Monday, June 26, 2017

Realm Explorers Part XCVII: Visit the Shattered Galaxy with David G. Johnson

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: David G. Johnson

Title of book and/or series: Star Wolf (Shattered Galaxy Series)

Brief summary of the story: 
Molon Hawkins, a daring, free merc captain, earns his living navigating the dangerous borders between factions in the civil war that shattered humanity’s vast star empire. For the former scout captain and his veteran command crew aboard Star Wolf, most contracts are milk runs. Most…
When a routine rescue mission goes awry, Molon finds his rescuee, Dr. John Salzmann, inextricably tied into a web of intrigue that threatens to upset the balance of power in the galaxy. Can Molon and John follow the threads and discover the forces behind the plot? If so, what can a lone ship do to stop it? 

Star Wolf is the debut novel in the exciting new Shattered Galaxy setting by David G. Johnson, bestselling author of the award-winning Chadash Chronicles series.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: 
This is set several centuries in our future. Mankind has discovered another dimension known as “voidspace”, a malleable dimension where locations can be manipulated and “folded” together allowing people to enter voidspace, fold together the current location with a far distant one, and then exit at the other point, effectively traveling great distances in real space in a very short time. This basically allowed FTL travel and the expansion of a vast human star empire. Unfortunately, we quickly discovered we were not alone…

If we were to visit the Shattered Galaxy as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? 
There are so many different worlds and systems within the setting of the Shattered Galaxy, but in this story the main “location” in the story is on board the ship known as Star Wolf. There isn’t a lot of recreational activities aboard this mercenary star frigate, but lots of great characters to meet and interact with. It is the breadth and depth of characters aboard Star Wolf, all of whom are like a large, somewhat dysfunctional family, that makes it a unique place in the galaxy.

What dangers should we avoid in the Shattered Galaxy? 
There are of course the universally hostile aliens (or the politically correct term “non-human sophonts”), the Prophane, which should be avoided at all costs. Even the member of Star Wolf’s crew who is a Prophane Pariah (outcast from her people) is someone you might want to tread lightly around. Her call sign is Voide and she is Star Wolf’s security chief, but the volatile nature of her people runs in her veins. Beyond that, pirates, money-grubbing corporations, the infamous GalSec (Galactic Security), and anyone not of the same faction as you in the galactic civil war are pretty much dangers to steer clear of if you want to survive.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served aboard Star Wolf? 
There is a wide variety of fare available catering to many different non-human sophont races aboard ship, but rumor is the best brandy on the ship is the captain’s private stash…

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in the Shattered Galaxy? 
Technology levels vary greatly from world to world and system to system. Low tech worlds might still be dealing with swords and bows or early gunpowder firearms while core worlds might have neural weapons, lasers, flechette rounds, or sometimes even more experimental weapons. A mercenary captain has to be prepared to face and function in a wide variety of situations where planetary laws might greatly restrict what weapons can be carried.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to other worlds? 
Voidspace capable ships are the only way to travel between systems without spending decades or centuries to get from place to place. Once in a system, however, or on planets, again technology level of that local system will determine whether local transport is horse and buggy, ground vehicles and airplanes, or hovercraft and anti-gravity vehicles. Intersystem travel is relatively affordable and safe if you book a low berth, which basically means you are a passenger-popsicle for the duration of the flight. More expensive high berths accommodate more wealthy travelers who stay awake for the journey and enjoy luxury amenities on board transports. Of course most of our heroes are based on Star Wolf, so they get to travel awake, and all it costs them is a mercenary contract and signing up to risk their lives to carry out the mission decided on by Captain Molon Hawkins.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Shattered Galaxy that we don’t see on Earth? 
I already mentioned above the Prophane, gray-skinned, yellow-eyed, and a mind set only to kill and destroy all non-Prophane. Beyond that, Captain Hawkins is a Lubanian (loo-BAN-yun), a wolf-anthro humanoid race. We also meet the comms officer, Mel. She is a Fei, a light-blue-skinned race with psionic/empathic abilities. There are also the Angelicum (Angels) and Daemi (Demons) who actually are offshoots of the same parent race. Beyond those are many minor races, Doppelgängers (shape shifters) Dractauri (large reptilian centaurs), and thousands of minor races who have not achieved a technology level to permit voidspace travel. Needless to say if you travel around much in the Shattered Galaxy, you will find no shortage of new races and people to meet and get to know.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Shattered Galaxy?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
While there is not “magic” per se, certain levels of technology can be almost magical in its ability to do things far beyond mundane capabilities. Beyond that, there are rare individuals (and the Fei race) who have psionic abilities, mental powers that can range from telepathy to telekinesis to mind-control to even more strange and powerful manifestations. I’d say the broad spectrum of psionic abilities are the closest thing to “magic” in Shattered Galaxy.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Shattered Galaxy?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples. 
Many have already been touched on, but many of the technological advancements have been driven by the civil war, so they revolve around weaponry, defenses, and medical technology. One interesting offshoot is the development of CIDs/NIDs (Cerebral Interface Device/Neural Interface Device). These are datajacks that tap into a human brain and/or nervous system and allow humans to control or interface directly with machines. While we see some instances of how CIDs/NIDs are used in Star Wolf, future books in this setting are going to explore these aspects of technology much deeper.

