Site icon Christina Engela: Author

60+ Secrets, Insights & Behind The Scenes Nuggets In The Galaxii Series

Hello, friends and fans!

Given my previous article “50 Secrets, Insights & Behind The Scenes Nuggets In ‘Underground Movement’, ‘Xanadu’ & ‘The Last Hurrah’” I thought it would be interesting to compile a list of similar insights into the four current books of the Galaxii Series, now available on Amazon! As you can see below, I’ve also included “Best Served Cold“, a prequel to the series, into this list.



  1. Best Served Cold is a prequel to the Galaxii Series.
  2. This story was originally titled “Galaxii” and I started writing it in about 1990. I intended it to be the first book in the Galaxii Series, but because I spent so long working on it and “Blachart” was finished years before it, “Blachart” became book 1 and was first released in 2005. I eventually finished the story as a standalone novel in 2020 and renamed it “Best Served Cold” to reflect the overall theme of vengeance in the story.
  3. The Third World War, which set the scene for the rest of the story, was set in 2020 – caused by the actions of an incompetent American president who is remembered for nuking the wrong small Middle-Eastern country. Although I’d first written that part of the story as far back as sometime in the 1990’s, imagine my fascinated horror – just three little days into 2020 – as Donald Trump brought the world to the brink of nuclear war with Iran and its allies! Thankfully, this turned out to not quite be as prophetic as it could’ve been!
  4. The lead character, Alex Nikolls, is transgender – but in the first few iterations of the story, the character was a regular cisgender male by the same name. It was only in 2003, during another rewrite, that I remade her in my own image and added some military career-ending detail. Much of her social and workplace experiences in terms of dealing with transphobia and prejudice in the workplace were inspired by my own.
  5. All the main characters in this story sprang from my imagination as far back as 1990, when I first started writing it. At the time I was 17 years old and full of ambition and ideas. Some of these were based on my circle of friends at high school.
  6. This story is set on a grand scale – the stage is the entire solar system, and the pieces on the board are huge space ships engaging in all-out space battles. While the largest influence in my sci-fi writing has always been the Star Trek universe, the centerpiece of Earth’s war machine is a gigantic, mile-long battleship originally inspired in part by the Death Star in Star Wars, as well as the SDF-1 in Robotech.
  7. The designs for the Sekhmet, including the sketches of the battle turrets and deck-layouts etc. were created by me in a small notebook during what quiet time I had during my basic training when I was conscripted into the SA Army back in 1993.
  8. Even as far back as 1990, the ultimate fate of the Sekhmet left an open question at the end of the book, which led to another manuscript tentatively titled “Reaper On The Bridge”, which I’ve still to return to one day.

  9. Blachart is the first novel-length book I ever finished. It was first published in 2005.
  10. I first started writing the story that became Blachart in 1986, when I was twelve. It was my first attempt at writing a novel, but it took some years before I had grown enough as a writer to be able to manage a story that could grow to novel size and complexity!
  11. Back in 1986, the story that would later become Blachart, was then called “The Red Star”. It also contained parts of the storyline that were later moved into “Demonspawn“, somewhere during the 1990s.
  12. Blachart is the only book I have redrafted more than any other – and taking into consideration that I didn’t have a PC back in those days, every single word, page, draft – and redraft – was undertaken by hand… with a pen and paper!
  13. Between 2005 and 2018, there have been 6 published editions of Blachart! Most of the changes were cosmetic, involving changes in cover design or in reaction to a change in publisher etc. although because this was my first completed book and I was then new to the indie publishing experience, a number of errors and typos were also corrected.
  14. Mykl d’Angelo, the main protagonist in the story is a complicated character with a complex past in terms of the origin of the story! Looking back to the beginning, both he and Blachart – the antihero/villain of the piece – enjoyed a complex relationship in respect to one another. Originally the character Blachart would’ve been “d’Angelo”, and the main character Mykl was Mykl Nikolls – who was meant to have been the son or grandson of Alex Nikolls from “Best Served Cold”. Gradually, through numerous redrafts of the tale, the two personalities and distinct identities of these two characters separated and crystalized as they presently exist in the story.
  15. Mykl is pronounced “Michael”. I mention that several times in the first book. It’s just spelled differently – after all, it’s the future, isn’t it?
  16. The character of Blachart was originally inspired by my high school best friend, while the character of Mykl d’Angelo was based largely on myself, in my old incarnation, as an ostensibly cisgender male. The dynamics of their friendship also closely resemble that friendship as it was at the time.
  17. Blachart’s real name remains unknown, and here’s a hint: it probably isn’t “Walter Turlington” either.
  18. Blachart in the story has a complex identity. It is implied that he’s gay due to his attraction to the male nurses at the sickbay aboard the Antares, but this is not confirmed. It also has no bearing whatever on the person or persons who inspired me to create this character. The part where I describe groups of people parting to allow him to walk past is true though, and based on observations made at high school.
  19. Ripley Jones in the story – and Mykl’s complicated previous relationship experiences with her – are also based upon a highschool crush taken from my own history! In case you’re wondering who that was, forget it, I’m not telling! It’s way too embarassing!
  20. The character name Ripley Jones is really the result of a combination of inspirations from the original Alien movie – Ripley as played by Sigourney Weaver, and her cat – Jones. But there the comparison ends.
  21. The name of the starship I.S.S. Antares was carried down through all the early versions of the story from 1986, right down to 2005, when it was first published.
  22. The prefix “I.S.S.” stands for “Imperial Star Ship”, which given that the Antares is a ship in the Imperial Terran Space Fleet. I felt that just going the usual “U.S.S.” route was boring and overdone. Besides, this is set in a future where there are no longer any nation states on Earth, just one society which has taken the form of a benevolent Terran Empire.
  23. Both Mykl’s own ship “Pegasus” and Blachart’s pirate ship share the same basic deckplans and layouts since they are both fairly common loderunners. These two ships represent the two end-states or uses for loderunners in this setting: either they are privately owned freighters, or they end up getting used as pirate ships.
  24. The internal layout of loderunners like “Pegasus” and “Undertaker” is based on a layered sketch I drew in a notebook during a Business Economics class back in 1987. I also applied the same layout to the “Celeste” in the Quantum Series.
  25. The song “Three German Officers” I featured in the story is one my friends and I used to sing together while we walked the 8km distance from high school to town back in the late 1980s. In case you’re wondering, this wasn’t because we wanted to, but because bus drivers were on strike and wouldn’t stopping to pick us up. I have no idea where the song came from.
  26. Blachart isn’t a run-of-the-mill thug – he’s educated, savvy, and shrewd. He’s fond of history – particularly when it comes to military history, and even has a collection of ancient weapons in his study aboard his ship, the Undertaker.
  27. Blachart’s favorite handgun is a silenced Luger parabellum 9mm, 1908 navy model. I chose that weapon, because for some reason I’ve always adored the Luger – the shape of it is unique and ergonomic. It’s more than just a blocky, bulky killing machine, it’s elegant and attractive in a way that a mechanism of death and destruction hasn’t the right to be. For me, it has a mystique lacking in other firearms. No, I didn’t own one – I had a .32 cal Smith & Wesson revolver and a CZ-75 semi. But I really wanted a Luger. There was also a tendency for villains in spy stories to carry the Luger in the post-war years, perhaps because it was associated with the German Army in 2 world wars, who knows? Even my dad wrote his story “Assignment” in which Harry, the villainous commie spy used one.
  28. Mac, the minor character who is an arms dealer on Meradinis, started out being called Rufus in earlier versions of the draft story. He was based on an acquaintance at high school who once, in about 1989, actually thought it wise to jump me with a butterfly knife in an attempt to impress his companion, and ended up catching his finger between the folding handle and the blade – leaving both him and me, in stitches.
  29. My intention in characterizing the butch female security guard on Meradinis in an unfavorable light was to demonstrate that just because someone is LGBT+ they aren’t always necessarily a nice – or even a good person.
  30. Yes, I had a helluva lot of fun writing the detail about Moogies (the nightclub on Meradinis) and the car chase and fight scenes. You can tell, can’t you?
  31. The section featuring the red Porsche 356 cabriolet reads like an ode to the car because it’s my favorite sports car (bet you didn’t know that)!


  32. Demonspawn is the second book in the Galaxii Series. It takes place at about the same time as Blachart, but features a different set of characters to the first book, who are aboard a different ship altogether.
  33. The story originally started out as a sub-section of Blachart in a much older previous draft-version of the story, somewhere in the late 1980s before becoming a story in its own right, also originally featuring the same character set as the first book.
  34. The earliest handwritten draft of Demonspawn was completed in 1990 – in three or four A5 notebooks that were stapled together. I then rewrote it again in a new draft almost immediately afterwards, in the same format.
  35. At about 1996 I wrote a short story called “Horner’s World”, about a starship that fights a passing Corsair raider in deep space and loses – then becomes stranded with no hope of rescue, after which the Captain is murdered by a disgruntled crew member. The EXO, who is the protagonist, must try to keep his crew together while also having to solve the murder. After a while, it made sense to merge the earlier version of Demonspawn with Horner’s World – so in 1998 I did another total rewrite, adopting the character set of Horner’s World for the story entirely, and lending a whole new, suspenseful feel to the much longer, more harrowing story.
  36. Joe Lofflin, the protagonist is a middle-aged, solitary gay man who is isolated aboard his ship by his rank and position as EXO and the fact that his sexuality makes him a bit of an outsider. His name was originally Mike, until I later realized that I now had two captains aboard two starships in two subsequent stories that both had names that were variations of “Michael”. Joe’s love interest at the time of the story is a junior crew member called Dellon Bennet, who he thinks may be gay too, but isn’t sure. From this it might be inferred that there could be a significant number of crew aboard Terran starships who are not exclusively hetronormative.
  37. I didn’t know “Dellon” was a real name until I met someone who had it. He also happened to be gay, but that’s just a coincidence.
  38. The major villain in the story – and also the biggest scare factor, I think, is the Akx – a creature of nightmares! It’s a predator. It preys on its target’s weaknesses, and in inspiring terror, it fulfills some need which drives it to want more. Being armored and powerful, it is also pretty much impervious to unprepared attacks. Because it is also a master of camouflage, it’s also difficult to track or detect.
  39. The Akx is over 6000 years old, and it’s a top-secret prototype weapon – a machine created by a long-dead alien civilization – and still very much alive! It’s pretty much invincible because it knows what its victim’s fears are and uses these to beat them before they can make a move against it! Then, while they’re lying slumped in a heap of fear on the floor, it strikes! As if that isn’t bad enough, it seems to draw some kind of satisfaction or enjoyment from the fear it creates, and then the kill itself!
  40. What was the inspiration for the Akx? When I first started writing “Demonspawn” – which was back in the early 1990’s – I wanted to create a villain, a nemesis, a kind of monstrous adversary that could survive almost forever – a kind of undying evil that could lie in wait for its next prey to come sauntering up to it, obliviously. Basically I struck out into what were, for me, virgin waters.
  41. Yes, I also had an immense amount of fun writing the Akx. As a villain, it was the first time I had experienced the sort of creative freedom I did with this character. Being a droid, I was able to hint at the dangers of sentient A.I. as well as the dangers of exploring deep space.
  42. Although this story has been favorably compared to “Event Horizon”, the previous incarnations of Demonspawn – as well as the new outline for the combined story, had been completed long before I saw that movie! I saw it on the big screen, and being a teetotaler at that time, I was so thrilled and shaken by it, that I downed three filter coffees at a coffee shop afterwards!
  43. I really explored the use of computer protocols and security arrangements aboard the ship in this story, and the use of specific security codes to allow different levels of access to various parts of the ship. This played a key part in the story, specifically in relation to the murder of Captain Blaine.
  44. The I.S.S. Mordrake’s name was inspired by a man who suffered perhaps one of the worst maladies imaginable – being born with a second face on the back of his head – at a time when medical science offered no solution, so he committed suicide. I thought the name was rather unusual, appropriate, and evoked a nice level of spine-chilling horror, so I named Joe Lofflin’s ship after it.


