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review 2018-12-18 06:00
BLOG TOUR AUTHOR Q&A: 'The Disasters' by M.K. England
The Disasters - M. K. England

 

’THE DISASTERS’ RELEASES TODAY, 12.18.18!

 

It has been a long time coming because I have been on the launch crew waiting for this book to be released and FINALLY, we have LIFT OFF!! ‘The Disasters’ is a super-fun YA space adventure about a bunch of misfits who end up saving the galaxy.

 

 

I was able to give M.K. England some interview questions about her debut book, about growing up on the Space Coast of Florida, and her love of Star Wars, so check out the Q&A and about the book below!

 

Thank you to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having ME yet again!

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR, M.K. ENGLAND

 

M.K. England is an author and YA librarian who grew up on the Space Coast of Florida and now calls the mountains of Virginia home. When she’s not writing or 'librarianing,' MK can be found drowning in fandom, going to conventions, rolling dice at the gaming table, climbing on things in the woods, or feeding her video game addiction. She loves Star Wars with a desperate, heedless passion. It’s best if you never speak of Sherlock Holmes in her presence. You’ll regret it. 

 
For the latest DISASTERS news, you can subscribe to the Eccentric Orbit monthly newsletter at biy.ly/MKEnews.
You can also find her on twitter (@geektasticlib), Instagram (m.k.england), Tumblr (mkengland), and at www.mkengland.com.
 
 
 
ABOUT THE BOOK

The Disasters

by M.K. England
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: December 18th, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
 
Synopsis:
 
Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.

But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.

On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.

They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.
 
 
Q&A WITH AUTHOR M.K. ENGLAND
 

I'm so excited to be able to do Q&A with you, as I've been on the 'Launch Crew' for your book 'The Disasters' for MONTHS! Finally, it's hitting shelves TODAY, so there are some questions that must be asked. I already know you're a Ravenclaw (me too), and born under the sign of Cancer, so you're a Crab (me too, so let's ask some more important stuff).

 

 

1 First of all, the blurb on your book has to be one of the best I've ever read, 'The Breakfast Club meets Guardians of The Galaxy', not just because those are two movies that I absolutely love, but because I'm total movie buff myself (with a film degree and background) and I have an inkling that movies have inspired 'The Disasters' big time.

What are your 5 top movies (*you can't include Star Wars here!)?

 

I’m honestly more of a TV person than a movie person, so I’ll include TV and movies here. There’s are in no particular order because narrowing down to five is already cruel enough without ranking them!


  • Babylon 5
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Stargate SG-1
  • The Fifth Element (problematic fave)
  • The Great British Baking Show (“one of these things is not like the otherssss…”)
  • Brooklyn 99 (YEAH I PUT SIX. I’M A REBEL)


2 Without spoiling too much about 'The Disasters' you have made the distinct choice of keeping humans very human, despite it being 2194, and there being advancements so that people may live on other planets. In contrast to a lot of other science-fiction about the future of the human race, why did decide to keep us that way?


A combination of complicated reasons. In this world, the A-drive technology

that lets humans travel quickly between the stars was sort of a lightning

strike discovery in 2050ish, which isn’t really that far away. As soon as that

happened, you know there’d be a big political upheaval and a second space

race, which I obliquely reference in the book. That kind of stuff always sets

us back as humans, even as it brings us forward in technology.


With humanity establishing new homes out among the stars, something that

would require a lot of hands-in-the-dirt work, I think our base humanity

would stay largely intact, at least in the early days. I didn’t want to portray a

future where we’ve totally disappeared into the cloud just as we’ve opened

up this whole vast galaxy to explore. I imagine this book set during a very

outward-facing time in humanity’s history, stretching out, focusing

technological development on those goals, rather than necessarily turning it

inward on the human body and mind. Not that these things can’t happen

concurrently, but it wasn’t really the kind of story I wanted to tell.


Ultimately, though, there are some core things about humanity that I hope

will always exist. A need to laugh, to love, to build connections, to explore.

Those are the fundamentals of being human, to me, and I hope we never

lose them.


 

3 I was drawn to 'The Disasters' not just because of the amazing purple cover (props to your cover designer, Jenna Stempel-Lobell) but because I'm drawn to storylines where I have to root for the underdog. This is a common theme in YA but this really is a story about a bunch of rejects.

