About The First Olympians
The First Olympians is an action-packed thriller featuring spaceships, AI, and robots! It’s set in a mining colony underneath Olympus Mons, Mars. For centuries, settlers have toiled to save Earth. They are humanity’s last hope, sending home the raw materials needed to revive the blue planet.
This is a character-driven page turner with elements of the space opera, dystopian, and adventure genres. A young adult novel with many adult themes, there is something for everyone in the three point of view characters.
Gordon finally earns the illustrious explosives apprenticeship he’s worked so hard for when his life is destroyed. After security robots murder his mother, he takes up her cause and uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that threatens the entire outpost.
Dalrene cares about two things: her granddaughter and overthrowing the Martian AI that rules their lives. When it fights back, she’s forced to choose between keeping her family safe and freeing her people.
Alex wanted to be a space pilot, but instead she’s stuck training to take over the family business. When Gordon opens her eyes to the truth about her family’s wealth and power, she takes up a dangerous quest that pits her against the most powerful man in the solar system. Her father.
A Note from The Author
I get my main inspiration from non-fiction – truth is stranger, as the saying goes. I read a lot about child soldiers, cults, and of course, technology and space to write this book. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the privatization of space and how it could all go wrong. Companies like ExxonMobil and Facebook today already have more power than many countries and operate more like governments than anything else. It’s foolish to believe that in space, corporations wouldn’t try to take advantage of the power vacuum and relinquish their earthly shackles.
But that’s not pre-ordained! The corporate space industry is having some incredible success right now and is very exciting. How we regulate that industry will be crucial for whether it’s used as a force for good or evil. The same is true for AI.
At heart, I am a techno-optimist, and I believe that shines through in the book. There are many technology effects, like lower energy costs, that really are a tide that lifts all boats. This is not a sad book – it’s hopeful and inspiring!
In terms of fiction, I really enjoyed The Expanse by James S.A. Corey. The characters are complete –flawed and believable– which is something that I tried to incorporate in my writing. A lot of dystopian books have a “chosen-one”, or a character foretold by a prophecy that will lead their people to salvation. Not the case in The First Olympians – it’s very human. If you’re a science fiction reader, give my book a shot! I think you’ll really like it.
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Excerpt – Chapter 1: Gordon
They were supposed to leave for the ceremony together, but he couldn’t wait any longer. Gordon hurried down the street, alone, and distracted himself with the familiar topics of schematics, power modules, and the order in which wires must be cut and buttons must be pressed. His mom would be there. She had to be.
Only a few more hours, Gordon told himself. After that, he’d have an honest, hard-working job and a new life, and he’d laugh when remembering the “before-times.” Premium rations, new clothes, and more origami papers than he’d have time to fold were hopefully coming his way. His mom just had to stay out of trouble until he got the apprenticeship.
His handheld buzzed and Gordon’s heart jumped. He took it out of his pocket slowly, part of him dreading the message, then flipped it over fast. Not his mom. Rather, it was his friend, Corrina.
Hurry! You’re going to be late.
Gordon jogged past the cramped, thin, two-story buildings made of clay, mud, and rock extracted from the mines. People called them holes, a term leftover from the first settlers who lived deep underground in caves created by ancient lava flows. Their old-district neighborhood was subject to electricity preservation efforts, and Gordon couldn’t wait to move them somewhere better. His mom deserved that.
The residential level was closest to the surface, above both the ancient cave systems and the mines. The farm domes stood on one end, on a hill overlooking everything, their pointed tips almost touching the ceiling. Below, people were crushed in a mix of holes, ration distribution centers, and security checkpoints. Medical centers, cafes, and schools made up the remainder of the buildings. They all gave way to the spacious gardens and auditorium of the Mission Control Center, a giant stone and compressed dirt structure beside the mine elevators. That’s where the career award ceremony was.
Gordon turned onto Torres Street, the main pedestrian walkway, and a flow of miners in hard hats, farmers in overalls and lab coats, and nurses in blue-gray scrubs walked past. They were good citizens of the outpost doing their part to help the cause and were on their way home to see their families, or to a well-earned stop at a bar. His dad had been one of them, and they inspired a sense of purpose in Gordon. If they all worked together, they could achieve great things.
The streets grew wider as he walked deeper into the heart of the outpost. It was brighter, and not just because there were more functional overhead lights, but also because of the light seeping out from the bars, cafes, and workshops. The red dirt streets had deep grooves, proof of how well-trodden they were.
“Fresh skewers here! High-quality protein!” one weasel-faced man hollered. The faintly sweet smell of gutter oil frying filled Gordon’s nose. Men in the street were selling food, and an overhead siren told him it was shift change. Prime time. “C’mon, son, you’re a growing boy! You need to put some muscle on those bones,” he said, blocking Gordon’s path. Gordon tried to step around the meat-hawker, keeping his head down. “Hey, you’re the Onyango boy, yeah?” the man wiped sweat and oil from his forehead, his
“Yeah,” Gordon said, shuffling awkwardly around the man.
“Have a skewer, kid. It’s fresh!”
“I already ate,” he said politely.
“Say hi to your mom!” the man said, turning back to the crowd.
Gordon bit his lip. He hoped he could talk to her soon.
The street food was likely stolen from a farm dome’s protein vats, or, worst-case, made from the rodents that lingered around the dumpsters. His dad never ate the stuff, and Gordon did the same. His mom, on the other hand, had no shame. She would take protein wherever she could get it, and always tried to make sure Gordon was as strong as possible too. He hoped he’d no longer have to question the source of his food after today. If he received an explosives apprenticeship, Gordon was headed toward premium rations for the rest of his life.
The career award ceremony was being held outside the Mission Control Center, known as the MCC, in the auditorium that boasted a massive screen and seating for four hundred people. Expansive shrub and flower beds ran along both sides. Real gardens, with live plants in open air, the only of their kind at the outpost. It always astonished Gordon to walk through them and smell the array of different scents, but it made his mom angry. She said it was a shame for plants to take up so much space while people lived on top of each other. She wasn’t wrong, just a grump.
Gordon approached the entrance to one of the gardens from the street when a woman’s voice erupted from the speakers that dotted the side of every building.
“Earth needs our help! Together, we’re reviving the blue planet to its former glory. It takes each and every one of us to achieve this goal. Thank you, brave workers of Olympus Outpost, for doing your part!”
Gordon smiled and hustled through the garden to the ceremony. His mom often said that Olympus Outpost was better in the old days, when she was a kid, and even better before then. She could be right, but to Gordon, it’d always been the same. Maybe she was just yearning for her youth like old people always did. He desperately hoped she’d be there to see him win an apprenticeship. It would show his mom that it was possible for things to get better.
Olympus Outpost, or just “the outpost,” was humanity’s last chance, and had been ever since Earth’s mass-extinction event, known as X-Day. Generations had passed, and living conditions were still tough. Everyone dreamed of sunshine. Humans hadn’t evolved to live underground, and even with population controls, they were crammed together like rats on a skewer.
It wasn’t perfect, but things were working out for Gordon, and life was certainly better than on Earth. Together, they made it work, and strived toward a better future. His ancestors lived and died with the sole purpose of extracting raw materials to rebuild the blue planet back into the crown jewel of humanity.
Gordon was proud to do his part.
He spotted his friend, Corrina, in one of the back rows. She waved, and Gordon made his way up the stands of the auditorium. People were packed into the seats, spilling into the aisles. Everyone’s parents, grandparents, and extended family were there to support their loved ones. And of course, they wanted to see how the career awards would improve their family’s income and standing in the community.
Gordon estimated there were eight hundred people stuffed into a space meant for half that. The outpost was claustrophobic on a good day, but the annual career award ceremony was unlike anything else. He was lucky Corrina had saved him and his mom a seat. She was an orphan and had no one cheering her on.
Although, neither did Gordon.
Will Gordon get an apprenticeship? Is his mom okay?
Keep reading to find out!
The First Olympians is available on Amazon!