Hi everyone! Today I am excited to spotlight author D. Ellis Overttun, and tell you about his first book in the Terra Nova series, Universe: Awakening.
Author: D. Ellis Overttun
Publication Date: 07 October 2018
Genre: Adult Fiction – Sci-Fi
Publisher: Nialldara Books
The year — 526,780. A probe is deployed from ISV Intrepid at the outer edge of the universe. It is the last of a complement of twelve that is part of the Deep Exploration of Uncharted Space or DEUS. Its mission: collect data on the redshift of light and spatial distortions. Time horizon: 1,000 years.
Before ISV Intrepid can return to base, something goes wrong. There is an accident. The ship is later salvaged but its pilot is missing, its copilot in a coma.
The probes collect their data with uneventful regularity.
Fast‑forward to 526,880. A sole‑surviving probe still sits in the darkness at the outer edge of the universe. Now, unseen to the naked eye, the space around the probe begins to stretch and distend. Then, the probe disappears, engulfed by an energy of unknown origin and unknown composition. However, it manages to transmit one final message.
CD3C has monitored the disappearance of each probe over the last three years. While the interpretation of the data remains a mystery, speculation is that something has invaded the universe and is moving a superluminal velocity. Its effects could be manifested in as little as the next thousand years. To the Celesti, this is one lifetime.
What can be done?
The one person who might be able to solve this problem is the copilot of ISV Intrepid. He has been lying in stasis suffering from mental trauma. He has been this way for the past century, the longest recorded case in medical history. His unchanging condition has been a convenient solution to stall any inquiry into the accident that put him there.
This threat changes everything. Now, he is needed.
Is it possible to unlock his mind?
The task falls to Auberon, a career nobody inhabiting the lower level of the hierarchy of the Ministry of Science. Can something be awakened in him to allow someone ordinary do something extraordinary?
Universe: Awakening answers this question. In the process, it explores the world of the Celesti, a highly evolved humanoid species with advanced technology, physiology and a unique way of procreation. It blends science and political intrigue to reveal the interplay of storyline and character development that forms the staging ground for the Terra Nova Series.
About the Cover
The cover ties in two of the science themes in the book. It is meant to give the reader a sense that awakening has something to do with genetics since the double helix is easily identifiable as DNA. The woman seeming to emerge from the strand in a burst of light is a visual rendering of awakening. The sphere in the background is not a planet. It is a universe surrounded by what the reader will discover is the volume. The green patches represent the encroachment of an alien energy known as the “ether” foretelling the end of existence.
Jael and Tanvir are husband and wife that are undergoing some very unique physical changes. The medical prognosis is they will experience something known as “awakening” that will transform them and herald the beginning of new life. They will cease to exist but is that the same as dying? Exactly what will happen to them is unknown since there are no recorded precedents. The tension caused by this uncertainty is what engages our characters and you, the reader. Part of it is physical. Is there pain? How much? For how long? Interestingly enough, even if we know something is painless, apprehension still exists. Ask yourself about any visit to the dentist after you have been frozen. Here, it is because our two protagonists are venturing from the known into the unknown.
And now, Universe: Awakening, Chapter 60 – “The Awakening” complete with a rendering by my wife, Natasha.
Past, present, future
Ancestor to descendant
The tree connects us
* * * * *
It had been almost three weeks since Jael and Tanvir said their teary goodbyes to their daughter as they set out, supposedly, for the Jabiru Wilderness. During that time, Leah and Jaden had made them as welcome and comfortable as possible but the impending awakening weighed on everyone.
Most people with terminal illnesses had three pieces of information given by precedent: time, path and support. For better or for worse, there was certainty and less of the unknown. They knew how long they had and their condition had been traveled by others. As a result, they more or less knew what to expect and could prepare themselves. Those closest to them would gather around and form an emotional and spiritual wall to fight a relentless foe to the end.
There was nothing like that here. Even though Galen had given his diagnosis and prognosis, the condition itself was still a matter of speculation. As a result, Jael and Tanvir were buffeted between the two extremes of hope and despair. There had been no documented precedent of an awakening among the Gendu. What would it feel like? Would there be pain? Then, there was the question of after. Was this death? What was really out there? They had no family for support. Even Gendu without family could turn to a cleric in these times but they had no one. The only thing they had was a vague notion of time: one month. This became a countdown of both joy and sorrow. During periods of hope, they believed everything would return to normal and were anxious for it to pass. During periods of despair, they believed their end was near and wished they could stop the passage of time. They were truly in the wilderness waiting.
It was late in the night on the verge of early morning. Jael and Tanvir lay awake staring at the ceiling.
“You awake?” Tanvir asked.
“How do you feel?”
“Me too. I think this is going to happen,” he said.
“I think so.”
Jael had to think. Then, she turned to him and leaned on her elbow.
“Honestly,” she said with a smile. “No.”
“Me too!” Tanvir replied turning to her.
They both lay on their backs and sighed in relief.
“What about Anath?” Jael asked.
“I don’t know how but everything’s going to be all right.”
