Black Sunrise


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Details:

Published: May 25, 2016
Pages: 258
Binding: Perfect-bound Paperback
Dimensions (inches): 4.25″ wide x 6.88″ tall (pocketbook)

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This is the first title in The Quantum Series. To read more about the settings and characters of this series, visit About The Quantum Series and Characters & Plot Devices. To find out about Christina Engela’s main writing focus, read No LGBT Stereotypes Here!

Back Cover:

“When a single Ruminarii Hammerhead arrives to invade the small backwater Terran colony of Deanna, the people of Atro City go to meet them at the space port with open arms.  (Perhaps ‘exposed’ is a better word?)

Life as a private investigator, slash bounty hunter isn’t all Gary Beck wanted it to be.  There aren’t any big mansions on a palm beach owned by an affluent writer generous enough to let him live rent-free and use his spare Ferrari.  But then you have to ask yourself, what could you expect living on a planet like Deanna?  As a third rate colony in the Terran Empire, Deanna has more than its fair share of dull moments.  What could you expect from a planet like that?  It orbits a star called Ramalama.  If you think that’s funny, Deanna’s two moons are called Ding and Dong, respectively.  (This is a local joke.)

Cindy Mei Winter 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 are back and this is no time to be a sissy. With the talents of Fred the Arborian and Gary (aka Beck the Badfeller), as well as the Skegg’s Valley Dynamite Fishing Club, how could she possibly go wrong?”

Black Sunrise Print

Synopsis:

‘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.)

This being sci-fi, ‘Black Sunrise’ is set in the distant future, on a Terran colony world called Deanna, which has a charm of its own.

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The lead character in this first story in the series is Cindy-Mei Winter, a former CIA (that’s Colonial Intelligence Agency) agent. She’s a transgender woman who comes to Deanna looking for her own little share of happiness, but the rest of the universe just keeps getting in her way. Mei has much in her past she would prefer to forget and write off to having happened to someone else, not her – and wants to start over in life. In her male life, she was a go-getter – ambitious and effective in her work, but now she prefers to live and let live, to remain anonymous and under the radar.

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When she first arrives on Deanna, only a few hours before a long-absent alien foe of the human race arrive to invade the small backwater Terran colony, it becomes crystal clear that life has other plans!

The Black Sunrise – a Ruminarii Hammerhead

With Atro City under attack, Mei finds herself entrenched in local drama, driven by a desire to redeem herself in the eyes of her former colleagues at the Agency – her being at the scene – and them not.

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The invasion averted (by a mysterious case of ‘falling sherry’) ‘Agent Winter’ sets out to track down the lone survivor of the Ruminarri invasion force. To assist her in this task, she enlists the help of the male lead in ‘Black Sunrise’ – one Gary Beck, aka Beck the Badfeller – whose reputation as a bounty hunter on Deanna insists that he is ‘so good he could find the missing day in a leap-year!’

Beck as it turns out, is not as bad as his name makes him out to be, and over the course of their quest – during which they encounter and have to overcome numerous obstacles, including murderous minions of the local mining magnate – become more than ‘just friends’.

While transgender people have been included in quite a lot of books over the years, their traditional role has been as either a villain, an incidental plot device, or as a comedy prop. Typically the portrayal of transgender characters and the issues and obstacles faced by transgender people – and their unique tragedy – are not treated with the insight, understanding and respect they deserve. Transgender readers and fans of sci-fi need not fret in this case however, as Engela – a transwoman herself – has poured her very soul into the creation of this unique and special tale! Cisgender readers need not fear that the 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!

The characters in ‘Black Sunrise’ continue their adventures in the next two books in the Quantum Series: ‘The Time Saving Agency’ and ‘Dead Man’s Hammer’.

Reviews:

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.

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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 Univers  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!

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