THE PHOENIX PROJECT by DM Cain – my review no.51

Wow – I am absolutely honoured by this wonderful, in-depth review of The Phoenix Project! I truly feel that this reviewer managed to grasp the core of what I was trying to say. She looked beyond the violence and the celebrity culture of the book, and saw the true messages I wanted to communicate.

This was a difficult book to write (as said in the review, I truly did have to visit a dark place to get into this mindset), but it is very close to my heart because of this.

THE PHOENIX PROJECT by DM Cain – my review no.51

by Anita Kovacevic on 08/05/2016

The Phoenix Project was no small surprise for me. It guides the reader into the abyss of what is wrong with humanity, so many negative feelings, brutality, alienation, fascination with fame, lack of faith and communication, and the overwhelming exuberance of alienation. It is not the book for the faint-hearted, romantic reader who seeks light entertainment, and the author obviously did not write it according to the popular recipe for book sales, but out of conviction.

This is a dystopian version of human reality set in a horribly violent prison, with characters of questionable morality and almost no hope for optimism, save naivety. The main (anti)hero Raven is placed in a prison for a crime he did commit, and is forced, along with others, to fight to life or death in the prison arena during televised fights, deluded by the warden’s false promise of early release 5 years later and a zero chance of surviving that long. Along the way you also follow a paralel story of Raven’s life before prison, explaining what led to his crime.

Considering the current events in the world, the story is relevant in its relation to the consequences of terrorism, and is painfully shocking in depicting what people turn into when they are oppressed and afraid the whole time. The author poses a huge challenge before the reader – how do you justify the main character, who is a criminal himself although he claims to hate killing? What punishment would you give or could you give? How much is enough to atone for our trangressions and who is to judge? The corruption of society leaders and the obsession with media fame are too close to home for modern society, adding to the effect of the story on the reader.

The author’s style is consistent in depicting the depressing and overwhelming amount of unnecessary violence, people herded like sheep and subdued by fear, difficulties in forming even simple friendships, let alone meaningful romance. The amount of violence is strongly reminiscent of gladiator fights, and the historical analogy emphasizes the futility of hope for human progress. The story is profused by the dark and gloomy all the way, except for the epilogue which you can read at the link in the end of the story.

The characters are memorable, for all their faults and weaknesses. The inevitable fascination with brutality, madness and the celebrity cult is a vital spiritus movens of the story. You are both shocked and mesmerized by the characters, for instance – the quite extraordinary Millicent and Khan, the brutal brother and sister and the story of how violence shapes them. No character is faultless, nobody beyond reproach, even the seeming ‘good guys and gals’, even despite their redeeming actions and life history.

Raven, the main anti-hero, was difficult to relate with for me – his lack of strength and conviction in his everyday life outside prison is so sad. He tries to please his girlfriend Seraphia by not being himself, he stays with her even after she makes a tragic decision about their common future (trying to avoid spoilers here) and even though he knows she is leaving. This eventually leads up to his crime, which, for the reader, becomes easy to guess, but difficult to condone. You keep wondering why he didn’t just choose a different path. Raven makes all the wrong decisions, and his life is a study into loneliness, depression, weakness, indecisiveness, lethargy, guilt… The feeling of isolation is enhanced by the lack of anything outside the prison from the moment he enters it, which adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere. The final scenes, when he is forced to be alone with himself, are interesting, because people always say it is the most difficult thing in life not to be able to spend time with your own self. Apart from the vivid graphic descriptions, I felt the author could have even done slightly more with this section. The purgatory/hell-like scenery is depicted really well.

However, I cannot recommend this read to everyone, but only because this kind of a story is an acquired taste. The author’s dedication and vision are strong and convincing. I am definitely recommending The Phoenix Project to fans of post-apocalyptic dystopia and those interested in the psychology of violence and loneliness.

What amazes me is knowing that the author must have gone to a really dark place of vision for this story, and is to be commended for persevering in the same tone and mood the entire time, and sticking to conviction, without succumbing to what is easier. Congratulations on that courage.

(On a P.S. note, I have read the epilogue, and much as my romantic side felt it deserved its readers, it stood slightly separate from the rest of the story in its tone.  So many things happen in the epilogue, which soothe the optimists among readers, but compared to the development of the book plot itself, it feels more like a dream than the ‘real’ ending. Nevertheless, I was grateful for the offer of hope and consolation.)

Source: THE PHOENIX PROJECT by DM Cain – my review no.51

Win a signed paperback of The Phoenix Project!

There’s a giveaway happening over at Goodreads the next few days – join in and you could win one of 2 signed paperback copies of The Phoenix Project!
 

Sci-fi: The next generation – guest post by LE Fitzpatrick

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Today I am honoured to host the amazing LE Fitzpatrick as part of her release tour for ‘The Running Game’. She has written this amazing, geeky, heart-warming article about the importance of passing your passion for sci-fi and fantasy to the next generation. Read on – it’ll bring a tear to your eye!

