Rebels Divided—Great Review

“This is not a novel to be missed!” “shows the strength and willpower of young individuals, which is something I find quite lacking in today’s time.” “I loved Geo’s character; he has a heart to match Annabelle” “I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third book!” 

These are excerpts from a great review posted on Girl of 1000 Wonders. Check it out.

Maiden’s Egg

(Short story by Lance Erlick)

The decision to run an all-female crew and passenger list on the generation voyage to planet Genrad-26B4 had been acrimonious. At least that’s what I find in the ship’s historical records. Corporate bosses and government officials who wanted a part of this great adventure fought against gender restrictions that kept them off Eve’s Retreat, our home these past two centuries. In the end, when you’re footing the bill, as CEO Rene Clement had done, you can bend the rules.

After scientists confirmed that Genrad-26B4 showed conditions similar to primitive Earth down to a breathable atmosphere, Clement wasted no time in building a generation ship and assembling the right mix of crew and passengers. She felt it important that the community be harmonious since they and their descendants would be together during the two century trip, and then on the planet creating a new civilization. She envisioned a world without the poverty and war that plagued Earth.

She contended her experience as a bio-genetic entrepreneur made her uniquely qualified to guide this mission. She also believed the fertility process she helped to create, which allows two women to have children without the need for a man, provided a unique opportunity. Take skin cells from one woman, trick them into becoming stem cells, and then implant half of that DNA into another woman’s egg. It was a complex, but straightforward process, one her company had performed millions of times.

Rene Clement took every care to fine tune the makeup of her crew and passengers. She believed an all-female population would provide two benefits to a new colony. First, if all the women were fertile, her fertility clinic, where I worked, would allow them to maximize offspring, with the greatest genetic diversity given our fixed population of one thousand.

She had a less subtle reason for an all-female ship. Just before scientists confirmed Genrad-26B4, she had caught her husband of ten years having an affair with another woman. To make matters worse, that other woman was her sister, and it had been going on behind Rene’s back for ten years. There was no way she would have a man on her ship.

Despite the betrayal, the divorce had been acrimonious. She wanted to move on. He tried to squeeze every cent he could from her before he went away. He did go away—heart attack in bed with Rene’s sister. Well, there was some justice in the universe.

Rene Clement believed an all-female ship would eliminate gender conflict and make a more harmonious trip. Those who signed on, including my great-great-great-grandmother, agreed to abide by Captain Clement’s rules, which would accrue to any offspring, including me.

Despite the contract, some of those who signed onto this voyage had expressed their doubts, and had been “released.” I had few complaints about the arrangement. I hadn’t known another world than this ship and so I didn’t know what I might be missing. I guessed that had been part of the insight and wisdom of then CEO Rene Clement, and now our Captain in her sixth bio-regeneration, something that only works for her.

For generations, our fertility process worked as expected. Now, as we approach planet Genrad-26B4, it’s my job to bring the bad news to one who doesn’t accept negatives. Our DNA, and more specifically the telomeres that control our DNA, has deteriorated generation by generation.

We have finally reached our destination, but we will be the last generation, except for Captain Clement, who can live on, alone.

The Teen Rebel

(by Lance Erlick)

History is full of youthful rebels who took up causes when faced with uncertain futures in the world they were about to enter.

In 1832, after the death of a popular leader, Parisian students rebelled against what they saw as repressive conditions in France and the establishment of the monarchy of Louis-Philippe. In the 1960s American students rebelled in reaction to racial practices and the Vietnam War. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 altered government policy with regards to race, but society in general was slow to change, giving hope to some and uncertainty to others. In the case of Vietnam, as the war dragged on, it became increasingly unpopular because the government couldn’t justify the cost in American lives.

Teen rebellion is often a reaction to uncertainty about their futures. In the case of the 1832 Paris revolt, it came from the loss of a popular leader and anxiety over what they could expect from the new monarchist government. In the case of the 1960s, there was radical change coming in racial policies as a result of the Civil Rights act, the riots of the 1960s, and an opening up of interracial communication as a result of the number of African-Americans who served in Vietnam.

On top of this was the gray cloud of the military draft. A young man could be drafted at any time with limited notice, making it difficult to plan his life. There were student deferments, but that only delayed the draft until the young man gradated and wanted to start a job. Then he had the prospect of military service in an unpopular war.
President Nixon quieted much of the dissent against the war when he changed the draft to be predictable with his annual draft lottery. After each lottery, most young men were confident they would not be drafted while others knew for sure they would be. This removed the doubt as to their future and many young men who were relieved of the draft moved on with their lives.

It is interesting to note that during the longest wars in U.S. history (Afghanistan/Iraq) there was none of the protests from the 1960s. This is likely due to the all-volunteer military in which those who chose not to serve didn’t have to. There was none of the uncertainty from the 1960s since they were not personally affected.

Teen rebellion has also been a reaction against the traditions and practices of a previous generation that for the young have outlived whatever purpose may have been intended. Thus, today we wrestle with issues of gender and sexual orientation that young people are more accepting of than their predecessors. Tradition has held that polygamy and homosexuality are wrong because they threaten family values and yet both existed for thousands of years during which families thrived.

What is interesting is that while we have always had the rebel as a thorn in the side of our traditions, the majority of people throughout history just wanted to be left alone. It was so during the French Revolution despite the terrible conditions under King Louis XVI and during the American Revolution. We tend to forget that the Second Continental Congress in 1775-76 was convened to address grievances with England and in the process they declared American independence. The Constitutional Convention was convened in 1787 to modify the decentralized Articles of Confederation and instead developed a new federal Constitution.

For my novel The Rebel Within, Annabelle’s rebelliousness is in reaction to losing her parents to a government crackdown, and against her government’s policy of oppressing males. Her society challenges the traditional male-dominated world around us. I intended this reversal to let people experience things from a slightly different perspective and I believe I’ve done this without being heavy-handed about it.
The world Annabelle lives in has become a strict, conformist one in order to enforce an injustice—the expulsion and abuse of boys. In order to maintain the New Harmony, the government and social structure demonizes males and forces young girls into military service, much like the American draft in the 1960s.

Annabelle rebels because she feels out of step with her society. She has a gut level remembrance of being torn from her birth mother by government forces. Overcompensating, her adoptive mom, whom she loves, confides too much about her son, Geo, who had to flee to the Outland with his dad. That creates a hunger in Annabelle to meet this boy and boys in general, and to experience something different than her society allows.

For my novel Rebels Divided, Annabelle’s rebelliousness continues with the added pressure of an unacceptable forced marriage. This novel introduces Geo, who rebels against a different society as a neighbor to Annabelle’s. Geo lives in a world that promotes rugged individualism and yet his entire society is controlled by a powerful and ruthless thane. His pa strives to keep Geo out of the thane’s Rangers. Geo rebels against his pa in order to become a man, and then against the Thane for attacking his family.

Free ebook copy of The Rebel Within

Hi,
I need your help. In exchange for honest reviews, I am giving away free ebook copies of The Rebel Within through Story Cartel (http://storycartel.com/books/581/the-rebel-within/) over the next 20 days. There is also a raffle for those who read and review.
Thanks,
Lance Erlick

Extract: Facebook Ask The Author

This is extracted from a Facebook Ask the Author interview on November 29, 2013.

Hi, I’m Lance Erlick, the author of two novels in the Rebel series: The Rebel Within and Rebels Divided. (http://www.amazon.com/Lance-Erlick/e/B00C1PKYSA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1371212711&sr=1-2-ent). I also have a short story out on Amazon (Watching You) and one on this website (Nature of Emergency).

After years of squeezing writing in between long stretches of earning my keep, I’m now a full time writer. My focus has been young adult science fiction and other stories that take my fancy. I am currently working on a 3rd story in the Rebel series.

Question: If you could write in one fiction universe for the rest of your career, what universe would it be?

Answer: That would be tough. I enjoy a wide range of areas. I guess if I had to choose it would be young adult science fiction as I enjoy the wonder of how young eyes view our changing world.

Question: Lots of stories begin with ‘what if’ what about yours?

Answer: The Rebel series is no exception. It began with the question of what would happen if bleeding-edge fertility research succeeded in allowing non-reproductive cells to fertilize an egg. While a boon to infertile men, it would also allow two women to have a biological child. That could bring a revolution in social mores. What do you think?

Question: Do you write “hard” science fiction, or “soft” science fiction?

I would say more on the soft side. When I read hard science fiction, it often struggles with character and plot. I am more interested in the interaction of character in new situations. I do want there to be a science base, but I don’t dwell on it. For example, I explored fertility research enough to know there’s a chance of developing a process for two women to have a biological child without a man and then used that in my stories without getting into the technical details. It was enough to realize it was a possibility.

Question: There are a number of ways this scenario could go. Does your story follow the line of thinking that men would be seen as superfluous? Fathering is a lot more than being a sperm donor.

Answer: The Rebel society is the result of a 2nd Civil War in which things get twisted to the point radicals take over and create an all-female society. A female-plurality society has existed before. The Mormons had such initially because more women joined their group in the beginning than men and that influenced their polygamous society. After one of the Paraguayan Wars in South America, most of the men were killed and the society had to deal with a heavily female gender mix. I agree there is more to parenting than being an egg/sperm donor, but every new development brings benefits and challenges. Something to consider that influenced the Rebel society is that while women have made great progress over the past 50 years, males now only receive 40% of college degrees in an information society. What will that mean to gender choices in the future?

