Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Alex James
22 followers -
Asperger Syndrome, science fiction, fantasy, writer, Leeds, inspiration
Asperger Syndrome, science fiction, fantasy, writer, Leeds, inspiration

22 followers
About
Communities and Collections
Posts

Post has attachment
‘That dark domed edifice you see rising beyond the walkways, is the Tower of Banuk,’ Cress informed him.

On their march Cress had seen it as his responsibility to make him aware of the various landmarks they had passed, and the Tower of Banuk wouldn’t have been an exception if it had not been the intended destination. Though the brief names and basic facts given about the landmarks piqued his interest on occasion, nothing was committed to memory because he was too preoccupied with his own thoughts: his purpose among a group that was full with an intent he didn’t understand.

From the way Cress treated him, it was obvious he had a privileged status as the...

Read more: http://www.alexjamesnovels.com/marcellus-origins-page-6-preview/
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
‘You are unusual,’ Commander Cress stated brusquely, striding at the head of the armed unit.

Marcellus silently considered his words.

Commander Cress had huge rippling purple muscles on his arms and legs. He wore steel chain-mail, a spiked helmet, and shoulder-plates. As he surged forward, the ranks followed behind swiftly, and Marcellus had opportunity to study this Tekromun.

Cress wasn’t remarkable in appearance, but he was in bearing. He carried himself proudly, rather than aggressively or violently. It could have been his high rank, he reasoned, but there did seem to be something different about him. It was ironic, after having heard Cress’ first words to Marcellus.

‘We are going to the Sorcerers of Banuk?’

Read more: http://www.alexjamesnovels.com/marcellus-origins-page-5-preview/
Add a comment...

'Today Inkitt is introducing an iOS app for iPhone and iPad available to readers globally. The iOS app will give book lovers and publishers greater access to Inkitt’s digital library of over 80,000 stories by up-and-coming authors. Key features include...'

Read more: http://www.alexjamesnovels.com/publisher-inkitt-launches-new-ios-app/
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
**Is Inkitt the right platform for writers?**

'Should I enter the Story Peak Contest? That was the first question on my mind. A little research on Google on what other sites say about Inkitt leads to quite mixed results, and there wasn’t enough convincing information on either side to encourage me to fully decide one way or the other. The sites that were positive cited how amazing the platform was for connecting with readers and getting their stories noticed, and that some writers were going to eagerly upload their latest story to future contests. However, I spent more time looking at the negative points on sites, to see if there were any valid concerns before I entered their latest contest. Some cynical sites will tell you they are notorious spammers, that you’re giving away first English language rights by uploading your content to their site, or that it’s silly to ‘publish’ your story on Inkitt for them to maybe offer you a ‘publishing’ deal afterward. Some of us have become so suspicious of new start-up publishing companies that our attitude is to dismiss them out of hand, and based on what I’ve experienced or seen I can understand...'

http://www.alexjamesnovels.com/is-inkitt-the-right-platform-for-writers/
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Is there a tyrant in you?

Kroll’s personality is a powerful influence in my own life, which defines me in relation to how I feel compared to others. I won’t go as far as to say he completely embodies all traits of Asperger Syndrome, but I’m sure there are similarities to be made such as with inflexibility of thought, obsessive routines, and singular determination and focus.

Why have I written an epic fantasy about a tyrant who rules the planet? Am I a tyrant? I don’t have any similar experience that can relate to Kroll’s infamy. I haven’t yet subjugated any populations, as far as I’m aware, or conquered all dominions of even our planet – not to be confused with Kroll’s planet. As writers are wont to do, I have put myself in his shoes a little, but it’s just as important to remember that Kroll: Magnificence is a story told from the point-of-view of a few characters – not just Kroll. Therefore, it’s not just about an evil tyrant’s struggle to extend his sorcery and further his control over the realm; it’s also about the fight against Kroll!

To get some perspective and insight, I need to attempt to critically examine my own personality and motives against Kroll’s. Kroll’s struggle to come to terms with the fact that he doesn’t understand everything about his realm is extremely difficult for him to even consider, never mind accept. Our ruler, as his creator does, has an inflexible mind. He was once an alchemist, but when he invents sorcery, he sees an opportunity to empower and liberate himself from the teachers he detests. As he develops sorcery, to combat alchemy, he latches onto its principles and importance in determining the fate of the realm. Indeed, he becomes so engrossed in extending his knowledge in sorcery that his concept of the realm and the state of his sorcery are synonymous. And so, for two thousand years, it has determined how he thinks, lives, and all courses of action he takes are measured against it. Any contradictions to his drive or will to succeed using sorcery are seen as deliberate attempts to undermine or thwart him.

His strong interest in understanding and unravelling its intricacies lead to obsession, and he soon forgets about the world outside, his realm, for so long that he loses any empathy and understanding of the life of mortals. In the ancient past, he had deliberately set himself against the men and women of society, and his obsession can be seen as a protective or comforting retreat from frustration, lack of understanding, and mistreatment. But even now in the present he has, unwittingly, severed all ties with mortals and reinforced his isolation from them.

You will have noticed I use the word mortals, partly because Kroll sees himself as superior to them because of the value he ascribes to the achievements that made him ruler. It’s also because he has successfully lived for two thousand years, where they haven’t. (Or has he?). When things start to go wrong in the realm, as they do, Kroll starts to doubt himself and his understanding of sorcery. What he doesn’t see and grasp is that life is not all about sorcery. There is a part of him that deeply fears this fact and the thought itself haunts him at intervals, because he is afraid if he lets go of sorcery then all of his power and achievements will fade to nothing, and his empire will crumble. (Empire crumble: how tasty!).

There is also a hidden part of him that knows that the most problematic thing that can happen after his tyranny with sorcery would be for him to latch onto another system of power that he would believe to contain more truth or importance than the last. For Kroll, the torment is an everlasting cycle of incomprehension and nail-biting frustration. Why Kroll needs to learn about the way the world works is both a fascination and a huge error in the way he thinks. Let’s face it: in any world you can’t apply your knowledge of a single subject to everything that exists, without oppression, but in the story Kroll is both unable and reluctant to change to suit mortals he doesn’t care about.

Did Kroll take the right path?

Estranged from other people, he has only had to rely on himself, and as a result he has crafted a system for self-provision that he believes is successful. His interactions with others are mostly to do with imposing his will, or setting them inside the framework of the concept of sorcery. It makes sense to Kroll to see others in the context of his latest and most successful system of sorcery. I suppose what he lacks is empathy or a basic understanding of the needs of the mortals in the realm, whose struggle against him in many ways resembles the struggle he had against evil in the ancient past. As is implied at some stages in the story, Kroll sees glimpses of the lives people who look similar to him have and often wonders if or how he could have lived them. Would it have been possible for him to (as he sees it) settle for less? People think he had the chance to become like them, but that because of how he was treated in his youth, he took a path of no-return.

The mortal struggle against Kroll

In a sense, I must have wanted to also write about a tyrant because there was a part of me who wanted to know how to defeat him – to defeat the inflexible, obsessive, uncompromising mind-set. His control over the realm is not pleasant for the other characters, whose fates are known by and determined by Kroll’s sorcery creation: the Orthodoxy. The other characters, though in essence mortal, were gifted by sorcery attributes given to them by Kroll to help him control and maintain his realm effectively. These other characters are referred to as Classes by Kroll, but they themselves aren’t aware of their powerful potential. When things go wrong with the Orthodoxy, the Classes’ sorcery attributes are unintentionally bolstered. Naturally, Kroll is terrified of being challenged by mortals that have grown in knowledge and power, especially his doppelganger Dacron, because this was how Kroll lived as a youth a long time ago.

Is there any hope for Kroll?

The problem with Kroll’s mind in focusing on single encompassing subjects like sorcery is that he easily gets overwhelmed when more than one big problem afflicts him, and like a coward he retreats because he doesn’t know how to effectively respond. He can send his armies and mages out, but because of his absolute control over the realm, it’s only really Kroll who can make a significant difference. And when Kroll does fight back, it is typically with such ruthlessness and ignorance that it backfires and distances him further from his kind. But at least, he tells himself, he has solved the problem!

