Zen Entertainment’s reviews “Demonspawn” by Christina Engela December 14, 2015
Zen Entertainment had the huge honour of being asked by Author and Gay activist Christina Engela to review latest novel “ Demonspawn” This book has been such a pleasure to read that we also asked Christina to take time out of her busy schedule to join us for a interview regarding the Novel
Zen Entertainments review on “Demonspawn” by Christina Engela
“Demonspawn” – A Sci-fi thriller built around a Gay character –Joe Lofflin
Joe Lofflin, second in command of the Terran deep space cruiser ISS Moredrake, has to inform his crew of 226 survivors of the devastating news that they now only have a few days left to live – no thanks to the actions of their Captain, Philip Wainright Blaine.
The Mordrake was on a mission to locate the home world of their arch enemy – the Corsairs, and after suffering catastrophic damage in a battle, was now left adrift in space – helpless and marooned.
Joe also comes face to face with his own desires as he falls for one of his junior crew members – Dellon Bennett, a handsome 24 year old man in the prime of his life.
The murder of Captain Blaine sees Loffin taking charge of the ship and leading the survivors into an uncertain future. Facing not only death itself, with limited oxygen, they also have to deal with finding the murderer. But that’s not all – this human enemy is not the only adversary they will have to face. A derelict alien ship crossing their path adrift for over 6000 years offers them a tantalizing chance at life, but at greater risk.
Will the murder of Captain Blaine be solved? Will Joe Loffin’s interest in Dellon grow into something more? And will the Moredrake and its crew survive the ultimate enemy?
This Sci-fi thriller brings everything to the table, murder, suspense, action, love.
A real page turner by Christina Engela
(Edited by: J. Ellington Ashton Press Staff
Cover Art by: Susan Simone)
Herewith Zen Entertainment’s interview with Author -Christina Engela
Hi Christina Thank you for joining us. The novel itself is built around a Gay Character – Joe Lofflin. What was your inspiration behind the character?
Hi Zenja thank you so much for having me –honoured
I’d previously written a gay character in my first book – which was Blachart the Corsair. That was a much more complex character, darker and fiercer than Lofflin. Blachart was also a stereotypical ‘bad guy’ who had had a very hard life and lots of negative experiences, who gradually is revealed to be not so bad, and then ultimately, just another one of the ‘good guys’. He wasn’t the main character of that story. In this story I wanted to try a completely different angle with a gay character and make him the focus of the tale.
Lofflin is an experienced officer in the Imperial Space Fleet, he’s popular with most of the crew, he’s got friends among the other senior officers on the ship – and as the second in command on the ship, he’s in his element.
To start with, I haven’t read any stories portraying a gay man in the lead role. I also haven’t read any stories that incorporated a gay characters sexuality into a mainstream viewpoint of tolerance and acceptance – that is, he’s just another guy doing the same kind of job done by plenty of other guys. As an activist for human rights, particularly LGBT rights, I also dislike it when I see LGBT people being stereotyped – or gay men being objectified and misrepresented as being ‘weak’ or ‘feminine’ just because they’re gay. Yes, there are lots of different ‘stations’ on the sexuality and gender spectrum – and I have created a lot of other characters along the LGBT spectrum in my stories – but in this particular case I wanted Lofflin to portray a masculine male whose sexuality happened to be just another facet to his character. In short, I wanted Lofflin to be a heroic gay action man, because there are so few such examples in modern media, litrature and fiction.
My goal was to portray a character that most masculine people could identify with easily, while providing insight on what such a character would feel, think or do in certain cirumstances. As a story teller, I wanted to add more emotional depth to the character – because nobody, not even an ‘action hero’, is as two-dimensional as all that.
Lofflin isn’t a kid. He’s an older man with experience in life as well as having been a soldier. He’s used to giving orders and running the ship and acting as a liaison between the crew and their captain. He’s also single and lonely, and very much aware that in a military environment it’s not so easy to form romantic bonds with others in the same crew.
–This being a Sci-Fi thriller you are very specific when it comes to the ships instruments and weaponry. Have you done a lot of research involving this?
