Today we have a guest post from author, AG Taylor, followed by our review of his new book, Enemy Invasion…
Location, Location, Location
As an English teacher, I’ve been very lucky to have lived and worked in some great places around the world, Australia and China among them – places that have provided inspiration for of my writing.
The first section of Enemy Invasion is set in Hong Kong, which I visited a couple of years ago when I was first starting to think about the follow up to Meteorite Strike and Alien Storm. After just a couple days in the city, I knew that I wanted to write something set there. I think it’s one of the most exciting places I’ve ever visited.
Hong Kong is made up of four distinct areas, one of which, Lantau Island, is beautifully rural. The flip side of this is Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, which are like they’re from fifty years in the future. It’s a skyscraper-filled place– best viewed from Victoria Peak or a ferry across Kowloon Bay, one of the most stunning waterways in the world. Part of my book is set in the IFC towers, two of the tallest buildings in HK and memorably used in The Dark Knight (in the scene where Batman glides from one tower to the other). The tech den in Enemy Invasion is actually inspired by a place I visited in Guangzhou, a southern Chinese city: a sprawling indoor market where it was possible to buy just about any piece of technology you could imagine. It was one of the most vibrant and futuristic places I’ve ever been.
Another thing for which Hong Kong is famous (although perhaps not so much these days) is action movies. When I was in my teens, John Woo was renowned for directing extreme action spectaculars such as The Killer and Hard-Boiled, most starring Chow Yun Fat. Writing some of the action scenes at the beginning of the book I couldn’t help but imagine them taking place in slow motion, with doves flying everywhere and bullets exploding in showers of sparks – all John Woo trademarks from his films of the 1980s and 90s. I even put in my own Chow Yun Fat-style gangster. (One of the great things about writing is wish fulfillment!)
Inspiration for writing can come from many things, but for me it’s often location. Walking along Hong Kong’s neon-soaked, ever-changing streets is like being transported to the set of your own science fiction story. No wonder it’s been the inspiration for so many great films. The best advice I could give for aspiring writers is, look around you. Location often dictates action and the type of story, as well as providing all sorts of starting points for writing. When I think of some of my favourite books (even ones like The Hobbit, where the location only ever existed in the mind of JRR Tolkien), it’s the setting that plays a crucial role in their success, as much as any character or situation.
Unfortunately, I’m fast running out of interesting locations that I’ve actually visited to use in my writing – so I’ll either have to start travelling again or exercising my imagination a lot more. I am holding something in reserve, however. Two years ago I went to Beijing for a week and, for me, it’s the perfect setting for a modern action thriller.
All I have to do is come up with a story to set in it…
And here’s Jonathan’s review of Enemy Invasion….
Enemy Invasion – A.G.Taylor
Superpowers and conspiracy collide in this unmissable action-packed sci-fi thriller, sequel to ‘Meteorite Strike’ and ‘Alien Storm’. Sarah and Robert Williams are no ordinary brother and sister. With superhuman powers originating from the mysterious Fall Virus that left thousands of others in a coma, the two are now working with government agency HIDRA and other superhuman kids to find a cure. The powerful alien that first sent the virus to Earth, known only as ‘The Entity’, is ready to attack again, determined to bring humanity under its control for good. It is being aided by Sarah’s arch-enemy, Major Bright, and malicious software expert, Marlon Good, who have their own plans for world domination – but the key to their plans is 14-year-old Hack and his technology-manipulating powers. Before Sarah and her friends can get Hack to safety, Major Bright abducts him and uses his power to create an army of alien spider-robots that will be able to spread the virus across the world. Wave after wave spiders are launched in a lethal attack on London. Can the superhuman team stop the disaster or have they finally met their match? This is the final chapter in the mind-blowing trilogy of mesmerizing heroes, superpowers and non-stop action by critically acclaimed author A.G. Taylor.
This book is set around 2020-2030 although it doesn’t give a specific date it is obvious. It is set in the future but not really distant future. This book is set in two situations: the Pacific Ocean/ Hong Kong, and London. Since a ‘fall virus’ landed on Earth a few years ago Sarah and Robert have had no peace. The virus puts people into a deep coma and they become controlled by a strange and powerful alien being called ‘The Entity’. But this doesn’t happen to everyone. Some children – including Sarah and Robert – seem to be immune to the disease but develop strange side effects; super powers. Sarah and Robert’s Dad (their Mum died of cancer) was a victim of the fall virus. So now Sarah (with her mind controlling power) and Robert (with the power to teleport) with some others are searching for the cure for the virus.
But their old enemy Major Bright has returned, and he’s even more powerful than before because he has joined up with the Entity. Also he has meteorite that he says will help him take over the world, and is kidnapping super-children to help him use it. Can they stop him? Can they find the cure?
Even though this is the third book in the series, there was nothing in this that I didn’t understand because there is a short review of the first two books at the beginning. Now I have read this, I want to read the other two. I thought this book was very like the Alex Rider series by Antony Horowitz except a bit more futuristic.
Thanks, Jonathan, and thanks to Usborne Children’s Books for sending us a copy. It’s here for you to buy now.