Living Safely in a Science Fiction Novel

SaturnI grew up reading science fiction, inspired by my father’s love of the genre and my own burning fascination with other planets. I couldn’t wait for commercial space travel (Hello 2001 A Space Oydessy), convenient time travel (even if it required a DeLorean), and, yes, Jetson style flying cars. The future looked good!

ETAs I aged and my tastes matured, I wandered into the darker corners of the speculative fiction world. First contact stories ranged from the benign E.T. to the terrifying Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Artificial intelligence helped the human race  (I, Robot) or destroyed it (Terminator movies.)

An odd thing occurred to me this morning. If you live long enough (and I have) you are going to eventually end up living in a science fiction novel. You just don’t get to choose which one.

Ah, it could have been cloning (Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang.) Or we could have spontaneously developed telepathy (More Than Human.) It could have been an ecological disaster. (Actually, it still might be.)  There were so many options.

Which one did we get?

The global pandemic one. Sheeesh. It would not have been my first choice.

last shipThe nice thing about novels is all the boring stuff happens fast or behind the scenes. Most time is taken up by people doing something about the situation. There is a nice story arc, and whether all ends well, or a few key heroes survive, or we all get wiped out  — something happens.

The problem with living through the real-life version is that it is incredibly slow and confusing and no one has much faith anything is changing. It’s not nearly as exciting to live in a time of crisis as one would think.

But here we are, each writing our own story every day.  It’s no action-packed thriller, that’s for sure, and we have to face the fact that months may get condensed into a single sentence.

“She ate a disgusting number of cookies for dinner each night.”

But there will be an end, because the only thing we can count on is change, even when it is slow and we don’t see it coming.

Get ready for the next book in the series. The possibilities are endless.

safely insong new day(Yes, the title of this post was inspired by “How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe” and I recommend the novel. It will give you something new to do while you eat those cookies for dinner. You might also want to check out this year’s Nebula-award-winning best novel “A Song for a New Day,” about a culture designed to survive an onslaught of new viruses. It was written just before covid-19 hit.)

 

R.I.P in Reykjavik

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author A.R. Kennedy and her cozy mystery novel, R.I.P in Reykjavik.

Author’s description:

Traveling with your family can be murder.

One wedding party + one estranged mother = another vacation that goes array for Naomi.

Naomi is off on another international vacation. She thinks traveling with her mother will be the most difficult part of her trip until she meets the rest of the tour group—a wedding party. It only gets worse when she finds the groom dead. Everyone’s a suspect on her Icelandic tour of this stunning country.

My Review

In R.I.P in Reykjavik, A.R. Kennedy has taken her idea of combining arm chair travel and cozy crime stories up a notch. This is a witty, fun and easy-to-read amateur sleuth novel that will once again have you turning the pages to cheer on its rookie crime solver. This time around, you’ll be enjoying the beauty and charm of Iceland while you do it.

Naomi acts more grown-up in this novel, and her previous amateur sleuthing in Africa has made her more competent at solving murders, too. It makes her a more likable sleuth. As a bonus, the reader gets new details about her dysfunctional family and I think this knowledge makes the whole series more appealing.

One of my favorite things about her writing is the ongoing humor. Enough sly wit was scattered throughout the story to keep me smiling, but I was laughing out loud near the end as Naomi made a video for her sister of the coming and goings in the hotel hallway. It’s worth reading the book just for that scene.

Deep twists and unexpected turns regarding the murder aren’t Kennedy’s MO, but once again we get an adequately complex cast of suspects, and a satisfying ending. I’ll take that any day.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth novels or travel.

Check out my review of the author’s previous book Sleuth on Safari.

The teaser at the end of R.I.P in Reykjavik says Naomi’s next adventure will be in Australia. I’m looking forward to it!

About the Author

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub or on Twitter. 

Buy R.I.P in Reykjavik on Amazon or find it at Books2read.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

A. R. Kennedy will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

A Personal Note

I’ve haven’t yet had the good fortune to travel to Iceland, but I did get to research it for my novel Flickers of Fortune. My hero Ariel, also a tourist, did many of the same things Naomi did, including visiting the Blue Lagoon and eating at the Lava restaurant. It was extra fun for me to read these scenes!

 My Favorite Excerpt

We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. As I sat down at one of the long benches, my cell phone rang. Charlotte’s face appeared on the screen. I ran outside to answer it.

“So I heard you had a late night,” Charlotte said.

“Not the time.” I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one had followed me out. “The police think it might not be an accident.”

Charlotte audibly sighed. “Is that why it was a long night? You were with the police?”

“No, one of Ösp’s friends is a police officer.”

“You mean Thor.”

“Please don’t encourage Mother. His name is Ösp. I don’t want her nickname to stick.”

“Her nickname? I called him that,” she corrected me. “He looks like Thor.”

I looked over my shoulder at the restaurant’s entrance. “Looks like? How do you know what he looks like? Did you cyberstalk him? Check the hotel’s website for the staff’s pictures?”

“No. Mom texted me pictures.”

Horrified, I asked, “And how did she get them?”

“She followed you to the lobby.”

“Nice.”

“Give her a break. She was excited. It was like seeing you on your first date.”

“I’ve been on dates before.” I glanced over my shoulder again for any of the suspects.

“But Mom didn’t see that. She didn’t see the first dates, the proms. That was all Dad.”

“Would you like it if Dad followed you out on a date?”

“I don’t think Dad cares about those things.”

She was probably right.