Black Friday Promo

In conjunction with the Genre Underground’s #ReadInTheDark2013, I will be offering a Black Friday promotion on The Rebel Within ebook at Kindle, discounted to $.99. Tell your friends and neighbors to stock up while they can. Also, as part of the Black Friday experience, I will be featured on Facebook’s “Ask the Author” event from 4-5PM ET (3-4PM CT). Come keep me company.

Windycon 40

I would like to invite you to join me at Windycon 40 in Lombard IL on November 8-10, 2013 for our local science fiction and fantasy convention. Membership rates are $60, less for pre-registration and kids.

I’ve been invited to be on a panel on November 8 at 4:00 PM called Small Press & Self-Publication. I will also be doing a reading on Sunday, November 10 at 10:00 AM.

Hope to see you there.

Lance Erlick

Author Interview: Hugh Howey

(By Lance Erlick)

I met Hugh Howey at Chicon7 in Chicago in 2012 and again in at Lonestarcon3 in San Antonio this year. Being that I was on the fence between traditional publishing and self-publishing, I was intrigued by his story. He had already published the Molly Fyde series with some success, but found an audience with a short story called Wool. When that story caught reader interest, he expanded the story into a full length novel by the same name and then other stories in the same universe. What began as a self-published story has now been picked up in print form by a major publisher, though Hugh retains the ebook rights. You can catch him at http://www.hughhowey.com/. He agreed to answer a few questions for our audience:

What was the source of the silo idea?
I’m sure it had multiple sources, but the main genesis of the world of Wool came from 24-hour news. I wondered what it does to us to have our view of the world filtered through such a negative lens. Does that impact our degree of optimism and hope? Are those who want to fight for a better world heroes? Or are they dangerous?

What research did you do for the Wool series?
The research came from my life experiences and all my reading, especially non-fiction. I drew from my time as a yacht captain, an engineer, a world traveler, a roofer, an electrician, and a student of history. As in the life I have lived, I probably got more wrong than I got right.

What similar stories do you have planned?
Most of the stories I have planned are vastly different. I want to write across all the genres. I want the process to remain fresh and exciting. I do have another post-apocalyptic series planned, but it takes place in a very distant future and leans a little more toward fantasy.

What is unique about your Molly Fyde stories that make them stand out for you?
I like to think of that series as Pixar in book form. There’s an adventure story for all ages on the surface, but astute readers will catch all the deeper meanings sprinkled throughout. I credit Swift’s GULLIVER’S TRAVELS for inspiring me to view storytelling in this way.

How do you feel about other authors writing in your silo world?
I’m flattered by it. I think it’s wild that I’ve written about a world and others want to join in. I see fan fiction as a form of literary jazz. Someone hears a new beat they like, and they want to riff off of it. They want to jump on stage and join in or perform their own rendition. I completely support this. My hope is that these writers will delight my readership and draw them over to their own works, introduce them to more great stories. I know writers who are making a decent wage from their fan fiction, and as someone who knows how difficult it is to get paid for your art, nothing makes me happier.

Thanks, Hugh, for your thoughts.

Lance Erlick

Helping Young Men Find Their Way

(by Lance Erlick)

With 6.6 million men under correctional supervision (probation, parole, jail or prison) in the U.S. and 2.7 million less men than women enrolled in college, how do we go about engaging young men to see they have a future? Instead of preparing for jobs and a valued place in our society, young men have turned to drugs, gangs, violence, or checked out in other ways. Why? Because they don’t see a better place for themselves.

Traditional male oriented jobs have either gone overseas, to women, or to immigrants. Fundamentally, the economy has changed and given our desire to improve our standards of living, this was inevitable. Where once, farm related jobs represented 70% of the economy, now they have dropped to 3%. Automation and improved farm technology improved the productivity of farms, improving the standard of living of farmers, but with far fewer individuals involved. The same thing happened in manufacturing. Even without exporting manufacturing jobs, the push for higher incomes has led to more automation and fewer individuals employed in manufacturing the products we use. If all the manufacturing jobs returned to the US, we still would not employ the number of workers we did in the 1960s.

Basically, the world has changed and too many young men have not adapted. So, how do we help them see a better future than drugs, gangs, and extremist causes?

Where Have All The Young Men Gone?

(by Lance Erlick)

At a time when jobs that utilize men’s physical prowess are in decline and knowledge jobs are increasingly important, where are the young men?

Almost 60% of all college degrees now go to women, a tribute to their striving to improve themselves in a knowledge-based economy. There are currently 2.7 million more women in college than men. Women graduate from high school at higher rates and go on to college to prepare and improve themselves for knowledge jobs in our new society. They even read more than men.

So, where are the men? An estimated 750,000 are involved in gangs, compared to 30,000 women. Fully 6.3 million more men than women are under correctional supervision. That includes those in jail or prison, on parole, or on probation. Countless others have given up.

Now, what type of society will we have when so many males become discouraged and check out or get involved in gangs, drugs and violence as opposed to seeing the value of engaging with the rest of our society?