Black Sunrise

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Action! Comedy! LGBT Heroes!

Cindy-Mei, who until recently had 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 rewarded herself with a long relaxing vacation in the outback to celebrate her gender reassignment and her new start in life. The first stop on her journey turned out to be a little backwater planet called Deanna…

As a third-rate colony in the Terran Empire, Deanna had more than its fair share of dull moments… Dull – but also definitely weird… Deanna orbited a star called Ramalama – and if you think that’s funny, Deanna’s two moons were called Ding and Dong, respectively. (This was a local joke.)

When a single Ruminarii Hammerhead – the first seen by Humans in over eighty years, arrived to invade the small backwater Terran colony of Deanna, rather than cowering in their basements or running away, the ordinary people of Atro City headed to the spaceport to meet the aliens when they landed – and grabbed anything remotely resembling a weapon on the way out the door!

As bombs fell on Atro City, Cindy-Mei found herself in exactly the right place at the right time – but what should she do? She’d hoped to put her violent and somehow depressing past behind her, but now it seemed her new beginning (and her holiday) were going to have to wait! The Gimp were back, and this was no time to be a sissy! She faced seemingly insurmountable odds in the midst of panic, hysteria – falling sherry – and people hiding under furniture! What would she do?

Thankfully, with the assistance of an alien walking, talking plant called Fred, a local bounty hunter called Beck the Badfeller – and the Skeggs Valley Dynamite Fishing Club, she wouldn’t have to find out alone.

“Quite simply, Christina Engela is one of the best voices in sci-fi right now and to not read her work would be to miss a treat!” – Mark Woods, author of Time of Tides and Fear of the Dark.

Black Sunrise” is the first title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela.


  • Published: February 20, 2019 (4th Edition)
  • Words: 58,968


[Spoiler Alert]

Black Sunrise” is the first title in the Quantum Series by Christina Engela – a writer described as ‘that rarest of authors – able to seamlessly blend together elements of dark horror and sci-fi to create stories that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.’ (Mark Woods, author of ‘Time of Tides’ and ‘Fear of the Dark‘). Her writing in the sci-fi genre has been described as ‘one of the most unique and captivating styles I’ve encountered in science fiction.’ (Alex S. Johnson, author of The Doom Hippies.)

Black Sunrise“, being sci-fi, is set in a distant possible future on a Terran colony world called Deanna, which has a charm all its own.


Cindy-Mei Winter, a former agent for the CIA (that’s Colonial Intelligence Agency) comes to Deanna to try to forget her male past and looking for a fresh start. The rest of the universe however, seems determined to get in her way. Just hours after her arrival, a single warship belonging to Humanity’s long-absent alien foe – the Ruminarii – attacks the colony.

The ‘Black Sunrise’ – a Ruminarii Hammerhead

The residents of Deanna’s capital, Atro City, are a pretty unique sort, and meet the invaders at the local space port with open arms. With the colony in the grips of confusion and thrown into disarray, the former Agent dons a black outfit, retrieves her blaster from her luggage, and jumps back into action. She enlists the aid of Deanna’s most famous son – the legendary bounty hunter Beck the Badfeller… who, legend has it, is so good at his job that he could find the missing day in a leap year. Together they set out to find the last surviving alien invader to escape the space port, and meet a few very interesting people along the way, including an alien plant called Fred the Arborian, who talks and walks about while carrying his own pot. Gary Beck is a lot nicer than his name gives away – and despite his reputation for always getting his man… will he get his girl this time?

Christina Engela – a transwoman herself – has poured her very soul into the creation of this unique and special tale and characters! Readers need not fear that the transgender topic is put forward ‘too heavily’ as the setting of Engela’s stories – the planet Deanna, and Atro City itself – is big enough to get completely lost in!

See also:

About The Quantum Series

The History of “Black Sunrise”

When I first started writing Quantum, I wrote the original first three books in the same year! No, it wasn’t deliberate… I mean, what kind of lunatic sits down one bright sunny day and thinks, “Yes, I think I feel like writing three books simultaneously”? It just worked out that way!

To explain it simply, I started out writing “Black Sunrise“, and it just got longer, and longer, and more complex, and midway through I decided to split it down the middle and turn the next part into book 2 “The Time Saving Agency”… and another part, which became “Dead Man’s Hammer”… and then I worked on them all simultaneously! Yes, it was taxing just getting those first three drafts together, but over the years they’ve been refined really well!

Around 2005, I published the first version of “Black Sunrise” on Lulu, and updated and refined it and its cover again in 2007.

One of the earliest surviving covers of Black Sunrise, 2007.

In 2014, I got picked up by a small press, which contracted me for all my titles, and to comply I took everything down from Lulu and waited for the publisher to hold up its end of the bargain. It was a long wait for a train that never came; and by May 2016 the company essentially frog-marched every one of their authors who weren’t “pure horror writers” out the door of their stable, leaving me back at Square One with my head spinning.

Upon my immediate return to self-publishing in May 2016, I re-released the then complete four titles in Quantum, starting with “Black Sunrise“.  I made good use of the opportunity to edit, format and to create new covers.

The 2016 cover for Black Sunrise, paperback and eBook.

An experimental never-released cover from 2017.

In 2017, I went completely bonkers and thought it might be nice to do covers similar to the great Josh Kirby’s for the Quantum Series… I mean, I’m good at art and cover design – but clearly not that good! I only ever finished one, and you can probably see why I felt less than inspired by the result! So I went back to the drawing board.

The current 2019 series cover.

In 2019, I revised all the Quantum Series books and redesigned all the covers so they all looked like part of the same series – and unique from Galaxii! At any rate, I feel the current series of covers does the story justice!




Black Sunrise by Christina Engela – Review

“A fun and enjoyable quirky multi-character story that carries an important message…

Black Sunrise is about a lot of different things and the author has done a great job of linking them all together by way of a story that is not only funny, it’s also strange in a good way and carries a positive message. The diverse array of characters range from a bounty hunter to a talking plant called ‘Fred’ who in some senses stole the show considering this ‘Arborian’ seemed to be more of a secondary character.

Set mostly on the planet of Deanna; this holiday destination see’s the arrival of an alien spaceship helmed by the ‘Ruminarii’ a race of hostile lizard type aliens looking to send a message. Along the way we see the story from many different points of view; including these aliens who (spoiler alert) fail in a sense to send said message.

Cindy Mei Winter; a former government agent is trying to put the past behind her and provides the important message this story carries. What first appears as a suggested undertone comes center stage in the latter part of the story as Cindy is revealed to be transgender; something that is portrayed in a positive and modern way. In fact there are two transgender characters in this story. This message extends to many of the other characters who are all different in their own way questioning the concept of what an alien really is.

Overall I found this story enjoyable with a positive message that puts the ‘conscience over paycheck’ concept into practice. There are some parts I found to be genuinely funny while in other moments it was thought provoking.

Seeing as this book is a part of the wider ‘Quantum’ series I will be sure to check out the others.

5 Stars” – by Lee Hall, UK writer and playwright.

Another awesome sci-fi adventure

“Black Sunrise is another awesome sci-fi novel written by the hideously under-rated transgender author, Christina Engela. Most people will never have heard of this author (I myself stumbled over her by accident) and this is a crying shame as her work is brilliantly good sci-fi!

Black Sunrise depicts events that happened a mere two months before those that occur in The Time Saving Agency and hence first introduces us to some of the inhabitants on the planet Deanna whom fans may already be acquainted with. Marsh’k is a Ruminarii obsessed with furthering his career. Already as high up on the promotion ladder as he wants to be, and determined to keep himself there (Ruminarii are normally only promoted after assassinating their predecessors!), he decides to launch an attack against a seemingly easy target: Deanna.

A couple of centuries ago, Rumanarii invading forces were repelled by humanity in an infamous conflict called The Gimp War. Time has passed but old rivalries run deep and Marsh’k sees this as a way of bringing back some old fashioned honour to his people especially as Deanna has no official Military presence!

Unfortunately, he doesn’t factor into the equation the determination of an angry mob (who resent having their capital city bombed), an ex Colonial Intelligence Agent who is on an extended vacation after changing her gender, a passionate Bounty Hunter whose moniker is The Bad-Feller (and not for the reasons you might be thinking!) or a sentient shrubbery and a case of expensive sherry?!?

Once again, this is a great novel that has been brilliantly conceived. The theme of prejudice against transgender people lifts its ugly head and is casually thrown into the mix but never forced down your throat giving you an exciting sci-fi adventure that comes complete with something a little different; a moral message.

I loved this and thought it one of the best books in her series, my only upset is that I only have a couple more to read and then there are no more! This is a crying shame because Christina has a real flair for storytelling and it would be great to read a few more tales set in the same universe!