“Anyway, this police officer I met last night said the autopsy must have shown something because they hadn’t closed the case yet.”

“So you turned your date into a fact-finding mission?”

“It was a happy coincidence.” I thought I heard the door open behind me. I turned to see no one. It must have been the wind.

“Why do you keep looking behind you?” Charlotte asked.

“Just making sure none of the suspects can hear me.”

“Suspects? You’ve turned your traveling companions into suspects?” She paused before adding, “Again?”

I ignored her. “Hurry up, Charlotte. Someone is going to come out looking for me soon.”

“Fine. If he drowned, I bet they’d say it was an accident. They’d find water in his lungs if he drowned. Maybe the autopsy didn’t find water in his lungs. That doesn’t rule out a cardiac event. That may be hard to prove. Most likely they are waiting for the toxicology results. That’s going to take a few days.”

I looked at the restaurant door and wished I could run in for my backpack, so I could take notes. “And what would that show?”

“Whatever was in his system. Maybe drugs, poisons.”

“I forgot to ask. If it was poison, how long before he died would he have to be poisoned?”

“Depends on the poison. Probably an hour or two, I guess.”

“Could you get a poison through TSA?”

“In something in a bottle with less than three ounces, sure. Could have been a powder. They could have bought it locally too. Rat poison and antifreeze has been used in a lot human deaths.”

“Can you think of anything specific I should look for?”

“You should look who’s coming up behind you,” she said before hanging up.

The Edge of All Worlds

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Matt Betts and his Science Fiction/Fantasy novel, The Edge of All Worlds.

Author’s description:

Carson of Venus is back in the first novel of groundbreaking Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe series!

When a mysterious enemy attacks his adopted nation of Korva, Earthman Carson Napier discovers his own arrival on Venus years ago may have unknowingly triggered the strike. The invaders’ trail of death and destruction leads Carson and his beloved princess Duare headlong into battle against a seemingly invincible, primordial race. But that is not Carson’s only challenge, for an uncanny phenomenon has entangled him with two strange individuals from beyond spacetime. Will Carson be able to solve the mysteries of his past and the enigmatic visitors before the entire planet descends into chaos?

Also includes the bonus novelette “Pellucidar: Dark of the Sun” by Christopher Paul Carey, introducing Victory Harben, the ERB Universe’s newest heroine:

The very principle of physics behind the Gridley Wave has mysteriously failed, cutting off all communication between the hollow world of Pellucidar and the outer crust, and now inventor Jason Gridley must seek help from his brilliant young protégé, Victory Harben. Together they recover timeworn records from deep in the ruins of a dead Mahar city, hoping to use knowledge of Pellucidar’s former reptilian overlords to jumpstart the Gridley Wave. But when their experiment goes terribly wrong, Jason and Victory suddenly find themselves drawn into the inscrutable machinations of an ancient evil.

THE FIRST UNIVERSE OF ITS KIND

A century before the term “crossover” became a buzzword in popular culture, Edgar Rice Burroughs created the first expansive, fully cohesive literary universe. Coexisting in this vast cosmos was a pantheon of immortal heroes and heroines–Tarzan of the Apes, Jane Clayton, John Carter, Dejah Thoris, Carson Napier, and David Innes being only the best known among them. In Burroughs’ 80-plus novels, their epic adventures transported them to the strange and exotic worlds of Barsoom, Amtor, Pellucidar, Caspak, and Va-nah, as well as the lost civilizations of Earth and even realms beyond the farthest star. Now the Edgar Rice Burroughs Universe expands in an all-new series of canonical novels written by today’s talented authors!

About the Author:

Matt Betts worked for years in radio as an on-air personality, anchor and reporter. His fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. His work includes the steampunk novel, Odd Men Out, urban fantasy crime novel Indelible Ink, and his recent cryptid/horror novel White Anvil: Sasquatch Onslaught. His current release Carson of Venus: The Edge of all Worlds continues a series begun by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Sales links:

ERB: https://bit.ly/3cmkrAU
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RFrcGa

Author Links:

links:Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Betts_Matt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mattbettswrites
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mattbetts_author/
Website: http://www.mattbetts.com

About this tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a physical copy of the paperback of Carson of Venus: The Edge of All Worlds (continental US only). Enter here to win.

Read an Excerpt

Fire and ash blackened his armored bands, but he advanced without the appearance of concern. The black smoke rippled off him as he stepped from the fiery mess. Each step of his large feet seemed to hasten the floor cracks that still moved in our direction.
“Stop!” I shouted. “This is a grand fight we have going on here, but if you advance any farther, you’ll shatter this floor and hurl us both to our deaths.” He continued forward as if he hadn’t heard me, one heavy step after another. I looked to the broad strip of white rock that encircled the room, hoping it would be sturdier than the glasslike material that composed the floor.
At that moment, the whole building seemed to shake. There came a tremendous cracking sound, and the section of the flooring upon which I stood lurched down several feet with a sickening screech. I flung myself to one side and grabbed a thick section of the clear floor, holding on with one hand as I watched the great chunk of glass upon which I had just been standing twist and turn on the way to the ground far below.
Fingers bleeding, I clutched the sharp edges in order to keep myself from following the broken section down. The sounds of combat around me fell away until I heard nothing but my own breathing, ragged and desperate, fearing the slightest breeze would cause my fragile handhold to break free.
Copyright © Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. All rights reserved. All logos, characters, names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are trademarks or registered trademarks of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. Used by permission.