Monday, July 7, 2014

Realm Explorers Part IV: Visit Venus, Mars, Titan, and More (150 Years in the Future) with William Woodall

Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don't forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book.  

Author’s name:  William Woodall

Title of book and or series:  
The Tyke McGrath Series.  There are five books in this series, including Nightfall, Tycho, Avenger, Freedom, and Elysium.  Readers can begin either with Tycho or with Nightfall (which is more of a prologue).  This series is a loose continuation of both the Last Werewolf Hunter series and the Unclouded Day series, but readers need not have read those other series first before enjoying this one.

Brief summary of the story:
This series follows the adventures of a boy named Tycho McGrath (Tyke to his friends) who is a brilliant high school genetics student in Tampa when he discovers that a man-made plague known as the Orion Strain is about to wipe out all human and animal life on earth.  He and several friends and family members escape to the partially terraformed Moon to survive, and from there the story progresses for the next five years as Tyke grows up, falls in love, fights unexpected enemies, and sometimes learns a thing or two about his purpose in life and how hard it can be to fulfill the expectations of others.  In the process he slowly moves from being an indifferent Christian who isn’t terribly interested in spiritual things to a mature believer ready to take up the work that God has assigned to him.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:  
This series takes place in the real universe, about a hundred and fifty years in the future.  Most of the action takes place on the Moon, Venus, Mars, and Titan (a large moon of Saturn).

If we were to visit any of these places as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?  
There are lots of things to see and do, especially on the Moon since it was purposely designed to delight tourists.  Some of Tyke’s favorite places are the emerald green beaches of the Summer Isles in the Sea of Tranquility, the skyscraper-sized cliffs where visitors can jump a thousand feet into Lake Boscovich, and Trinity Bay on the Sea of Serenity, where visitors can hunt the edible blue Hamburger Crabs among the cypress trees.  Tyke also particularly loves the beautiful golden meadows of Eleuthera above the Cytherean Sea on Venus, and the thousand-foot Angel Falls on Mars.  The most fascinating thing on Titan is the Temple of Muwamanth, which is built of solid ice in the middle of a black jungle.  There are many other things, too.  

What dangers should we avoid in this future time?  
The leftover spores of the Orion Strain are still present all over the earth, a constant danger if you’ve never been vaccinated.  Depending on where you went, you’d have to contend with deadly heat or bone-chilling cold, hostile aliens and humans, poisonous gases, lack of food/water/air, radiation poisoning, horrific storms, vicious mutant animals, and dangerously unreliable equipment.  Not to mention traitors who might stab you in the back at any time.
Tharsis Region, Mars

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in these worlds?  On most of these worlds the food is typical American, but on Titan one might be served a salad made of chunks of tar and sprinkled with gasoline, with a sharp piece of bone to eat with.  It would be an inedible meal, of course, but the A’rum would consider it rude not to serve you.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in these worlds?  
Human weaponry generally includes both bullets and lasers, depending on the situation.  Humans also use taser-like stunners when they don’t wish to kill.  It’s common to wear silvery, reflective “mirrorsuits” as armor against lasers.  The A’rum of Titan have no metal, so their weaponry is made entirely of string and pieces of bone.  This usually involves slings, whips, and knives.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to these worlds?  
Humans have land rovers, jets, and spacecraft of various kinds.  The A’rum either walk or fly.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in these worlds that we don’t see on earth?  
Most plants and animals are typical earthly ones, except on Titan.  There you would find the sentient A’rum who resemble large hairless bats and whose body chemistry is based on acetylene rather than sugar.  There are also “fish” and “eagles” on Titan with similar body chemistry.  Plants include “algae” and succulent “elephant ear trees” with large flat leaves and lots of thorns, which will pull apart like taffy and spontaneously melt and then boil if a human holds them in his hand.  To any living thing on Titan, the body of a human being feels hotter than a blowtorch.  On the Moon one would find several genetically-engineered plants and animals including freshwater versions of marlin and giant kelp, vampire roaches which travel in swarms and attack other animals for blood, highly aggressive “monsters” which resemble giant beavers with needle-sharp teeth, the blue Hamburger Crabs which were designed to taste like hamburger meat when roasted, and many species of flowers found nowhere else.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of the people in this series?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.  
There is no magic in these worlds, but the supernatural does play a part.  Characters have true dreams of things they couldn’t have known otherwise, and there is miraculous healing sometimes.  There are sometimes supernatural objects such as the Guardian Stones and holy water.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in the future?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.  
One of the most interesting is the tachometer, a device used for observing what will take place in the future.  It can also transport individuals to the future, although it’s strictly a one-way trip with no possible return.  There are advanced methods of genetic engineering, computer design, and engine propulsion.  There are also several methods available for terraforming new worlds (that is, transforming them into places where earthly living things could survive).