What was it that drew you to writing a story about this bunch of hapless teens-turned-heroes?

 

Lovelovelove the cover, and so grateful for the design team at HarperTeen! The basic seed of the idea of this book was “a hotshot pilot fails out of a space academy on his first day,” so that underdog sense was baked in from the very earliest glimmers. From there, I think the concept naturally developed into a way for me to explore a lot of my own angry thoughts about how people get labeled as rejects or failures or whatever just for making one mistake, or being different, or responding to the way society has shaped them. Our cultural idea of who gets to be a hero is so narrow. I’ve also spent most of my life obsessed with success and validation, which is totally unhealthy, and I think I’ll have a lot more to say on it in future books.  


 

4 There are some interesting relationships in 'The Disasters' including a pair of brothers who have spent a good deal of their teen years apart, with one of them, the main character Nax, believing his brother hates him. It's refreshing to read a book with male teens who end up having to actually talk to each other and be emotionally vulnerable; do you feel like there's a gap in YA lit when it comes to this?

 

I didn’t actually set out to fill any sort of gap with it, but yes, I do think all aspects of our society are lacking in good emotional models for teens who are socialized as male. I hope we can continue to expand the range of emotions we allow all characters to experience: angry, emotionally-constipated girls (hello, my next book), sensitive and vulnerable boys, non-binary characters period—we need it all!


 

5 Many people know you are a YA librarian (shout out to librarians everywhere!): What would you say is the number one key to encouraging a reluctant reader of any age?

 

Please, for the love of cupcakes, LET THEM READ WHAT THEY WANT. I want to scream every time a parent takes a book out of a kid’s hand because “it’s a graphic novel and that’s not real reading” or “that book is for girls” or “Twilight/The Hunger Games/etc. is garbage” or whatever else. The same thing applies to adults—can we not shame each other for loving romance, or cozy mysteries, or the latest James Patterson, or whatever else. Let people love whatever books speak to them and celebrate that love.


 

6 I know you grew up on the Space Coast of Florida, but you now call the mountains of Virginia home. Do you feel as though your childhood environment encouraged your love of all things space? How so?

 

Definitely. I feel like I would have come around to space eventually anyway, because it was really stuff like Star Wars and Issac Asimov’s nonfiction that dragged me into the deep end, and there are tons of people who grew up in my town who couldn’t care less about space. But being able to watch space shuttles and rockets launch from my backyard absolutely had an impact. Same with my parents always taking me to work and talking about the boring-but-necessary logistics side of the aerospace industry. It was part of the soundtrack of my early life and I’m grateful for it.


 

7 Okay, here comes the big question, since I know the whole Star Wars universe has been a big influence in your life AND it has inspired your writing. What is your favorite Star Wars movie, AND who is your favorite character?

 

ARG YOU ARE CRUEL INDEED. From the original trilogy, I think Empire Strikes Back is objectively the best movie, but A New Hope is the one I like to re-watch the most. It’s where it all started! Of the new stuff, I like The Force Awakens best. I love seeing the Star Wars Universe diversified and with a female lead. I can’t even imagine what the impact would have been on my childhood, having those movies. I had a seriously emotional moment at Disney recently, walking around the Star Wars area and seeing little kids of all genders dressed up and wearing SW shirts. MY HEART!

Favorite character… so hard. SO HARD. HOW DARE YOU.

Old trilogy: Han Solo
New trilogy: Poe Dameron

Extended Universe: Wedge Antilles & Tycho Celchu


(Honestly, the Force is my least favorite part of the SWU. Give me alllllll the pilots!)


 

8 Any hints about your second book you'd like to share?

 

I just turned in the final draft, huzzah! On to copyedits we go! It’ll be out in early 2020, maybe January. I can’t say much about it yet, but I can’t wait to reveal the title. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy mashup with similar pacing and humor to THE DISASTERS, but more emotionally intense, in my opinion. It’s very Final Fantasy 7 meets Six of Crows. Angry girl MC, nonbinary love interest, sass, and #friendshipgoals!

 


 

Good luck with the book, and thanks for answering my questions! It has been a lot of fun being on the 'Launch Crew'.

I'll be happily telling everyone to read your book; I already plan to buy a few copies for people!