There is a time during the story when Kroll has a discussion with a prominent alchemist – the faction of magicians that opposes Kroll’s establishment. The alchemist is trying to help Kroll’s inflexibility by suggesting Kroll be more open-minded to other viewpoints about their planet. As you can imagine, this does backfire because Kroll doesn’t want to be contradicted or challenged in how he sees, rules, and lives his life. It does, however, plant a seed of doubt in Kroll that may rise to dismantle his preconceptions. My question is, is this a good thing or a bad?

As Alex James, writer and founder of Kroll: Magnificence, I honestly don’t know whether I am happy if Kroll succeeds or fails. When I first started writing the story, I focused on Kroll’s background and his drive to make further inroads with his conquest – even to dream of capturing the stars. It was intended as a way to understand and justify Kroll’s outlook and behaviour, so I must have seen a reason to do so for my own sake.

Kroll needed to be properly challenged and contradicted. Is he really a necessary part of the realm?

Then it became important to think about how others would live in Kroll’s current realm, even when he tightens his grip on it. At this time, I saw how detrimental it was to the mortal characters, and I sympathised with their plight. Dacron fears he will become somebody like Kroll because of his fate and how other alchemists perceive him. Lacos, a privileged country soldier, has his family captured by Kroll’s soldiers, and he is betrayed by Kroll simply because Kroll decides country soldiers are no longer needed and represent a part of his realm he has less control over. Jade is captured and seduced by Kroll against her will because she is the most formidable alchemist, and Kroll is no longer content to keep her as a check in the system. You can see the harmful effects of Kroll’s whim in many scenes. By working together, the mortals are much more effective at navigating multiple problems.

My later writing explored how the mortals would work together to defeat Kroll in a realistic way. What powers would they use, and how would they plan to defeat him and save their partners or families? I looked at how I could move the story forward – what would life be like in a world without Kroll for my mortal characters? I also added a pinch of doubt regarding if Kroll really knew what was best for himself, and that maybe if he surrendered a bit of his power he could return trust and earn forgiveness. Of course, the overarching principle here is whether Kroll would ever really break free from the everlasting cycle, which both strengthens him as a ruler and yet inhibits him socially and morally. I don’t yet have the answer to that, but maybe I will in a possible second book…

Read Kroll: Magnificence for the first time, over a year before estimated publishing. Available for only 100 readers on Inkitt: https://www.inkitt.com/stories/fantasy/75845?ref=v_fc1775ea-9712-490e-b9f9-54d86d0dce57
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Thank you to everyone who has me in their circles, and a special thank you to those few who have +1'd my posts. I intend to post my book reviews to my editor google+ page from now on, so if you're interested in following my book reviews, I suggest adding me to your circles on the editor page: https://plus.google.com/b/112342051860215328766/+AlexjameseditorUkfreelance/posts?gmbpt=true&hl=en-GB

If not, don't worry because I will still be posting about my writing on this page.
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
The Messenger by Paul Coey - 5/5 Stars
Dark Epic Fantasy Adventure

“Your letter is paramount, Falnir Aasberg”. “Elsillore will remember our ancient ties”. “And do not falter”.

The Messenger is a dark epic fantasy adventure that centres on Falnir Aasberg’s duty as messenger to deliver a message to secure support. The Nameless have breached the wall at Thune, spreading horror and evil wherever they go, revelling in the torture and suffering of innocent human families. They have spilled across the southern reaches, escaping past the guards of Rangers to kill indiscriminately across the plains. Atrocity, distrust, and violence will greet Falnir as he, often accompanied by Rangers, must make his way past the habits of his enemies for the survival of the Seven Kingdoms.

Falnir’s deep regret and guilt at having devastated his marriage with infidelity comes back to haunt him when his wilful wife Annas is adamant that she will accompany him to deliver his message, as an act of retribution. Concerned for his wife’s welfare across the Nehme Plains, Falnir will need more than Rangers to see him through to Elsillore: seeing death, bandits, and encountering the Nameless’ feline monsters (fios). It soon becomes clear Falnir is not a paragon of virtue, indeed he despises those (Rangers or Maidens) who see themselves as such. As a result, he does not appear to be a reliable choice for the survival of the kingdoms, but one thing I did notice was his instinct for survival, considering immoral choices and running away when he knew the odds were not in his favour.

The second part of the adventure was probably the most vivid and exhilarating, and that is when we are introduced to charismatic axe-wielding ranger leader Rado, who is of impressive width strength. Falnir saw something of a role model in Rado and his fellow rangers, and for a time it allowed him to protect people, love a woman, forget tormenting thoughts, and fight against evil in its purest form. You won’t be disappointed with the action in this part of the story, I assure you! There is another chase at the end, which made me read far more than I thought I could of this epic. I should probably, ahem, mention that The Messenger is not for the faint-hearted, having its share of the grim, gruesome, horrible, and quite disturbing.

I liked the grim medieval atmosphere, which was rich in detail, and this led me to conclude that the genre and setting were well-researched. I did sometimes enjoy the banter and interplay between Falnir and other such undesirables, which was foulmouthed, dirty, grim, and utterly filthy. I would say more than a few passages were very elegantly written, which combined with what I suspect was superb editing or proofreading, really gave The Messenger a literary quality. Third person point-of-view and tenses were used confidently and the ebook was remarkably clear to read. Falnir’s tribulations; combined as they were with heroism, suffering, monsters, friendship, and unconscionably deeds; made for a startlingly disturbing and revelatory read that really hit Falnir hard.

Criticism: There were some scenes that had too many place names or were otherwise riddled with overly descriptive passages of hills, woods, horses, and mountainsides. The detail was rich, but I suppose I can’t have it both ways. Some themes repeated a bit too often and noticeably, such as Falnir made to feel guilty for acts others could not prove, being sent with new groups of rangers, and waking up in a healing hut.

Falnir’s tribulations; combined as they were with heroism, suffering, monsters, friendship, and unconscionable deeds; made for a startlingly disturbing and revelatory read that really hit Falnir hard. The reader saw the full roster of good and evil, and in many guises. The Messenger is a terrific read, put simply. Every time it slowed down or dipped into description, it would rise yet again with confrontation, intriguing scenarios, and terrifying hunts. Were you impressed with the beginning of this read, and with all the blood, gore, and action? The setting changes, but at its core is Falnir and a journey that makes Bilbo Baggins’ seem quite trivial. The author has worked a grand piece of fiction here, and anybody looking to dip into some real dark fantasy that tests the body and mind of its character should look no further.
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two by Drew Karpyshyn - 4/5 Stars

The sequel to Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Rule of Two continues with Darth Bane and his apprentice Zannah as they make connections and exploit political tensions in order to fortify the Republic against any rival groups that threaten it. Bane does this because he knows that the Republic, one target, can be more easily manipulated than many. With his abundant patience and secrecy, his plans will eventually lead to the destruction of the entire Jedi.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Ruusan, where the thought bomb weapon wiped out nearly all Sith and many Jedi, new political developments are occurring. The Jedi, confident that their enemies are now extinct, are making the fatal decision to retire as warriors and hand over political power to the politicians of the Republic. Young Jedi Johun Othone thinks that the battles and sacrifices made by the Jedi in the war against the Sith are in vain now that the Jedi are relinquishing their political power, and he can’t rid himself of the suspicion that a formidable Dark Lord of the Sith may still survive to rise again.

I really enjoyed the exploration of themes relating to the aftermath on Ruusan, and how the war affected the planet’s atmosphere and inhabitants. This element of back-story, along with the back-story throughout with regard to other planets and civilisations, made Rule of Two rich in detail and well thought-out. There were some nice ideas in there too, such as parasites that can grant unlimited strength, but possession of which can lead to some problems. I thoroughly liked reading through the entirety of this well-polished novel, which had some jaw-opening events close to the end. Apprentice Zannah was just the sort of character I wanted to learn more from, being ruthless, creative, and yet not completely swayed by the dark side. Such things as love, care, and doubt were still small uncertainties for her. Even though the source of her strength in the dark side is not as obvious or concentrated as her master’s, I did respect her intelligence in supporting the Sith Order.