Summary: Christina Engela does it again with another great novel!” – Mark Woods.

Reader’s Comments:

I’m A Fan For Life!

“Hi there. So I just finished Black Sunrise. And I am obsessed!! I felt such strong relations towards both Danny and Mei. I enjoyed it so much and I can’t wait to read everything. Thanks for sharing your wonderful work with me. I’m a fan for life!” – Angelina Monroe

Definitely Up There With Terry Pratchett

“Just finished it, C, really enjoyed it. Definitely up there with Terry Pratchett in my opinion. Thanks again :)” – Mandy Botha, Giveaway Contest Winner [Black Sunrise], Christina Engela Author group.

Up there with Pratchett.png

I Laughed

“I laughed, I giggled, I blew Coke all over the monitor!” – Angie Pote.

 Author Questions:

1) Of all the characters in the Quantum Series, Fred has got to be the most unusual I’ve read about anywhere! Who and what is Fred?

Fred is an Arborian, which is a species or race of sentient and mobile plant-life. Basically, he’s a plant that can move and talk! Initially, I thought of using Fred just as a means of introducing an element of comic relief – I mean, imagine a serious situation going down, and then this plant comes walking past, waving vines and branches all over the place, and carrying its own pot! I think seeing that would cause anything going on at that time to pretty much just stop! When he’s around people tend to scream or faint for no apparent reason or to study the labels on whatever it is they’re currently consuming!

Gradually though, as you see in subsequent episodes in the Quantum Series, Fred is also a voice of conscience and is sometimes an instrument of justice. Fred, as a member of the species Sapiens flora silicae, doesn’t seem to be burdened by many of the moral dilemmas or hang-ups the human characters seem to have.  As a result, his approach is far more direct and pragmatic – and unusually effective.  He is also a singular wit, dropping bad puns like well, dry leaves.  His main talent though, seems to be camouflage.

2) How did you get the idea for Fred?

That’s a very interesting question – and believe it or not, a difficult one to answer! Many years ago I worked on what I thought was going to be a short story – and that evolved to become “Black Sunrise”! The scenes in the first book where Mei is talking to a mysterious someone on the rec-deck, who turns out to be Fred the Arborian, was that short story. I suppose it just came to me. “It’s never been done before!” I thought, “A walking, talking plant!” So I thought, “Why not?”

3) Who is Cindy-Mei Winter?

Cindy-Mei Winter, the first main character of “Black Sunrise” is an ex-Colonial Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent (and former male). She has much in her past she would prefer to forget and write off to having happened to someone else, instead of her.

She wants to start over in life and is just looking for her own little share of happiness – but the rest of the universe just keeps getting in her way.  As a man she was a go-getter, ambitious and effective in her work. Now she prefers to live and let live, preferring to remain anonymous and live under the radar. She is fairly financially independent, thanks to some wise investments she made during her clandestine career and manages to live rather well off them.

4) Is it true that the character of Cindy-Mei is based on you?

Most of my main characters are based on me! At least, in part! If you’re asking whether I ever worked for the CIA or any other national intelligence agency, the answer is ‘no’. Cindy-Mei is to a large degree based on the person I was during my own transition period in the mid 2000’s. At the time I wrote “Black Sunrise”, which was in 2005, her feelings were pretty much my own.

5) The planet Deanna sounds like a fascinating place – tell us more about it?

Deanna is a fairly young colony, established only a few decades before the start of the story. Rapid growth has resulted in a large population and sophisticated cities and even a tourist industry boom. The slightly unusual indigenous life forms on the planet lend an air of fantasy and weirdness to the place. In fact, as far as weirdness is concerned, Deanna could very likely be the center of the Universe  It orbits an average star called Ramalama. It has two small moons named Ding and Dong – and as has been remarked in the story, this is something of a local joke!

Apparently the first colonists to set up camp on Deanna didn’t find much at all to laugh at – life on a frontier world being rather harsh to begin with, and decided to try make things more interesting (as if life on the planet weren’t interesting enough). In due course Deanna became famous for one of its small moons falling down occasionally. Visiting ships would sometimes miss it (or not, as it turns out) and knock it out of its shallow orbit. The tourism office would have it dug out of its crater, polished – and had it put back in case somebody noticed.  It has become something of a tourist attraction!

See also:

About The Quantum Series

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