It’s the apocalypse. And Feng has a knack for pissing people off.
There are certain things you come to accept when Earth comes closer to its expiry date, like being invaded by bloodthirsty creatures you didn’t even know existed. He just wanted to find his family. Now he’s being hunted.
With the love of his life dead, his family missing and every surviving human on the run, Feng is feeling a bit grouchy. The death, he expected. Her? Not so much.
Meet Diem, an adorable alien healer with boundless curiosity and a glowing crimson mouth. She grew up on stories of Humans but never thought she’d meet one. Now that the opportunity has surfaced, she wishes she never did. Something far more sinister is at play.
The mystery surrounding the fate of the disappearing humans is not all that it seems. What Feng and Diem discover will change everything. For both sides of the war.
But will it allow them to get out alive?
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
This story, overall, contained a lot of information. We learned why the Fringeants were here on Earth, why they hated us, the purpose of their body’s light, the significance of the light’s color, and the lengths they’d go to protect their people. It was almost overwhelming keeping up with everything in the book.
However, despite the overload of information, I will say Heather Chambers (the author) created very unique aliens. They could change their appearance with a pill, attend markets to trade goods, and they also sought out a soul mate. They were like us, fighting to survive. And, like us, they weren’t all bad.
Diem, Fringeant healer, didn’t like violence. She assisted a human (Feng) on more than one occasion and she seemed lonely. She just wanted to be accepted, like many Earth dwellers do. I liked her, even when she hit Feng with books and a frying pan. In her defense, she was scared and trying to defend herself.
The first 200 pages did point out how the Earth was drastically altered from how we see it today in real life. Heather pointed out what could happen if we don’t protect our planet: acid rain, undrinkable water, mutant plants and animals, cities in ruins and the list went on. I’m not sure if Heather actually believes in aliens BUT I do believe she was emphasizing the importance of taking care of Earth before if becomes uninhabitable. I agree, we should protect and preserve our planet for many generations to come.
The next 200+ pages…….
We pick up right after Drachn (Fringeant) shocks the hell out of Feng with a startling and almost unbelievable revelation. The second half of the story also revs up the torture into submission scenes. The Fringeants use water torture, whips, remove body parts, pour hydrochloric acid down throats, and use room 191 to have the humans face their upmost fears and painful memories.
Of course, the Humans fought back. No animal wants to be caged up.
The population of Earth has dwindled down to almost nothing but the final page was a sign of hope.
Before you purchase Earth Sucks: the Fringeants, I must warn you there are some intense exchanges between the Fringeants and the Terrants (humans). However, Heather did add humor and tender, loving moments here and there. I grinned when Feng was teasing Diem about reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The Sun and the Moon story was very romantic. And, I smiled every time Feng called a fellow prisoner Mr. Rogers.
In a world where there was no reason to laugh, Heather Chambers gave the characters and me a reason to smile.
Heather Chambers is a 19-year-old Canadian writer with a knack for exasperating English teachers and dreaming up the macabre. Sarcasm and horror have been her splash-pad since she first learned to write. She brings a keen awareness that one only has to look outside to see it resides not only in fiction. However, some people have closed the curtains. Her debut novel, Earth Sucks, brings teen characters and What Ifs to life for Gen Z readers who want their own writers to throw a wet cat on those blinds.
When a disgruntled professional wrestler declares himself “galactic champion of the universe” an alien planet of wrestlers sees it as an act of war!
A hilarious THIRTY-TWO PAGE megaextravaganza kicks off this limited comic book series with art by Dan Schkade, colors by Marissa Louise and lettering by A Larger World Studios. Created & Written by award-winning writers Matt Entin & Ed Kuehnel.
(review request submitted by Ed Kuehnel for an honest critique)
Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia: Date With Destiny (Volume 1) contained cheesy lines, extraordinary costumes, and a wrestling bear. Yeah, you read that right… A WRESTLING BEAR.
Besides the bear, it reminded me of why I loved watching televised wrestling programs decades ago. Fans know things are scripted but they still tuned in or attended the matches in person. They are thrilling.
In real life, we’ve seen many wrestling crash and burn for various reason. In volume one, Rock ‘N’ Roll Rory Landell’s drinking and going off script was the kiss of death for him and the American Wrestling Federation. He trash talked his fellow wrestlers and even Martians. One Martian, Manifest Destiny, wasn’t too keen by Rory’s smack talk. They didn’t meet in the ring in this comic but I got the impression they would be meeting up very soon.
On a final note, I have to give props to everyone who contributed to the artwork. You all did a masterful job. I also loved the wrestler names you all had assigned to your real names. I’m not sure who thought of it but the additions to your names was brilliant.
While “Rock n’ Roll” Rory Landell drowns his sorrows off the grid, Earth is on the receiving end of a nasty surprise.
(review request submitted by Ed Kuehnel for an honest critique)
I was hoping in Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia #2: Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves! I would see Rory and Manifest Destiny lock horns but it didn’t happen. We did see wrestling action all across the globe including on the White House’s lawn. Yeah, I could actually see a wrestling event happening there since we all know Trump, the McMahon family and their WWE organization are super tight.
For the rest of the comic, I again thought the artwork was top-notch.
How does volume 2 (Two Worlds Enter, One Leaves!) rate against volume 1 (Date With Destiny)? Well, I think volume 1 had more humor and more wrestling content. Both ended fantastically but, in my opinion, Date With Destiny reins supreme as the comic champion.
Ed Kuehnelis an award-winning story consultant, narrative designer and writer with sixteen years of experience across a wide range of games, film and video. His list of clients includes publishers such as Ubisoft, Paramount Digital, Vivendi/Universal and Disney Interactive, as well as some of the most highly regarded studios in the world, including Twisted Pixel Games, Uber Entertainment and Telltale Games. His game writing debut, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, earned a Game Developer’s Choice nomination for Best Writing in 2005. More recently, his work on Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts helped the game win the award for Best Narrative at the 2014 Game Awards.
2014 also marked Ed’s film debut as a co-writer for the soon-to-be released Lumberjack Man, starring Michael Madsen. He is a former contributor to The Onion.
Ed is an expert at solidifying narratives and polishing stories for games, screenplays and other creative projects at all stages of production. For a confidential and complimentary assessment of your needs please email him at ed at edwritesgames dot com
For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?
(Rexx)Nobody is ‘born to write’. I am no exception. I’d never been particularly good with grammar, and had no idea about the more complex rules (I probably still don’t, truth be told). How to write dialogue was beyond me, and I had no idea where to start with plot.
The closest I’d ever come to ‘proper’ writing was when I entered an Interactive Fiction competition in 2004 (IFComp) and wrote a text adventure based on the legend of the origin of Tai Chi. I really enjoyed describing locations and creating puzzles, and I was happy with that, so it never occurred to me to write a novel.
In 2011, I met my partner, Kris. He wasn’t a particular fan of many of the TV programs I enjoyed, but I convinced him to watch a boxset of that 90’s classic, Babylon 5, and he fell in love with it. Around this time, I convinced him to start using a wheelchair because of his disability and, after some strong initial resistance, he took it up and found the wheelchair liberating. In 2012, I started a new job at a software development company that focused on behaviourism, and while working there I realised that I could *learn* to write. It was just a skill other people learn, after all.
By 2013, Prompted by my love of Babylon 5 and games like Mass Effect, I had started making notes. Kris provided the inspiration for several character notes and plot points; I was desperate to write something scifi that involved a wheelchair, but didn’t ‘fix’ disability. Once I’d convinced myself I’d got enough notes to start forming a plot of sorts, I started reading books about the various components of writing and finally put pen to paper / fingers to keyboard. At this point, Kris started training to be a fitness instructor, so I used the time while he did his courses to begin writing.
Come the end of 2013, I’d completed the first draft of Synthesis:Weave. It was another year of editing (and seven more drafts) before I handed it over to my editor and subsequently rushed to publish it. Now, years later, and after having written the sequel, I regretted that decision and went back to tear it down in a rewrite, which has now been published as a second edition in August 2018.
(Kam) I’ve read many backstories and I find yours to be one of the most intriguing ones I’ve read. As for Babylon 5: I’m more of a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” kind of gal. I love Picard! BTW: Kris, in the photo above, is an inspiration to all who think that something is impossible. There’s no shame in trying. If you fail, that’s ok, at least you tried.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(Rexx) For me, writer’s block seems to come about because of two things that actually have the same cause: lack of information.
I’ll get stuck because I’ve not thought of some way for characters to get out of/into a situation, or not enough backstory. I’ll also find myself paralysed when I don’t know where the plot should go next – usually because it could go in far too many directions. Both of these are down to not having a vital piece of information – be that something I need to think of in backstory, or some way of limiting what can happen next.
