The Huzien Empire has existed for 80 millennia and a powerful invisible force known as the enesmic permeates every aspect of the Twin Galaxy.
Neven is an engineer working for the pinnacle of scientific achievement known as the MinSci on the Huzien homeworld of Thae. His genius draws the attention of one of the immortal Founders and he finds himself drafted into the military as part of an elite group of special forces known as the Founder’s Elites. Not given much time to adjust, his team is called to investigate stories of otherworldly creatures attacking fringe colony worlds.
Soahc is the most powerful wielder of the enesmic in the Twin Galaxy, he’s also incredibly cocky. That is until he senses a powerful shifting in the enesmic that he can’t explain. Terrified that something is horribly wrong, Soahc leaves his comfortable planet and hitches a ride with Neven and the Founder’s Elites as they investigate the carnage on the fringes of the empire.
Neven, Soahc and their allies discover something ancient from another plane of existence. Something that exposes the fragility of their galactic empire as they fight to survive annihilation from enesmic beings.
Anyone that loves tech and fantasy will get a kick out of this novel. The author has put a lot of passion into his writing, which makes the story feel very realistic. Due to this, some of the scenes are rather intense, as you do face battles and much more. Although it is clear the author has put a lot of thought into his world and has the ability to bring it to life with his words, it is truly the characters that take this story to the next level. With each character that enters the story, you can feel their vibes coming right off the page. Its quite incredible as some of the masters of literature haven’t even been able to pull this off. This is definitely a must read for sci fans looking for something exciting and well written. It might be a touch on the long side, but every page is worth the time.
California author Emmanuel M Arriaga spent his early years in the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, obsessed with fantasy and science fiction. Stepping out of low-income life, Emmanuel developed an interest in science, technology and engineering. He went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University with a Master’s in Information Science, spent time in the financial industry before landing a job with Google in Silicon Valley. He has two novels published to date FOUNDRA and ELEVATOR QUEST. With a solid foundation of this sort it is no surprise that he is able to create integral science fiction and fantasy in the manner of the current infatuation with IT instant adventure.
Emmanuel opens this massive and complex novel with some excellent illustrations and diagrams that set the scene for the space opera! Readers should be advised that there is an Appendix at book’s end that defines terms used, character descriptions, and other informative data that clarifies the story and scenic plan very well.
The sense of splendor of the setting is set in the Prologue – around 420,000 years BA (Before Ascension): ‘The air warps as the Fallen Commander – an Eshgren of old called Sagren – materializes in the dimly lit metallic corridor, a shock wave of energy shaking the immediate area. The Eshgren surveys its surroundings, while throughout its hulking silver frame purple steaks flicker with unnatural energy. Sizing up the foreign structure from within, the Fallen Commander muses at the resilience of the insects still holding on to the last remnants of this dying world – a world that the Eshgren had wiped bare of all life and claimed its own. Its armies had been ruthless and thorough, no prisoners taken, no mercy shown. After the Eshgrens’ conquest, they had moved on, their march of destruction continuing to other worlds still ripe with Havin life in the “normal” plane…’
And from that colorful and frightening view the story opens in 80,000 years after Founders Ascension (FA). It may take a few chapters to acquaint the reader with the strange names and concepts and places (refer to the Appendix often!), but the ‘journey’ is very well worth the commitment required. Emmanuel’s characters are well sculpted and become credible, even in this strange timeframe and locale. Intrigue fills every page. The synopsis is brief but hints at the drama to come – ‘Neven had a perfect life before he met the immortal Lanrete. Now, he’s fighting to save the galaxy from annihilation by extra-dimensional beings. Forced to become a Secnic (technology master), Neven learns to kill and discovers that he’s remarkably good at it. But will it be enough to stay alive?’
Strong writing and fascinatingly imaginative ideas make this a successful novel – an excellent reward for the energy required to become involved in this epic space opera! Grady Harp, September 19
Foundra by Emmanuel M Arriaga is the story of a man who literally has the weight of the world on his shoulders and with no way for him to get away from his responsibilities. Neven never knew that life could be this complicated. He always had a peaceful existence, so he was baffled when his life turned upside down when he met Lenrete. Immortal and more powerful than he could ever imagine, Lenrete was the catalyst that started a chain of events making him who he is. So he became a Secnic and learned that he was actually quite skilled at killing people. The more he delves deeper into Lenrete’s life, the more he discovers that there are horrifying beings and immortals and some of them are hell-bent on destroying the galaxy. Sure, he is rather good at killing, but will it be enough to keep him alive and save the galaxy? He has to dig deep inside himself to find the courage, the potential and the determination to help everyone survive.
Science fiction is not my usual cup of tea, but when it is this good, I cannot resist it. Full of action and plenty of drama, this novel had me on the edge of my seat and holding my breath. I was invested from the get-go; I wanted to learn more about this galaxy, the people and the way of life. The author provided a healthy amount of background information on some of the most important extra-dimensional beings because, without them, things would have been a little too confusing. Neven is the perfect protagonist for this story; he is sharp, intelligent and willing to work hard, even though he wasn’t so keen on the idea of becoming a Secnic. He adapted quickly and with that, he turned out to be the best of all the characters. The pace was fast, the flow was great and the maps and diagrams of the galaxy helped me put things in perspective. This is an excellent start to a series that will be very enjoyable for avid readers of science fiction and mystery.
When you see a map and sketches in the beginning of the book, you get a sense what are you going into, right? Something like that for me clearly implies ambition of the author and a confidence that his book is interesting enough and good enough to draw a reader into an epic, long, detailed narrative. There is no sense in describing the plot of a 500 page book here, it is enough to say that this is a sci-fi novel, very imaginative, interesting characters and beings, lot of plot threads and exiting moments and a world that is original and full of details. It can easily be a home to a whole series of books, if you ask me, it is laid out very well and pretty immersive as an experience. Be warned, it is a long book and it takes some time to get into the rhythm of it, but it is worth of it, I am sure. Check it out if you like well written, ambitious sci-fi epics.
You can tell that the writing and creation of Foundra by Emmanuel M. Arriaga was a huge undertaking by the author. Evidenced by the amount of detailed maps and diagrams in the beginning of the book, a prologue that is quite useful and an appendix at the end of the book, you know this is quite the massive book and an immersive read. Neven and Lanrete are the main characters and are indicative of the scale of detail that is involved in the writing of this book. These characters are well fleshed out and for science fiction, surprisingly relatable. There are extra dimensional beings to deal with, galaxies to save, and all kinds of mayhem, tension, and challenges. While a formidable book to read, this is at once classic science fiction, but the kind that is rendered with heart and vast amounts of creativity. Highly recommend for a wonderful reading experience.
Emmanuel M. Arriaga grew up in the inner city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From a young age, he was obsessed with fantasy and science fiction. Breaking the shackles of a low-income life, Emmanuel developed an interest in science, technology, and engineering. He went on to graduate from Pennsylvania State University with a Master’s in Information Science. For almost a decade, Emmanuel has sought to share his vivid imagination with the world, learning the art of story crafting and eventually becoming an award-winning author. With a love for travel, gadgets, and volunteering, Emmanuel is enjoying life and helping others. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his book, Foundra.
Please give us a short introduction to what Foundra is about.
Foundra covers the story of a young genius named Neven who finds himself drafted into an elite military strike force led by one of the immortal Founders of the Huzien Empire. They team up with a legendary wizard named Soahc to investigate instances of otherworldly creatures attacking fringe colony worlds. Neven, Soahc and their allies discover something ancient from another plane of existence. Something that exposes the fragility of their galactic empire as they fight to survive annihilation from extradimensional beings.
What inspired you to write Foundra?
The Foundra Universe is something that I have dreamed about since I was a child. I would always play out these missions with fantastical characters in my head and eventually decided to start writing down my ideas. I quickly amassed a treasure trove of lore and stories. One of these stories morphed into what Foundra is today and I have many more in the pipeline with the next novel due out in Q1 of 2021.
Why sci-fi? What drew you to the genre?
I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi. From my early years watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was drawn to sci-fi shows and movies. This grew as I got into shows like Stargate SG1, Farscape, Andromeda, Battlestar Galactica, Voyager, Deep Space Nine and Firefly to name a few. If there was anything that had spaceships or aliens, I was all over it.
How does your interest in science, technology, and engineering influence your writing?
I love thinking about the future of technology. Envisioning devices and technology that might be hard to create today but that may be possible one day, permeates my writing. I always put a lot of thought into technologies I introduce, I spend a lot of time thinking through how it might work to ground it in reality and make it believable and inspiring.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m an engineer by trade and work in the technology sector where help teams get stuff done. Outside of my trade, I’m fairly good at StarCraft and other real-time strategy games. I don’t get to play them as much, but I love PC games. I’m also a PC builder and love building high-end gaming systems.
Tell us more about the Huzien Empire. What inspired you to create it?
When I was little, I envisioned this expansive galactic alliance like the Federation from Star Trek except ruled by immortals. This eventually became the Huzien Empire. When you look at empires through history, they always have high points and low points, usually due to great leaders dying and being replaced by not-so-great leaders. I envisioned this empire that had these great leaders, except they never died. They just continued to rule as time moved on and they did a surprisingly good job at it. The Huzien Empire has low points and high points through history, but it’s the leaders who are growing during these periods of unique challenges and they lean on each other very heavily through it all.
What makes Neven so special?
His mom. She is a renowned robotics engineer and she nurtured him from birth to follow in her footsteps and become an engineer. She instilled in him strong morals and a good heart that he takes with him into a brutal universe. He’s driven by an insatiable curiosity and a desire to do the right thing. He also has an innocence about him that endears him to others.
Why is Soahc such a great teammate?
Soahc is ridiculously powerful and confident. He’s what is called a Cihphist in the book which could best be summed up as a type of Wizard who is able to manipulate Enesmic Energy that permeates every aspect of the galaxy. Being an immortal, Soahc has seen some stuff and is constantly at the ready, able to face any challenge. His affinity to Cihphism allows him to do things that other Cihphists can’t such as replicate abilities that he’s never seen before. He’s also incredibly cocky, which leads to challenges later in the book.
Does writing about surreal worlds and enigmatic scenes present any particular problems?
It’s hard to come up with concepts that aren’t grounded in some sense of the world around us, but I try very hard to think outside the box and envision worlds in which the things we accept as true may not apply. I spend a lot of time looking for inspiration from brilliant minds, whether it be fringe scientific concepts, other sci-fi authors or imaginative artists who explore the weird and far out there. Our whole concept of what aliens can be is based on our understanding of what our world is like. I try to explore both sides of this in my writing, creating species and worlds that feel familiar and others that are hard to imagine and far out there.
Interesting cover. How did it come about?
I wanted to showcase the people the novel follows, highlighting the uniqueness of each one and what they bring to the table. I also wanted to let the reader know immediately that this was a sci-fi novel with spaceships and intergalactic war. I then found the amazing cover artist Jeff Brown and we collaborated on bringing those concepts to life. I love his artistic style and he focuses on creating a full art piece that can also be used as a cover. His attention to detail is amazing. I’ve included the full art piece for Foundra to show what I mean.
Why did you decide to set Foundra in two galaxies?
The Twin Galaxies concept came out of a desire to have a unique setting as compared with traditional sci-fi. We talk about double galaxies or colliding galaxies in the scientific world, but rarely do you see novels set in one of them. What are some challenges species might face with two galaxies colliding together? Obviously, the timescale is exceedingly long for these changes to happen so it’s hard to cover this type of stuff in a single novel, or even a single series, but it’s definitely something I plan to explore more in the future as the Foundra Universe evolves.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write a lot, sometimes it’s for a novel, sometimes it just creating new lore or writing down story concepts and scenes in my backlog. I take a systematic approach to write a novel. I typically start with a concept or story idea and then use the snowflake method to expand that into a full outline. I then take that outline and start writing the novel with each bullet becoming a chapter. My outlines are rough guides and I deviate from them often, letting the flow of the story take me wherever it goes.
A typical writing day starts with me reviewing the previous chapter I wrote during the prior session and starting on the next chapter. I’m always able to get back into the flow of things this way. I then work until I finish the chapter and prep for the next chapter, that way I can jump right in during my next session.
What are you working on right now?
I’m in the final stages of publishing the sequel to Foundra and I am working with a great editor right now to polish the book. I also started work on a new sci-fi horror series that is still in the early stages. This will be another expansive universe and I’m excited to share more information on this in the future as I get closer to publication.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’m active on Twitter (@emmanuelarriaga) and readers can feel free to interact with me there. I also maintain a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/emmanuelmarriaga) and regularly publish on my blog (www.emmanuelarriaga.com) to share news of upcoming novels and inspirational thoughts. Readers can sign up for my newsletter at my website.