It’s funny you should say that! When I was at high school an English teacher once said something very similar about my writing – she said that I used terminology and descriptive terms with flair and apparent ease! I guess I could say I’ve always enjoyed reading and watching sci-fi and I’ve always had my own ideas on how things should be done. I have a background in computing, I served in the military, and I love history and research, so yes – I’ve also researched a lot about tech stuff and have a broad sense of how some things might work in a future setting.
The key with sci-fi stories though is to not give too much tech information to the reader. You have to make this stuff believable without getting wrapped up in explaining for three pages how a reflex furnace or transmatter platform works – the typical reader would get bored and lose interest in the story. The story needs to flow, so as a writer I cut the cackle and work around lengthy explanations and treat the tech as someone might write about a character using a cell phone today. Not quite that simplistic, but somewhere in between the two extremes, and that seems to work.
–Tell our Readers more about the character Dellon Bennett, the love interest of Commander Joe Lofflin?
Bennet is a young crew member. He’s much lower in rank in relation to Lofflin, and he’s also relatively inexperienced. He has formed a close circle of friends on the ship who share various similar interests, and who very likely are aware of his sexuality. Dellon is not the ‘action man’ type as it were. His primary purpose in the story from my point of view as the writer is to serve as Joe’s love interest. Lofflin finds him very attractive, both physically as well as in terms of his personality and character. Dellon is shy and reserved. Physically he might be considered of average build, but there is a refinement in terms of certain physical features Lofflin is drawn to. His eyes, his face naturally – but also his long thin fingers and hands.
The last thing I wanted to do was to reinforce the notion straight people have of ‘who’s the boy and who’s the girl’ by making Dellon appear more feminine, but at the same time I am also aware that a lot of fem gay guys get a raw deal from the community. I wanted in this case to show that there are a lot of fem gay guys out there, and that there is nothing wrong with that. People should be happy with how they are or want to be. Two people should be allowed to be attracted to each other for who they are, fall in love, and be happy. So Dellon Bennet, while not exactly a ‘fem’ is not an ‘action hero’ – is a bit of a deviation from several stereotypes as well.
–The Moderake encounters a near fatal enemy. Without giving too much away, tell our readers more about the Akx and again, your inspiration for this character?
The Akx is a pretty bad-ass plot device. It’s over 6000 years old and it’s pretty much invincible because it knows what your fears are and uses them to beat you before you can make a move against it. Then, while you’re lying sagged in a heap of fear, it strikes.
I’d say that in many ways this could be understood to mean that our own fears are what hold us back as people. Often it’s not what really happens that beats us, it’s what we fear might happen. The Akx is a euphimism for that weakness in all of us.
We can only make progress in life if we rise to meet these challenges and face our fears, look into the eyes of the abbys, and even though we are afraid, do the best we can.
–This is not your first novel. Tell our reader more about your other work and where they can get hold of it?
Demonspawn was my second novel. The first was Blachart, and the third is due out soon – also via J Ellington Ashton press. These books are available on Amazon.com and you can get them either in paperback or kindle formats. I know with the exchange rate these days, buying hard books is an expensive exercise, but the ebook option is still a way around that. I also have some short stories appearing in a number of sci-fi and horror anthologies which are listed on Amazon – just search for my name there and you’ll find them.
- Any other novels we can look forward to in the near future?
Oh yes! As some of my readers may know, I already had eight books out in this series when I was still self-publishing. I was lucky to get signed with J Ellington Ashton in August 2014, and they are re-releasing new versions of those books. They have been through a professional 2 stage editing process and the new cover designs by Susane Simone are stunning!
The next title in the Galaxii Series is Dead Beckoning, which should out some time in the new year. At least six of my already completed novels in the series are still to be re-released. There is also an illustrated children’s book about transphobic and homophobic bullying due out next year. Stay tuned!
Zen Entertainment thanks you Christina for providing us with this opportunity to review “Demonspawn”
A must read for the LGBTI community –Real page turner
Looking forward to the next novel
Much respect and Love