I’m a plotter, although I don’t go to such depth as planning chapters and scenes. Instead, I plan ‘waypoints’ – information I want to relay to the reader, significant events I want to happen, problems that can occur, and occasionally fully-written scenes I want to insert. I don’t necessarily know the order of these when I write them, so once I’ve got enough I’ll go through and group them into themes which often end up representing the start, early middle, late middle and ending of the book’s plot.
I start writing and then see where each of these points leads, so getting stuck is a consequence of not having the right piece of the puzzle to put in next to continue the flow. It can sometimes be remedied by writing on paper instead of using a keyboard; the medium forces me to go forwards without being able to stop and edit what I’ve put down. Other times, prompting myself about the problem before driving to work or doing some other menial task will mean I suddenly have an idea when I’m not expecting it.
Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
(Rexx)I currently write science fiction, although I like to veer slightly off-genre to mix things up a little. Only recently, I discovered that my work falls into ‘solarpunk’. While I will read dystopian, I wouldn’t want to write it and prefer upbeat/optimistic scifi.
When I’m not writing or doing my day job (as a systems developer), I like to play computer games. I don’t spend as much time reading as I probably should, but I do read to my partner before bed, so I guess that counts.
I’ve been in a group of RPG players for just over 10 years now, and we play 3rd edition D&D – although it took them nine years to convince me to have a go at running the game myself. They enjoyed it, and I recently convinced them to give Traveller (scifi rpg) a go. I think playing D&D has fed back into my writing and given me a way to understand the characters I write and get into their heads. Similarly, writing has furnished me with the tools to make up my own adventures and encounters with greater ease.
(Kam) I’ve played D&D once in my life. My husband introduced me to it because he spent so much time playing it in his youth. He hoped I would love it too but I didn’t. Guess I’ll stick with Yahtzee, Uno, and Scrabble.
I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Rexx) If I think people might be interested in scifi, I’ll mention my novel(s). I’m actually more proud of the fact that I write than of the work I do every day, simply because it’s easier to talk to people about writing than it is to explain the technicalities of my day job.
My relatives and friends are proud of my writing (or so they say), but at times it’s a delicate balance to keep from getting obsessed with writing and have it getting in the way of my relationship with my partner.
Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(Rexx) I’ve read mostly ‘classic’ scifi and fantasy authors, and very few contemporaries, hence my skewed favourites.
Ursula Le Guin
Arthur C Clarke
Alan Dean Foster
(Kam) Some of these names are not familiar to me. For that, I say thank you. I love being introduced to new authors/reading material.
If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?
(Rexx) I’m going to be self-indulgent. I want to see Synthesis:Weave on screen. I wrote it to feel like a movie.
Bill Nighy (the British actor, not the science guy) as a particular enigmatic figure.
Rachel Weisz as Monica Stephens
Tom Hiddleston or James McAvoy as Sebastian
Bryce Dallas Howard as Sebastian’s sister, Janyce.
Emily Blunt as Karan
Ben Cross as Agent Gladrin (I had him in mind when writing the character)
A genuine amputee (double or otherwise) to play Aryx. Favouring Kurt Yaeger, although there are several paralympians who would suit, if they could act!
The laws of physics are about to change …
A tsunami on a space station. An explosion with no trace of the bomber.
Cyber-security expert Sebastian knows evidence doesn’t magically disappear, yet when he and his colleague Aryx, a disabled ex-marine, travel the galaxy to find the cause, there seems to be no other explanation.
Can they unravel the mystery before his family, home, and an entire race succumbs to an ancient foe?
Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Rexx) I’ve finished the sequel to Synthesis:Weave, and at this time I’m working on the cover for that, along with plotting the final book in the trilogy. I’ve also got ideas for an unrelated mild scifi set on present-day Earth, which I want to centre on a female character – it’s going to have a completely different feel to anything I’ve written so far.
Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?
(Rexx) Ebooks are available on Kindle, Kobo, Google play and Nook (all DRM free, so you can read it on any of the devices you own, regardless of which platform you purchase it from). Paperback and hardback formats are also available.
The preferred reading order is the order in which they were written. Synthesis:Weave was written first, followed by the short story prequel, Synthesis:Pioneer, which, when read after S:W, gives the ‘oh, so that’s what they meant!’ factor.
Synthesis:Weave 2, Afterglow is due out in March 2019, and follows immediately on from Synthesis:Weave.
When Calendula accepted the post of linguist aboard the Fluorescent Lightingale, she felt as though she’d been accepted as a token crew member. Little did she know what pivotal role she would play in Earth’s future.
Please note, Synthesis:Pioneer is a prequel short story to the Synthesis novel series only, and not a full-length novel.
Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(Rexx) By contact form on rexxdeane.com, or on Twitter @RexxDeane – I don’t tend to use Facebook much now and have been distancing myself from that platform, although I do have a page there.
Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Rexx)I would like readers (and perhaps writers) to remember that just because a book has a character with a disability, it’s important not to make the disability the focus of the book. Disabled people just want to get on with their lives, and quite often get sick of being lectured or constantly presented with books that say they should behave a certain way. To be presented realistically, disabled characters should be the same. Just have them “get on with it,” and readers will love your book for it.
Your final comments (Q10) are absolutely true. People don’t want to be seen for what they can’t do but praised for the things they’ve accomplished. Disabled or not, we are all capable of truly amazing feats.
I want to thank Rexx for sitting down with me today. I also want to thank everyone who’s reading this and decides to share, comment, or purchase Synthesis: Weave and/or Synthesis: Pioneer. Remember, reviews are helpful to authors. They love them. I’m sure Rexx especially loved the ones posted to Goodreads.(See below)
Chris B. (Synthesis:Weave), 5⭐: A Scifi story that keeps you gripped from beginning to end, with many twists & turns, a must read for all Scifi fans, it’s an excellent read, looking forward to a second book in the future 🙂
Alastair (Synthesis: Weave), 5⭐: I read this, and I liked it. Full of inventive ideas, spaceships, aliens and mystery. What’s not to like?
Rose E. (Synthesis: Pioneer), 5⭐: This is a very short SciFi story about 30 minutes of reading in which we get an introduction to ‘The Synthesis Series’, and a brief insight into the very varied crew on board the ‘Fluorescent Lightingale’.
This tale centres around the linguist aboard who goes by the name ofCalendula a talented young woman who uses all her senses. I particularly like how the author describes what she smells and hears upon boarding the ship.
I really do not wish to say more otherwise the story may be spoiled, but I do know that I will be moving the main story up my reading list.
(Kam) Yes, I know the last review had a typing error but I didn’t think it was appropriate to change it. It’s their review, not mine. Plus, I don’t think the error undermines the love Rose had for the story. 😛
The world was dying, so scientists worked to create a safe haven in the centre of the earth; hollowing it out for the future generations to live safely.
When the creatures created to watch over the people detected the failsafe program had activated, and that their hollow world was about to collapse, they took them to a sentient, biological spaceship, set with the coordinates to take them to a new world.
But with the aliens who helped the scientists in the past having come back to change the course of the ship, things soon spiral out of control.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
Creatures with multiple legs, claws, horns and milky eyes. Individuals with an unnaturally elongated form, no facial fissures except a mouth and orb-like eyes. Abominations with no facial features at all. Jenna truly did the sci-fi genre justice with her creations. Beings I would expect to see on the Syfy channel line-up.
One Syfy original show came to mind while I was engrossed in “Watership” — Falling Skies (TV Series 2011–2015). The”Skitters”, six-legged aliens on Falling Skies, did communicate using the hive-mind connection. Also, like Falling Skies, there was one special girl whose appearance changed drastically by aging more rapidly than humanly possible, and proved to be the game changer to the plot. Like the show, aliens and humans worked together but, unlike the show, most of the storyline took place on a ship.
Like Jenna’s other science fiction story The Last Immortal, I felt somethings needed more clarification. How is Charn, Queen’s daughter, able to produce a black mist from her fingers and eyes? Also, Aspects (beings created by the core) came about out of the blue. One final thing, I’m surprised Desu wasn’t more aware of certain happenings aboard the ship since she brought the humans there. You’d think she’d know the ship inhabitants forwards, backwards and sideways. Due to these problem areas (my hiccups), I had to dock a couple stars. However, all in all, a great read and worth spending few bucks on.
My name is Jenna Whittaker and I am an Australian author who has been writing fantasy, science fiction, and horror novels for as long as I can remember! I love writing, my artwork, and caring for animals.