AUTHOR GUEST POST:
INTERVIEW WITH ELENA PYETROV
Where are you from? Tell us a little about your family.
My parents were very much the odd couple. My mom was Navajo. My father immigrated to the United States as a boy from Eastern Europe. They met in college and fell in love, which caused my mother’s family to disown her. In return, she turned her back on her culture, depriving me of my heritage, though to be honest, I was more interested as a child in my father’s stories about space. After winning my mom’s hand in marriage, my father was accepted to the astronaut program, which involved us moving and him being absent in training or on missions. He finally got what he really wanted, a trip out to Jupiter to explore. That’s where he disappeared, eighteen years ago. His ship vanished with no further communication.How did that make you feel?
His mission caused him to miss my sixteenth birthday, for which I cursed him. Then my brother Leo committed suicide and my mom died shortly afterwards of a broken heart. I was full of anger over my father abandoning us. Yet somehow he’d gotten under my skin to the point I had to go into space myself, to see what he saw. I guess on some level I thought it would bring me closure and help me move past looking up to him and then losing him. We didn’t even have a body to bury. Now I’m left with regrets that I’d run off his last night on Earth. I wanted to punish him and ended up punishing myself.Is that why you’re so obsessed, some would say, to venture out to Jupiter?
Obsessed? I’ve heard that many times from those who don’t think we should explore. My father and I used to play this game about first contact with an alien species. How would we be able to communicate? What would be our basis for working together cooperatively as opposed to how humans often react with suspicion when confronted with strangers? Actually, my goal is Europa, the water moon of Jupiter. We’ve speculated for some time that there could be life or the precursors of life beneath or even in the ice sheets. Even if what we find is a primitive life form, it would be a giant step toward exploring the questions my father used to ask. Humans are a curious species. We have a need to know. I certainly do, and not just because of my dad. He opened worlds for me to explore. What really is out there and what can we learn from what we find?So what did you find on your journey to the outer solar system?
I wouldn’t want to give away too much of the story, but let’s just say we didn’t land where I expected, we didn’t find what we were looking for, but it was vitally important that we found what we did before it was too late for the human race.
Xenogeneic: First Contact
by Lance Erlick
Xenogeneic is a science fiction thriller about first contact with an alien race that lost their civil war and wants to take over Earth.
Dr. Elena Pyetrov’s father vanished in space 18 years ago while searching for extraterrestrial life. As an aerospace engineer, Elena travels into space to search for answers and continue his work. Her ship is pulled off course and crashes. She suspects extraterrestrial interference.
The alien Knoonk lost their civil war in a distant star system and fled to Earth’s neighborhood to hide and regroup. They seek a new home—Earth. Unable to live in Earth’s toxic environment, the aliens kidnap and use humans to genetically modify their species to adapt.
Surviving the crash, Elena and her shipmates are transported to a closed cave system where the Knoonk monitor and control everything. Elena tries to make a connection with her hosts and find ways to work together, but Knoonk leaders rebuff her and force the humans to submit as slaves. The aliens use illusions, distractions, and social experiments to learn from their hostages and keep them off balance. Resistance by captive humans brings swift punishment to break the human spirit.
While Elena continues to look for ways to cooperate with the Knoonk, it becomes apparent that there can be no compromise. The Knoonk want to capture Earth for their species. It is winner take all. With time running out, Elena must dig deep to uncover the alien plan and find a way to stop them before the human race faces enslavement and extinction.
Lance Erlick writes science fiction thrillers for young adult and adult readers. He is the author of The Rebel Within, The Rebel Trap, and Rebels Divided, three books in the Rebel series. In those stories, he explores the consequences of Annabelle Scott following her conscience. He authored the Regina Shen series--Resilience, Vigilance, Defiance, and Endurance. This series takes place after abrupt climate change leads to the Great Collapse and a new society under the World Federation. His latest novel is Xenogeneic: First Contactabout encounters with an alien race aiming to take over Earth.
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