About The Quantum Series


About the Quantum Series (as told by Christina Engela):

The Quantum Series, like most of my writing, is characterized by my own special warped and twisted sense of humor! Although Quantum is science fiction, featuring space travel, time travel and features space opera and a slice of high adventure, it also includes some elements of fantasy and horror, such as vampires. Quantum is set in the same ‘universe’ or timeline as the Galaxii Series, but takes place considerably later.

What really crystallized my vision of the Quantum Series was the process I went through while writing “Black Sunrise” – because that is where I hit upon the perfect setting for my characters and the scenarios and adventures I wanted to create! When I created the Terran colony Deanna, I found I had the freedom to do anything I wanted with them!

The Quantum Series is mostly set on Deanna, a backwater Terran colony on the fringes of known space, which has something of a reputation – and not always a good one. Known as a bit of a space oddity, Deanna orbits a star named 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 of Deanna – which often feature insurance, craters, the Tourism Office, and space tugs.

Life out on the frontier – in the outblack – isn’t always easy, and there are various things that make living on Deanna a mite more interesting than on more civilized Human colonies – including the unique local wildlife such as crabby-grass, strato-penguins and ranches full of awkward semi-bovine creatures called red-horned wildebeest.

Quantum is sci-fi, but instead of focusing too strongly on tech, Christina focuses more on her characters, creating believable and very realistic people, 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 and use it, and their own stories and experiences.

When I first started writing Quantum, I wrote the original first three books in the same year! Yes, it was taxing just getting those first three drafts together, but over the years they’ve been refined really well! Originally, the first four titles were actually part of Galaxii, but for various reasons, the more I worked on Galaxii and Quantum titles in the same original series, the further apart they seemed to get in terms of compatibility – so sometime in 2016 I finally bit the bullet and split Galaxii in half, creating the Quantum Series. Quantum then, was just 4 titles – the original three – “Black Sunrise“, “The Time Saving Agency“, and “Dead Man’s Hammer“, and the fourth book “Loderunner“.

  

In 2017 I embarked on a rather ambitious journey – to write not just four more titles for Quantum, but a larger story in four parts… a quadrilogy!

To this end, the first two parts were completed in 2017: “Prodigal Sun” and “High Steaks“.

 

There are currently 6 titles in the Quantum Series. The next two (“Underground Movement” and “Moon Jockeys”) are still under heavy construction at a secret location… oh, alright – I’ll tell you where – in Dr. Gleichstein’s lab in Wickering, Atro City! *wink*

What is the series actually about?

Well, Quantum is supposed to be humorous, first of all – and it is… and no, I’m not just saying that because I wrote it and I think so! The characters are rather well developed and ‘fleshed-out’ …if you’ll pardon the rather creepy term. If there’s a central theme that runs through my writing, and especially in the case of Quantum, it’s fairness, justice and equality for all, and in the case of Quantum, there are several LGBT characters, some of them 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 acceptance and support plays out with Danielle Grauffis, whose sister struggles to come to terms with her trans-ness early on in the first book of the series. You can download FREE previews into these characters by clicking on the covers below:

 

Another theme that runs along the lines of ‘other-ness’ is 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 everywhere. The most commonly visible of these on Deanna – which is the primary setting for the series, are the Jim-waians – gray-skinned humanoids. Although Deanna is a Human colony, there are also some aliens living among them, and the most visible of these are the Jim-waians – who are mostly refugees who fled their home world to get away from an oppressive religious fanatic society there. Jim-waians tend to run little tailor shops, corner cafe’s and restaurants, and keep mostly to themselves. In Quantum, particularly in the later titles, Jim-waians take on the role of the racially persecuted minority and provide an interesting narrative background to the larger story, particularly in the aforementioned quadrilogy.

One of the first aliens we meet in Quantum however, is Fred – who calls himself Fred the Arborian. Fred is a very unusual character – and one that I fell in love with as soon as he took form in my mind! He’s a plant from a planet called Arboria, where the plants have become the dominant life form – migrating in tune with the seasons, and where the more sentient forms live very similar lives to Humans, wearing pots to hold their roots, and moving around with prehensile branches or vines! He comes in very handy in resolving some sticky situations – particularly taking into account his unique ability to blend in or camouflage himself!

Johnathan Scrooby, another popular character, isn’t exactly from the same timeline – being a time-traveler working for a clandestine agency that polices time! Agent Scrooby frequently enlists Gary Beck’s help (being Deanna’s most famous bounty hunter ever) in apprehending an assortment of brigands. You can download a FREE preview by clicking on the cover below:

Time-travel naturally features in most of the Quantum titles – in one way or another – with the probably exception of “Loderunner“. In “Loderunner“, book 4 of the series, we meet several new characters who start off on Deanna and then do some traveling in an old tramp freighter (or loderunner) trading cargoes between planets – eventually returning to Deanna. Jonn Deire – aside from being a big, tough old coot who didn’t enjoy jokes about his name much – is a struggling loderunner skipper who, perhaps unwisely, bets the Celeste (his decrepit old ship) on a game of Uno… and loses. Timaset Skooch is a struggling private dick (P.I.) and his girlfriend (Dory Wintermuller) is a newly awakened transwoman 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.

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. I enjoy my characters – a lot – and doing something bad to a character in the run of a story – such as killing someone off – hurts me like hurting a real living person I’ve been quite fond of – but, oh well – you can’t break an omelet without first making eggs.

One thing I can say with complete certainty, is that the setting of Deanna is unique in the context of the Quantum Series. You see, 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 – when it falls down occasionally, and gets put back again by the Tourism Office. On the planet, people have given unusual names to various things – such as Atro City, the capital city of the colony and main setting of our stories, and its neighbor – San Fedora, where all the local hat factories are based.

Obsidian crows are native bird-like creatures that are very heavy, armored and walk everywhere from A to B in a straight line. They frequently cross roads disregarding all traffic, and get run over – which often costs the driver a new tire on his jeepo – before the tough critters climb out of the shallow crater they made, squawk, 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 when one flies a little too high in the Deannan atmosphere, provides a rather pretty – if not messy – fireworks display.

Ranchers farm with 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.

A shopkeeper sells hot-dogs and cold-cats, and a very strong volatile kind of coffee called ‘hot-stuff blend’ – and 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.

Meanwhile, underneath the surface of polite, organized Deannan society lurks an underworld of sorts – a secretive, unseen world of vampires.

While the rest of the galaxy is apparently immune to it, in the middle of all this apparent Deannan insanity, the characters get on with the business of daily life – and get drawn into all sorts of adventures – and misadventures.

The quadrilogy (Books 5-8) center around a sudden, hostile fascist hijacking and takeover of the Terran colony of Deanna, which ultimately erupts into a full-blown civil war! Naturally, the events before, during and after are inspired by many things, and I could go on listing them all day: the American Civil War, the rise of Nazism in Germany (1923-38), the pogroms, homophobic and LGBT purges, the Holocaust, Jim Crow laws and the American Civil Rights Movement, to name but a few. What’s even more troubling – especially to me as an author – is the state of current affairs (post Dec 2016) in the USA.

Prodigal Sun” starts out with the usual characters just getting on with their lives, and introducing a few new ones – and setting the background: a welcoming parade has been planned for several months for a visiting junior member of the Imperial family – Prince Justin, who is young, handsome and very popular. Unfortunately for the population living on Deanna, a secret force has been at work for more than two years already, importing its own people to Deanna, replacing important figures in local government, media, industry, law enforcement etc with their own agents… meanwhile, somewhere in the quiet, outback wilds between the three largest cities on Deanna, a training camp has been set up where they’ve been hard at work training their army.

The assassination shocks Deanna to the core, and within hours, the colony has been cut off from the rest of the Terran Empire and a state of martial law is enforced. “Undesirables” are rounded up and transported to a terrible place called “Xanadu Re-education Facility”. Fortunately for the Deannans, Johnathan Scrooby has been watching the time-stream from his office at the Time Saving Agency, and has been pondering how he can help – without breaking the extremely rigid rules and regulations of the Agency. There isn’t much he can to… but he can enlist the help of his old friend Gary Beck, and his better half, former Colonial Intelligence Agency agent, Cindy-Mei!

High Steaks” takes off here: between Scrooby, Gary and Mei, they begin to zip back and forth through time to greatly accelerate the things that they already knew must happen – at least according to the infamous *ahem* Anals of History! Within a matter of days of the assassination, a volunteer militia is assembled in the wilds outside Atro City, and the stage is set for a counter-revolution… and what will undoubtedly go down in history as The Deannan Uncivil War”.

In the meantime, Fred, the Skeggs Valley Dynamite Fishing Club, Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller, Timaset Skooch, Dory and the rusty old crew of the loderunner Celeste have also been dragged into the fray – and come in really useful when it comes to firing *cough* bovine torpedoes at the enemy!

There are plenty of heroes and villains, and more than a couple of fools between them. As you can probably tell, the quadrilogy delves deep into darkness, but at the same time, again, the central themes to my stories in Quantum are fairness, justice and equality for all. Rest assured dear readers, justice will be done, the su – er, Ramalama will shine again, and in a way that will be most satisfying.

A Few Reviews:

Of my story-telling and characterizations, some reviewers have said the following:

“Engela’s eye for the quirky humor of even the darkest situations sets her writing apart from the masses. Her fiction combines oddball humor, in the tradition of writers like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, with the best of traditional science fiction. A government agency regulates time and its manipulation against the efforts of a brilliant scoundrel. A retired space cop turned bounty hunter grumbles and grunts like a classic pulp noir detective. A glamorous retired intelligence agent moves to a new planet in the hopes of escaping the mystery and mayhem of her former life. And tucked inside her stories, like a kind of stealth activism, lurks a beast almost never seen in either mainstream or science fiction: fully fleshed out LGBT characters.

Like many of us, Engela has been frustrated with the representation of LGBT characters in mainstream fiction, where gay characters are often nothing more than superficially portrayed plot devices or worse, the object of satire and ridicule. Engela’s work breaks the trend. In her stories, a gay man may be the anti-hero or villain, but not because he is gay. A transwoman may fall in love with a cisgender straight man, and their relationship doesn’t revolve around her gender identity. LGBT characters, in Engela’s work, follow narrative arcs that occasionally intersect with their sexual or gender identity, but are more often driven by the human characteristics shared by all people—hope, fear, ambition, humor, and love.” – Focus Mid-South Magazine (USA) on Feb 13,2017.

“Engela’s latest work is packed with humour, challenging ideas, and science-fiction on a grand scale. It transports readers to a truly original world, filled with bizarre and memorable characters. It tackles social issues while reading like a Terry Pratchett, with some western and sci-fi elements to boot.” – Matthew ‘Sand-Storm’ Fick.

Find Out More:

If you want to find out more about Deanna, download this FREE guide:

All material copyright Christina Engela 2005©

%d bloggers like this: