Indie Spotlight: Sci-Fi and Fantasy
In this month’s thematic roundup of BookLife titles, we feature sci-fi and fantasy. Want to see your book featured? Check out our Indie Spotlight Calendar at booklife.com/indiespotlight.
After Intelligence: The Missing Passage
Author statement: "In the first book of the After Intelligence series, the cutting-edge Android Inception Program flipped Charlotte Blythe's second year at Cognation Academy upside down as she risked everything to save her android friends, Isaac and Denton. With Isaac's future still in jeopardy this semester, Charlotte throws herself into the annual enigma tournament and campus-wide battle over androids' rights. I have always been interested in how technology illuminates and complicates the human experience, and as AI and virtual reality become ever more present in our world, I have enjoyed exploring questions of privacy, reality, humanity, and control through Charlotte's perspective."
The Algorithm Will See You Now
Author statement: "Medical treatment determined by artificial intelligence could do more than make Hope Kestrel's career. It could revolutionize healthcare. What the Seattle surgeon doesn't know is the AI has a hidden fatal flaw, and the people covering it up will stop at nothing to dominate the world's healthcare—and its profits. Soon, Hope is made the scapegoat for a patient's death, and only Jacie Stone, a gifted intern with a knack for computer science, is willing to help search for the truth. I am a cancer physician who became fascinated by the possibilities – including possible dangers – of AI in healthcare about ten years ago. I started writing the book in 2016. At its heart, The Algorithm Will See You Now is a book about grief, healthcare justice, and the responsibilities of humans behind any technology."
Antuna's Story (The Antunite Chronicles Book 1)
Author statement: “Antuna’s Story is about the early survival of insects transported to a far-off planet. The insects’ struggles between aggressive and altruistic tendencies are an allegory for human frailties, where the lust for power and hatred of others leads to widespread prejudice and racism. It’s a story about friendship and societal growth eclipsed by the horrors of war.”
Author statement: “A streetwise, snarky psych major struggles between the realities of the natural and supernatural orders when she is marked for death by a murderous beast with a mission to eradicate her family line. While I'm a voracious reader, writing wasn't something I had really thought about until my ex-husband and I divorced. I wondered how authors got their inspiration to write. I did a little research and wrote a short story from a prompt. Not long after this, while sitting on the floor, folding laundry, my mind started to wander. All of a sudden, a storyline and characters literally dropped into my head. ”
The Cloud Seeders
Author statement: "Serve Your Country, Conserve Your Water, Observe Your Neighbor. After nearly twelve months without rain and the hinges of the world barely still oiled, Thomas and his younger brother, Dustin, set out across a drought-ridden landscape in search of answers. What they discover along the way will change their lives, and their country, forever."
Author statement: "A wannabe dark wizard gets more than he bargained for when he apprentices for the world’s most powerful mage, a woman who kills more students than she graduates. At its heart, Dark Apprentice is a story about two neurodivergent magic users misunderstanding one another."
The Defined Role
Author statement: "It is said that when you die, one of three things happen: You receive an offer to become a demon, an offer to become an Angel, or you receive no offer at all. the book follows Samuel Stewart and Davis Turner, both theatre college students who want the opposite of the other. Samuel wants to become an Exorcist, protecting citizens from demon possessions. Davis is drafted to be an exorcist but wants absolutely nothing to do with it."
The End of the World... Again
J. M. Dark
Author statement: “The End of the World… Again,” is a series of stories involving diverse characters and situations woven around geomagnetic pole reversal events and considers what it will mean to humankind when it next occurs. The epic adventure contrasts a Neolithic society with a slightly dystopian, near-future culture as they struggle to cope with pole reversal events."
Author statement: “Evelyn's suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident that resulted in her visual impairment and amnesia. While recuperating, she must rely on second-hand information about herself from the only person she can remember, her friend, Thaerdon. But, when Evelyn starts having vivid dreams about a Swordsman, he comes with dire warnings about Thaerdon and prophesies of an Apocalypse.”
The Girl in the Zoo
Author statement: “Mirin thought she was the last human on Earth. Captured during the AI takeover, she’s being held caged in a zoo, and suspects her guard, Borgie, is becoming sentient. When they introduce a feral man they want her to mate with, she realizes she’s not alone. When Mirin discovers secrets about the zoo and how she got there, she is determined to survive. During the pandemic, I wanted to exorcise some demons about being stuck inside, away from friends and family. The story addressed the isolation I felt, that we all felt around the world, and also the apprehension of going back out into the world afterward.”
Heavy Metal Moon
Author statement: “Will heavy metal save humanity? Can blistering punk conquer a blood-thirsty alien gangster? Garton Prog is the greatest rock and roll guitarist on Principia. He’s also the only rock and roll guitarist—and only human—in the Trio’s star system. Now, having assembled a fledgling band of beings who resemble a giant praying mantis, a pear on legs, and a severely height-challenged Frankenstein, Garton has his sights set on winning his planet’s new battle of the bands competition. I play guitar and am a huge rock music fan. Writing this book was a fantastic combination of my passions.”
Icefall Cities: Deadly First Contact at the Edge of a Galactic Empire
Author statement: "An alien controlled her mind and body. Stalked by an assassin. Attacked by killer robots. Lost in nightmare outpost cities at the edge of Settled Space. Deranged AIs quarrel in virtual worlds. Flocks of spaceships battle. The trans-dimensional bulk is penetrated by a musical key. Stars, planets, and moons are destroyed on a whim. Since 2019, I have been able to devote enough time to writing to complete two novels and a graphic novel. The novels are a science fiction duology, called the Vast Alien Crisis. Icefall Cities and Firedrift Moon tell the story of Checkani and her encounter with an alien entity, Rippledarken, from another universe. They are classic space opera, full of advanced technologies, space battles, dangerous robots, and alien worlds."
The Last 0-Day
B. R. Russell
Author statement: "The cybernetics revolution knows no compromise. Luciana Gutierrez, a police officer, works 96-hour shifts with a eugeroic hangover around the corner. Her investigation into those who stole her life is sidelined as a crime syndicate turns her precinct into a war zone. Sent for backup, she’s offered experimental technology that could turn the tide, if she’s willing to risk mind, body, and soul."
Author statement: "This story was inspired when I was unemployed and concussed from a car accident (not my fault). I saw the way Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy could fight and swing his blade and I thought how cool it would be if the blade could double as something that could control gravity like a hoverboard. And better yet, the blade should have AI and a personality of its own. And after several doodles and sketches and thoughts and dreams about a video game or a graphic novel, my wife suggested I write it as a novel first. And here we are."
No Heart for a Thief
James Lloyd Dulin
Author statement: “The magic system was the first part of my world that I constructed. It developed from my interest in the concept of sin eaters, beings who can literally consume sin. This morphed into people who had the ability to consume magic and how they would be treated within their society. So many fantasies focus on kings and generals. They focus on the people with power, but I was interested in exploring the consequences of colonialism and whiteness through those trying to survive it and navigate it.”
Of Wings and Shadows
Author statement: “In a modern-day world teeming with marauding dragons, the United States government has decided to hold a tournament called The Wild Hunt to determine who will be responsible for the capture of wild dragons by the Knight Division. The four challengers, Noah Wilson, Charlie Howard, Su Jin Han, and Beowulf, journey through the mountains of South Carolina, the seas of Key West, the caverns of Ruby Falls, the Redwood forest, and finally, the murky bayous of Louisiana. Will they succeed against their competition, or will the dragons of the Wild Hunt be too wild to tame? Of Wings and Shadows is the sixth book in the Of Cinder and Bone series.”
Author statement: “Once upon a time, Oliver wakes up in a forest full of magic and monsters, not quite dead, but not quite alive either. This book is an ode to my dreams: to fish-shaped constellations, fairytales with unhappy endings, and soft boys with bloody knuckles. It’s an ode to the child in my memories who is still made of magic and monsters and would read fairytales under a chestnut tree. And, most of all, this book is an ode to the forest. “
The Perpetual Now
Jerome J. Bourgault
Author statement: "Ferguston, Ontario is an angry little town full of dark secrets, a place where keeping your head down is never a bad idea. That’s fine with Justin Lambert, an introverted, biracial 12-year-old who generally prefers books to people anyway. Against all odds, Justin has found a new friend. Her name is Billie. She’s sweet, precocious, and a bit feisty. She also isn’t human. Where did I get the inspiration for my characters? I’d too often seen skeptics depicted in popular culture as nerdy nay-sayers, aloof, over-educated, and generally uninteresting. It’s a portrayal that had always saddened me, so I created a family of critical thinkers that, despite a few flaws, was an antidote to that stereotype: funny, whip-smart, and deeply compassionate, full of love and curiosity. I didn’t have to look far for inspiration: this was pretty much the household I grew up in."
Author statement: “Shepherds is a near future sci-fi/thriller where genetically altered humans herd tuna in the open ocean with the help of trained dolphins. But someone is killing the shepherds (they call themselves cowboys) and it's hard to hide in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I wrote this as a possible way to ensure the future of big tuna and added in an element of romance and suspense.”
Andrew G. Berger
Author statement: "How far would you go to survive in a post-apocalyptic world? In the year 2051, a disastrous solar storm hits the Earth. It causes a global EMP which destroys almost all digital devices and power supply. An artificial superintelligence takes over and the world descends into barbarism and chaos. Julia (17) and Winston (18) have to fight tooth and nail to stay alive. The question of what impact the triumph of AI will have on the future of humanity has long been the subject of controversy. My first science fiction novel The Superflare is also dealing with this subject."