#BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Psychotopia by R.N. Morris. It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise.

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway (below) –  to Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

About the Author

R. N. Morris is the author of ten novels. The latest is Psychotopia, published 31 October, 2018.

A Gentle Axe, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. Set in St Petersburg in the nineteenth century, it features Porfiry Petrovich, the investigating magistrate from Dostoevsky’s great novel, Crime and Punishment. The book was published in many countries, including Russia. He followed that up with A Vengeful Longing, which was shortlisted for the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (as the CWA Gold Dagger was briefly known). A Razor Wrapped in Silk came next, followed by The Cleansing Flames, which was nominated for the Ellis Peters Historical Novel Dagger.

The Silas Quinn series of novels, set in London in 1914, began with Summon Up The Blood, followed by The Mannequin House, The Dark Palace and The Red Hand of Fury. The next novel in the series, The White Feather Killer, will be published in April 2019.

Taking Comfort is a standalone contemporary novel, written as Roger Morris. He also wrote the libretto to the opera When The Flame Dies, composed by Ed Hughes.

Follow @rnmorris on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit rogernmorris.co.uk

Buy Psychotopia

About the book

A game for the times we live – and die – in. Enter Psychotopia, a dark new dystopian novel from the author of the acclaimed Silas Quinn mysteries.

PSYCHOTOPIA, LEVEL ONE. Create your own boutique psychopath, then deceive, manipulate and be ruthless, spreading mayhem and destruction to reach the next levels.

It’s the computer game for our times. After all, the amount of crazy in the world is increasing. Senseless violence on the streets is becoming the norm. Can Dr Arbus’s ground-breaking device identify and neutralize psychopaths before it’s too late? In this increasingly dysfunctional world, surely Callum standing by Aimee after her devastating encounter with Charlie is proof that real love and goodness can still win in a world that’s increasingly rotten . . . Or can it?

Review

Right! R.N. Morris needs locking in a room with no access to the outside world and no internet – his ideas are far too dangerous.

A video game based on psychopathy, one that interacts and evolves based on the pathology of someone’s lack of empathy, conscience and in general what is considered the normal emotional response based on societal norms. The idea is dangerous.

I wondered, as I am sure many readers will, what the underlying message is. To establish a world with psychopaths in the control seat? Perhaps the idea that they can be functioning and useful members of society or indeed that there are plenty of undiagnosed psychopaths at large. The game and the response to it is also a way to diagnose and recognise different types of a pathology that experts still don’t quite understand.

Is there a rise in the number of psycho and sociopaths, and if so is it because our DNA is evolving with the environment in a way that suggests they would have a better survival rate. What a worrying thought, the natural survivor of the late 21st century could be humans with no empathy and capable of killing without compunction. Hmm.

Science is already capable of identifying specific genes that suggest a predisposition towards violence, perhaps eventually the same will apply to other or similar sub-categories or extensions of anti-social behaviour such as psychopathy. We already have tests in place to identify psychopathic tendencies.

What I found really fascinating is the labelling of P or NP, and whether the actual labelling would lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy or alternatively whether the true nature would persevere, despite the label.

I think the sex scene was perhaps superfluous, keeping the strength of the storyline in mind, and it slipped into the dangerous zone of gender tropes. I also thought the graphic reference to the two-year-old in the beginning could deter some readers from enjoying or finishing the read, despite it only being a quick example of deviant behaviour. The truth is still considered a taboo in some subjects unfortunately, because the majority of people would rather not be confronted with the atrocity of sexual deviancy.

It’s futuristic and speculative fiction with an intriguing premise. Perhaps video game development and the advancement into virtual reality as it melds into real life deserves to be a sub-genre in its own right.

Psychotopia takes the reader to a world of open doors and what you take away from this book will be an individual experience depending on your own frame of references, including whether there is a clear conclusion or closure at the end. Hypothetical reality meets base human nature, depravity and a lack of conscience.

Buy Psychotopia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Severn House Digital; pub date 1 Feb. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Red Hand of Fury by R.N. Morris

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed Hardback Copy of Pyschotopia (Open Internationally)

Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#PublicationDayPush Sea of Lies by Rachel McLean

It’s a pleasure to welcome Rachel McLean back to the blog for the Publication Day Push for the standalone sequel to Thicker than Water, Sea of Lies by Rachel McLean. It’s a post-apocalyptic story about young love.

About the Author

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think. What does that mean? In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen? My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

About the book

Sarah Evans has returned home after being abducted and held in a dilapidated farmhouse by a group of men. With her is Martin, who turned against the other men to help her escape. He says he’s not like them, and claims to be in love with her.

Can Sarah trust Martin? Does she share his feelings? Or should she listen to her father, himself deceitful and abusive, and turn her back on the relationship?

Sea of Lies is a chilling psychological thriller about secrets, trust, and a family falling apart. (A standalone sequel to Thicker than Water).

Review

This is the standalone sequel to Thicker than Water. You can read this without knowing the backstory, however I do recommend reading the previous book. It sets the scene and it’s an interesting read.

This book takes place in the aftermath of an abduction, when a group of men kidnap a number of women and young girls from a small isolated community. The intent is clearly something out of a caveman come re-population manual. The experience is traumatic and quickly becomes violent.

During the kidnapping Sarah gets to know Martin, the young man who helped facilitate the kidnapping of Ruth. He realises he has made a huge mistake and wants to make amends. He feels an instant attraction towards Sarah and is willing to do anything to protect her.

Sarah has to deal with the trauma of the abduction and returning to the abusive arms of her father. A man who likes to control and abuse the women in his life. The question is; who is the bigger danger to Sarah, her new admirer with the dubious past or her father with the tendency to lash out in anger?

This series is set in a rural coastal area in Britain after the country is devastated by a natural catastrophe, which gives the story a more approachable vibe. It doesn’t take place in an obscure made-up place, which makes it easier for readers to relate to the circumstances.

I felt this was more of a post-apocalyptic story about young love with a lot of abuse and a few murders, whereas the first had the gritty and desperate feel of a post-apocalyptic story. The author has plenty of ideas and creativity to draw from and I hope she doesn’t lose that sense of daring and the willingness to go beyond the normal parameters of the genre. I know the darkness is in there somewhere and is screaming to get out. *grins* I do believe this is just the beginning for McLean.

Buy Sea of Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Catawampus Press; Ecopy pub date 22 Mar. 2019. Paperback pub date 17 March 2019Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Thicker than Water by Rachel McLean.

#BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint. It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair.

About the Author

Amanda Saint’s debut novel, As If I Were A River, reached #3 in the WHSmith Travel charts; was selected as a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month; and chosen as a Top 20 Book of 2016 by the Book Magnet Blog.

Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, twice appearing on the Fish Flash Fiction longlist and the Ink Tears Short Story shortlist. She runs her own creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs writing courses and competitions; and an independent publishing house, retreat West Books. Amanda also works as a freelance journalist writing about climate change and environmental sustainability.

Follow @saintlywriter @RetreatWest on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit amandasaint.net

Buy Remember Tomorrow

About the book

England, 2073. The UK has been cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters. Small pockets of survivors live in isolated communities with no electricity, communications or transportation, eating only what they can hunt and grow.

Evie is a herbalist, living in a future that’s more like the past, and she’s fighting for her life. The young people of this post-apocalyptic world have cobbled together a new religion, based on medieval superstitions, and they are convinced she’s a witch. Their leader? Evie’s own grandson.

Weaving between Evie’s current world and her activist past, her tumultuous relationships and the terrifying events that led to the demise of civilised life, Remember Tomorrow is a beautifully written, disturbing and deeply moving portrait of an all-too-possible dystopian world, with a chilling warning at its heart.

Review

It doesn’t matter how far into the future we go, we can always rely on humans to never learn from history or their past. The human race excels at destroying themselves. For some reason they seem particularly talented at repeating the most heinous acts of the past centuries. The title of the book is therefore quite apt.

Instead of moving forward and evolving, a community in the future has reverted back to the days when the mere whiff of suspicion could mean the difference between living in peace and being burnt at the stake for witchcraft. Healing becomes spells, witchery and the devil’s work. This places Evie in the unfortunate position of being a target.

The fact that religion always seems to make an appearance in some way, shape or form is definitely part of the problem in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic and futuristic story. A once thriving community set in the year 2073 in England is facing increasingly harder struggles to survive. Food has become scarce, which makes people desperate.

Her own family uses religion to make Evie seem like a threat and the guise of her being a danger to the community is probably just hiding the fact it is a way to rid themselves of community members. Less people equals less mouths to share food with.

Humans tend to target the vulnerable, the different and the non-conformists to deflect from their own failings or hidden agendas. Evie and any other person refusing to become part the fanatical religious group have a big bullseye painted on their back.

