About The Quantum Series


Quantum fits firmly into the science fiction genre, falling somewhere in the scope of “space opera” and “adventure” sub-genres. Like much of Christina Engela’s writing, it’s characterized by her unique (and often strange) sense of humor – but also features elements like time travel and, from time to time, more unexpected items such as vampires!

Quantum is set in the same ‘universe’ or timeline as the Galaxii Series, but takes place considerably later than those stories – and centers around an entirely new cast of characters and settings.

There are currently 6 titles in the Quantum Series, with several more in the pipeline, so readers hoping for the release of new titles shouldn’t despair!

     

About the Quantum Series:

Cindy-Mei Winter – as the first story in the Quantum series explains – had until recently been ‘Agent’ Winter, C.I.A. – that’s Colonial Intelligence Agency – and one of their best agents… that is, until they threw her out for coming to work in a dress.

After that disappointing and sudden end to what had been a promising career, Mei rewards herself with a long relaxing vacation in the Outblack to celebrate her gender reassignment and her new start in life. The first stop on her journey turns out to be a holiday resort on a little backwater planet called Deanna.

That, pretty much, is where everything changes…

The series is set mostly on Deanna, a Terran colony on the fringes of known space (the Outblack), which has something of a reputation – and not always a good one. Known as a bit of a space oddity, Deanna orbits a star called Ramalama – and has two mad little moons of its own named Ding and Dong. This often forms the basis of local jokes – especially whenever the smaller moon Ding gets knocked out of orbit by a passing space craft and crashes on the surface.

Deanna has a reputation for being rather on the weird side – after all, it’s advertised in the Galactic Tourist Guide as the planet that plays ping-pong with one of its own moons – which falls down occasionally and gets put back again by the Tourism Office after a good stiff polishing.

On the planet itself, people have given unusual names to various things – such as Atro City, the capital city of the colony – and the main setting of these stories. One of its neighboring cities is San Fedora, where all the local hat factories are based, and another is called Fortitude – which should go some way to prepare readers for what to expect!

Life out on the frontier – in the Outblack – isn’t easy for most folk, and there are various aspects to living on Deanna that make it a mite more interesting than life on more ‘civilized’ Human colonies – beginning with the unique local wildlife. Crabby-grass, obsidian crows and strato-penguins are just a few oddities worth mentioning – and there are ranches full of awkward semi-bovine creatures called red-horned wildebeest – strange rectangular creatures far more suited to life in the lab environment they were bred in, than in the strangely uneven world – where they tend to fall over quite a lot.

Obsidian crows are native bird-like creatures about the size of a very large owl, very heavy, armored and they are absolutely annoyingly pedantic about walking everywhere from A to B in a straight line! They are known for crossing roads while disregarding any other traffic, and frequently get run over – which often costs the driver a new tire on his jeepo and possibly some front-end work! The tough critters climb out of the shallow crater they made unharmed, give a few squawks, and shuffle off again on their way.

Cocka-snoek are local fish that play havoc with local fishermen and are the favorite prey of the Skeggs Valley Dynamite Fishing Club. Strato-penguins have some kind of natural jet propulsion system, and occasionally one flies a little too high in the Deannan atmosphere, and provides a rather pretty – if not messy and gross – fireworks display.

Christina focuses more on her characters than on the tech detail aspects of sci-fi. She creates believable and very realistic characters, fleshing them out with her own broad range of experiences and creative interpretation. Tech and how it works is less important to her than the people who live in those times places, and their own stories and experiences.

From Albrecht’s Takeaways – a small shop in an old shipping container set up on Lupini Square, at the center of Atro City – Johannes Albrecht sells hot-dogs and cold-cats – and a very strong volatile kind of coffee called ‘hot-stuff blend’. He puts on a fake Italian accent for his customers because he thinks it makes his business and brand more interesting and appealing – and when odd things happen, as they always do, he completely forgets it with comedic timing.

Meanwhile, beneath the surface of polite organized Deannan society lurks an underworld of sorts – a secretive, unseen world of vampires who’ve co-existed secretly alongside Humans for centuries.

