It’s Friday! Time for my blog feature, Building Character in which you get to meet characters from a book. Talking to a character outside of their book is fun! Huge. Amounts. Of fun.
This week Strands of Thought plays host to Martin Samuels from Geek Games. Welcome, Martin. Can you tell our readers a little about yourself, please?
Hi, I'm Martin Samuels from Geek Games. Right now I'm a couple of hundred years in your future, and I got involved with a bunch of aliens and some terrorists. I ended up doing something stupid, and as a result my friend's father died. I'd give anything to be able to take it back and make it not have happened, but life doesn't work like that. Instead, I'm left with trying to do something to balance out my cosmic karma – or whatever it is – by doing something to catch the jorks who actually set off the bomb.
Wow, Martin. That’s really serious! I hope that’s the only conflict you’re up against.
Conflict? I was an idiot, and then my father was a traitor, and I fell in love with this alien guy, and I was chasing drug running terrorists and got myself captured by them. I had just a few problems, you might say.
On the other hand, from my father's point of view, my biggest problem was getting born in the first place. He despises me. Or he did. They carted him off to Purgatory, which is the prison planet where they house low-life scum like him. It's a frozen hell-hole, so he won't be bothering me for a while.
What are some of the biggest stumbling blocks you’ve encountered trying to resolve all your trouble?
Well, first of all, Keth's father was dead as a result of my bringing down the spaceport computer network, and nothing I could do would bring him back. Then I learned my father was a traitor, so I had no place to live. I wanted to make amends, but I'm fourteen, and the traitors I was after were somewhere in the Aleyne system. I couldn't conjure a space ship, so I had to figure out a way to get someone to take me along on one. I finally got lucky there.
Tell us about your best friend or side kick.
I'll tell you about Beram, who is the guy –the Aleyni – I fell for. He'd a couple of years older than me, and he's apprenticed to Sovan Namar, who is this Aleyni computer expert. I met him because Major Reynolds, who is in charge of the Terran Federation base here on Aleyne, made me help restore the damage to the spaceport computer network that happened when I brought it down.
Aleynis are humanoid aliens with very dark skin. They have oval heads and wider hands and feet than humans. They also have no body hair, which I learned in the course of my adventures. The official Federation word is that they can't interbreed with humans, but that's a lie, like so much of what our wonderful Federation tells us.
Is there anything about you that people are always giving you a hard time about? How do you feel about it?
My father gives me a hard time about liking guys, not girls. My so-called friends would have, too, if they'd known about it. I'm pretty sure some of them suspect. Certainly Tom, who is the kid would induced me to bring down the net, does.
How do I feel about this? Before all this started I'd have given a million credits if I could have turned a switch and liked girls instead, but now – nope. I like me fine just the way I am.
See, the thing about the Aleyni is that they think liking guys or girls is pretty much the same thing. They form four-way relationships, and I guess from a human point of view, they're mostly bisexual.
In fact, Beram's parents were glad to discover he was interested in me. Why? Well, he hadn't been interested in anyone up until now, and they were wondering if he was okay and stuff.
I’m very discouraged to hear that 200 years in our future people are still hung up on a person’s orientation. Won’t we ever learn to just be happy for people who are in love? Sheesh!
What are your three favorite leisure activities?
I spent most of my time before all this started hacking computers. I'm really good at it, which is how I got myself into trouble in the first place. I've gotten into more supposedly secure systems than any of the grown-ups would believe. Was it hard? Some of it, but mostly – no. People are stupid. They write down their passwords, use their kids names, or never change them once they're set. I also like photography, and I've been learning Aleyni. I speak it pretty well, actually. Um, and I kind of like poetry, but don't tell any of my friends. The human ones anyway. Aleynis are a lot more open.
If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?
I'd make humans more like Aleynis. Aleynis never lie, and they have a truth sense so they know when someone else is lying. You can trust them to deal fairly with you and to be up front about what's going on. If our government would get with that program, we might actually make some progress.
It was great to get to know you, Martin. Thanks for stopping by. Readers, here is more information about Martin’s book Geek Games:
When fourteen-year-old Martin lets Tom, a charismatic bully, persuade him to bring down the spaceport computer network, he never considers someone will place a bomb resulting in the death of his friend's father. Nothing will bring Captain Frey back, but if Martin can help locate the terrorists' drug lab, perhaps he'll be able to forgive himself.
And here is the 411 on Martin’s author:
Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has lived in the Boston area since 1978. She is an avid science fiction fan, and selected Robert A. Heinlein's “Farmer in the Sky” for her tenth birthday, now long past. In spite of earning her living as a computer software engineer, she turned to one of her sons to put up the first version of her website, a clear indication of the computer generation gap. Thanks to her father's relentless hounding, she can still recite the rules for pronoun agreement in both English and French. She can also write backwards and wiggle her ears. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Melusine, Front Range Review, and All Rights Reserved. She is one of the Poetic Muselings. Their poetry anthology, Lifelines, was published by Inkspotter Publishing in November, 2011. She is the author of Relocated, Geek Games, and Broken Bonds, published by MuseItUp Publishing, and of Sand in the Desert, a collection of science fiction persona poems. A chapter book is due out later this year.