We’re celebrating the launch of CROOKED V.2 by spotlighting the authors who have contributed stories!
G J Ogden is the author of numerous space opera and military sci-fi series that have collectively amassed over 5,200 5-star ratings on Amazon. He is a physics graduate and a former technology journalist with a lifelong love of science fiction and anything nerdy. On the rare occasions when he’s not writing, he is usually getting whooped in games of Warhammer 40K by his son.
Get a taste of G J’s writing with a free copy of his latest sci-fi novella at: https://www.ogdenmedia.net/omega-directive-free-novella.
Tell us a bit about your story and the story world.
“Sparrow” follows Ramsey Lorcan, a bounty hunter from the Menders’ Guild that tracks down and eradicates deviant synthetic humans. We catch up with Ramsey as he’s hot on the trail of Malfunct SPR-0, or “Sparrow” for short. Malfunct SPR-0 is responsible for more than one hundred murders but has evaded capture for over a decade. Ramsey, along with his personal “Law Enforcement Assistant, High-Functioning” synth (Leah for short) is determined to be the one to cash-in on the contract and collect the enormous bounty that comes with it.
However, not everything is not as it seems, and his pursuit is about to take an unusual turn…
What was the inspiration behind this story?
As you probably gathered from my answer to the first question, Blade Runner is a strong influence on “Sparrow,” but as readers will discover, it’s quite a different take on the ‘cop hunting a rogue synthetic’ story. I’ve also been watching the TV series, Raised by Wolves, and I think their use of androids is really interesting, so that’s an influence too, I’d say.
The dynamic between organic and artificial life features strongly in many of my book series and I tackle it in a different way here, which was fun and exciting to write. I also love stories that have cool twists and, without giving away any spoilers, I think “Sparrow” delivers on that front too…
If you could travel to any science fictional world, where would you go and what would you do?
Without a shadow of doubt, I would go to TNG-era Star Trek! I love the idea of exploring the universe, meeting new and interesting species, and getting entangled in conflicts and dramas on a galactic scale. Plus, life on-board seems like great fun. Holodeck? Yes please!
If I could de-age myself, I’d start at Starfleet Academy and work my way up from the lower decks to Captain, but if I could just skip to commanding a retro-fit Excelsior-class star ship then I’d “Make it so…”
What are some of your favorite sci-fi crime books or stories?
I like a lot of classic sci-fi and Alfred Bester is one of my favourite authors. The Demolished Man is a superb book and probably just ahead of Tiger, Tiger (The Stars My Destination) as my all-time fave. It’s an ‘inverted detective story’, which means you see the crime being committed at the start of the book, and the story revolves around the police trying to solve the murder and catch the criminal.
The story follows Ben Reich, a corporation boss whose business empire is on the verge of collapse because of the rival D’Courtney corporation. He resolves to murder that corporation’s head – a feat made almost impossible because of powerful telepaths, called Espers.
Sci-Fi nerds will remember that Walter Koenig played a telepathic officer called Alfred Bester in the Babylon 5 TV series. I also named a character in my best-selling Star Scavengers and Star Guardians series after the Esper police detective, Lincoln Powell.
What authors have inspired your writing?
I think I’ve taken bits from all over the place! Walter M. Miller Jr.’s A Canticle For Leibowitz certainly inspired elements of my Planetsider post-apocalyptic sci-fi trilogy, and Alfred Bester, certainly, is a strong influence. I include AIs and androids/artificial beings in almost all my stories, which I think comes from reading John Sladek’s Roderick books, along with the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.
I would say that I’ve been more strongly influenced by science fiction TV shows. I’ve already mentioned Babylon 5, but I’m a super-fan of the Battlestar Galactica reboot and Firefly, and I’m a devoted Trekkie too. I love space adventures with plenty of high-jinx and strong characters who are all flawed in unique ways.
What are you working on next?
I recently finished the first draft of the fifth and final book in my Star Guardians series. This is a follow on to my best-selling Star Scavengers series, which is like a cross between Firefly and Indiana Jones. Star Scavengers follows an interstellar relic hunter who makes a discovery that inadvertently draws a planet-killing alien entity back to human-occupied space, and Star Guardians picks up from this with a renewed threat.
The Star Scavengers series has garnered more than 1,500 5-star ratings (at the last count!) and Star Guardians is off to a great start too! You can read Star Guardians without having read Scavengers first, but obviously you get more out of it by starting at the beginning.
Other than editing and proofing the final Star Guardians books, I’ll be working on world-building and outlines for my next, as yet untitled, series. This will be a new universe and will tread familiar “space opera” territory for me. So, expect dynamic, flawed heroes, a sweeping plot full of mystery and intrigue, and plenty of high-stakes action. I have the premise already mapped out, and I’m really excited to get started!