Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Interview with Michael Siemsen Exigency + Review

It may be Christmas week but at the Goodreads General Fiction Expats Club we're getting ready for our January group read, Exigency by Michael Siemsen. It's a Sci-Fi thriller that's hard to put down. Michael has stopped by to answer just a few last questions before we all dig into, outer space.
Enjoy our chat and some really cool pictures that Swedish artist and book cover designer Andreas Raninger and Belgian artist Matthias de Muylder came up with for Michael and Exigency.

If this sounds right up your Space Odyssey alley click HERE for the link to the Exigency Folder.
And HERE for the Goodreads Group Home page.
Join Us!

  • ISBN-13: 9781940757223
  • Publisher: Fantome, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/9/2014
  • Pages: 416


Nine brilliant scientists travel light years on a one-way trip to an Earth-like planet. Their mission is to study from orbit the two species of intelligent lifeforms on the surface. The first: an isolated people embarking on civilization and building their world's first city. The second: a brutal race of massive predators, spread thick and still growing across the dominant landmass--destined to breed and eat their way to extinction within a few centuries.

Michael I really enjoyed Exigency and I’d like to ask a few questions before we start the group discussion.
No Spoilers

Where did you get the ideas for the alien cultures and names?
Without delving too deep into the grueling chaos of my research process, I began at the very beginning of Epsilon C’s emergence of life, and created an evolutionary path for the various kingdoms of plants, fungus, animals, etc.
As the Threck species evolved from ocean-based creatures into the amphibians they are “today”, their language needed to be based on sounds and communications methods that would’ve begun under water, and that their speech mechanisms could deliver. I established their consonant and vowel sounds (lots of S’s, Z’s, T’s, and Ee’s) eliminated some (B, G, J, L, etc), and went from there!
Pretty much the same process for the Hynka, but their speech is much more limited at their current stage. Fun, right? You see, the life of a writer is every bit as glamorous as one would imagine.

Also I noticed the use of the metric system as apposed to inches and pounds, was this to keep with the scientific nature of the story or something different?
I try to keep my fiction as close to reality as possible, and it’s pretty likely that a century from now, everyone will be on the metric system. Nasa officially switched back in 2007 after losing the Mars Climate Orbiter probe due to the agency’s use of two measurement systems. When they made the announcement, the 13 space agencies from other countries all gave a little cheer. J

Michael I don’t want to discuss the ending, no spoilers ;) but it definitely leaves room for a revisit. Any chance you’ll be going back to Epsilon C?
Ah, the question… I get it a lot. ;) I wrote Exigency as a standalone story with a definite beginning/middle/end arc, but I did the same with The Dig (with the exception of a later-added Epilogue), and its 3rd volume will be out pretty soon, with at least a 4th planned. So an Exigency 2 is not off the table, but it would have to be a pretty solid story. I’m not into sequels for sequel’s sake, even if a book would be a surefire seller.

Knowing we’ll be talking about the novel as a group, does this make you nervous, worried?
Not at all! I look forward to it! I know that no book exists that’s universally beloved, and I’m satisfied with Exigency’s Like-to-Dislike ratio (almost 90% like), so I’m cautiously optimistic that I won’t be burned at the stake. J

Okay you can be honest with us Michael. Would you be on the first commercial flight to space if you could?
The first? No way.
2nd? No. The first might’ve just been lucky.
3rd? No, this is where they get overconfident after two previous successes.
129th? Yes! Let’s do it! (I can bring my blankie, right?)

My Review of Exigency
Lifetime inhabitants of a research space station studying an earth like planet Epsilon C encounter the ultimate horror when evacuation to the planet below is their only option for survival. The planet is divided into two sides one inhabited by an advanced race called Threck and one by an enormous predatory race called Hynka. The escape pods are pre-set to head for the Threck side of the planet, but something goes terribly wrong.
We follow the progress of the station leader John and the head specialist for the Threck, Minnie who are not exactly friends especially since the station’s second in command, Aether, John’s wife left him for Minnie. These adversaries find themselves off course and headed straight for the Hynka side of the planet and have to fight flora, fauna and each other to stay alive knowing that they may very well be the only survivors left in this inhospitable and likely deadly situation.

Michael Siemsen’s epic adventure begins with a HUGE bang as the space station literally disintegrates before reader’s eyes. His narrative is deductive and informative mixing just enough humor throughout to lighten the at times dark nature of the read.  I especially like his use of acronyms that blend very well with the science feel, however, non-techies might prefer a bit of a refresher every so often. His characters are well developed, and expertly portrayed psychically and physically. His world building is essential to the story and aptly and visually constructed for readers. If you like an unimaginable sci-fi saga, this is right up your outer space alley.

Thanks Michael Im excited to get started on the discussion
t wait to have you with us.
Book Trailer for Exigency

Check out the cool cover for the ebook

    Threck City is by Andreas Raninger                                      and Minnie is by Matthias de Muylder

Threck City


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  1. This sounds super interesting and it isn't something I know I would have picked up on my own but after reading the interview and seeing all the pictures, I admit, I am super curious about it now.

  2. Fantastic interview, and the concept from begin to end sounds fantastic.

  3. Sounds like a great interview, happy holidays!

    Benish | Feminist Reflections