It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair. Given the rise of certain radical groups and the attacks upon specific religious groups and ethnicities at the moment, despite prior tragedies and atrocities in the last century, this isn’t a far-fetched premise at all.

Saint captivates the mass hysteria of religious zealots, which supersedes any common sense or prior knowledge that questions the beliefs of the fanatics. It’s a recipe for violence and disaster.

Buy Remember Tomorrow at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Retreat West Books; Ecopy pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Paperback pub date 17 March 2019.

Read my review of The Word for Freedom and Nothing is As it Was.

#BlogTour The Widening Gyre by Michael R. Johnston

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Widening Gyre by C.J. Sutton. It’s futuristic, dystopian sci-fi meets action packed space opera. I look forward to reading where this series goes.

About the Author

Born in the San Francisco bay area and raised in Napa, California, Michael R. Johnston grew up steeped in everything Science Fiction and Fantasy from Asimov to Zelazny, as well as endless terrible SF TV shows he still has a slightly embarrassed fondness for.

Faced with the choice between moving back in with his parents and continuing school, or paying his rent, he took “a year” off from college. He spent time as a court process server, a retail sales associate, a sandwich maker, and a data entry tech, before finding himself in a management role. A decade later, burnt out from his job in political research and facing 30, he decided he’d had enough and returned to college, graduating with honors from California State University, Sacramento.

In fall 2006, he became a high school English teacher, a job he likens to herding a swarm of angry bees. It’s the best job he’s ever had.

In 2013, he attended the 17th Viable Paradise Science Fiction Writing Workshop. The experience of having his story critiqued by other writers, some of them professionals he’d been reading for years, helped him realize he could write professionally, and introduced him to some of his best friends.

He currently lives in Sacramento, California, with his wife and daughter. When he’s not writing or teaching, he spends time with his family, plays video games and tabletop RPGs (often with family), and reads.

Follow @MREJohnston @flametreepress on Twitter, Visit MJohnstonBooks.com

Buy The Widening Gyre

About the book

Eight hundred years ago, the Zhen Empire discovered a broken human colony ship drifting in the fringes of their space. The Zhen gave the humans a place to live and folded them into their Empire as a client state. But it hasn’t been easy. Not all Zhen were eager to welcome another species into their Empire, and humans have faced persecution. For hundreds of years, human languages and history were outlawed subjects, as the Zhen tried to mold humans into their image. Earth and the cultures it nourished for millennia are forgotten, little more than legends.

One of the first humans to be allowed to serve in the Zhen military, Tajen Hunt became a war hero at the Battle of Elkari, the only human to be named an official Hero of the Empire. He was given command of a task force, and sent to do the Empire’s bidding in their war with the enigmatic Tabrans. But when he failed in a crucial mission, causing the deaths of millions of people, he resigned in disgrace and faded into life on the fringes as a lone independent pilot.

When Tajen discovers his brother, Daav, has been killed by agents of the Empire, he, his niece, and their newly-hired crew set out to finish his brother’s quest: to find Earth, the legendary homeworld of humanity. What they discover will shatter 800 years of peace in the Empire, and start a war that could be the end of the human race.

Review

In this story the humans are the underdog. The rare species fighting for survival in a world run by aliens who eat raw and live meat. Shout out to the original V at this point, who loved to eat live rats and even hamsters.

Even in sci-fi there is room for sub-species to be discriminated against, treated as less than the superior race, and yet still used to stock up numbers in a war (aka bullet fodder). Tajen Hunt is a decorated war hero, the sole human carrier of the title Hero of the Empire. The fact he achieved this title by inadvertently causing the mass deaths of his own race, makes him a traitor to his own and deserving of an odd respect from the Zhen.

Tajen has to confront his feelings of guilt about his military career when a tragic event forces him to interact with his past and his immediate family. Easier said than done. He struggles to connect with his niece, in fact he struggles to connect emotionally to anyone.

He accidentally creates a team of determined truth seekers, who are willing to follow the scavenger hunt for information hidden by his brother. Not all of them believe the conspiracy theory and that the search will lead them to a planet surrounded my myths and tales of non-existence.

It’s a sci-fi space adventure with a ship full of rebels willing to defy a whole alien race to discover the truth about planet earth. What is so important the Zhen will go to any length to keep it secret, including killing those who are willing to dig deep to discover said secret.

I enjoyed the read. It’s futuristic, dystopian sci-fi meets action packed space opera. I look forward to reading where this series goes.

Buy The Widening Gyre by Michael R. Johnston at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Flame Tree Press; pub date 14 Mar. 2019. Buy at !ndigo, Flame Tree Press, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Powell’s, Waterstones or Book Depository.

#BlogBlitz Thicker than Water by Rachel McLean

Today it’s the Blog Blitz for Thicker than Water by Rachel McLean. It’s a dystopian, apocalyptic and futuristic tale, which is perhaps more of a reality than one would prefer to imagine.

About the Author

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think. What does that mean? In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen? My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

Follow @rachelmcwrites on Twitter, on Instagramon Facebook, Visit rachelmcwrites.com

Buy Thicker than Water

About the book

Six years after floods made her family homeless, Jess Dyer has found safety on the wild North Yorkshire coast. Her sister-in-law Ruth is forging a role as doctor to their community of refugees and the rock around which the family revolves.

But the family is haunted by memories of the journey north and the loss of their mother Sonia. And their community is under attack from the local population.

When Jess answers a distress call at sea, she brings strangers to their village and puts Ruth in jeopardy. Jess must calm the community, mount a rescue mission and keep her brother Ben from tipping into insanity.

Will she succeed? And will she find Ruth before it’s too late?

‘Thicker Than Water’ is a gripping thriller about family, belonging and revenge.

Review

It’s slightly bizarre reading a dystopian novel set in the area you live in, walk around in and drive through nearly every other day. It does however make it easier to picture the surroundings, although to be fair the author does a good job of describing them.

Jess finds her every word and decision being challenged by the people she is supposed to protect. She is a woman and she has inadvertently usurped her brother Ben. His supporters and Ben think she has betrayed her brother and isn’t capable of keeping their small community protected.

When she sees a boat in distress one evening she decides to override the concerns of others and take some strangers in. To offer shelter to those in need. Little does she realise that this is the beginning of a nightmare for the town and her family.

Although this can be read as a standalone novel I think it’s a given that reading the series will give the reader a bigger picture and allow the author to show where her premise is going. I would like to know what separates the small community from everyone and why are they a target for attacks?

McLean captures the narrow mindedness of a small community. The expectations of old lives vs the new expectations in line with the dangers of a world or country in the midst of a survival crisis. The inability to comprehend that where certain aspects of life, before the natural catastrophe took place, were easy and not worth a second thought, they have now become dangerous and life-threatening. One scratch, a cough or a rash can be fatal.

It’s a dystopian, apocalyptic and futuristic tale, which is perhaps more of a reality than one would prefer to imagine. I think that is also an element of the premise I enjoyed, the more realistic approach to the end of the world as we know it or scenario which could be the beginning of the end, as opposed to something more fictional or less likely. The straw that breaks the camels back and throws the country into complete chaos and desperation.

Buy Thicker than Water at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads or any other retailer. Publisher: Catawampus Press. Buy at Amazon com

Come back on the 25th of March 2019 to read all about Sea of Lies by Rachel McLean.

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Vox coverVox is to the 21st century what 1984 was to the 20th century.

Let me start by saying that Vox should be compulsory reading material for everyone. Give it to them at school and let them learn the meaning of oppression, control and what happens when the bible-thumping patriarchal system not only takes society back to the dark ages, what happens when it takes it a lot further than that.

This book made me angry, so furious I had to put it down and come back to it multiple times. My inner rage was begging to punch some of the characters in the face. To hurt and annihilate them completely.

Let me also say that without a doubt if this ever became a reality I would fight tooth and nail to oppose this kind of regime, for myself, my daughters and every other woman in the world.

With that said please take note of the regimes already dictating this type of oppression towards the female gender in the 21st century. The oppression and persecution of same-sex couples and homosexuality. Don’t ignore the laws being put into place or abolished in supposed democratic Western countries, that undermine women, gender equality and power over our own bodies. Be aware of so-called conservative political parties trying to control your life in the name of an imaginary power, and in the name of a book written by man for men.

I can’t imagine a world where I am forbidden to speak more than 100 words a day. I mean sheesh I find it a challenge to cope with the minimal Twitter characters, let alone not speaking more than a 100 words a day. Or living in a world without being able to write, communicate or read whatever or whenever you want to. It’s a complete horror scenario. Unfortunately it is also already a reality in many countries for women.

In the name of yourself, your daughters and granddaughters, insist on your place and your rights in this society and in the future.

Dalcher speaks from the bottomless pit of concern and fear the majority of us carry around with us. For some it will be forgotten in a goldfish moment, for others it will be buried in denial, but for the majority I hope this will be a warning and a call to arms.

The premise is a work of brilliance and also a shadow of foreboding, cast upon us by those who presume to know what is best for everyone often based on their own sense of self-importance and religious beliefs.

Buy Vox at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: HQStories, Harper Collins Uk, HQ

Pub. date: 21 August 2018 (Kindle) 23 August 2018 (Hardcover) 7 March 2019 (Paperback release)

Follow @CVDalcher @HQStories on Twitter Visit christinadalcher.com

 

#BlogTour Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour for Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley. Don’t be fooled by the title, which suggests a fun and light-hearted read, it is in fact an intriguing mixture of futuristic and post-apocalyptic fiction with an emphasis on mental health, human rights and the oppression of the human race

About the Author

I grew up on a dairy farm in Somerset and had a lovely childhood running around outside, spending alot of time surrounded by cows. I would have to be biased towards Friesians, but really any cow will do – I love them all.

I have written a diary since I was twelve, and some years ago I thought to myself ‘hey, that must mean I’m a writer’ – and so I embarked on short stories. I never quite got the hang of those so moved on to trying a novel.

I currently live in France splitting my time between my gardening business, writing, and playing tennis. I love Roger Federer almost as much as I love cows

About the book

Journalist Nell Greene is intelligent, beautiful and quirky – but a failure at relationships, thanks to her untrusting and disruptive inner voice. She has received The Award, and refusing to help repopulate the earth can seriously complicate your life: it is time for Nell to change. In a world where greed, war, and an environmental disaster have massively reduced the population, survivors have introduced a new system of governance – led by women but delivered by robots, and designed to promote peace and remove opportunities for abuse of power. Or at least that was the intention… Will Nell overcome the challenges of life in a post-apocalyptic world to find happiness, or will the System win? Spaghetti Head is Sarah Tyley’s debut novel that addresses issues of modern womanhood, environmental devastation and the impact of technological advances on our freedom, relationships and mental health.

Review

Spaghetti Head is an intriguing mixture of futuristic and post-apocalyptic fiction with an emphasis on mental health, human rights and the oppression of the human race, in particular when it comes to the reproduction process. Women and men who conceive are more valuable than those who can’t reproduce.

The story takes place a long time after a natural disaster almost completely eradicates the human race. Now the earth is run by computer programmes, although they have ‘supposedly’ been programmed by humans. The focus is on the main character Nell, a woman with a successful career, but she is emotionally crippled by her paranoia and self-doubt. The System intervenes in her life to tell her it’s time to do her female duty and have a child, which means leaving her career to raise one or being forced into a new assignment or ‘life’ altogether.

My two favourite aspects of this premise are Cyd and Alice. Alice is the companion/pet bot who seems to be a lot more clued in than Nell the majority of the time. Cyd lives inside the spaghetti maze inside Nell’s head. Cyd is what Freud would call a very conscious Id of Nell’s personality. Cyd is like the inner voice who influences and convinces Nell, even if it is to her detriment. In reverse it is Nell who determines how Cyd acts, looks and speaks. This was an exceptionally innovative way to explain and show the thought process going on inside Nell.

This is a fascinating way to present a mental health problem. The strands or threads of spaghetti represent the emotional turmoil inside Nell’s mind, and depending on how curled they are how straight they are determines how ill, paranoid or distressed Nell is.

I know the title has specific meaning to the author, and indeed the spaghetti threads are an important part of the premise and story, but I personally think the title of Spaghetti Head doesn’t do the book any favours. It certainly doesn’t do any justice to the extremely clever premise and content, and both the cover and title may create misconceptions about what type of story it is, which means potential readers or buyers may not be interested because it suggests a different type of read. They say never judge a book by its cover (or title), and in this case it’s true because this story is innovative and complex.

It’s a combination of speculative, futuristic, post-apocalyptic and evolutionary fiction mixed with aspects of artificial intelligence, which evolves into autonomous intelligence. There are echoes of The Handmaids Tale when it comes to the empowerment of women and their reproduction systems, and their value in regards to said reproduction. Viewed as resources, as opposed to valued members of society.

It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but this a really interesting read and definitely one I will be recommending.

Buy Spaghetti Head at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

bd626-random2bthingstours2bfb2bheader2b