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Shattered Galaxy as on Earth? 
Actually with Earth being the origin of humanity, and time being so variable and relative, Earth’s standard time of days/weeks/months/years are used as a calibration or plumb line for time aboard Star Wolf and other ships/systems. While individual planets obviously will have day/week/month/year cycles dependent on their planetary and orbital characteristics, all human colonies and ships also keep a conversion algorithm in place and for all interstellar messages, etc, the Earth-standard time and date stamp is used. Interestingly the variable gravity for all the different worlds are measured in Gs. One G is standard Earth gravity, and all other calculations are either percentages or multiples of that standard.

Is there a particular religion practiced in Shattered Galaxy?  Please describe what it involves. 
The remnant of Christians are called the Faithful in Shattered Galaxy, but they are largely persecuted and hunted by various anti-religion factions, particular Dawnstar Technocracy. One of the heirs to the pre-Shattering Emperor Halberan, Enoch Halberan, actually took vows and became a minister in the Faithful religion. He has set up his region of space, the Theocracy of the Faithful, as a safe-haven for Faithful refugees from other factions. Non-Faithful are not discriminated against or hunted in the Theocracy, but Faithful from everywhere are welcome to seek refuge under the protection of Enoch Halberan and the Theocracy.

What is the political or government structure in Shattered Galaxy?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she? 
There are five main human factions, four led by the Halberan children and heirs, and the fifth is the remnant of the old Empire under marshal law and controlled by High Archon Zarsus. The other human factions are the New Halberan Empire under Seth Halberan, The Rimward Demesne under Phoebe Halberan (allied with Seth), the Dawnstar Technocracy under Tubal Halberan (allied and a puppet to High Archon Zarsus and the Provisional Imperium), and The Theocracy of the Faithful led by Enoch Halberan.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book? 
Yes, a love of Sci-Fi and living for the last six years in a country where religious freedom is controlled and often persecuted. That contributed a lot to the situation I have set up with the Theocracy of the Faithful in Shattered Galaxy.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book? 
Well for Christians there is the question of “do aliens exist”. I speculate here that they might, and what that might look like within the context of Biblical truth. The Bible does not explicitly preclude the possibility, and while Shattered Galaxy is a work of fiction, I endeavored to keep my speculations to areas that are at least “gray areas” or open to interpretation within Scripture. It is merely a “what if”.

Author Autobiography: 
I have a Bachelor’s in Asian Studies and a Masters of Divinity in Biblical Languages. I have been a lifelong fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy and have endeavored to write my novels from a biblical worldview and contain my “speculation” to the gray areas not explicitly contramanded by Scripture.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  Please include links.

Where can readers connect with you online?  

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to the Shattered Galaxy.  Questions about the world or the book?  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 another world in next week's edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

No comments: