In my last science fiction post I said I would be recommending some of the modern books I’ve read. I talked about series of books where the author makes the first ebook free as a carrot to draw you in, hoping that you will like it enough to buy the rest of the series. It is indeed a good marketing strategy and has worked with me several times.
This time I want to introduce you firstly to the Alien Invasion series by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant. These two writers are worth getting to know as I have loved almost everything of theirs I have read. They are very prolific and write in a range of genres, some of which I’m not interested in, like zombies, so I haven’t read everything yet.
This series begins with the detection of an alien fleet and looks at one family’s flight to safety. My review of book 1 Invasion said:
This book is unusual in that it's all about one family in the days leading up to the alien arrival. I thought it might be a bit of a stretch to fill a whole book with it, but the tension is sustained the whole time. The characters are out of the ordinary, and some of them hard to love, but they come across as real people who you gradually get to understand. Can't wait for the sequel - going to start it tonight! Highly recommended.The blurb is unusually long and detailed but it gives you a good feel for the story:
They are coming. The countdown has begun.
First visible only as blips on a telescope image, the discovery of objects approaching from Jupiter orbit immediately sets humanity on edge. NASA doesn't even bother to deny the alien ships' existence. The popular Astral space app (broadcasting from the far side of the moon and accessible by anyone with internet) has already shown the populace what is coming. So the news has turned from evasion to triage, urging calm and offering the few facts they have:
The objects are enormous, perfectly round spheres numbering in the dozens, maybe hundreds. They are on an approach vector for Earth. And they will arrive in six days.
Meyer Dempsey - mogul, wealthy entrepreneur, arrogant and always in charge - is in New York, on the phone with his ex-wife in LA when the news breaks. He can hear tension in the voices of reporters and experts chronicling all that's known and unknown. But even while those supposedly in charge restrain their own panic, Meyer finds he recognises bits and pieces of what the world is facing. He's seen this in dreams - in visions of another place. He knows where he and his family must go. He has prepared … though he never knew until now what he'd been preparing for.
He knows only they cannot hesitate. They must run to their safe haven in the Colorado mountains. Now. Before society shatters into chaos, and it all falls apart.
Meyer has been taking steps for months, and has made preparations: a trove of supplies, a van stocked for the worst, a Gulfstream waiting at a small airstrip in Jersey. But he hasn't yet been able to take the final and most important step: moving the family to Colorado, where every contingency is covered.
The networks stay on-air longer than expected, creating a farce of calm. But those with means have already begun to scramble as Meyer gathers his wife Piper and his two teenage children and begins their race toward that compound, toward safety. There is no time for hesitation, regret, or pity.
Soon, pundits begin to ask questions hard enough to tip those who've thus far stayed calm out of their complacency, inciting chaos:
What do the beings inside the ships want? What will they do when they arrive? And what if the scientists are wrong, and the spheres aren't decelerating? Will they strike the planet, raising clouds of extinction dust? Will they knock the Earth off its axis? Is this a prelude to an alien invasion? An alien war? An alien apocalypse? The first domino in the birth of a new alien empire?
Panic, once it breaches the thin crust of civilized society, spreads like a virus. Meyer knows only one thing, and it's a truth that has perched atop his mind like a psychic obsession: When the ships arrive, his family must be at the Colorado compound or all will be lost. The space fleet in itself doesn't matter. The disintegration on the surviving news outlets does not matter. Reports that Las Vegas has been set ablaze do not matter. The fate of humanity, in Meyer's eyes, doesn't matter.
All that matters is Piper. Trevor. Delilah. And Meyer's ex-wife Heather, coming to the same destination from the west - a woman who remains his best friend, and his secret lover.
Rioting spills into the highways as time ticks away. Unrest boils in both city and hinterlands. But Meyer's obsession to reach Vail is single-minded, guided with the focus of a far-seeing nightmare. Gangs can ground his plane, threaten his vehicles, and steal his belongings. But nothing will stand between Meyer's family and their haven … and Meyer will kill his way to Colorado if he has to.
This relentless, page-turning tale of apocalyptic dawn is the first in the alien invasion series by masters of story Truant and Platt, authors of The Beam, Robot Proletariat, the Dream Engine series, and many more.
Another series I have recommended in my science fiction newsletter is Ambassador by Patty Jansen. Whereas the Alien Invasion series is complete, this series is ongoing and I’m currently waiting for book 8. Again, I love this author so much I will buy any of her science fiction books almost without finding out the details. The characters are well rounded, as are the worlds, and the different cultures are described so well, you feel you are there. Here is the blurb for book 1 Seeing Red:
Book 1 of the Ambassador Space Opera Thriller series.
24 October 2114: the day that shocked the world.
Young diplomat Cory Wilson narrowly escapes death in the assassination of President Sirkonen. No one claims responsibility but there is no doubt that the attack is extraterrestrial.
Cory was meant to start work as a representative to Gamra, the alien organisation that governs the FTL transport network, but now his new job may well be scrapped in anger.
Worse, as Earth uses military force to stop any extraterrestrials coming or leaving, as 200,000 extraterrestrial humans are trapped on Earth, as the largest army in the galaxy prepares to free them by force, only Cory has the experience, language skills and contacts to solve the crime.
But he's broke, out of a job and a long way from Earth.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz