Saturday 9 September 2017

Author/Novel Spotlight: Adam David Collings

Today I am spotlighting novelist, Adam David Collings. He has just released a novella, Jewel of the Stars, an exciting space opera type series that has a very promising future. When I heard about this, I offered to review it pre-release and to spotlight himself and this novella. Adam has impressed me with his writing and imagination. 

So without further ado, let's investigate Adam David Collings, his passion for speculative fiction, the background to his new science fiction series and other short stories that have been published.

First, let us view his bio:

Adam David Collings is an author of speculative fiction. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife Linda and his two children. Adam draws inspiration for his stories from his over-active imagination, his life experiences and his faith.

Adam is a great lover of stories, enjoying them in books, movies, scripted TV and computer games. Adam discusses these, along with his monthly Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Bulletin on his YouTube channel.

Adam and his wife are passionately involved with Door of Hope Christian Church. Adam has served in ministry areas such as live streaming, video production and serving meals to the homeless.

Now let's have a look at Jewel of the Stars and a sample of the reviews. This novella is available in an e-book edition. Click on the title to be taken to the Amazon book description page, to buy or view the Look Inside feature:

The Cruise is Over

Haylee was more confident designing starships than raising an autistic child. Now she just wants a relaxing holiday with her family. But when Earth falls to an alien armada, she knows life will never be the same again.

Les was just a cruise ship captain. Now, he must rise up and become something greater, if he is to keep his crew and passengers alive.

Braxton never wanted to leave the space navy, but now, taking a cruise is the only way to feel the stars around him. This crisis may be his ticket to regaining the life he thought was gone forever.

Can they overcome their differences and save everyone on the ship?

If they reach unexplored space, they might yet survive, but an unstoppable enemy stands in their way…

Earth’s Remnant is the thrilling pilot to an episodic space opera, Jewel of The Stars, by Adam David Collings. Join the crew as they fight for survival against the wondrous backdrop of the unknown. What else will they find hiding among the stars?

Join the adventure today.

Adam has also created a book trailer for his novella: 

I asked Adam why he wrote Jewel of the Stars and what are the Christian/Biblical themes.

While all of my short fiction so far has been explicitly Christian fiction, I have written Jewel of the Stars for a wider audience. Because of this, Christian themes are more subtle.

One thing I am very keen to do with this series is to present a genuine, flawed but sympathetic, Christian character in a science fiction setting. People of faith, particularly Christians, are not always portrayed well in general fiction, so I want to show readers what a real Christ follower is like, in a story that everyone can enjoy. To that end, the doctor on the ship is a Christian. She is a minor character in episode 1, but as with any ensemble piece, each character will have their turn in the spotlight.

The major theme in my prequel story, Fall of the HMAS Adelaide, is that of self-sacrifice. Here in Australasia, we often draw parallels between the sacrifice of the Anzacs at Gallipoli in World War 1, and the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary. In the story, I draw parallels to both of these events.

The structure of this series is very much based on modern TV. The eBook revolution has opened up new forms of storytelling. The story will be divided into seasons of 6 episodes (novellas) each. I have four seasons planned, with one grand epic story arc that ties it all together. I also plan to release season box sets in paperback form. It’s a big project, but an exciting one.

Adam has kindly provided an excerpt to whet your appetite and the reason he chose this: 

One of the major themes in Jewel of The Stars is that of taking risk versus playing it safe. Captain Les Miller is on the safe end of the spectrum, while Braxton White is on the risk-taker end. Through the course of the story, both characters need to make concessions to become the people they must be to overcome their obstacles.

Personally, I am like Captain Miller. I like to play things safe and think everything through carefully before I act. I like to think that in this, I am being wise and rational. And I do believe that God blesses the exercise of these qualities. Sometimes, however, this can be an excuse for lack of faith. Trusting God, and having faith, inherently require risk. If there was no risk involved, there would be no need for trust. The difference for those of us who are Christians is that when we take these risks, we are trusting in more than just our own abilities, and those of our peers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Start of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A plate of macaroni and cheese appeared on the table in front of Braxton. He looked up. Maya beamed down at him. “Hey, boys. I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave you to it. Something’s come up. I’ll grab a bite later.”

She hurried off before either of them could reply. So much for fuelling the body. He turned to Miller. “You get the impression we’ve been set up?”

“Undoubtedly Maya wanted to get us together to hash out our differences.”

“Seems that way.” Braxton leaned forward across the table. “Look, Captain, I can see you’re a by-the-book kind of bloke. That’s cool, it really is, but this situation isn’t in your job description. You’re too inflexible. You need to adjust your way of thinking, and you need to do it now. Otherwise, you’re gonna snap.”

Miller dropped his fork. It clattered on the plate. Several people on nearby tables turned.

“And you, Commander White, are reckless. If I let you go unchecked, you’d get every man, woman and child on this ship killed before dinner time. You’re a menace, and I’m already regretting bringing you onto the team. You need to open your eyes and realise where you are. This isn’t a warship. It’s a flying hotel. We have to get these people out of the war zone as quickly as possible. If you can’t support me in that, you can go back to sipping martinis by the pool. Are we clear?”

“Yeah, I got it.” Braxton stood and picked up his plate. “I‘ll take this back to my room if you don’t mind.”

“Seems like a good idea.”

Braxton turned and stormed out of the mess. He was going to have to do something about Miller. The man was a danger to the ship.  I chose this excerpt because it highlights not only the theme but the conflict between Les and Braxton.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End of Excerpt~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The three reviews are positive:

on September 3, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love this. Let me say it again: I love Jewel of The Stars. I have read so many books this year and there are only a few that I think should be made into a movie; this is one of them. Maybe I need to write to Netflix and tell them how this awesome book would make a wonderful movie. I can't wait until the next episode. Aliens and humans trapped in space is my kind of story. I'm in heaven.

on September 7, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

Imagine this. You're on a pleasure cruise on a spaceship and you're hoping for a fun and relaxing time sightseeing among the stars. Then the captain makes an announcement to say that aliens have broken through earth's defences and you can't return. This is the fascinating premise behind this novella. The captain doesn't have any military experience and the ship doesn't have weapons that could protect against hostile aliens. Just as well there's a retired military commander and a weapons engineer on board. But can they find and install the weapons they need before a stray alien ship destroys everyone on board? Well, you'll just have to read it to find out.

This is Season 1, Episode 1 of Adam David Collings' space opera, and I really enjoyed it. There is a range of interesting primary and secondary characters, with lots of scope for future storylines. The action was tight, with plenty of drama, but also some humour. I've read a few of Collings' stories and I like his writing style. It's easy to read but has some great imagery and the odd quirky turn of phrase ( e.g. aliens who were like grasshoppers on steroids). It's in the mould of space opera TV shows like Star Trek, complete with warp rings and tractor beams, but Collings puts his own original spin on it.

I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. I hope it's not too long until the next instalment.

on September 2, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

My review from Amazon is too long to include here but can be found here

Adam has also four short stories published in anthologies: 

1- Lynessa's Curse

Mankind reached for the stars, and civilization crumbled.

The Red Planet was Mankind's first home after Earth. But when silence fell across the solar system, humanity found themselves in a new dark ages.

Alastair is a serf, toiling in the lands of his lord. Each day the blue orb of Earth rises on the horizon, whispering of the ancient time of magic when mankind travelled the night sky, but that time is long past and he is content with his lot. Until his beloved Lynessa is struck with the dreaded curse – a mark on the skin that brings certain death.

When Alastair hears the legend of an artefact from the time of magic that can lift the curse, he leaves his lord's lands and journeys to the Argyre Planitia in search of a fabled cure. But the dense jungles there contain unthinkable creatures, remnants engineered from a time long ago, and a tribe of warriors who will stop at nothing to protect the artefact.

Lynessa’s Curse is a novella originally published in Medieval Mars: The Anthology created by Travis Perry. Begin your epic journey on the Red Planet today!

Reviews are very positive: 

VINE VOICEon February 25, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition

It is a time far into the future. Mars has been terraformed and colonized by Earth, but civilization reached a point of collapse, subsiding into a kind medieval period not unlike what we know as the Middle Ages, the period between the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the rise of the nation-states in Europe.

Alistair, a farmer in a feudal domain called Garibaldi Manor and ruled by Lord Gareth, is in love with Lynessa. Then he learns that she has the skin ailment known as “the curse,” and is to be banished. The curse begins as a skin ailment (not unlike leprosy) and eventually ends in death. Alastair and his older friend Waleran are allowed to take Lynessa to the camp of the banished. There they hear of a possible cure and eventually are allowed to undertake the quest to find it.

Adam David Collings’s short fantasy novel “Lynessa’s Curse” is a standalone story that is part of a collection of related stories published as “Medieval Mars.” It’s a good introduction to the collection – the story is intriguing and fast-paced, the narrative filled with details of what a terraformed Mars (and its various peoples and animals, including giant lizards that spew acid and flying reptiles) is like. Fantasy requires a suspension of belief, but when well done offers a riveting story, which is what Lynessa’s Curse is.

Collings, who lives in Tasmania, Australia, is a writer of speculative fiction. He says he draws his inspiration from his “over-active imagination, life experiences, and faith.” He also hosts a YouTube channel, Stories with Adam Collings, where he gives full rein to his storytelling and related activities.

The goal of the quest by Alastair and Waleran is technologies of Old Earth, left behind and now hidden in a place “where the three rivers converge.” The place turns out to be guarded by the lizards and a people hostile to outsiders. But Alastair, a farmer with virtually no fighting experience, is determined to save Lynessa. It is his transformation that’s at the heart of “Lynessa’s Curse.”

on August 24, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition

Lynessa’s Curse was a tale of determination, loyalty, and love, sprinkled with dangerous creatures and redemptive themes.I liked Alastair right away—a simple farm worker with the dream of marrying the beautiful Lynessa. When her curse was discovered, I could feel his pain and sorrow as his world slowly crumbled, and I immediately wanted him to find a way to cure her. That sympathy drew me into his quest to save his sweetheart and propelled me through the dangers and trials he faced to achieve his goal. It was impossible not to hope he succeeded against the odds. 

Set on a Mars reminiscent of medieval Europe, where items from our age of technology are seen as magical, the story had a number of fantasy elements I enjoyed. If you want to read a short story with a different take on traditional sci-fi/fantasy settings and a good amount of heart, check out Lynessa's Curse. 

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

4.0 out of 5 starsAn Engaging Tale Set In Terraformed Mars That Will Appeal 
To Science Fiction and Fantasy Lovers. Great Debut Novella.
on February 15, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

My review from Amazon is too long to include here but can be found here.

This is published in:

Medieval Mars: The Anthology (Terraformed Interplanetary Book 1)

A future terraformed Mars, where civilization crashed back into a Medieval Era. Christian Knights called “riders” patrol the Pilgrim Road from Olympus to New San Diego, on the Chryse Sea. The technological past is known as the “Age of Magic” and only a handful of people understand how the remaining ancient devices really work. Lighter gravity in dense air makes flying dragons and bird riders a reality; alloys of the past make “magic” swords, and masters of ancient knowledge wield wizard-like power.

Nine authors spin tales in this unique story world, one which combines elements of science fiction and high fantasy.

2 -Short story: Chronostream's Father. This is published in

Superheroes: The Crossover Alliance Anthology V3

I've been a life-long fan of superheroes, so when I heard that the Crossover Alliance was using them as the subject of their next anthology I knew I had to submit something. I started a story, and it was okay, but it didn't really go anywhere. Life moved on. Other projects grabbed my attention. As the deadline neared I knew that I had to get something together or forget about it. Then, in a way that I can only describe as God inspiring me creatively, the story came to me.

The story Chronostream's Father explored some issues I was struggling with. I have a son with special needs. I think all parents feel unqualified for the job sometimes, but this is heightened when your child needs that little something extra. I wondered what it would be like to raise a child with super powers. It seemed a fun twist on the genre to tell the story from the parent's point of view. I created a flawed protagonist. A Christian who doesn't quite have it all together. I'm sure we can all relate. Ultimately, the story reminds me that God's grace is sufficient for me.

I had to decide what type of powers my character would have. Time travel is another love of mine. I realised that the ability to pause and rewind time would be cool, but what really got my blood pumping was the idea that due to the wibbly-wobbly nature of temporal mechanics, this hero's origin story would not be at the beginning, but at some indeterminate time in the future.

As a bit of extra fun, I set my story in the same universe as an unfinished superhero story I had sitting on my hard drive. Good inspiration to get back and finish it. Finally, I set the story in my home state of Tasmania. Why? Because it's one of the most awesome places on earth. Trust me.

3 - A Light To My Path (A Jewel of the Stars short story)

Archer White wants to make the history books, like those who discovered alien ruins on Kepler 22b. When his subordinate makes a costly mistake, he takes a late night walk on the planet Savannah to cool down. Chased by a local wild animal, he finds himself trapped in an underground cave system filled with giant spiders, and a scientific marvel, that could be his only way back to the surface.

This is published in 

Glimpses of Light: Stories and poems of imagination and hope

Be challenged, captivated and moved by these imaginative reflections on faith, help in time of need, joy in the midst of tragedy, and surprising encounters with God.

During 2015, the International Year of Light, twenty-one authors from Australia and the United States have come together to explore the theme of 'glimpses of light'—finding light in dark places—through short stories, poems, flash fiction and creative nonfiction.

Glimpses of Light includes contributions from respected and award-winning authors and poets Jo-Anne Berthelsen, Paula Vince, Lynne Stringer, Adele Jones, Jo Wanmer, Jeanette Grant-Thomson and Ellen Carr, as well as exciting new talent.

4 - Short Story: For King and Planet.

On a terraformed Venus, that has chosen to emulate all thing Victorian, whichever nation reaches the old orbital platforms first, will rule the world. Edwin Wakefield is determined to prevent New Berlin from beating his nation of Tellus into space. He assembles an unlikely crew to infiltrate enemy territory and pull off a great heist. But he has another great plan - one he hopes will change the face of the planet forever.

This is published in 

Victorian Venus (Terraformed Interplanetary Book 2)

In a future one thousand years from now, an echo of the Victorian past thrives. A future terraformed Venus sees our era of high technology as one of innumerable dangers. Dominated by the most advanced technological society on the planet, New Berlin, the nation and city-states of Venus deliberately imitate both the technology and culture of the Victorian Era. As nations chafe under the yoke of New Berlin, war breaks out--driving this culture so much like our past into a future entirely unlike our own.

This short-story anthology explores the regions and cultures of Victorian Venus, from the metropolis of New Berlin to the tropics, to the Arctic Circle. The war between New Berlin and two rebelling nations forms the backdrop of most of the tales.

Adam would like to add the following before he goes: 

I would like to thank Peter for this spotlight, and the opportunities it presents. He does a great service, both to readers and writers, with this website.

You can investigate more of Jewel of the Stars here:

Adam can be seen at the following social media sites: 

Readers and reviews are an author's best asset, so I encourage any reader who likes reading in the genres of Christian science fiction and fantasy, to consider reading Jewel of the Stars or Adam's other short stories listed above and submit a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (or any other social media you subscribe to).


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