By Myles Knapp
The best part about this gig—other than meeting very cool writers—is that your lucky reviewer guy, me, gets assigned a book. This often forces me to read outside my normal genre, which is heroic thrillers—Jack Reacher, Spenser, Caitlin Strong and Doc Ford, to name just a few.
THE GOD MACHINE isn’t a heroic thriller—it’s a heroic, science fiction, thriller, and a romantic comedy. A wild mashup.
Set in the year 2014, a 19-year-old budding novelist, Kieran Nash, is transported to the alien desert world of Adeaa. There he is rescued from certain death by an elite squad of German paratroopers—World War II soldiers who have been yanked straight off the battlefield.
The writing is fresh, sarcastic, funny and wildly entertaining.
Newman says he was inspired by Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clark, Frederick Brown, Keith Laumer, Orson Scott Card and Phillip K. Dick. And if you like their work, you’re going to love THE GOD MACHINE.
The Big Thrill had a chance to catch up with Newman for a short interview about the inspiration behind his latest thriller.
THE GOD MACHINE is an unusual thriller mix. There’s yesterday, today, tomorrow, violence, friendship, romance, and comedy. How did you come up with such a crazy, twisted idea?
I love science fiction, especially time travel. I also have a fondness for WWII action adventure. I thought it would be fun to combine the two, but with a twist. Force the protagonist, in order to save the day, to work with history’s favorite villains—the Nazis. This was too good an idea to pass up.
What’s most important? Plot or character?
To me both are vital, however, characters are paramount. Rich characters can save a weak story, but a dynamic plot is dead in the water if peopled by paper thin characters. I strive to make characters that readers care about and stay with them long after The End.
I’d say mission accomplished. On both levels—character and plot. I’m anxious to hear what happens to Kieran Nash. He’s someone I’d like to have as a friend.
That’s great. I’m planning to make THE GOD MACHINE the first book in a series and am working out the details right now.
Beyond entertainment, did you have a message you wanted to impart to the reader?
I wrote THE GOD MACHINE as entertainment, but also to serve as a warning about following authority blindly. I steered clear of the typical German soldier stereotype, most often seen in movies, and tried to make them relatable humans, nevertheless not excusing them for the carnage they inflicted. My main character’s culture clashes with the group from 1944 was fun to write as well as research.
How important is research for science fiction?
I did an amazing amount of research. While the alien world of Adeaa is solely my creation, I am a stickler for details and I refuse to manufacture history. This may sound strange, but despite THE GOD MACHINE being pure fiction, even small details lend credibility to the story, especially to those readers familiar with WWII. I didn’t want any loopholes ruining the effect I created. I researched dates and battles, popular culture, common phrases, and even dress. I studied the equipment used by the German Paratrooper and all used in the book are 100 percent accurate. Even the artwork on the cover sports the actual insignia pin used by the German Paratroopers from that era.
Are all your novels sci-fi?
I have three other sci-fi novels, The Ark, a spin on the Biblical story of Noah. Forsaken is a sci-fi quest for the Tree of Life, and Dead Ends, a space opera about a pair of advanced aliens who use people without a future to stop a God-like race from invading our universe. I also wrote Bedeviled and The Witch Tattoo, which are paranormal thrillers.
Ken Newman has loved stories of the supernatural since listening to his grandmother’s folk tales of witches, angels, haints, and catawamps when he was a child. Author of the paranormal thriller Forsaken, released by Black Opal Books, his fiction reflects his Tennessee roots and his love for all things-that-go-bump-in-the-night.
Mixing folklore and modern themes, with just the right sprinkle of romance, Ken’s novels create a twisted universe of supernatural creatures and larger-than-life heroes where nothing is as it seems. He has now entered the science fiction genre with his newest novel, THE GOD MACHINE.
When not writing, he enjoys sculpting, cheesy monster movies, and building the occasional trebuchet.
A member of the International Thriller Writers Association, Ken lives in East Tennessee with his wife Christian and their three daughters.
To learn more about Ken, please visit his website.