While the rest of the galaxy is appears immune to it, at the center of all this apparent chaos, the characters get on with the business of daily life – and get drawn into all sorts of adventures and misadventures.

Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller – sometime head of Atro-City’s police department, and third point of the love triangle between her, Gary Beck and Cindy-Mei Winter – does her best to make sense of everything and keep a lid on it.

The Trans Angle

Among Christina’s largest cast of characters yet, the series features several LGBT personalities, and some of them cast in leading roles. As a matter of fact, one of the earliest and most prominent of these is Cindy-Mei Winter, a transwoman – and her beau Gary Beck (aka ‘Beck the Badfeller’) whom she meets in “Black Sunrise“.

Another transgender scenario centering on an undercurrent theme of acceptance and support plays out between Jen and Danielle Grauffis, sisters who face a struggle to come to terms with Danielle’s trans-ness.

Timaset Skooch is a struggling P.I. and his girlfriend (Dory Wintermuller) is a newly awakened transwoman still in the process of finding herself. When Tim leaves with the Celeste to seek better fortunes, it places his relationship with Dory firmly on the rocks, and it’s up to him to ensure there are any threads to pick up – if he ever returns from his voyage into deep space to seek his fortune.

Challenging Xenophobia & Racism

One of the larger themes that runs strongly through the series along the lines of ‘other-ness’ is xenophobia – the alien factor; this is the distant future after all, and Humans (emphasis on the capital ‘H’) have moved into space, run a peaceful and prosperous empire, and there are aliens – or signs of them – everywhere. Christina often uses her alien characters as a metaphor for racism, which has all but disappeared from prominence in Human culture by that time.

One of the first aliens the reader meets in Quantum however, is Fred the Arborian. Fred is a very unusual character – he’s a sentient, walking, talking plant-creature from a planet called Arboria, where the plants have become the dominant life form. There, the plants migrate in tune with the seasons, and the more sentient forms live very similar lives to Humans, wearing pots in different styles to hold their roots, and they move around with prehensile branches or vines! Fred comes in very handy in resolving some sticky situations – particularly taking into account his unique ability to blend in or camouflage himself!

Some of the more easily visible aliens living among the Humans on Deanna, are the Jim-waians, who are gray-skinned, hairless humanoids. Jim-waians are almost without exception, refugees who fled their home world Jim-wa, to live away from an oppressive religious fanatic regime which has overrun the planet. Jim-waians have settled wherever they could find a safe harbor, but rather than setting up their own colonies in Terran space, they’ve typically settled on Terran colonies where they’ve been granted asylum and citizenship. Jim-waians tend to be informal traders, they run little tailor shops, corner cafe’s and restaurants, and keep mostly to themselves. In Quantum, particularly in the later titles, Jim-waians rise to the fore as a racially persecuted minority and provide an interesting narrative background to the larger story, particularly from book 5 onwards.

Books 5-8 center around a sudden, hostile fascist hijacking and takeover of the Terran colony – built against the background of a slow, subtle rise in right-wing infiltrations, which ultimately erupts into a full-blown uncivil war by the end of book 6!

There are plenty of heroes and villains, and more than a couple of fools between them. The later books delve deep into a stygian darkness, but at the same time, again, the central themes to these stories – fairness, justice and equality for all – shine through. Rest assured dear readers, justice will be done, the su – er, Ramalama will shine again, and in a way that will be most satisfying.

Time Travel

Johnathan Scrooby, another popular character, isn’t exactly from the same timeline – being a time-traveler working for a clandestine agency which exists and operates outside of time – and polices it! Agent Scrooby frequently enlists Gary Beck’s help (being Deanna’s most famous bounty hunter ever) in apprehending an assortment of brigands.

Time-travel features in most of the Quantum titles in one way or another – with the probable exception of “Loderunner“.

There are many more wonderful characters in the series of course, and from time to time, the regulars are brought to the fore and given an opportunity to shine on their own.

In the meantime, you might like to read these FREE downloadable short story previews offering a preview and glimpse into the background of the characters and origin story of the series.

  

Download this FREE guide to find out more about life on Deanna.

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If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website.

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2020.

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