SCI-FI THE NEXT GENERATION: A brief word about raising a Sci-fi fan by L E FITZPATRICK

When I became a mum there were several things I was desperate to pass on to my son: good manners, a love of food, and an unhealthy obsession with Sci-fi and fantasy. The latter has become a sort of competition with my son’s father – a die hard LOTR enthusiast. Unfortunately, despite my avid efforts to push Pirates of the Caribbean forward as a suitable alternative, I lost and for a brief while our living room became a homage to Helms Deep (the Lego version anyway).

But all was not lost. Having kept all of our old Star Wars toys (you remember the vintage ones that for the briefest moment were worth millions), I was able to coax the boy over to the dark side and, before he was three, he was able to quote, word for word, Episodes IV, V, and VI… we don’t bother with the prequels. It was a proud moment – if only I could have found a baby book that documented movie quotes and epic battle sequences instead of first steps.

Our excitement was heightened last year with the new Star Wars film and we booked a family day out to watch it. Although to be honest I didn’t watch the film. I watched my son’s face as the title screen came on. I saw his eyes light up as the theme music sounded, stirring all kinds of memories in us. As we watched Rey and BB8, I saw how a new role model was making herself into my son’s life. As old faces returned, I saw his brain compensate for the aging actors he wasn’t familiar with, become the faces he remembered from the earlier films. He squeezed my hand when he was excited, hid behind me when he was afraid, and I held him when he cried his heart out at… well you know what if you’ve seen it.

As we left that cinema, sniffling and trying to be brave, we went home and the first thing we did was put on some Stargate to “chill out” from our recent bereavement. We’re in season 6 now, and my son might be the only 7 year old in Wales that role plays Stargate in the playground with his friends.

Next on my list is my favourite – Firefly – he’s had his taste of the first episode and for the rest of the afternoon I had a mini Captain Reynolds shooting reavers in my kitchen, so I think we’re in for a win with that one too. Then maybe Farscape, a bit of Red Dwarf, Battlestar Galatica…. The list is endless.

But why is it so important I pass these cancelled shows on to my son, aside from them being awesome and better than watching whining vampires on TV? It’s because he gets to see team work in Stargate. It’s because he sees courage in Luke Skywalker. He sees strong female role models in Firefly. He sees the horror of evil and the power of good. Right and wrong and the grey areas in between. And he picks up the best one liners in history.

The geeky generation is drifting, albeit reluctantly, into adult life, and space ships are no longer just for kids. They’re for adults and families. They’re for parents to share with their children, like our ancestors used to share their mythology and legends. Now we can sit and recount life lessons in the tales of Jedi and lost Earthmen. And why do we do this? Well, because nothing in the world can be better than putting your son to bed, saying, “I love you.” And hear him say, “I know.”

About ‘The Running Game’

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Title: The Running Game

Author: L.E. Fitzpatrick

Genre: Dystopian

Rachel’s father called it the running game. Count the exits, calculate the routes. Always be ready to run because they’ll always be coming for you. Whatever happens, they’ll always be coming for you.

On the surface, Rachel is just an ordinary doctor, trying to stay alive in war-torn London, but she has a secret. Rachel is a Reacher – wanted by the government and by the criminal underworld – for her telekinetic powers.

Charlie and his brother John had a reputation for doing the impossible. But after losing his family, Charlie is a broken mess and John is barely keeping him afloat. In desperation, they take a job from a ruthless ganglord only to discover the girl they are hunting is a Reacher – one of their own kind.

James Roxton, a conman and thief, is searching for the man who tried to kill his mother. Suddenly embroiled into the plan to kidnap Rachel, he decides he can turn things to his own advantage.

Even with the help of dangerous and dubious allies, can Rachel turn the game around and save herself?

Author Bio

L E Fitzpatrick is a writer of dark adventure stories and thrillers. Under the watchful eye of her beloved rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier, she leaps from trains and climbs down buildings, all from the front room of a tiny cottage in the middle of the Welsh countryside.

Inspired by cult film and TV, L E Fitzpatrick’s fiction is a collection of twisted worlds and realities, broken characters, and high action. She enjoys pushing the boundaries of her imagination and creating hugely entertaining stories.

The Running Game, her latest book and the first instalment of her dystopian Reacher series, is due for re-release in October 2015 under the Booktrope label.

LE Fitzpatrick’s blog

Buy The Running Game at Amazon

The king of all sci-fi time travel!

Today I am absolutely delighted to be hosting sci-fi and horror mastermind Stewart Bint as he releases his newly-edited version of Timeshaft. I LOVED this book – so gripping, so enthralling, so utterly mind-bending! If you like Doctor Who, the Time Machine and other time-travel stories, you are sure to love this too!

Timeshaft_saga

Blurb:

By the twenty-seventh century, mankind has finally mastered time travel—and is driving recklessly towards wiping itself out. The guerilla environmentalist group WorldSave, with its chief operative Ashday’s Child, uses the Timeshaft to correct mistakes of the past in an effort to extend the life of the planet.

But the enigmatic Ashday’s Child has his own destiny to accomplish, and will do whatever it takes within a complicated web of paradoxes to do so. While his destiny—and very existence—is challenged from the beginning to the end of time, he must collect the key players through the ages to create the very Timeshaft itself.

