SF Author Guy T Martland’s 10 Favourite SF Novels ~ A Guest Post

Guy T Martland’s 10 favourite SF novels

When compiling this list I thought about the books which have left enduring impressions on me, whether these be images, atmospheres, ideas or characters. My imagination tends to be cinematic – as I read the images roll over the screen of my mind, and the more striking the better. In my novel ‘The Scion’, I tried my best to write what I was seeing, which gave the book a visual feel. My hope was that some of the images I’ve created would have the same kind of long-lasting effect as the books I most admire.

1. Red Dust – Paul J. McAuley

This is a book I return to again and again. It was the first McAuley I read and one of the books that kickstarted my interest in SF. The descriptions of a terraformed Mars jolted my imagination awake, the settings lingering in my mind. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at Worldcon last year, when he told me (as he signed my first edition hardback) this was one of his favourites. I just smiled, being a bit starstruck.

2. Against A Dark Background – Iain M. Banks

Where would we be without the late, great Iain M? This book has it all – some wonderful set pieces, epic landscapes and a seriously cool female lead to boot. An antiquity hunter, Sharrow is a strong and believable character. The Lazy Guns are without comparison and possibly one of the coolest inventions in SF. Added to which there are monowheels (a kind of supercharged motorbike), cable cars, glass-bottomed swimming pools, hovercraft… Dark, as the title suggests, humorous and a book which grows on second, third and fourth reads.

3. Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood

The author of this novel may not consider this to be SF, but I do. Science has effectively destroyed Earth, after the release of Crake’s monster virus (SF, right?). The grim post-apocalyptic tone of this book takes hold from the outset and doesn’t let go. But there is a lesson here for humanity – about what could happen if science’s advances are allowed to progress unchecked. This is Frankenstein for our times. It could really happen one day.

4. The Skinner – Neal Asher

A brilliant Banksian rollercoaster ride on the ridiculously named planet of Spatterjay, where a plethora of bizarre creatures grow with abandon. The drones in this are seriously sophisticated, kick-ass machines. And the transformed Hoopers, infected by the Spatterjay virus, are a nice touch. Asher’s finest moment.

5. The Dramaturges of Yan – John Brunner

An alien world filled with ancient artefacts, a galaxy known artist who creates on a celestial scale, the strange effects of the Shrimashey drug: Brunner manages to summon a world which is fascinating and truly strange. There is even a kind of internet (written before this existed). At the same time, there is something very Seventies about this book, which doesn’t seem to date it, but instead gives it a retro feel.

6. Gateway – Frederick Pohl

More artefacts, this time a mysterious eponymous space hub created by a vanished race called the Heechee. Travelling on the alien craft located in the hub to different worlds is a kind of Russian roulette, with the accompanying financial rewards making this a space race on a different scale. The analysis sessions through which the protagonist reveals the secrets of Gateway lend a humanising context. I read this for the first time in one sitting, spellbound, each new world visited as thrilling as the last.

7. The Drought (aka The Burning World) – J. G. Ballard

No best SF list would be complete without some Ballard. This was one of a series of apocalyptic novels, although they are otherwise unrelated. His writing is clinical, detached and paradoxically completely submerges the reader in a world without water. Reading this is like being transported into a surrealist landscape, where nothing quite makes sense. There is a mirage-like touch to the prose that sticks, like your tongue to the back of your dry mouth.

8. Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke

This book opened my mind to the unbelievable depth of space. That hundreds of civilisations could have lived and died before humans even emerged from the cat’s cradle of evolution on Earth. Of course, in Rama itself, there is an alien artefact which requires exploration (you detecting a theme here?). And, yes, space really is that big.

9. The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

I was brought up with the Triffids. They were there on the television creaking around through 80s TV sets and devouring people. For a while I thought they were real. Later I consumed the book like the voracious Triffid reader I am. The idea of the meteor show blinding Earth’s inhabitants, rendering them powerless to the Triffids’ advances is haunting and I still have a mild panic attack any time I hear of (or even witness) a meteor shower.

10. Stone – Adam Roberts

Roberts turns his hand to many different tropes in SF, his books diverse and fascinating. Here he does space opera on a grand scale, whizzing through many different exotic planets with an assured prose. And for his third outing, this feels like a book from a much more experienced writer. High concepts abound: faster than light travel, quantum physics and intelligent nanotechnology (dotTech) which has created a kind of human utopia (or has it?). On reading this, I almost shouted with joy, revelling in the fact that modern SF has so much to offer. Simply breathtaking.

In the comments, I’d love to hear about your favorite SF novels! 

About the Author

Guy T Martland is a British writer whose debut SF novel ‘The Scion’ was published by Safkhet Fantasy on July 1st, 2015. He has also published short stories in various magazines, including Perihelion SF, Shoreline of Infinity, Encounters, Albedo One and Fiction Vortex. You can find more information about him on guytmartland.co.uk or visit his Facebook Page.

scion

The Scion by Guy T Martland

The aliens from your nightmares are coming. The colonies of Earth are next. And it looks like nothing can stop them.

A blue star, a dying friend, a kidnap and the dusty contents of an old room: Septimus Esterhazy’s life is about to change. As he blows cobwebs from the manual of an old spacecraft, hidden for decades, a Pandora’s box creaks open.

Little does he know that the universe’s very nature is being threatened by a powerful alien race. Nor does he know that he is somehow involved with why the Wraith, destroyers of worlds, are coming.

The self-proclaimed ‘Protectors of the Known Universe’, the Sassrit, are trying to do everything they can to thwart a Wraith attack.  But time is running out and resources are stretched.

A Sassrit agent, one of the shapeshifting Jarthiala, is recruited to help. The path he follows leads to the doorstep of a planet called D, an Earth colony, above which a blue star hangs, its light reflected in the eyes of Septimus below.

This is a journey which will change Septimus Esterhazy forever. It will make him question his nature.  He will uncover secrets about his family that have lain dormant for years.  And it will test the loyalty of those closest to him.

But first he has to watch his best friend die.

The Scion by Guy T Martland is available on Amazon:

www.amazon.com/The-Scion-Guy-T-Martland-ebook/dp/B0100U7ROG/

www.amazon.co.uk/Scion-Guy-T-Martland-ebook/dp/B0100U7ROG/

scion author

More about the author:

Website: http://guytmartland.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/guytmartland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guy-T-Martland/1663769490518239

Safkhet Publishing: http://safkhetpublishing.com/

Spotlight On: How to Be a Mermaid by Erin

Women near sea in bikini and white skirt

How to be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes
(Falling in Deep Collection, #10)
Publication date: July 7th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

All Tara ever wanted was to be a mermaid.

So she takes a year off between high school and college to don a fake tail and tour aquariums across the country in a professional mermaid troupe.

Everything’s great until she meets a gorgeous real-life merman named Finn. Suddenly, what she thought was a dream turns out to be a nightmare — she’s turning into a mermaid herself. For real.

Yet when she returns to the sea to seek out Finn and reverse her transformation, she finds herself in the middle of an impending war between the land and sea. Tara may have always wanted to be a mermaid, but now it’s sink or swim. In order to survive, she has to learn how to be one, too.

***

Mermaid

Excerpt

“What is this?” a rough, intense voice demanded.

I swam out of unconsciousness, an uncomfortable experience that revealed my entire body aching, my head most of all. It was so dark, and a strange feeling had overtaken my body. Like I was floating. I tried touching a hand to my head, only to find that I couldn’t.

What the-?

My hands were tied behind my back with what felt like…kelp?

The realization hit me and I thrashed about trying to free myself, and I finally opened my eyes.

I paused for a moment, unable to grasp exactly where I was.

I was…underwater?

