Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Observers - A Science Fiction Odyssey C.R.Downing's Book Tour 2018. Book #3

My publisher is having a sale the e-book version of The Observers.

It's only $1.00.
Laughter guaranteed!

Book #3:
There is a link to Amazon for the title book in the line above this. Additional links are provided to original short stories involved in the development of the title book in the description of each story below.

Elevator Speech
Observers are expected to perform only that role for the Glieseian Ministry of Observation, Investigation, and Intervention (MOII). However, observers Mxpan and Zerpall are imprisoned twice, banished from two solar systems, threatened with selective destruction by targeting their DNA, trapped in android bodies after a faulty brain essence transfer, and forced into an ethically convoluted situation. The Observers is a comic sci-fi trip across the solar system that will keep you thinking and laughing.

Background Information

This story that triggered this book was written in the 1980s. However, it was not a novel. Neither was it science fiction.

It was a short romance story titled Magnetic Attraction.
There were no aliens. There were KGB agents.

The story morphed into what is the fourth mission by Zerpall and Mxpan.

As luck would have it, I found copies of the original story and an intermediate version, which includes Zerpall and Mxpan. However, in the intermediate version, the two observers were from the planet Rigel, not the planet Gleise.
Both versions are included in the PDF for this book. Here’s the link.

Given the fact that I had fewer than 20 legitimate dates before I met the fifth girl that I ever dated, why I thought I could write a romance story is a mystery. The romance story was mediocre, however, the story’s main plotline had potential as a science fiction piece.
By the way, I married the fifth girl 47-years ago this August 7.
June 1970. Grad Night at Disneyland. 
Leanne and I were married 13-months later.
I admit to rushing the publishing process with this book. Thankfully, the editor I worked with at KoehlerBooks saw the potential of the four missions described in the story.
The manuscript I submitted was complete, but it lacked the internal structure linking the missions together. His idea of making converting a couple of them to read as flashbacks saved the day . . . at one level.
Here’s a sample of the communication between one editor and me. The editor’s comment is the black print. My response is the red print.

4) Unless I missed something, Mxpan and Zerpall never had memories restored of their third, most uneventful mission. It'd be fairly easy to insert a sentence that makes it clear they rebuilt their memories there, too. It might seem insignificant, but if the third mission is kept hidden from them, the reader might come to think it was unimportant.
The restored memories are for how they met and their first two missions: Rigal and Epsilon-Eridani. They were “lost” during the BET process—they were not transferred into the android AI matrix, but were stored in the BET storage on the ship and degraded over time.
Memories of the Tau Ceti mission were not degraded because Mxpan selected those memories as being necessary (probably based on recency of production) during BET in their ship. Remember the colored lines on the machine?
Alpha Centauri memories were formed during the BET procedures and also never left the brains of either Glieseian. In both these cases, no reconstruction was necessary.

I should have taken the time and put in the effort to revamp the plot points like into a cohesive linear storyline. Instead, I justified my writing without due consideration of what a reader could experience. 
This review by Nebula Books that follows describes the final product as an incompletely developed story with the potential for greatnessIn the end, the missions were linked into a positive flow. Still missing was detail about the civilizations being observed.
The complete review is here. ttps://nebulabooks.wordpress.com/page/4/   You might have to scroll through other reviews until you travel back in time to May 30, 2016.

The Observers explores complex scientific themes; should science and technology advance simply for the sake of progress? Who should be in control? Who does ownership of information really belong to? These themes are explored through our two main characters, Mxpan and Zerpall. Mollusc-like telepathic beings, Glieseians have made themselves technological overseers that monitor species technological development and intervene as necessary. The Observers is a comedic buddy-cop novel about two investigators, one being the by-the-book professional, and the other being a fun-loving take-it-as-it-comes kind of guy…
Different alien worlds and civilizations are treated almost indifferently – despite well developed characters downing has forgotten to characterize the worlds or environments, and with the vague story this lends to the feeling of staleness throughout the book.
However, this is a comedy book and the humour is well written: timing is everything in comedy, and Downing delivers witty punch-lines and well-paced gags that carry the reader through an often drawn-out experience. The banter between Mxpan and Zerpall is delightful and Zerpall’s child-like innocence is often laugh-out-loud material. If Downing had given even a fraction of the attention he gave his characters to the settings and plot, this book could have been a monumental entry to the genre, placing him with the likes of Heinlein or Asprin. 
What I learned from this painful experience is
  • Don’t rush the process.
  • Look more at the plotline.
  • Have a larger beta-reader team.
  • Keep characterization true to life.

The conclusion of this “book look” will focus on the science and characters.

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My website is: www.crdowning.com

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  1. I truly enjoyed the process as you wrote this book. This story is probably my favorite because of the interaction between Mxpan and Zerpal. If ever a team was created that was less likely than these two, I can't think of it. One doesn't usually associate sci-fi with laughter , but oh the laughter these two bring! Makes the adventure truly enjoyable!! And when will they adventure again?!?!? 😇

  2. Well, Cody, I suspect they are still recovering from their last BET. When/If the are assigned another mission, rest assured the comedic banter will resume.


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