  45. Dead Beckoning is the third book in the Galaxii Series, first published in 2013. It’s also the first title in the series that wasn’t handwritten before being retyped, but was entirely developed on a word-processing app.
  46. Dead Beckoning brings both sets of characters and ships from books 1 and 2 together.
  47. The main character of Dead Beckoning is Blachart, who is starting to turn over a new leaf while embracing his status an anti-hero.
  48. While the name Blachart appears to attract the attention of hitmen and vengeful former shipmates and Corsairs looking to claim the Corsair bounty on his head, he starts to explore his own identity. Another name for himself would work best, but not his birth name either, since that was the one he wore as he traveled down a dark path to become one of the most feared space pirates of all time… so for now, he’s chosen Adam.
  49. Marsha, a transwoman who runs a bar on Caries and has developed a soft spot for him, is Blachart’s love interest. While she undoubtedly has many issues of her own, due to his own history as a space pirate, he feels unworthy of her because he risks putting her in danger simply for being in his vicinity.
  50. The name and persona of Marsha is very loosely based on a transwoman I knew for some time, although only surface-deep.
  51. Dead Beckoning‘s main theme is new beginnings, starting over fresh – and the different meanings and directions that can take; for Blachart it’s about turning his back on darkness and trying to reconnect to his own humanity, finding meaning to his existence, connecting with a special someone – and also developing the closest thing he has to real friendship: Mykl d’Angelo, Captain of the starship Antares. For the villain of the piece, Sona Kilroy, it’s the complete opposite – he wants to re-establish the Corsair civilization anew and unleash his own brand of terror on the fringe worlds of the Terran Empire. Blachart is prepared to die to keep his new friends safe – while Kilroy wouldn’t even blink if he needed to sacrifice his own crew to achieve his objectives.
  52. I selected Bernardus – aka Bernard’s Star as the system location for Tremaine and Andronicus, two of Earth’s oldest extrasolar colonies, because back in the 1980s when I started writing this series, that was believed to be the nearest star that might be reached by a generational sub-warp starship.


  53. Sentinel is the fourth book in the Galaxii Series. It was first published in 2022, some 9 years after the previous title.
  54. Sentinel is set just after Dead Beckoning, but features again a totally different ship and crew and characters and settings than the previous three books.
  55. It’s the first in the series to feature a female protagonist, Captain Sonia La Belle who commands the starship I.S.S. Munray. It’s also the first of my books to feature a romantic relationship dynamic between two female characters.
  56. Like the character of Mykl d’Angelo was based on me, so too is Sonia La Belle – just a more up to date, settled (and anatomically correct) version of me.
  57. The story is dedicated to my late friend Brandon Mullins, who died suddenly in February 2022. He was my publisher (Moon Books Publishing) from 2019 to 2022.
  58. Believe it or not, I drew on a lifetime of military experience to add all the easter eggs of detail to this story.
  59. I found the way that Admiral Beens handled the erstwhile Captain Wynne Polluk after removing him from the command of the I.S.S. Munray, quite hilarious – particularly the ship’s name plate screwed to the desk he was posted at, to show that he wasn’t going anywhere.
  60. I delight in my characters unusual names, like “Dr. Van Hurk”.
  61. Figuring out the stellar bomb was quite a mind bender – and given human propensity for perverting scientific curiosity into weapons of mass destruction, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone eventually figured out how to do it, one day. Hopefully long after I’m gone.
  62. I took some time doing research into prison systems and rehabilitation studies etc. for this story, and I think this added to the ultimate terror that lay in wait for the most extreme, dangerous criminal types that could not or would not be rehabilitated. It shows that even the most beneficent Terran society in the story had limits.

Well, that’s that – quite a long list of things you probably never knew about the Galaxii Series! You can find all these books on Amazon as eBooks and paperbacks, with the first 3 also available as audiobooks.

I truly hope you enjoy reading these books!

Further Reading:


Thanks a lot for all your friendship and support, I hope you know it is all deeply appreciated. Keep reading!


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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2023.

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