TFTC11: Beyond The Hidden Sky by Marcha Fox

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Hello and welcome back to the first three chapters podcast. My name is Beren Hollins.

This week I think I’m still reeling from watching the last episode of Game of Thrones on HBO and seeing Jon Snow betrayed and bleeding in the winter night.

I’ve obviously read the books and I new it was coming but it was still kind of heart-breaking to watch it. We get so attached to our favourite characters I think it can be painful to think that they don’t find happiness in the end. I guess I just love a happy ending and maybe all of us do so authors play with that desire to make their books memorable.

It makes me wonder whether killing a beloved character is one of the best plot twists for an author to use.

I remember reading Consider Phlebas by the wonderful Scottish Writer Iain M Banks.
It’s a huge book and an involving story but SPOILER ALERT the main character gets killed minutes from the end of the story.
It all happens in a moment, almost casually done and it makes you read it and think ‘What the Hell?’ did that really just happen? and you read it again wanting to be wrong.
But the point is that I have never forgotten that story, that poignant moment of loss. So maybe it is a good thing that George R Martin is so cavalier with his characters’ lives. Maybe his stories are better for it.

This week I am going to be reading from Beyond The Hidden Sky by Marcha Fox. It is a science fiction novel written for a young audience although as ever with all of the books that I feature a good book is a good book and I regularly read books categorized as young adult or children’s fiction.
Sometimes books in that space are the most liberating, free to play with grand adventures and themes because children are such accomplished dreamers.

I loved Science Fiction as a boy. My Dad used to frequent second hand book stores and jumble sales and bring home bag-loads of sci-fi collections, short stories and novels. I had an insatiable appetite for reading and would devour one or two every day.
I loved the fantastic worlds they created and the strange art work on the covers showing boldly coloured, alien deserts and forests. In a time before computer animation this was as exotic as life could get.

Marcha Fox is an avid science fiction fan and author with over 20 years experience at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in physics which was but a prelude to her fascination with the unexplained mysteries of the cosmos. Inspired by science fiction to pursue a career in a technical field, she hopes to instill the same fascination with the world of math, engineering and science in her readers.
Her Star Trails Tetralogy comprises the saga of a family torn apart by space and time whose sole quest is to be united again, whatever it takes. Science is emphasized in the stories along with plenty of speculation. The Star Trails Compendium (which is available as a free download through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo and 99c on Amazon) has background information on the world she has created such as the unusual configuration of a planet in a binary star system and the extreme weather that results. In addition, the Compendium includes a section with discussion ideas and suggested lesson plans for parents or educators who may want to use the series as a learning tool on their reading list.
Here is the book blurb.
Close families share everything. Including consequences. When Laren Brightstar, one of the HIO’s premier terralogists, refuses a job offer from a power-hungry despot, a chain of suspicious circumstances arise that quickly scatter his loved ones across the galaxy. Torn apart by space and time, will each survive long enough to be united ever again?

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