Criticism: I didn’t find Rule of Two to be as exciting and compelling as Path of Destruction, which impeccably described Bane’s struggle and had many twists and turns. But then, POD did set a very high standard. Some of the passages were too descriptive, and maybe it could have been balanced better by focusing more on apprentice Zannah’s development as a character.

SPOILER: The orbalisks’ weakness was electricity, which surprised me because I rather thought or hoped that it was their own power fuelled by Bane that led to their destruction.

If you liked Path of Destruction, or even if you haven’t read it, I recommend Rule of Two. The battles were well-described and critically believable. The author has done his research on this, borrowing ideas, technologies, and scenes from the films and using them to great effect to bring the Old Republic to life.
Photo
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
Feature: "How to Get Published" - Bradford Literature Festival (21st May)

"On Saturday 21st May, I went to the Bradford Literature Festival to attend a panel about How to Get Published. I got the impression that the idea of the festival was to reach out and encourage new voices in under-represented groups. Indeed, there appeared to be a diverse mix of people in the audience, and I gathered from the questions asked that many seemed to be unpublished writers. Overall the event was 1h15 minutes long and went smoothly.

Read more:
http://www.alexjamesnovels.com/how-to-get-published-at-bradford-literature-festival-2016/
Add a comment...

Post has attachment
The Watch by Briana Herlihy - 4/5 Stars

Firstly, before I say anything else, I will say that The Watch is a stimulating post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure with flowing writing and overall a well put-together story. It’s about the Union, struggling to rebuild Earth in the wake of the terrifying Doctors (“wet his flaying knife before peeling off her skin”) and the uncontrollable Filavirus. However, at Base One (Union HQ) there is a hope for a band of vigilantes to escape on the ship Clarity, but first they need a Watch…

Orphan Ren has been running from the Doctors since childhood, as a presumed carrier of the Blood Plague. When she is captured by rough-around-the-edges vigilante leader Sloan, she attempts to join his armed group for protection and companionship. First she needs to convince them that she and the Watch that she wears can be assets for the group to use to gain entry into Base One, if she is to ensure her own survival. As conversations took the form of jabs at Ren’s ignorance, morality, and “Disposable” class; we are provided with short glimpses into Ren’s past, which made me wonder who Ren really was in the world she was only beginning to understand and of what her destiny would turn out to be. Ren’s adventure is made difficult because of her perceived complicity in the group’s uncompromising fight for survival because she is a moon-soul, required by monk instruction to be compassionate above all else.

The descriptions of the characters made for an absorbing visual adventure and the writing had a nice flow and rhythm that kept my mind bouncing through pleasantly. This skill was demonstrated early on, and it made for a good impression. Briana Herlihy’s attention to detail was superb: be it clothing, ships, the setting, rifles, or abstract technologies. It wasn’t too scientific, and its abstract sci-fi could probably pass as steampunk because it was set in a society that wasn’t too primitive or advanced. I would certainly consider reading more from this author. If it’s her debut novel, then it was one of the most engaging and well-written debut novels I can remember reading for a while. I was brought into the world effortlessly, and the bonds and contrast between the characters never tired.

Criticism: I found more than a few misspelled or incorrect words, in only the first three chapters. These continued throughout, but didn’t obstruct from the narrative or flow. Sometimes there were too many character directions in the same paragraph, which made it difficult to keep track of the general idea of what was happening at any given moment. Individual characteristics of each character were strong, which was likely why the author emphasised these repeatedly, though this particular problem only began to bother me in the second half of the story.

It’d be nice to know how the author found the inspiration for The Watch. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say the theme, or otherwise combination of genres, does have a stroke of originality in it. The Watch will definitely appeal to both hard scientific sci-fi readers and those who prefer their sci-fi otherwise like myself, for the attention to detail had a character-focused “soft sci-fi” delivery. I wonder if this is a winning combination? Either way, I have a feeling this series will be well-received.
Photo
Add a comment...
Wait while more posts are being loaded