Help us give a warm welcome to authors Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen today, on the tour for the final book in their Chaos Station series, Phase Shift.
Enjoy their guest post, and then be sure to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway details below.
Five Things We Love About Sci Fi
As a mirror to humanity, or as an opportunity to dream up a totally unique being, aliens are endlessly fascinating! Some of our favourites, outside of our own, include the Mri and Regul from C.J. Cherryh’s The Faded Sun trilogy, the Hirogen from Star Trek: Voyager—who heavily influenced our own galactic bullies, the stin, all of the races of Babylon 5, particularly the Minbari and the Vorlons, and the horsey aliens from Marvel’s Power Pack, the Kymellians.
Life in the Future
Some of the fun questions to answer while building a science fiction world are:
- What will we be wearing?
- Watching on TV—or instead of TV?
- Is Earth still around (or have we finally destroyed it)?
- Are we still human?
- Who have we met out there, amongst the stars? Or have the aliens living deep in the Marianas Trench finally shown themselves?
- How do we live and work, what sort of work are we doing?
Regardless of how far in the future the setting is, or how much we might have changed, it’s comforting, in an odd way, to imagine we’ll still be here, telling stories, a hundred thousand or even a million years from now.
Creating tech that balances that line between impossible and plausible is a lot of fun. For the Chaos Station series, we created stuff like:
- Food factors – 3D printers of food stuffs popular on ships, since their supplies require a smaller storage space than maintaining a full galley.
- Jump space – Our version of faster-than-light travel.
- Wallets – All-in-one communication and commerce tablets made of foldable plastic-like material for easy storage in a pocket.
- Jazers and ripcomms – Short for jump-space laser communications and relay-point communications, respectively, these were modes of communication we dreamed up for our space ships.
- Smart Fibre Technology (SFT) – fabric imbued with smart threads that clean, repair and can hold and change shape for better fit, or in some cases to protect against injury. Felix is notorious for being hard on smart fibre. Most of the threads in his shirts and pants are ‘dead’.
One of the most enjoyable elements of dreaming up tech is also dreaming up restrictions and constraints. For example, although cybernetic implants and replacement limbs exist, jump space fries delicate tech like that. Jazers are prohibitively expensive for the average ship owner, and ripcomms only work when the ship is not in j-space.
One of the best things about Star Trek was how it tackled real-world issues, like racism. Though our sci-fi isn’t quite so ambitious, being able to explore a time when things might be—hopefully will be—different is fantastic.
In the Chaos Station galaxy, human sexuality is no longer quite as constrained as it is in the 21st century. No one cares who you sleep with—unless you live on one of a handful of colonies who need babies to be born in order to remain sustainable. It was really gratifying to be able to envision a galaxy like this, where a man loving a man is not a big deal and not challenged.
Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” This is a fun concept to play with in space opera, in particular. Look at Star Wars, with the Force—it’s not really tech, but it is scientifically explained. We did the same sort of thing throughout the series with Zed’s abilities, the Guardians, the resonance and the abilities Felix gains with his new arm. It’s incredibly fun to play around with this sort of thing, imagining what almost-magic we can inject into our world.
Phase Shift: Book five of Chaos Station
Zander and Felix’s relationship has always pushed boundaries—personal and professional alike—but their love and commitment is stronger than ever. So strong that Zander’s ready to ask commitment-shy Felix the question of a lifetime when he’s interrupted. The Chaos is being hacked, and crucial, top secret information about the project that created Zander—and his fellow super soldiers—has been leaked.
Neither man could have expected the enormity of what’s discovered at the end of the data trail: an entire colony of super soldiers run by the very doctor who changed Zander’s life forever. And now she needs them both—Zander to train her new crop of soldiers, and Felix’s new crystalline arm to stabilize their body chemistry.
With help from the unlikeliest of allies, Zander, Felix and the Chaos crew must destroy the project and all its ill-gotten information. But when the team is split up and Felix is MIA after a dangerous run, galactic disaster is a very real possibility…and Zander may have missed his chance to ask for forever.
Jenn and Kelly met in 2009 through a mutual infatuation with a man who wasn’t real. After all but crashing the video game’s forums with daily dissection of their obsession, they started writing together, discovered they really liked writing together and began plotting stories in worlds of their own creation.
The CHAOS STATION series aren’t the first books they’ve written together, and they’re pretty sure they won’t be the last. As long as their so-called smartphones keep making autocorrects that trigger brainstorming sessions, they’ll have enough character ideas and plots to keep them writing for years to come.
Series Website: chaosstation.com
Prize: The first four books in the Chaos Station series—Chaos Station, Lonely Shore, Skip Trace and InversionPoint—and a $25 gift card to the online bookseller of your choice.
Signing up for our newsletter gives access to our free Chaos Station story, “Graduation”.
Terms: Rafflecopter runs from 12:01 AM EST 5/2/2016 to 11:59 PM EST 5/8/2016. Giveaway is open internationally. Gift card value is US dollars. Winner will be contacted via email.
Follow the Tour
5/2 Gay Book Reviews
5/2 Prism Book Alliance
5/2 Queer Sci Fi
5/3 Purple Rose Teahouse
5/4 Smitten with Reading
5/4 The Novel Approach
5/5 Sinfully Sexy
5/6 Joyfully Jay
5/6 Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews
5/6 Love Bytes