is new. When I pasted my post into WordPress, it grabbed the Amazon link and inserted a really-big picture of the book cover with a “buy it now” and “free preview” button. Hmm. Is this convenient or annoying? I wonder who’s paying whom for the link? I took the big buttoned image out this time… but it is slick. Do you like slick?

Who-Dun-It Meets the Laws of Robotics #scifi #asimov #sciencefiction #robot #robotics #review #bookreview

Robots of Dawn book coverI read Robots of Dawn to discover how Asimov tackled sex – repressed and free-love versions. The book was important to at least one teen struggling with sexual identity.

Sex is mostly discussed rather than experienced in the story, but there is one sexual encounter – gently done. Asimov published the book in 1983, so I guess he was rather late to the topic as compared to other Giants of Science Fiction.

The story is a who-dun-it puzzle based on Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. He wrote several stories where a robot is trapped in some bizarre behavior when the laws conflict. Here, a robot’s positronic mind has been destroyed, which leads to a political crisis between two roboticists on the planet Aurora, which further leads to detective Baley being called to solve the case.

Asimov tries to lift the story from merely a puzzle to something important to humanity by saying Aurora-humans must have humanoid robots to colonize new worlds before occupying them. And that Aurorans can somehow forbid Earth-humans from exploring new worlds. This isn’t convincing to me, but doesn’t really matter to the story.

The book is pure Asimov. While events do occur, the story is told in lengthy conversations among the characters. I read the book in many short sittings, but read every word and got through without trouble. I call the style Socratic. Characters question each other back and forth in static encounters. This can drag, and one character even complains to Baley, “I know you must have everything repeated and repeated.”

The robots are barely described. Asimov sometimes goes into great detail on settings, even basic settings like a dining room, so this seems odd. Maybe it’s because Robots of Dawn is the third book in the series and he thinks I already know.

All robots seem to be humanoid, and two are called humaniform. (Here’s a detail: a male-shaped humaniform robot is fully functional. As Star Trek’s Mr Data is fully functional. I told you this story involves sex. And in case you think Asimov’s story is fantasy, think again – sexbot-induced social change is on the horizon.) Asimov’s character also spends a lot of time in bathrooms and thinking about bathroom behavior. Aurorans have holographically enhanced bathrooms. Nothing gross, though.

I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say
Baley uncovers enough to settle the political issues, and he solves the robotics puzzle too in a neat twist that turns the book into a prequel to his famous Foundation series from the 1940s.

I read an old paperback edition from my town’s public library. The introduction promised that not a single word had been omitted from the original 1983 hardcover book.

I’ve included links to an ebook edition in this post. In reviews on some of Asimov’s other works that were transmogrified into ebooks, I’ve seen comments warning they’d been badly edited. I can’t say if this book was re-edited, but reader beware. Maybe you can find an old paper edition.

What others are saying on Amazon
“By the time this third installment was written, some of the tech was already looking and feeling a little obsolete–but Asimov is regarded as a master for good reason.”

“The book kept me guessing about the solution to the mystery. The only problem I had is that the book felt a tad contrived with the social situation.”

“This book has very little action. Almost every little detail is intellectualize then analyzed to the nth degree . It makes reading rather sluggish.”

I agree with these comments from Amazon readers, but I also found it easy to finish as laong as I took my time. Robots of Dawn was easier to read than Asimov’s earlier Foundation, and most readers enjoyed Robots and the entire robot series.

Visit the True Golden Age of Scifi With These Zines # scifi #sciencefiction #magazine #goldenage

Peon magazine coverThe 1950s were the Golden Age of Science Fiction. You may recognize the names of zines like Astounding Science Fiction, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Imaginative Tales. But there were many more.

I recently found a couple real gems: fantascience magazines Peon and LEER, both published by Charles Lee Riddle. Independent publishing didn’t start with ebooks and Amazon – it was well underway with only snail-mail to rely on. These magazines were true labors of love, since Riddle was active duty military and so forbidden to make a profit on his zines.

Peon and LEER could have been lost, but Riddle’s son Bob Riddle has posted their history and several almost-lost editions.

Peon magazine coverPublishing in those days involved typing the stories on a mimeograph stencil master with a manual typewriter. He had his own mimeograph machine and equipment but still had problems with the print quality or transferring artwork to the stencil, as he pointed out in several issues.

There were pen-like tools, with points and wheels and ball-shaped knobs on the ends that looked like they belonged in the hands of a dentist. Plastic templates were his source for clipart.

[Look for] some familiar names from the world of Science Fiction that appear as contributing authors.

Peon magazine cover

Hmm… Bela Lugosi?

Don’t spend another minute reading this blog post. Instead, download pdfs of these wonderful magazines with their articles and stories from scifi’s past. They’re delightful, and I thank Bob Riddle for sharing them with us.

Federation Diplomat Scifi – how history informs science fiction #scifi #sciencefiction #history #stories #author

Retrograde book coverToday I’m pleased to present a guest post by E J Randolph, author of a fascinating scifi series that follows a diplomat solving planetary problems. Though there’s plenty of action and good characters, it’s EJ’s unique perspective I especially enjoy. Take it away, EJ.

I use history in my science fiction. Strange as it seems, to write about the future, I have to know the past.

My main character is a Federation diplomat who goes to planets troubled by civil unrest, and she brings about peace through unusual but still historically valid methods.

That means I have to know how insurgencies develop.

There is a continuum that all insurgencies follow. First there is a movement. The government cracks down. The movement organizes. The government cracks down with violence. The insurgents pick up weapons, and a shooting war starts.

You may have noticed something. The government is driving the escalation of violence. In the news, the rebels are always portrayed as instigating things. No, the government is unwilling to share any power or address any issues.

Consider the problem: Does anyone willingly give up power?

Yeah, now you know why insurgencies seem to have an innate dynamic, why they seem unstoppable. Because the government has mishandled things.

And, that my friends, is a lesson of history.

Start reading EJs books with Retrograde: Some Principles Are Timeless and continue on with the series. Visit her at

Looking for a Good Read? Check Out Reviews Here including my book :) #review #bookreview #scifi #sciencefiction #fantasy

Thanks to N K Chavush for reviewing my scifi story about a near-future Mars colony, Glory on Mars. Authors can be the hardest critics, so it’s an honor to be his Book of the Week.

Glory on Mars coverLately there has been a buzz with Mars being at its closest to earth for a long time and appearing bright in the summer night’s sky. Kate Rauner’s genius writing style brings the red planet even closer to us and is so original that it’s a lot different to other science fiction space novels. The characters work so well together and fit well into the alien scenery.

If you’re looking for a good scifi/fantasy read, check out the reviews here by author N K Chavush.

Then check out N K Chavusk’s own book, Anto: Curse of the Hidden City, also available in the UK

book coverWhen something dark and evil is headed towards Anto, an underground city that is unknown to man, the Anthidden tribe will do anything to protect their very own existence. Only one soldier: Tarmus has what it takes to save the city, but will it be enough against what’s coming?