Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Blitz: Guest Post & Giveaway! - The Spiral Arm by Peter Boland


The Spiral Arm (episode 1, season 1)The Spiral Arm 
by Peter Boland 
Publication date: 
May 21st 2013
Genre: YA Dystopia

Wren Harper lives on an overcrowded Earth on the brink of apocalypse. There are just too many people. The answer lies 600 light-years away on Kepler; a planet more than double the size of Earth. For decades humans have been fighting another race for its control. Earth’s armies are depleted. So now 15-year-old cadets are sent to fight, trained along the way in vast combat ships. But why has Wren been chosen? She's small and geeky and not a fighter. Will she survive Kepler? Or will the training kill her first? 

This is a debut novella-length episode in a series full of cliffhanger endings.

Buy It Now

Guest Post by Peter Boland

There’s something about Mary

I’ve got a thing for Mary Shelley (no, not in that way). What I mean is I’m totally in awe of what a ground-breaking thinker and novelist she was. While Jane Austen wrote about dinner parties, politeness and getting hitched, Mary Shelley wrote about something so dark, original and challenging, it still resonates today. I’m talking about Frankenstein. 

It was first published anonymously back in 1818 to mixed reviews, but the story caught the public’s imagination. No-one had read anything like it before. Back then science fiction simply didn’t exist. Mary was the first, a trailblazer who paved the way for others like Jules Verne and HG Wells. In fact, Frankenstein predates Verne’s first novel by 39 years, yet he is considered to be the founding father of science fiction, not Mary. But she got there first with her dark novel about a scientist who plays God. 

I feel the importance of Shelley’s brilliant novel has been slightly side-lined and misunderstood. No thanks to the numerous Hollywood movies. The monster has become an icon for a mindless reanimated copse. Little more than a zombie who kills anyone on sight. Yes, he is a terrifying killer but in the book he’s also thoughtful, sensitive and highly eloquent. He’s a tortured soul who’s desperate to know why he’s been brought to life and why his creator detests him so much. Her writing is achingly beautiful, on a par with Shakespeare. It touches on the deep philosophical themes of what it means to be human and whether someone has the right to play God. With human cloning now a real possibility, the question of playing God is becoming more and more relevant. Thing is, Mary Shelley was asking the question nearly 200 years ago. That makes her a visionary and a genius. 

I’m very fortunate that Mary Shelley happens to be buried in my home town of Bournemouth. Her grave is just as gothic as her writing - she’s buried with the heart of her lover, the poet Percy Shelley. I’ll often go and write in one of the cafes in town and will take a detour so I can pass by her grave. It’s in an overgrown garden cemetery on the side of a hill peppered with ancient leaning pine trees and unkempt bushes. Down a snaking path through the undergrowth you come to Mary’s tomb. It’s a modest affair about the size and height of a large coffee table. As I pass by I give Mary a nod and hope that some of her amazing talent will rub off on me.  If you’re ever in Bournemouth, take a detour into St Peter’s Church and pay your respects to Mary - a titan of literature.

After studying to be an architect, Pete realised he wasn’t very good at it. He liked designing buildings, he just couldn’t make them stand up, which is a bit of a handicap in an industry that likes to keep things upright. So he switched to advertising, writing ads for everything from cruise lines to zombie video games. After meeting his wife Shalini and having two boys, he was amazed when she sat and actually wrote a book. Then another and another. They were good too. Really good. So he thought, I’ll have a go at that. He soon realised there’s no magic formula. You just have to put one word in front of the other (and keep doing that for about a year). It also helps if you can resist the lure of surfing, Taekwondo, playing Legos with the boys and drinking beer in front of the TV. 

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