Posted by authorcamilson
Title: The Last War
Author: Alex Davis
Born from the genius of the Animex, the aliens of the Noukari seek to gain a foothold on a savage planet. But the greatest danger to their existence lies within them – a powerful gift of telepathy.
As the tension grows between idolatry and admiration of their creators, and the Noukari come to understand the latent powers within their own minds, a species created for peace are about to succumb to brutal violence.
In a galaxy torn by conflict, will the first battle between the Noukari also be their last war?
“The Last War is a remarkable study of reason and faith, morality and practicality, pragmatism and idealism. With sharp, unfussy prose, Alex Davis draws the reader into an endearing nascent civilisation, and then takes it apart before our eyes. Unpredictable, challenging and rewarding.” Gav Thorpe, New York Times Bestselling author of Angels of Darkness Deliverance Lost.
Alex Davis is an author, editor, publisher, creative writing tutor and events organiser based in Derby. His debut novel, THE LAST WAR, is out in July from Tickety Boo Press and is the first in a science-fiction trilogy following the aliens of the Noukari. He is co-ordinator for Derby’s annual Edge-Lit event – running this year on the 11th July – and also part of the management committee for this year’s Derby Book Festival. He also runs Boo Books, Derby’s independent press, aiming to promote regional talent along internationally known authors. Their latest release is The Electric, available in paperback for the first time. For more information, visit http://boobooks.net/
CHAPTER TWO EXCERPT
Outside the temple, whose two walls have grown to four, a proud and lyrical voice carries across the clearing. Beneath the spell of its powerful tones a loose congregation has gathered, without seats, without rows, without any location worthy of such worship.
No matter, the Re’Nuck thinks. All of that will come in time.
He does not allow this simple thought to interrupt the rhythm of his speech. He has become expert in such matters – the words of the Book seem to have ingrained themselves into his memories, written there as large as they are on the crinkled pages at his hut.
‘And the Noukari arrived, borne within the sacred vessels crafted by the gods themselves. But those simplest of lifeforms did not resemble us as we are today, yet by the powers and craftsmanship of the Animex, we were able to rise from the simplest of forms to something more. It was within sunups that we first came to walk, to think, to speak.’
Apius pauses, taking a look at the rapt faces before continuing.
‘We know all this to be fact. All of these things are burned into our common history, and live within our memories still. There is nothing I have said to be disputed. But the question that some still ask is what this truly means for our people. What interpretations can we offer for this event? In this respect we talk about the beginning of life, an act of creation beyond any we have encountered. We are their people, and Genem – and all of Noukaria – is every bit as much theirs as it as ours.’
The crowd nods thoughtfully. Apius has swiftly become used to these public appearances, and the necessary flourishes of the spiritual leader. The means to instil his belief, to communicate in the name of the gods.
‘No act of nature nor of building can do such a thing. It is clear that we were made by the hand of gods – gods called the Animex! There is no other conclusion, and in time all of those who have yet to accept will come to believe. Rest assured, those in denial shall soon worship with us. And they will share the word in a temple that surely even the gods cannot deny, a building so grand in scale that it would be worthy for a god to set foot within.’
Apius bows his head for a moment, allowing his newly-embroidered robe to billow around him. The new vestment has come with the title, and sets him apart from those who hang to his words.
‘That is all. Go with these words, and spread them in the streets and fields of Genem. Much has been done, but there is a longer road ahead.’
One by one the followers of Apius drift away, carrying eager conversations with them.
Alex, thanks for being here today. Please tell us about you:
I’ve been involved in writing really actively over the last decade, some of which has of course been my own writing but also including event organisation, running my own small press, Boo Books, proofreading, copy-editing, mentoring and plenty more besides. It’s a pleasure to finally have my own book
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
In a practical sense, my daughter gets me out of bed every day. But beyond that I love being in the position I am and doing what I do – every single day it’s writers and writing, whether it’s gathering them together for an event, hopefully helping them along their way to publication or working on my own stuff.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
My two main interests beyond writing are really comedy and horror, so on those grounds it would either be Frankie Boyle, Patton Oswalt or Tom Six. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Tom at the UK premiere of Human Centipede 3 and he was a great guy.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
The Last War originally started life as a shared world novel written for an Australian publisher, who unfortunately went out of business between me writing the book and them publishing the book. So I was slightly left dangling with a project that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with, but having chatted with the editor he was happy for us to all try and get our work out as long as key names etc. were changed. So The Last War is now its own entity, and I’m delighted to be with Tickety Boo for this one – they’re a publisher really going places.
Tell us your writing process
I’m a great believer in simply cracking on, and I suppose an absolute non-believer in writers block. So for me it’s a matter of at least 1000 words per day, whether I feel vastly inspired or not. That way I can put together a first draft pretty quickly and leave me plenty of time to work on the editing process.
What advice can you share with other authors who want to get the word out about their book?
It’s a big job, so I suppose the first thing is to be prepared for as much work on promotion as there is writing, if not more! The other advice I’d give is just to give things a go – readings, workshops, panels, make yourself available for anything and everything. Even if you’re not talking directly about your book, they’re still really valuable opportunities.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Ever since I was tiny – in fact I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else. My grandmother has stories from when I was four or five still kicking around.
Tell us about your main character:
There are a few in the book, but I suppose the real lead is Apius, who becomes the leader of a new religion and rather grows too much into the role of preacher. He’s a man of great belief, great conviction and great ambition. But he also has many opponents among his people, so the tension that grows from there is a key part of the story.
What are you working on next?
Book Two, what else? The Last Days is the second part of the Noukari Trilogy, and having had a couple of false starts I’m feeling on the right track with the latest plan and opening. I’ll be trying to keep the epic, formative feel of that first book but also adding in more from the universe more widely.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I’ve always been a dab hand with word games and anagrams. I was on the UK quiz show Countdown back when I was 15, and then invited back again when I was 16. I got beat both times but still watch now!
Who are your favorite authors?
For me I’ve always been a big fan of SF which has a more character-driven/human angle. I’m a big fan of Kate Wilhelm and DG Compton, but my two faves would be JG Ballard and Ray Bradbury. Bradbury in particular has always been a massive inspiration – his Martian Chronicles definitely fed into the thought process for The Last War.
What do you like to do with your free time?
Like I said, I’m big into comedy and particularly like the animated stuff – Adult Swim has kept me entertained for many years. I’m also big into my horror films, and like some of the more extreme stuff out there – things that push boundaries has always been really interesting to me. Besides that, I’m very partial to my sport, mainly football and horse racing but also golf and tennis.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
The trilogy will be the main focus for a while yet, probably about the next year or so. Beyond that I have a couple of ideas for horror/thrillers that I’m excited to explore. I’ve also written a few short stories set in the world of the Noukari, so perhaps that’ll be something I can explore in the future.
Any final thoughts?
Thanks a lot for having me – I’m always happy to hear from people who’ve read the book, or anyone who enjoys this interview, so feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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