Author Feature: Chris Burton

Chris Burton is a financial business to business advisor and part time writer, who lives on the edge of the South Downs National Park in rural Hampshire, England, with his wife, two young children ( with a third on the way), two dogs and a cat. Alpha One - The Jump Pilot is his first novel.

The Alpha One series will eventually contain seven books; two trilogies and a one off final book. The second book in the series is complete and is undergoing final editing before submission.

"I have been inspired to write this series from childhood. It was always simply a case of starting and now that I have started, there is a lot more to come. I hope you enjoy the Alpha One Series of books!"

Writing Fiction - THE PITFALLS

There are two types of Science Fiction reader. The Scourer and the Believer).

The Scourer will be an avid follower of this genre, who may well have some knowledge of the subject matter. In the case of a Sci Fi where Space is involved; they will know the difference between a Nebulae and a Cluster or a Giant and a Dwarf Star. Beware the writer who strays too far from fact, when only fact will work...

The Believer Science Fiction reader is really everyone else. They may enjoy the genre, but not exclusively and expect that a book should include a good mix of credible Science Fiction, a good narrative, dialogue, characterisation and a fast moving storyline, interspersed perhaps with romance, political intrigue and conflict.

Pleasing both types of reader is a difficult balancing act. The Scourer will scour the text for inaccuracies. For him, it has to be both factually correct and believable. You cannot suggest that a space ship will take only one hour to cover, thousand of light years of space without backing up with reference to how this was achieved and at what velocity. .On this last matter alone, you need to be uniquely careful. Go too far and you will lose credibility... In 200 years, we will surely not be able to travel to the end of the universe and back... but space travel within our own galaxy is more than conceivable.

 But if you become too embroiled in the techno babble, you will put off the Believer Sci Fi reader and lose the strength of your story.  My stance on this is two-fold:

1)      Don’t mix fact with fiction, unless it is credible.

2)      If your story goes too far, it becomes fantasy.

Alpha One is a Space Opera. By definition, that means a Science Fiction Adventure, of Love, War and Conflict, in Space. There is fact and the science is designed to be credible, but not too far removed from the realms of possibility. It is set 200 years from now. That means that looking forward; it is highly possible that space travel will become more prevalent. It is also quite possible, that life on other planets will have been detected and that high velocity space travel is achievable.

And then there are the aliens! How many alien races are there out there? Will they be friendly, technically advanced or fearsome warriors? Will they be like us or multi-phasic blobs floating freely across the cosmos absorbing everything in their path. Most successful Science Fiction writers tend to adopt a humanisation of their aliens, i.e. they more or less resemble humans, and somehow they are able to speak our languages. Don’t even get me started on that! Universal translators are surely wild fantasy. To communicate with an alien, will surely never be that easy?

Again, Alpha One draws on the best experiences of others. My aliens, The Sentinels, The Partacians and the Kryl are all to an extent humanised, because if they were not then the technicalities of communicating would take away from the storyline. 

As I write this blog, I have just pencilled an outline for my Fourth (yes 4Th Alpha Novel!). No, I am not getting ahead of myself. I have already written book two, which is at the editing stage, before submission and the third is the final part of the first Alpha One Trilogy. The storyline for book 3 is therefore more or less set in stone as I seek to bring together all the facets of the previous two books into a trilogy conclusion.

The Fourth and hence the start of the second trilogy represented more of a challenge. I needed new aliens, new concepts and new areas of the cosmos for events to take place in. I am quite happy with the result, but for now that will remain a closely guarded secret. Let’s get the first three books into print first!

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