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in the future.  
There is reverse bungee-jumping on Deimos, in which people take advantage of the low gravity to jump thousands of feet into the sky and then fall back to the ground.  There’s big-game monster hunting in the Altai crater swamps on the Moon.  One could visit Ukert Springs for a skin exfoliation treatment by the Doctor Fish who live there.  The survivors are fond of having beach parties every Saturday night with music and dancing and food.  Otherwise there are all the usual human games like football, baseball, etc.  

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in these worlds as on earth?  What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?  
The human calendar is the same everywhere, but on the Moon daylight and dark each last for two weeks at a time and on Venus they last for 58 days apiece (not to mention the sun rises in the west).  On Mars an extra 40-minute “hour” is inserted at midnight every day to keep up with the rotation of the planet.  On Titan a “year” is really seven earth years long, and every three and a half years on the equinoxes, the three Kings come together at the Temple of Muwamanth for a holy festival, during which time no fighting is permitted anywhere in the world.

Is there a particular religion practiced in these worlds?  Please describe what it involves.  
The survivors of Earth are mostly Christians.  The A’rum on Titan believe in God and have a tradition of prophets who dream true dreams to tell the others what He wishes of them.

Land of Snow, the Moon
What is the political or government structure in the future?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?  
The A’rum live in widely scattered clans of about a hundred members each, ruled by one member with unquestioned authority.  There are three “kingdoms” on the planet, each ruled by one King who controls all the clans in his territory.  At the time of the story, the King of Dilmun was a wicked heretic who attempted to kill Tyke and his friends.  The small band of human survivors are led by Philip Carpenter, since most of them are his children or relatives anyway.  He’s a very brave and wise leader who came to this time from the past via the tachometer.  Mars is ruled by an iron-fisted military dictator known as Colonel James Burns, and Venus is controlled by his henchman Colonel Luke Bartow.  Both of them are cruel, ruthless men who will do anything to maintain power.  The rebel forces on Mars and Venus are commanded by Captain Brandon Stone, who is rather philosophical and places a high value on life.

Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit the future?  
The A’rum deeply admire honor, and love to wage bloody warfare with each other over the slightest of insults.  They are utterly ignorant of the concept of romantic love, since everything on the planet (including them) reproduces only by budding.  From time to time they will award the title of akiri to someone who has acted with exceptional bravery and honor.  They don’t comprehend money, and the only things of special value among them are “jewels” which are actually small bits of shiny meteoric iron.  Those fortunate enough to own one of these jewels often like to string them on necklaces. 

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your series?  
Some of the locations are ones that I’m personally familiar with, like Texas and Florida.  The geography and conditions on the other worlds are factual information which I didn’t need to make up; I simply had to fill in the blanks about what those places might be like if they were partially terraformed.  Even the conditions on Titan are as real as we have any way of knowing.  That said, the tree covered with chewing gum in Nightfall and several other minor places and things did come from my real life.

What, if any, hot-button or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?  
I don’t really think anything in this series is controversial, or at least not intentionally so.  The characters frequently discuss very deep and philosophical topics such as the nature of God and the soul, thorny moral dilemmas, what exactly it means to live as Christian and as a scientist, and many other things of that sort.  But these aren’t debates, they’re simply individual characters trying as best they can to understand God and to live according to what He would have them do.

Author Autobiography  
I was born and raised in the Arkansas hills, though I’ve also spent considerable time in Texas since then.  I became a Christian at the age of 16 and all my books are written for God’s glory.  I’ve been a science teacher and a counselor for many years, and I love working with  young people. 

Where and in what formats can we purchase your books?  
All my books can be purchased in formats compatible with almost all e-readers. 
Click here for Amazon Kindle Editions,
Click here for Paperback Editions.  (These are also available on Amazon)

Where can readers connect with you online?  My Official Author’s Website is the best place to connect with me.  It’s a large site full of information and freebies.  Here you’ll find free short stories and poetry, MP3 tracks of all the music mentioned in my books, downloadable discussion questions for each book, pictures and maps of characters and places, quotable quotes, interviews, commentary, links to source materials, and contact information.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip through time to our universe in the future.  Questions about the planets and moons or the series?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the world of "Old Japan" (based on actual Japanese history and folklore) in Realm Explorers Part V!
-Annie Douglass Lima

Are you an author who would like your world to appear on Realm Explorers?  Click here to download the instructions and interview form, or email me at for more information.


David Glenn said...

Very interesting. I might be interested in reading these books now

Lorraine Carey said...

School libraries should grab this series up! New literature is like a breath of fresh air for our young readers.

Unknown said...

Going to have to put at least the first one on my "to read" list. I really like when Sci-Fi authors take the time to consider things like differences in rotation, year, weather, etc on other planets, and it sounds like William Woodall did some respectable worldbuilding here. I'm definitely intrigued.

Tina at said...

I am in awe of the creativity of writers like you who can create whole worlds like this! Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Be sure to check out the great giveaway this week!