 
 
 
*BOOK LINKS to buy THE DISASTERS!*
 
 
 I hope you decide to grab a copy of the book; it will make a great read for the holidays or for a plane ride!!! 
ENJOY!
 
 
 
*Last but not least click here for the full DISASTERS BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE!*
 
 
 
 
 
Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/32469736-the-disasters?from_search=true
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review 2018-12-17 11:29
Unending tedium
City of Golden Shadow - Tad Williams

 

Kids are getting 'stuck' in virtual reality and a group is determined to find out why and put a stop to it.

 

You'd think a book about people spending a majority of their free time in virtual reality would be exciting. The potential is there. But no.  I don't think I have ever encountered such a boring telling of a potentially exciting subject.  Virtual reality - sky's the limit!  No need to suspend belief, you can chuck it right out the window because there is not really any needed.

Nope. We just slog along.

 

That was one long ass book.  

Not just in number of pages, which comes in at almost 800, but the pacing makes it feel like it takes forever to read it.

I like Tad Williams, but I think I prefer his fantasy.

 

This one ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, but with the size of the series I'm not sure how else he could have ended it.

 

Hopefully book 2 picks up a bit.

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review 2018-12-16 14:23
The very model of a major Doctor Who novel
Players - Terrance Dicks

When his companion Peri demands elegance for their next destination, the Doctor sets the coordinates for London in 1900 to enjoy the season there. Instead the TARDIS arrives in South Africa, just in time to witness a Boer ambush of a train containing British soldiers accompanied by a young war correspondent named Winston Churchill whose life the Doctor saves after he is nearly assassinated by a mysterious man with a rifle. Captured along with Churchill by the Boers, the Doctor and Peri soon discover a second unknown individual, this one working to aid in Churchill's escape. Realizing that there are people involved whom he encountered when he met Churchill during his second incarnation, the Doctor travels to London in 1936 to get to the bottom of the mystery, one that soon involves stopping a plot that threatens the course of all of human history!

 

I must confess that I approached this novel with a degree of ambivalence, given that the Sixth Doctor is by far my least favorite version of the character and a storyline involving Winston Churchill was one primed to fail. This was a mistake on my part, as I should have taken into consideration that the author was Terrance Dicks, arguably the most prolific writer of Doctor Who media in the history of the franchise. In his experienced hands what could have been a name-checking adventure involving an off-putting central character is instead a rollicking adventure spanning across four decades of one of the most adventurous lives in human history. In this it represents everything that a first-rate Doctor Who novel should be, and one that other authors in the franchise should turn to when dealing with some of the more awkward elements in the long-running series.

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review 2018-12-15 23:12
Getting around at last to an SF classic
Foundation (Foundation, #1) - Isaac Asimov

This is a book that I first tried reading decades ago, but I just couldn’t get into it at the time. Perhaps it was for the best, because returning to it now allowed me to appreciate aspects of the book I wouldn’t have when I was younger, such as Asimov’s engagement with religion and his faith in a technocratic elite. The enduring richness of these concepts was more than enough to get me through the bits that look increasingly daft today (such as the fetishization of “nuclear technology” and the near-total absence of women from his narrative) and to finish it eager to read the next book in his series.

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review 2018-12-15 00:14
No gold stars awarded here
The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity - Byron Reese

The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity by Byron Reese could have been really good if only it wasn't riddled with so many grammatical errors. :'-( Repeated words, completely missing words, and words in the wrong order (was this down to the editor?) were liberally spread through the entire book which really took away from my enjoyment. I felt that what he was trying to accomplish with this book was interesting but I'm not entirely sure that he accomplished his goal (and he certainly needs to do a more thorough job of editing). This was less a purely scientific look at artificial intelligence and more a philosophical one about the nature of consciousness and if it's even remotely possible to duplicate it in a computer matrix. As with philosophical books, there were more questions raised than answers proposed. For all of the books on AI that I've read this one rests at the bottom and you'd be better served reading something along the lines of In Our Own Image by George Zarkadakis for a well-executed and researched work on the subject. Additionally, major points taken off for a lack of a bibliography. I have no idea how you can reference so many other people's work and then give them absolutely no credit. 2/10

 

What's Up Next: 5 Worlds Book 2: The Cobalt Prince by Alexis & Mark Siegel with illustrations by Boya Sun & Matt Rockefeller

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and The Science of Supervillains by Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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