Strange Gods of the Dire Planet

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9781456571832: Strange Gods of the Dire Planet
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Displaced tens of thousands of years in time, astronaut Garvey Dire finds himself caught in Mars' savage past. Winged fiends prowl the nighttime skies and scythed beasts lumber through the violet grasses in the light of the red sun. Lost tribes celebrate strange gods with bloody rituals and crimson-masked assassins target Garvey and his newly-acquired family within the luminescent halls of the underground city of Ledgrim, even while uncovering an ancient technology capable of razing Ledgrim. Garvey Dire must violate the inner sanctums of the Technopriests and uncover their most-guarded secrets in order to defend his family and tribe against those who would destroy both in their ruthless quest for power.

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From the Author:

Warning to all readers: This book ends on a cliffhanger! The good news is that the sequel, Lost Tribes of the Dire Planet, is already written and published--and it happens to tie up many loose ends quite nicely.

From the Inside Flap:

I'm told that the author, Joel Jenkins, obtained the details of Garvey Dire's misadventures on Mars through information that was relayed via an ancient device that the Martian scientist, Sar Savaht, salvaged from the vaults of the Lost City of Caladrex.  

The way it was explained to me is that the device taps into a temporal vortex--a sort of gravitational time dilation that relates to Einstein's general theory of relativity.  However, I'm not quite the scientist that either Einstein or Sar Savaht was, and so I don't claim to understand these things.

How they chose Jenkins to put the story to paper, out of hundreds or thousands of authors who might have been willing to commit the tale to ink, was beyond me at first.  Sure, Jenkins has an undeniable way with the purple prose (nearly a lost art in these days of often terse and drab scribblings), but how was it that scientist Sar Savaht reached across a gap of both time and space and tapped into Jenkins' computer, that early summer morning over a decade ago, to speak with him and not with some random internet surfer?

When I pressed Jenkins for answers he laughed at my notion that it was his consummate skill as a writer that had made him stand out from all the other authors.  After all, at the time Garvey Dire first contacted him he had only a few published novellas and short stories to his name--not ten published books (this being the tenth that you hold in your hands).  Still, he was reluctant to divulge just how Garvey Dire had become aware of him.

Finally, after plying Jenkins with a steak dinner and a couple rounds of freshly-brewed root beer at an establishment quaintly known as the Flying Pig Jenkins satisfied my curiosity.  It seems that the answer to my question had more to do with nepotism than any chance discovery.

It turns out that Jenkins is a distant relative of astronaut Bradley Thomas, a close friend and confidant of Garvey Dire during his tenure at NASA. When Garvey managed to contact his old friend he floated the idea of having someone write down his fantastical experiences.  Bradley had a few instances of contact with his distant relative, Joel Jenkins, and knew he had a proclivity for telling pulp-style tales that were nearly as strange and fantastic as Garvey's actual experiences.  After all my wheedling it turned out that Jenkins was asked to write the Dire Planet saga for a reason mundane as family ties.

This, somehow, seems fitting because as I reflect upon Garvey's experiences I realize that though he was, at first, an inveterate bachelor these stories really have become to revolve around Garvey and his family ties.  His family began with his marriage to Ntashia Stridj and now it has expanded to include inherited wives Lana Shar and Jenya Shar and seventeen children, including Garvey's new son Bradley, who he named after his best buddy, Bradley Thomas.

These tales would be sweet reflections on family life if they didn't take place on ancient Mars, where constant vigilance and bloodshed were a necessary part of survival.Whatever the reason for choosing Jenkins to inscribe these reflections on the Dire Planet I do agree that he was an excellent choice.  I can think of only a half dozen other authors that might have fell to the job with such gusto and zeal--and half of those are dead.   

Good reading,Trebor Drahow, Pulpwork Press

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