Sunday, May 17, 2015

PUYB Chats with 'Quantum Level Zero' Ted Grosch

Ted Grosch is an American science fiction the author of the novel Quantum Level Zero and other published short stories. Ted has a Ph.D. and teaches electrical engineering. He has published over 25 works of fiction and non-fiction. He lives in Georgia where he works with wood and trains dogs.

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About the Book:

Winston Churchill stated that history is written by the victors. Germany terrorized Britain's civilian population with V1 and V2 rockets. The Nazi historians would have a legitimate rational for that had they won the war. Quantum Level Zero takes place in a dystopian society of the near future Earth,
where fanatics are about to win the war on terror for the good for the people and the good of society.

Their leader, Matteen Al-Rama has outgrown his fanatical roots. Once an ambassador and secretary General of the United Nations, he now leads a fundamentalist revolution that uses cloud computing, holographic CGI recruitment rallies, computer worms, rootkits and Trojans, advanced communications, and cybernetic enhancements to spread apocalyptic chaos across the globe. If that weren't enough, rumor of an alien race wanting to begin diplomatic relations with Earth threatens to solidify Al-Rama's global stranglehold.

Quantum Level Zero follows three people at the pivot point in the war on terror, one who has knowledge, one who has great need, and one who has the courage to make a difference. Elijah Baraki is a scientist and former official of Al-Rama's revolution. Eight years ago he lost his wife and three children in a suicide bombing meant to show the world that nobody leaves Al-Rama's organization. Since that bombing, Eli has concentrated on research and radial technology with the intention to wage war on the revolutionaries. In a world where reasonable people become dissidents, Eli is joined by two-hundred other scientists, engineers and soldiers, all of whom have their own reasons to leave their former lives and battle the growing chaos.

Trevor Hadley sabotaged his own laboratory to prevent the authorities from confiscating his zero-point energy research. Now wanted as a terrorist, Trevor has been working on Eli's secret project for the past few years as a lab assistant. Eli sends him to reconnoiter an Al-Rama outpost and is almost killed. He teams up with his brother, Eli's former boss, and Sharon Murphy, a former army helicopter pilot also on the run, in a race to report back to Eli and join the fight to free Earth.

Forces of reason have the edge in the war, but will that remain the case if First Contact goes to the revolutionaries? Quantum Level Zero opens as the world awaits the arrival of Al-Rama's latest ally, an advanced alien race offering anti-gravity, zero-point energy, and faster-than-light travel. Al-Rama won't be satisfied with anything less than world domination. Eli won't be satisfied with anything less than total destruction of Al-Rama's empire.

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Thanks for joining us at the book club today, Ted.  Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into writing scifi?

Ted: I did a lot of reading when I was young, but it was mostly westerns, adventures and spy novels. I read all those books in my elementary school library and started reading the authors I recognized at the pubic library. One day I picked up Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and was fascinated by the concept of ice-nine. That got me started reading all of his works as well as everything the library had by Clarke and Asimov (there was no internet back then). What really cemented science fiction in my mind was when 2001: A Space Odyssey came to my town. Like many of us neighborhood kids, we snuck in during the last hour of the film and it blew me away. The next night, I was a paying customer.

How much fun was it coming up with a new dystopian society?

Ted: I found it was as fun as creating the characters. I have written plenty of stories that have nice, normal societies. Those occupy the backdrop or landscape for everything else. On the other hand, a dystopian society is complex like any other a character. I think of it as another character with needs, and behaviors, a history, and a way of interacting with the other characters. I think it’s m

Can you tell us a little about Matteen Al-Rama, the leader of this new dystopian society?

Ted: As a young man, Matteen Al-Rama rose in the ranks as a leading freedom fighter in the Uzbekistan Revolution. It was said that Al-Rama could talk the scorpions into following him to battle. He became the ambassador to the United Nations and then the Secretary General. All while he kept his radical army degrading and subverting everyone who apposed his one-world agenda. A stanch opposition keep him realizing his dream until rumors surface that a benevolent alien race has allied with him because of his vision for the future of mankind.

Can you tell us a little about the supporting characters?

Ted: We have Eli Baracki who became The Iceman when Al-Rama’s suicide bomber killed his wife, daughter and two sons. Revenge is a great motive for Eli, but first he has to keep the world from sliding into chaos first.  He resigns his position as Professor at M.I.T. and moves to a remote location in Australia with a supporting cast of experts and technologists. 
We also have Trevor Hadley, Eli’s former graduate student, who when on to invent a powerful and dangerous energy source. He blew up his own lab to keep the United Nations and Supreme Scientific Council from confiscating his invention, leaving a nothing but a hole in the ground and a lot of embarrassed people on The Council.

Finally, Sharon Murphy, former Army helicopter pilot made the mistake of attending a new world rally with her brother. She got caught leaving early and cursing the United Nations and Al-Rama’s movement. When her brother joined the movement, the authorities took her away for relocation.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one pivotal point in Quantum Level Zero?

Ted: To give some background, Eli researched advanced space drives and antigravity in academia. He resigned and stated building a ship to leave Earth for the safety of space. During launch, their ship comes under attack. Rouge software takes over their systems in an act of self-preservation and transports the ship halfway across the solar system. Nobody onboard knows how to get home and they have no way to communicate over such long distances.

Scifi movies are hot right now. Can you see this book becoming a movie?

Ted: I think every author dreams of seeing their novel as a movie. QLZ has plenty of characters and action. The climax, which takes place on two worlds, would have the audience staying in their seats to read the credits.

What’s next for you, Ted?  More scifi novels?

Ted: I am working on two more novels. One is a present day sci-fi story about a scientist who discovers he may have invented time travel in another timeline. He suspects somebody used a time machine to change history and steal that distinction from him. Early in the novel, he concludes that to re-invent time travel, he has to keep his work secret, but that also means nobody can know about his discovery.
The second is a near future story a few decades after a medical breakthrough extends lives of only one gender. This is the story about a young man living with what this disparity in life span is doing to society, and an older man who hasn’t aged and has seen the damage already done. These two characters discover that the battle of the sexes is a cover for a dark and dangerous secret.

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