“Do our actions as time travellers change what would otherwise have happened, or is everything already laid down in a predetermined plan?” he asks. Stewart Bint’s Timeshaft is an expertly synchronized saga of time travel, the irresistible force of destiny, and the responsibility of mankind as rulers of the world.

Following the fortunes of two sets of time travellers, Timeshaft extends Stewart Bint’s popular novellas, Malfunction and Ashday’s Child (both published by Smashwords in 2012), linking the two completely unrelated storylines into a full-length novel.

Set in Australia, London and Scotland, along with an unknown geographical location called Thiecon, Timeshaft combines Ashday’s Child’s activities and hidden agenda, with an accident befalling the very first time journey by the fledgling Time Research And Exploration Project, rocking along to the past and future with paradoxes and twists galore.

Buy Timeshaft on Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Timeshaft-Stewart-Bint/dp/1513706888/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Buy Timeshaft on Amazon USA:

http://www.amazon.com/Timeshaft-Stewart-Bint/dp/1513706888/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/timeshaft-stewart-bint/1115380967;jsessionid=BEF2DFF8CD9730F073EF1345E67F929E.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=9781513706887

About the author:

Stewart Bint author pic

Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Leicestershire, in the UK, and has two grown-up children, Christopher and Charlotte.

He is a former radio presenter, newsreader and phone-in show host, but always wanted to become a fiction writer — a dream that came true when his first novel was published in 2012 at the age of 56. Now the author of five novels, a collection of short stories and a compilation of his early magazine columns, he was signed by Booktrope in 2015, who published a revised edition of his paranormal novel, In Shadows Waiting, in August.

Other books by Stewart Bint:

In Shadows Waiting http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadows-Waiting-Stewart-Bint-ebook/dp/B013F7WOGW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

The Jigsaw And The Fan   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jigsaw-Fan-Stewart-Bint-ebook/dp/B00D0ST8G6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Malfunction https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/166088

Ashday’s Child https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/211833

Thunderlands http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thunderlands-Stewart-Bint-ebook/dp/B00QPBGVR4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Up Close And Personal http://www.amazon.co.uk/Up-Close-Personal-Stewart-Bint-ebook/dp/B00ONSE3SU/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

He has also contributed to three short story anthologies:

Awethology Dark http://www.amazon.co.uk/Awethology-Dark-Awethors/dp/1518726453/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

December Awethology Light http://www.amazon.co.uk/December-Awethology-Light-Awethors-ebook/dp/B018XWC4WS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Blood Moon http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Moon-Anthologies-Heart-Book-ebook/dp/B00WN8HKEQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking in bare feet on woodland trails and urban streets.

Stewart Bint barefoot hike

Stewart Bint online:

Website and blog: http://stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StewartBintAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorsjb

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stewart-Bint/e/B00D18IARS

Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Stewart-Bint/e/B00D18IARS

 

Cover reveal for ‘Timeshaft’ by Stewart Bint

Today is the cover reveal day for science fiction thriller ‘Timeshaft’ by the amazing Stewart Bint. This book was originally published on Smashwords in 2013 and is a firm favourite of mine. Mind-bending time-travel science fiction and excellent writing make this an excellent read.

Now with with a brand new dazzling front cover by Troy Johnson, and a thorough re-editing (plus a number of new scenes including new begining and ending), I am very excited to read this brand new Booktrope edition!

So without further ado, here is the striking new cover!

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Blurb:

By the twenty-seventh century, mankind has finally mastered time travel—and is driving recklessly towards wiping itself out. The guerilla environmentalist group WorldSave, with its chief operative Ashday’s Child, uses the Timeshaft to correct mistakes of the past in an effort to extend the life of the planet.

But the enigmatic Ashday’s Child has his own destiny to accomplish, and will do whatever it takes within a complicated web of paradoxes to do so. While his destiny—and very existence—is challenged from the beginning to the end of time, he must collect the key players through the ages to create the very Timeshaft itself.

“Do our actions as time travellers change what would otherwise have happened, or is everything already laid down in a predetermined plan?” he asks. Stewart Bint’s Timeshaft is an expertly synchronized saga of time travel, the irresistible force of destiny, and the responsibility of mankind as rulers of the world.

All about Stewart Bint:

Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Leicestershire, in the UK, and has two grown-up children, Christopher and Charlotte.

He is a former radio presenter, newsreader and phone-in show host, but always wanted to become a fiction writer — a dream that came true when his first novel was published in 2012 at the age of 56. Now the author of five novels, a collection of short stories and a compilation of his early magazine columns, he was signed by Booktrope in 2015, who published a revised edition of his paranormal novel, In Shadows Waiting, in August.

They are publishing a revised and re-edited edition of Timeshaft shortly.

As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking in bare feet on woodland trails and urban streets.

Stewart Bint online:

Website and blog: http://stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StewartBintAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorsjb

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stewart-Bint/e/B00D18IARS

Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Stewart-Bint/e/B00D18IARS