Air bubbles popped out of my mouth in a flurry when a scream escaped my throat. A thousand thoughts filled my head, none of them making sense except for the overwhelming dread that I was somehow underwater with my hands tied behind my back. From what I could tell, there was no way I could get air to breathe. I’d lost a lot of air when I screamed.

Oh my god, I was going to drown.

My mermaid necklace was thrust in front of my vision, momentarily disorienting me.

“What is this? I demand you to tell me now!”

“What?” I asked out loud. A sharp pain zigzagged across my head from where I’d hit it on the rock. I was trapped underwater and this man wanted to know…what exactly? What my necklace was?

The necklace came even closer to my face, so much that I’d have to go cross-eyed in order to focus on it.

“Where did you get this? What is it?” the man demanded.

“It’s my…” I was unsure and still terrified of my situation. “It’s my necklace.”

***

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Summer 2015, award-winning, and best-selling authors will bring you romantic tales of mermaids, sirens, sprites, and other creatures of the deep! Keep in touch as we reveal each title in our collection!

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24585761-how-to-be-a-mermaid?ac=1

Purchase:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Mermaid-Falling-Collection-Novella-ebook/dp/B010IB0LFO/
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-be-a-mermaid-erin-hayes/1122247442?ean=9781514264904

AUTHOR BIO:

ErinSci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.

She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

Author links:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5335865.Erin_Hayes
http://www.erinhayesbooks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/erinhayesbooks
https://twitter.com/erinhayes5399

 

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To enter to win an e-book copy of How to be a Mermaid, leave a comment and let us know what you love most about mermaid stories!

Cover Reveal: Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Nora
and Kettle
Release
Date: 02/29/16
Clean
Teen Reads
Summary
from Goodreads:
What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid
just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned
Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in
history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World
War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of
Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an
abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.
Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to
naïve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and
violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the
interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her
younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to
change.
For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting.
But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide
as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her
window.
In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the
chance to take to the window and fly away.

 

Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores
the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is
inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of
events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they
change the world.
 
About the Author
Lauren Nicolle
Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear
physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science
career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science
degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology. 

 

She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first
child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a
full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled
down, she turned to writing. 

 

 

 

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards
Finalist.
 
Author Links:
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Spotlight On: I Think I Love You, by Iris Blobel

I THINK I LOVE YOU by Iris Blobel

Series: Australian Sports Series #3

Publisher: Limitless Publishing

★★★ NOW LIVE ★★★

★★★ SYNOPSIS ★★★

Markus DeLeon and Sarah Winter’s lives couldn’t be more different…
After three years away as the goalkeeper for an English soccer club, Markus has been happy to be back in Australia. He’d missed his family and friends, including Sarah. He’s known her since childhood, and often protected her from the teasing of other children and the troubling consequences of a broken home.
When they attend their friends’ wedding, a new light is cast on their friendship…
Sarah is fresh out of a bad relationship, and Markus has always been the one she can confide in. Maybe it’s the magic of the wedding—or how stunning he looks in a tux—but the attraction between them intensifies in ways they’d never imagined.
But sometimes when risking what you have, you might lose everything…
Following a passionate encounter, Markus isn’t sure how to handle this new aspect of his relationship with Sarah, and literally flees the scene for the coast. Sarah is unsure how to react to his sudden departure, but is soon knocked off course by misunderstandings and a frightening family emergency.
Markus realises his mistake and wants to make things right, but he also faces obstacles. He’s been offered an exciting new job, and an attractive newcomer to the neighbourhood is eager to claim his attention, though the last thing Markus needs is another confusing relationship.
Can Sarah and Markus face the fear and doubt—and the potential loss of their lifelong friendship—to give their love a chance?
★★★ PURCHASE LINKS ★★★
 
★ AUSTRALIAN SPORTS STARS SERIES 
Book 1: LOVE WILL FIND YOU: http://amzn.to/1f5Eqq7 – Currently FREE!
Book 2: LET ME LOVE YOU: http://amzn.to/1GRPZbc
★ MEET THE AUTHOR 
IRIS BLOBEL
Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.
Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.
Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.
CONNECT WITH IRIS BLOBEL:

Interview with Michelle Bellon, author of The Fire Inside + Giveaway

Fire Inside 2

Author Interview

Give us an insight into your main character. What do you like best about them?

There are actually three key characters in this story and each new chapter is told from their point of view, however, out if those three, Aiden is the most essential character to the story. He is the one who brings the other two together. He is the fulcrum. What I like most about him is the way he makes you feel every spectrum of emotion along his journey. You don’t just watch his struggle, you accompany him through it. He’s a genuinely good and kind person who was dealt a very distressing situation. Yet, he not only faces that heartache head-on, he rises above it and teaches those around him many lessons along the way.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from The Fire Inside?

Jesse Williams, an actor from Grey’s Anatomy. He looks exactly how I imagine Aiden right down to those haunting eyes.

When writing your novel did you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

Let me first say that I’ve been working on this particular book for the past five years. I wrote and rewrote it multiple times because every time I went back and read it, it just didn’t feel ready. I experienced more joy, relief, and even pride, when I finally finished this book more than with any other story I’ve written in the past.

That said, the first draft took me approximately four months to write. At that time in my life I was writing full time so my goal was to write at least twenty minutes per day. With four children, that goal obviously wasn’t met every day, but there were also many instances where twenty minutes easily turned into two to three hours during the day. I also lost a lot of sleep at night trying to get the whole story out, so it was very time consuming.

These days, I’m working full time as a registered nurse, too, so my time for writing has dwindled down quite a lot. I look forward to the day when my writing is more successful and I can devote more time to it again.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, or longhand?

I write on my laptop only. I can’t begin to imagine writing longhand. Patience is a virtue that continues to elude me, and writing longhand takes quite a bit of it. Do typewriters still exist? Is that a thing?

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

So typically what happens is a scene and the two main characters will come to me, either in a dream, or while I’m driving (random, I know). At that point my brain explodes with ideas and I zone out for an entire day. I mean like completely go comatose. I’m useless for the rest of the day. Then hours later, I snap back and rejoin life determined to write this new story down. From there, the story unfolds around those key scenes. I sit down and start writing. It’s a very organic process. The only regimented tactic I use is a timeline. Making a very basic timeline of events keeps the story linear and helps me avoid continuity issues.

This whole process is what I love the most about writing. That surge of creative energy that flows through me, feeds me.

Fire Inside

The Fire Inside

By Michelle Bellon

Genre: Literary Fiction

Aiden had the perfect life. A job he loved, a beautiful son and loving wife. In an instant everything is taken from him and Aiden assumes his life is over. Falling into a deep depression Aiden has all but given up on his job, his friends and himself. But when a mysterious force gives him the power to heal those around him, Aiden is forced to pull himself out of his depression in favor of the greater good. When he meets Ryan, a young woman living on the streets, and Norma, a woman whose marriage is crumbling around her, Aiden acknowledges that maybe his life still has a purpose and his ability to heal maybe more powerful then he may ever imagined.

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Inside-Michelle-Bellon-ebook/dp/B00ZV1UCNS/

Author Bio:

Fire Inside Author

Michelle Bellon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her four children and boyfriend, Seth. She loves coffee and has an addiction to chapstick. She works at a surgery center as a registered nurse and in her spare time writes novels. She writes in the genres of romance suspense, young adult, women’s fiction, and literary fiction. She has won three literary awards.

Social links:

http://www.michellebellon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/michelle.authorpage

https://twitter.com/MichelleBellon

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Just Couldn’t Put It Down July Blog Hop ~ Wild About Rachel, by Blaire Edens

Just-Couldn't-Put-It-Down-July

Welcome to the Just Couldn’t Put it Down July Blog Hop! For this hop, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Wild About Rachel by Blaire Edens–a great romance novel that I had the great pleasure to read before it ever came out. It’s hugely entertaining. So check it out below, enter to win, then HOP to the rest of the participating blogs!

1WildAboutRachel

Former debutante Rachel Hansworth longs for the days when “alligator” was followed by “pumps” or “handbag.” Broke, Rachel takes the only job she can find: removing nuisance animals from Florida homes. Unfortunately, fighting the attraction to her boss proves more difficult than wrestling a gator.
Army veteran Mark Winters needs help with his business, but he wants Rachel more. He must honor a promise to his dying mother and find a fiancée. A real girlfriend isn’t part of the plan—he’s been there, done that. There’s only one problem: He can’t stop kissing Rachel.
She refuses to be duped by love again, and he won’t let a few hot make-out sessions tear down the walls he’s erected. But she’s all about the big bonus she’ll receive if she helps Mark. They’ll lower their defenses enough to trust each other when a wild animal is involved, but can they pull off the fake fiancée ruse and not be bitten by love?

About the Author

Blaire Edens lives in the mountains of North Carolina. She grew up on a farm that’s been in her family since 1790. Of Scottish descent, her most famous ancestor, John Comyn, Lord of Badenoch and Guardian of Scotland, was murdered by Robert the Bruce on the altar of the Greyfriars Church at Dumfries.

She has a degree in Horticulture from Clemson University. She’s held a myriad of jobs including television reporter, GPS map creator, and personal assistant to a fellow who was rich enough to pay someone to pick up the dry cleaning. When she’s not plotting, she’s busy knitting, running, or listening to the Blues.

Blaire loves iced tea with mint, hand-stitched quilts, and yarn stores. She refuses to eat anything that mixes chocolate and peanut butter or apple and cinnamon. She’s generally nice to her mother, tries to remember not to smack her bubble gum, and only speeds when no one’s looking.

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HOP to the rest of the blogs!

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Spotlight On: Pixelated, by L.S. Murphy

Pixelated
Release Date: 06/30/15
Bloomsbury Spark
Summary from Goodreads:

Senior Year. 

Middle of nowhere. 

What’s the new girl to do?

For Piper Marks, the answer is simple. She’s determined to have her photography rock the cover of National Geographic someday, and moving to Clarkton, Iowa for her last year of high school is not going to stop her. Even if her usual subjects have changed from bright lights and skyscrapers to fields, cows…and more fields. 

But when photographer at the local paper quits in a huff, she steps into his
spot. Her new job keeps Piper busy capturing tackles, and zooming in on first
downs and end zone dances, not to mention putting her directly in the path of
varsity football star Les Williams IV. Her new friends warn her off, but she
can’t resist the pull she feels toward this mysterious country boy. But this
small town is keeping a secret, and it’s one that could destroy any chance they
have to be together. 


It’s up to Piper to decide what to do with the distorted truth. Can she risk
exposing her heart? It might be worth it, ’cause Les is about to change her
world from black and white to fully saturated color. 


Buy
Links:
Praise
for Pixelated:

“In Pixelated, L.S. Murphy weaves a complex web of secrets and lies with a
‘will they or won’t they’ romance that kept me turning pages and holding my
breath!” ~ Julie Reece, author of The Artisans and Crux“Beautifully written, with a full spectrum of emotion and complex
characters, Pixelated will tug at all your heartstrings. I easily lost myself
in the world L.S. Murphy created and couldn’t stop reading because I needed to
see how the story ended.” ~ Kelly Oram, author of Cinder & Ella

“L.S. Murphy brings something for every reader with Pixelated: romance,
secrets, mystery, and a main character torn between two choices. Murphy’s
writing is sharp and steeped in emotions, deftly hooking her readers from the
first sentence to the last.” ~ Sarah Bromley, author of A Murder Of
Magpies 

About the Author
L.S. Murphy obsesses about St. Louis Cardinals baseball, fangirls over her favorite
authors, and watches every episode of Doctor Who like it’s the first time. When
she’s not doing those time-consuming things, the former farm-girl turned city
slicker turned suburbanite writes sweet romances for teens and adults.



Author Links:

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