I have a review coming up for this book, but was lucky enough to get the opportunity to put a few questions to author Oli Jacobs about writing, reading and his stories.
But first, here’s the book:
Technology has gone rogue in Universia. Everything from robots, computers, even vending machines are in revolt, doing anything they can to harm anyone made of fleshy goodness. And who is the fleshbag they want to harm the most?
Once again, the space adventurer finds himself – and his alien sidekick, Xlaar – facing off against an enemy that threatens every beings existence. But, could the mind behind this rebellion be someone close to the duo? And if so, how can they defeat someone they love?
Jump once again into the 4 Quadrants of Universia, and the adventures of cocksure rogue, Kirk Sandblaster. A science fiction comedy fuelled by bad ideas, good intentions, and plenty of sandwiches.
Readers call Kirk Sandblaster “a fast-paced action comedy”, “exotic and esoteric”, and “reminiscent of Douglas Adams”. But don’t take their words for it, grab the latest Kirk adventure and find out for yourself!
Now over to Oli for his thoughts on life, the universe and… well, actually just his thoughts on book-related topics, for now!
As a writer:
Do you have any writing quirks / odd writing habits?
OJ: I’m horrendously detailed in planning a book. I’ll usually start with a vague plot – one or two sentences – and that will then evolve into a one-word chapter breakdown, followed by a full paragraph breakdown of each chapter, which is further broken down still until it is actually written. And I can’t do it out of order. Or if it’s not perfect. Not that any of that is odd, per se…
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
OJ: While most writers will say “reading, of course!” and while I do like the odd splash of literature, I have to be in the right mood. Same goes for films, video games, and music. If I’m not in the mood for any of that, I stare into space. Or go for a walk.
What do you most love and/or hate to write?
OJ: I love the crafting of story-telling, especially when it goes well. I hate the editing. So much.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
OJ: I do! For my sins… I feel you can always learn something from a book review, good or bad. The good ones clarify where you’re going right. The bad ones tell you where you need to improve. Although one review suggested genital mutilation on my part, so not sure if that’s doable in literature…
As a reader:
What is your favourite book (other than your own!)?
OJ: At The Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft. An excellently paced tale of dread and insanity. Although MR James is quickly taking over his mantle of favourite author.
Which author do you feel deserves more love than they get?
OJ: I’m a big advocate for indie authors, and there are so many I like to champion when I can. There are those who have decent success – such as Jason Arnopp (Ghoster) and Stevyn Colgan (A Murder to Die For) – but if I was to point your readers in a specific direction, I’d tell them to seek Andrew Lawston (Apocalypse Barnes), Dane Cobain (No Rest For The Wicked), Elaine M Will (Look Straight Ahead), Graeme Maughan (Sympathy for the Devil), Michael J Ritchie (The Third Wheel), and Damon M Wakes (Ten Little Astronauts).
What was your favourite book as a child?
OJ: Anything by Roald Dahl, especially his Revolting Rhymes book. I tended to veer toward the darker side of humour, even as a kid.
What book is top of your TBR pile right now?
OJ: I’m currently making my way through the aforementioned MR James and his ghost stories, but after that I’m debating finally tackling Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. That, or Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.
With regards to THIS book:
Kirk Sandblaster vs. Protocol 9 is the seventh book in the almighty Sandblaster series. Do you have an ending planned out for your hero, or are his adventures more of an ongoing space soap-opera?
OJ: Now, here’s the thing… I do have a plan of 3 separate “series” of Kirk adventures, but it is dependant on demand. There is an ending planned – maybe in the next book, maybe not – and plans to resurrect after that, but it all depends if ol’ Kirk’s adventures are thrilling enough.
What is your inspiration for the Sandblaster books, and what would you say the underpinning themes/messages are?
OJ: I think the inspirations that most people pick up are Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, for obvious reasons. There’s a very British sense of humour and absurdity in the Sandblaster tales, and it is more comedy than sci-fi in my opinion (much like the works of the aforementioned). Each book has its own theme – finances, greed, adventure – but I think overall the message is of friendship, especially between Sandblaster & Xlaar. Sometimes you have that annoying friend who brings out the best in you, and to my friends I may be that person…
Do you think you’d be friends with Kirk and/or Xlaar if you met them down the intergalactic pub?
OJ: Definitely. Kirk shares my anarchic sense of derring-do when under the influence (and also when I know the outcome), while Xlaar has that proud indignation with the world that would suit a rant or two. I think plenty of mind-spirits would help the social along, though…
Is there anything else you would like new readers to know before they dive on into your book?
OJ: While it is a series, and you may get more out of it by reading the previous books, I think the main thing is to enter the book with a sense of fun. Nothing is too serious, and if it is, then you have to find the lighter side. So, don’t worry about weird alien names or complex sounding futuristic technology, just enjoy the ride.
Thank you, Oli! For the first time ever, I’ve ended up adding nearly every single one (we already own Revolting Rhymes) of your recommendations to my own TBR pile!
I can definitely recommend this series to fans of anarchic space-adventure comedic sci-fi and look forward to reviewing Kirk Sandblaster vs. Protocol 9 soon.
Kirk Sandblaster vs. Protocol 9 is available on Amazon right now!
For my review of Oli Jacobs’ The Lament of the Silver Badger check here, for The Space Adventures of Kirk Sandblaster have a look here, for Wrapped Up In Nothing, try here, for Strange Days in High Wycombe have a nosy here and for Suplex Sounds of the 70s here. Plenty of OJ for everyone! 😀