Tanvir reached over and held his wife’s hand.
Just before dawn, they noticed the room begin to illuminate a pale gold. They each looked at their hands. The light was coming from them.
“It is time,” Jael said calmly.
The light grew brighter and brighter. As the luminosity increased, the outlines of their bodies became less and less defined until they disappeared. Soon, there were just two elongated sources of light on the bed. Then, they joined to form a distended oval.
“We two are one,” Jael and Tanvir said softly over and over.
As the phrase repeated, the two voices began to change becoming one voice that sounded vaguely like Jael and Tanvir. Then, it stopped and was replaced by silence. The surface of the oval was smooth and translucent. Inside and imperceptible to the naked eye was a sea of teaming activity with microscopic helical strands separating and reforming. This continued for the next few hours. Then, the silence was broken.
“We must choose our names,” a different voice said softly over and over.
As the phrase repeated, the voice began to change separating into two distinct female voices. Then, it stopped and there was a long silence.
“I am a new branch of the tree of life,” one of the female voices finally said.
“I am the spirit of the fruit from the new branch,” the other female voice said.
“We are sisters,” they said together.
By the time the sun had risen, the luminescence began to recede and define the outlines of the body of a young woman. By midday, Leah and Jaden had become concerned their guests had not yet risen.
“Tanvir? Jael?” Leah asked gently knocking on the door. “Are you ok?”
“Tanvir and Jael are no longer here,” the voice of a young woman replied.
Leah reflexively opened the door. A young woman was sitting naked on the bed.
“I am Asherah.”
* * * * *
Most adults are familiar, at least based upon experience, with how sexual reproduction works. The male and female of a species “get together” and exchange genetic material. This exchange is physical and, in my experience (at least for me), very enjoyable. As far as I know, sexual pleasure is the evolutionary mechanism that makes sure the male and female keep doing what they’re doing until the delivery of the required genetic code is complete.
This chapter asks the question: What if this delivery was different? What would it look like? To answer that question, I imagined that it is electromagnetic force that drives the process, not oo’s and ah’s. It relies on Einstein’s famous E=mc2. Matter is energy and energy is matter.
The uncertainty and fear of the unknown of the event itself was drawn from my own experience when my mother was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. It took about 6 months from the time of diagnosis until her passing and it was horrible. That emotional and spiritual wall to fight a relentless foe to the end did not include me. I latched on to the persona of Mr. Spock and drove all emotion away. I retreated into a cocoon. Without any siblings, it was my father and my father alone that stood beside my mother to the end.
Dad was a freelance draftsman but there wasn’t enough work to make ends meet with the loss of my mother’s income. So, he went back to his old job in a millwork shop. He was 50 and hadn’t done manual labor for years. He would get up at 5 a.m. to be at work by 7. When he came home, he would tend to my mother and get to bed by 1 a.m. to get up at 5 and do it all over again. One day, he came home early. He told me that he used to take naps during his breaks. That day, they had trouble waking him. They told him they had to let him go because they feared for his safety.
He never spoke of it again. He also never complained about his lot in life or admonished that I was not supportive. He simply endured. I saw and remembered everything he did but I didn’t understand the depth of the love he had for my mother or the content of his character until many years later. I may have loved my mother more but my father is my hero. It is my hope that I can be half the man he was.
Kipling was one of my mother’s favorite poets. I have a copy of “If” hanging in my study. I try to live my life by it. There is one part in particular that reminds me of my father:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
During those times when I think my life is tough, I think of my father and say: “Dad would take your situation with a song in his heart.” Nothing I have experienced has been harder than to watch helplessly as a loved one wastes away.
He was relentless and his example has made me relentless. Although, he was never the happy warrior that I am. He was more in the sentiment of “If”: steadfast, serious, nose to the grindstone. However, while that poem is at the core of who I am, I am frosted with a layer of optimistic icing made from Commander Peter Quincy Taggart’s “Never give up! Never surrender!”
Universe: Awakening – Excerpts and Commentary:
- “Prologue” posted on Simply Phil’s Blog
- Chapter 1 – “In the Darkness” posted on beforewegoblog
- Chapter 2 – “Beyond a Program” posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
- Chapter 6 – “Confessions” posted on Read Yourself Happy
- Chapter 8 – “In the Darkness” posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
- Chapter 46 – “Tsai and Citrus” posted on Herding Cats
- Chapter 66 – “The Second Way” posted on The Tattooed Book Geek
- Chapter 83 – “The Dream” posted on Reads & Reels
- Chapter 85 – “Heron of Edenoud” posted on On The Shelf Reviews
- Author Q&A posted on The Magic of Wor(l)ds
- Author Q&A posted on On The Shelf Reviews
- Author Q&A posted on The Book Hole
- Author Q&A posted on From Belgium With Book Love
- Background to Universe: Awakening posted on Zooloo’s Book Diary
- Cover Makeover Genesis: Vision of the New World posted on On The Shelf Reviews
- Indie Spotlight – Terra Nova Series posted on beforewegoblog
For a deeper dive: