Author Interview – Flight of the Vajra by Serdar Yegulalp

flight of the vajra1. Tell us all a little about your book Flight of the Vajra

At first they were only three. A brilliant starship designer, haunted by the death of his loved ones. A spiritual leader whose faith could transform mankind … or destroy it. A precocious acrobat girl, looking for a new family of her own.

Then came others. An entertainer and playboy whose dissolute lifestyle conceals unexpected ambitions, courtesy of a lover who represents the galaxy’s most powerful worlds. And a pair of detectives–one barely human, the other not at all–with orders to enlist all their help solving a crime that threatens civilization.

Together they formed the crew of the ever-evolving spacecraft Vajra. Seven against a universe where the boundaries between matter and mind have been torn down, where one can wield the power of billions … and where humanity must choose between rebirth or annihilation.

“Nature likes those who surrender to her but she loves those who do not”

2. Where did you get the idea for the book?

“Vajra” was, as I put it to some other folks, my “‘Dune’ moment”. For a long time I’d wanted to write something big, sprawling, set in the far future, and full of Neat Stuff — but I also wanted it to be something that people could connect with and feel moved by. I was also pretty alienated from most of what was going on in space-opera style SF, so much so that I said, well, if I’m this disgusted about it, I should try to do something about it. So I wrote “Vajra”, both as a way to fulfill a desire and as a way to respond to what I thought were deficiencies in the works I’d been seeing in the same genre.
3. Why did you decide to use Inkshares a crowdfunded publishing site?

It’s an experiment. I’ve published “Vajra” on Kindle, but it received no traction worth speaking of, so I thought I might see if Inkshares would be a better platform for helping it find an audience.
4. Why do you write?

I’ll go with a line from Kurt Vonnegut: “I could not help myself.”

5. What are your plans for the future with your writing?

I’ve got one more book finished (“Welcome to the Fold”) which I’m currently sending to agents, and another one in progress that I may well also try getting an audience for via Inkshares.
6. Why should readers help support your book?

When I wanted to promote “Flight of the Vajra” at a convention where I had a sales table, I printed up a little promotional poster that featured a blurb from a friend of mine who loved the book:  “A more responsible version of Tony Stark finds he’s got to save the galaxy – and his team consists of a circus acrobat, a futuristic Dali Lama, Jim Gordon, Seven of Nine, and David Bowie.”
If that isn’t reason enough to support it, I have no idea what is.

Flight of the Vajra on Kindle:

Flight of the Vajra on Inkshares

 

Asteroid Made of Dragons

asteroid made of dragonsOverall review:4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Imagine a tea party.  Frank Zappa is the host, and he makes some “special” mushroom tea.  Attendees at the party include William Goldman (of The Princess Bride fame), Lewis Carroll (Looking Glass fame [of course]), and Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide) and they are told to collaborate on a novel.

I have to say even THEY would have had a tough time coming up with a book as entertaining as Asteroid Made of Dragons.

It has been many years since I have enjoyed any book as much AMOD.  Granted, during the first couple of chapters I was in a flashing brain state of WTF is going on??, but by Chapter 3, I was totally hooked.  And laughing.

I dearly love mashups as a rule, and this book was the mashup to end all mashups.  Just about every mythological, fairylogical, pixielogical, archetypal, supernatural and general magical creature/thing made an appearance at some point (I didn’t see unicorns or Orcs, that I recall – but I could have just overlooked them).  And, there were also steampunk-type airships, ghost-pirate zombies, at least one vampire (I think – all signs point to that fact), a seer and of course, the dragon asteroid.

The story itself (once I fully committed to the ride) was an entertaining Wild Mouse twister.  I never knew WHAT was going to happen next.  Characterization was neatly and skillfully done – especially considering the gamut of creatures that appeared at nearly every turn of the page.

Editing was outstanding.  At the end of the book, the author gives credit to “Lindsay Robinson for her blistering developmental edit.”  I have a feeling that this book was not the easiest book to edit – so more power to Lindsay!

I just had one small gripe – there was a sentence in about horses/riders “looping” which made no sense (horses lope).  I am a long time horsewoman – and when I run across inaccuracies like this I always get a sour face.

The cover art is very good, accurately portraying the lighthearted feel of the book itself.  Writing craft – I would say that Adams is well on his way to journeyman status.  And, worldbuilding – pretty good – considering there was so many worlds mashed together.

All in all – a classic and a must read.

Story Line:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Characterization:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Readability:4.75 Stars (4.75 / 5)
Writing Craft:4 Stars (4 / 5)
Cover Art:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Worldbuilding:4 Stars (4 / 5)

Review – With Eyes Turned Skyward

 

With Eyes Turned Skyward

Overall review:3 Stars (3 / 5)

With Eyes Turned Skyward is set in a Post-Apocalyptic Earth where the land mass is greatly reduced due to “The Drowning” (rising of the seas).  The human race survives in small enclaves perched on mountain ranges or in other undrowned areas – some are beginning the struggle of reclaiming emerging land which has been taken over by “amphibious seaweed” (a feature I found highly entertaining) and vicious, mutant creatures.

However, other humans have taken to the skies in huge zeppelins that follow trade routes from settlement to settlement for profit.  These zeppelins not only carry passengers and merchants, but their own military forces (to fight off pestiferous sky pirates).  They are basically floating fortresses cruising at 14,000 feet – people are born, live and die on these airships, rarely touching dry land throughout their lives.

The protagonist of the story, Sage Bazmon, is an orphan who was born and raised on the Zeppelin, Artemis.  He becomes a soldier, a pilot and the savior of the world.  He earns the nickname “Saber” because of his bravery and skills as a fighter pilot (the dogfight scenes are very well done).

I really liked the story line of this book when I read the sample from Amazon.  It sounded fresh and interesting, a completely different take on post-apocalyptic fiction, which quite frankly has been done to death.  I also loved the book cover – very slick and professional looking, fitting the story line nicely.  The prose is written in first person, present tense, which I believe takes a certain amount of boldness, not to mention skill.  It gave the book a sense of immediacy and engagement which I thought fit well with the work as a whole.

However, like so many independently published works, this book is greatly in need of a really good editor(s) –  a good line/copy editor with some input on content improvement could make a huge difference.  I also found the electronic formatting inconsistent.  I don’t know how the formatting was done, but it didn’t do well with all my Kindle devices – when I tilted my tablet(s) I would get crazy indents etc.  Have no idea what caused it.  The pagination was also strange.

The Worldbuilding was weak – I found myself wondering about a lot of details i.e. where did they get the fuel for the zeppelins and other machines, where did they grow food etc.  Characters also were a bit one dimensional, except for the protagonist.

So, if someone can live with the editing issues I think it is an overall good story.   However, I found them incredibly distracting and had to force myself to finish once I got about half way through.

Nice effort for a first book, but it could be much better.

Story Line:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Characterization:3 Stars (3 / 5)
Readability:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Writing Craft:2 Stars (2 / 5)
Cover Art:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Worldbuilding:2 Stars (2 / 5)