As part of my Guest blog series for authors and fellow bloggers I am proud to present another guest blog spot. Deane Saunders-Stowe author of Synthesis:Weave has been kind enough to write a guest blog post for us today. I would like to thank Deane Saunders-Stowe for this opportunity to host this guest blog.
23rd century Asatru by Deane Saunders-Stowe
The beliefs of the Vikings have far from died out and the gods far from forgotten; they have been absorbed into our popular culture and retained in the Asatru faith. I don’t expect them to die out anytime soon. Many people have seen StarGate and the Marvel films with the Aesir (Thor, Odin, Frigg etc.) I wanted to write a book with a similar thread. The gods may have been real, physical people; the stories and legends may be allegory and metaphor; they may be true stories misinterpreted through retelling. Think along the lines of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider – it’s this feeling, the ancient and futuristic blending that formed the backstory for my novel.
Sebastian Thorsson – an Icelandic sounding name, showing influence from another culture. Sebastian was born and grew up in Iceland and later went to England for his schooling and university studies. He’d like to think he’s a follower of Asatru. His grandfather taught him everything he knows about the faith.
What Sebastian doesn’t like to admit is that he only pays lip-service to his beliefs; he says “by the gods!” a lot, but doesn’t really put any faith in the gods or the stories his grandfather told him: he’s totally absorbed in the interstellar culture of 2264 and more interested in aliens than Human history.
He lives in a glossy, futuristic world that seems to have little place for old religion. Christianity and Islam still exist, as do many others, but they are more tolerant of each other and worship in centralised Panchurches. Asatru is still on the fringes, as you might expect for a non-mainstream faith.
The stories told to Sebastian by his grandfather fuel an adventurous streak that is hindered by his sense of responsibility and personal inadequacies – but it’s enough for him to be inspired to act courageously. This courage is drawn upon when he realises that his rational universe doesn’t function exactly according to the known scientific rules he puts his faith in.
The galaxy contains many alien races and several of them look oddly familiar to Humans. One race, the Bronadi, look almost identical to humanoid canines. Another race looks like the old ‘Nosferatu’ vampire. None of this seems unusual to the Humans that inhabit interstellar space – although it should.
Sebastian and his companion, Aryx Trevarian, a double-amputee, crash on an alien world, and when Sebastian encounters an alien race that seems to be something right out of Norse legend he has to re-evaluate his beliefs. This makes him capable of the leap of faith required near the end of Synthesis:Weave.
The universe of Synthesis:Weave is a complex one. In physics, superstring theory requires nine dimensions. Seem familiar? There are nine layers of space. Nine ‘worlds’. Fast travel is possible via ‘acceleration nodes’: devices that push ships out of phase with normal space and into another layer, superphase, bypassing the speed constraints of relativity. These other realms have different physics which can ‘leak through’ when manipulated by practitioners of magic.
This revelation is something Sebastian has to learn to cope with.
A strange, white mineral can be used to alter reality. Its use is not without peril, for in the domains to either side of ours lurk dangerous ancient enemies. Although Sebastian isn’t aware of it the Norse legends hold the key, and in future books the truth behind the legends and what impact they have on Humanity will be revealed.
I hope the novel conveys a sense of mystery and wonder in an age where there is so little that seems out of the reach of science. There’s still room in the universe for religion and science to sit side by side, without one contradicting the other.
About the book:
A tsunami on a space station. An explosion with no trace of the bomber. Sebastian knows evidence doesn’t magically disappear, yet when he and disabled ex-marine Aryx travel the galaxy to find the cause, there seems to be no other explanation. Can he unravel the mystery before his family, home, and an entire race succumbs to an ancient foe?
Tenebrae station served as a pleasant stop-off during long-haul space trips … until the explosion. With terrorist suspects everywhere, unlikely candidate Sebastian Thorrson – a security programmer promoted into SpecOps – is tasked to investigate.
With his friend Aryx, a disabled ex-marine, they don’t seem the most suitable pair, but both are fuelled by a deep-rooted desire for adventure, to see the skies of distant planets and meet with exotic alien species.
An unidentified mineral found at the scene of the explosion forces Sebastian to look further afield for evidence, but his only lead seems to be a hermit living on a comet that insists Sebastian seek out a long-lost colony for his answers.
Their only hope for closing the case is to find a mysterious race that uses the mineral to alter the very fabric of reality. Can they give him the answers he seeks – and will the answers he gets bring peace to Tenebrae, or throw everything into turmoil?
I am a follower of Asatru, and I wanted to get this in to a novel in some form without lecturing or saying ‘this is right and that is wrong’. Since I’m always thinking ‘what if?’ I wanted to explore the interaction of science and magic, and make it visceral in the process. I’m fed up of science fiction and fantasy having such a dividing line that any strange abilities in scifi end up getting filed as psychic powers, so in this universe I try to present a system of magic that is based on heritage (look out for runes) and follows a classic idea of magic, yet appear to be something that fits in with physics.
I like dualities, so the two protagonists have their own unique benefits and drawbacks to throw into the mix. One has to rationalise science and religion, while the other has to deal with emotions and technology. I’m hoping to expand on this further in later books, and to bring more mythology out into the ‘real world’.
Deane Saunders-Stowe is a science fiction author originally from the Forest of Dean. Synthesis:Weave is his debut novel, and the first in a planned series.
Born in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, in 1976, Deane presently lives near Ross on Wye with his partner, Kris, a disability fitness instructor and wheelchair user.
From an early age, Deane’s interest in computer programming gave him a curiosity about the rules that govern the physical world, and how they interact. While performing rune readings at medieval events he developed an interest in religion and spirituality and this drove him to study many philosophies as he tried to find a way of reconciling the two. In 2012 he joined a behavioural agency where he encountered the philosophy of systems including human behaviour and the mathematical models behind it. His fascination, investigation and interpretation of life’s jigsaw stretched his imagination to the point where it needed an outlet. It wasn’t until he met Kris that the circumstances were right and the outlet was found in the seeds of a novel.
Deane is currently looking for a literary agent, a traditional publisher, and an agent to sell the film rights to his novel series.