Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guest Post with Author, S.F. Chapman


About the book: The Ripple in Space-Time
During the warm and sleepy mid-summer’s days of 2010, I had a few gossamer ideas for a new science fiction tale floating around in my head.
I now suspect that these bits and pieces came to me at that particular time mainly as an intriguing distraction to draw my attention away from the more pressing and daunting task of beginning my third novel, the soft science fiction piece entitledXea In The Library.
Xea is the sequel to my first work, the post-apocalyptic mystery called Floyd 5.136.
In one of those wonderful little moments of inspiration that led to much larger things, an irresistible title came to me while taking a long, hot shower: The Ripple In Space-Time.
I’d been considering the intriguing notion of ‘Space-Time,’ Albert Einstein’s speculation that space and time are inextricability linked together as the four dimension, after enjoying Isaac Asimov’s nonfiction work Atom: A Journey Across the Subatomic Cosmos, CalTech’s fantastic Mechanical Universe video lectures and Carl Sagan’s seminal series Cosmos.
The title fused together with a first chapter during a burst of nervous energy on the afternoon of August 12th.
For months I had been playing around with the idea of alternating viewpoints in a novel and I decided to write chapter 1 in the dry, formal style of a newspaper obituary. Where the novel would go from there, I had no idea at the time.
With Xea In The Library looming, I set The Ripple aside.
Almost exactly 6 months later, I returned to The Ripple In Space-Time.
Of all of my seven novels to date, I had the most fun writing this sometimes brutal, sometimes poignant and often quite tongue-in-check tale.
The Ripple in Space-Time will be available worldwide in paperback and as a Kindle e-Book on February 1st 2013.


Armed and barely dangerous         S F Chapman     January 3, 2013


I carry a knife around with me.

Folded up in my front left pants pocket is a black jackknife that I bought 5 months ago at the corner hardware store for $14.95. This particular bit of cutlery replaced a scared and tarnished nickel-plated pocketknife/multitool that I’d had for years. I finally gave up on the old contraption when the Phillips-head screwdriver blade wouldn’t stay folded and the tip endlessly jabbed me in the leg.

It’s an odd habit to carry around a potentially deadly weapon in these times.

Fortunately the ritual of slipping the jackknife into my pocket every morning has nothing to do with personal safety, it instead trails back to two other idiosyncrasies: I have a passion for tools, especially those that can be clutched in one hand, and I like to be prepared for any difficulty that might present itself.

The matter of tools has familial roots. I sometimes imagine that a Neanderthal version of myself probably pulled a razor sharp flint blade from under his bearskin grab to clean out the cave gunk from under his fingernails when he got bored. Certainly my more recent Spanish Californio, Canadian Woodsmen and New England Yankee ancestors carried around knives to help them deal with daily difficulties. A sharp steel edge can quickly produce several lengths of acceptable cord from a leather hide to lash together objects or perhaps be used to shave off the moldy parts from a block of goat cheese.

Nearly all of the adult male members of my sizable family share two qualities: pocketknives and mustaches.

At birthday celebrations or Christmas get-togethers when the little nieces and nephews struggle with the nearly impossible to open clear fortresses that protect Barbie dolls and Buzz Lightyears, an uncle or an older cousin sporting facial hair and a knife blade will free the inextricable plastic prisoners and save the day. Beaming munchkins are the reward for this benevolence.

On my twelfth birthday my father gave me my first pocketknife. Nicely wrapped in plain red paper (probably by my mother) was a velvet-lined paperboard box that contained a Boy Scout pocketknife with four shiny folding blades and a fake bone handle.

I entered the Scouts a few months earlier mainly to be allowed the privilege to carry around the tangible symbol of preparedness and imagined manhood. At my grade school in the late 1960’s only Boy Scouts were permitted to possess pocketknives. Dozens of smug Sixth Grade lads joined up and carried around these folded up weapons of minimal destruction. Never was one displayed in anger which, we had been profusely forewarned, would cause the Principal to confiscate the coveted object. Often they were used to tighten the hinge screws on a pair of glasses, adjust the inner workings of a finicky Bell & Howell movie projector or pry open an aluminum Snack Pack Pudding can when the metal pop-top had broken off.

I kept the pocketknife with me long after I’d left the Scouts, carried in my left pocket through Middle School, High School and into college. I used the screwdriver to adjust the ignition points on my first car. I sliced open stacks of cardboard shipping boxes at various jobs. I cleaned the gunk from under my fingernails when I got bored.

When it came to picking various visual elements for the cover of my science fiction novel The Ripple in Space-Time, there wasn’t much doubt that a knife of some sort should be part of the image.  I settled on a dagger, an especially impressive one at that, as a symbol of the power and perceived menace presented by some of the important characters in the book.

Now as the book is going to press and glance at the cover, I find myself grinning, I have a miniature folding version of the tool in my left front pants pocket.


Synopsis:
Inspector Ryo Trop of the Free City Inquisitor's Office is called in when the Lunar Ultra Energy Lab is destroyed by a mysterious blast.
Ryo quickly discovers that a complex and sinister scheme is afoot as he searches for clues in the moldering feudal fiefdoms of the Warlords that dominate human affairs in 2445.
As he struggles with the difficult case, the same question keeps popping up: Could the recent wave of space piracy be connected to the disaster?

About the Author:
S F Chapman has done it all. He spent 4 years as a truck driver, 8 years as a scientific glass blower and 20 years as a building contractor. He’s a computer geek, handyman, music lover and relentless tinkerer.

But he is most excited about his latest endeavor. In the next five years, Chapman plans to release 12 books. His first, I’m here to help, launched on July 1, 2012. His next release is the science fiction detective tale The Ripple in Space-Time due out on February 1, 2013.

Born in Berkeley, Chapman is a California boy for life. He grew up on the Pacific coast and has spent the last 54 years in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He’s the third of twelve children, born to an endearing stay-at-home mother and traveling salesman father during the 1960s Space Race.

While working on his liberal arts degree at Diablo Valley College, Chapman chose mostly classes in the English Department, focusing on science fiction literature, composition and short story writing. He generated nearly a dozen short stories in two years and considers that period to be the beginning of his writing career.

S F's six works so far are the post-apocalyptic soft science fiction MAC Series consisting of Floyd 5.136, Xea in the Library and Beyond the Habitable Limit; the science fiction detective story entitled The Ripple in Space-Time, the literary novella I’m here to help and the general fiction tale of death and destruction called On the Back of the Beast. He is currently alternating between two entirely different writing projects; the first is a rough and tumble literary novel about homelessness called The Missive In The Margins and the second is a science fiction detective squeal to The Ripple in Space-Time dubbed Torn From On High.

He is the proud papa of a 19-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter.

S F's huge gray male tabby cat keeps him company while he writes and was the inspiration for Striped Cat Press.

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