PBR: Today we are talking with John David Gabriel King, author of The Hunt for the Shalimar Stones, a novelette just now being released by Book Baby Inc. John, thank you for taking the time to speak with us.
JDGK: It`s my pleasure Gary.
PBR: Your book takes place in space, in the future. Tell us, please, a bit about the way you got into writing sci-fi fantasy stories.
JDGK: I have always been a fan of outer space action and adventure series, and movies like Star Trek, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Next Generation, The originalBattlestar Galactica series,Andromeda, and of course Star Wars. And growing up I also had an endless love for reading, and an intense love for books that were outer space adventures, as well as action, mystery and James Bond novels. I found as a result of this, there had grown within me a deep desire to one day become a writer. So recently, when I at last was able to make sufficient room in my schedule to also be able to go back to school to quench my desire to become a writer I did so. I am presently, in the degree program at Ashford University emphasizing creative writing. And during the course of my 2nd year I wrote the book you are presently reviewing “The Hunt For The Shalimar Stones.”
PBR: What are your personal beliefs regarding extra-terrestrial life existing in far reaching corners of the Universe?
JDGK: Actually, though I have a great love for outer space sci-fi fiction and have a vivid imagination, I was raised quite conservatively. I was born on one of the largest and most important military bases in the world, Fort Knox, Ky., which is the armor center for all the western NATO nations (which includes among its many nations the United States, England Germany, etc.). Even my scout master when I was between the ages of 10 and 13 was a highly decorated Army Special Forces Green Beret. He was to us a teddy bear, but according to the other Green Beret Sergeants he was hell on wheels, if you were an enemy of America you were dead meat, but if you were a little American kid who was a member of his boy scout troop he was a great big teddy bear who loved you and took care of you. He embodied what they say about the Green Beret (Navy Seals type organizations) on a good day their great, and “on a bad day they’re the best there is!” So as a result of the influence of this significant individual in my life in my formative years, I am (in part) very much a conservative thinker. However on the other hand, realizing the great truth that the universe is virtually endless, and there is in the small part of the universe we can see with our telescopes a galaxy that is 60 times the size of the milky way (which by the way is the galaxy that I based the fictional Galaxy in “The Hunt For The Shalimar Stones” on (which according to my story is 80 times the size of the milky way galaxy),to say there is no extra-terrestrial life in something that is so virtually infinitely vast, would be clearly presumptuous without having access to many times the information we presently have. And interestingly enough, in several episodes of Babylon-5 in seasons 3&4 they had these fictional beings they called the ancient races, and they existed tens of thousands of years before the first human every existed and they were completely aware of earth and all its inhabitants, and had evolved so far beyond humans they had no interest or desire to have any contact with humans, and wanted to be left alone because they had lived so long and experienced so much that they felt there was very little left to learn. And therefore they had no need or desire for any contact with people from earth, because they were fully convinced there was nothing they could learn from them. I am not saying such beings exist. But we always suppose the reason we have not run into any extra-terrestrials is because they don`t exist or they are less developed or at the same stage of development as we are , but suppose they know about us, and are just not interested. Like the movie of a similar name, “He`s just not that into you.” You never know.
PBR: One sees clear similarities to Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactia and Deep Space Nine. Is The Hunt for the Shalimar Stones meant to be “an episode” of an already established cast of characters?
JDGK: No, not at all. I think it`s like the auto industry, you have only so much to work with, so just as different cars from different automakers bear a resemblance to one another. When you write any kind of fiction some things are going to seem familiar. If you set a detective mystery in New York City, everything is going to seem the same as any other detective mystery set in New York except for the detective and the bad guys basically. As a matter of fact, Steven Spielberg pointed out that the big battle with the death star at the end of the very first Star Wars film, with the star fighters flying down the long, huge slot along the surface of the giant Death Star in an attempt to find the small opening (their intelligence forces had found which was the massive structure`s only weakness) to fire their missiles through to destroy the Death Star, was taken from the 1954 “William Holden” movie, “The Bridges at Toko-Ri.”
PBR: So are you a believer that mankind will eventually grow “off this planet” and mingle with other civilizations out there in distant galaxies, or is this just good material for writing?
JDGK: I don`t know if we will every meet any other civilizations from other galaxies, and if we do, it may not happen in my life time. In line with what I have already stated, the longest running and most successful outer space action-adventure series in the history of Television, Star Trek, which produced the equivalent of over 40 years of programs, had at its core the concept of the prime directive, which according to their story line prevented them from making first contact with any people or species that had not developed enough technologically as a people to produce and actively employ, consistently warp drive (as a means of inter space travel). They watched and observed these races as a rule from afar but hid their presence from them on purpose until they demonstrated the ability to function on a level wherethey could no longer be ignored, and thereforewereon a level significant enough in the opinion of the powerful federation for them to have Star Fleet make first contact. It`s interesting they were always there but first contact had to be earned. There is no guarantee at all that this is the case, but it might be. And it would explain the portion of UFO sightings that are seen every year that are “unexplainable.”
PBR: Your descriptions of the battle groups always had it broken down into numbers. How have you come to such detail in your thoughts? Do you have personal military training?
JDGK: Yes, I was in the Army for 4 years. And my father was a Master Sergeant in the Army; he was decorated at Anzio for single handedly picking up a heavy machine and taking out an entire enemy squad that had broken through our lines. And growing upon a major military base(like Fort Knox) just naturally worked with my chemistry and skill set to cause me to just know instinctively the thing for me to do was to supply my 4 years of service to the country by enlisting. This, plus the first 14 years of my life growing up on one of the world`s top military bases totally indoctrinated me into the military way in a some areas.
Also the Green Beret Sergeant O`Brien who was my scout master was an expert in Shotokan Karate and began my training in the art. I eventually went on to formal karate training at a karate dojo of the Japan Karate Association. I was very fortunate my instructor was Mr. Kasaka a former All Japan Champion. I eventually earned my black belt in the Shotokan style. Which by the way is the style of karate practiced by Jean Claude Van Damne in his movies. And this type of karate is the basis of the fictional martial art (Tao Mow Cing) practiced by the story`s hero Starship Captain Morgan Stone and the Panther commando teams under his command in my story.
Also the elite Panther commando teams in my book are the result of my significant exposer to the Army Special Forces,who Sergeant O`Brien would often take us on outings to see, we on many occasions got to observe the green berets training and equipment as well as talk to and get to know many members of his own elite team.
Finally, the reason we were at the same military base for so many years was because my father finished his last years in the Army at Fort Knox, and then retired and became a civilian government worker at the base for 12 years, before he finally retired once and for all.
PBR: Now you created the Tiffany Girls as super-stunning android women. What are some of your thoughts behind creating such beautiful robots?
JDGK> The inspiration for the 3 Tiffanies came from a number of things: 1) Jessica Alba`s role as Max (the beautiful super strong genetically-enhanced) cat burglar, thief on the run from the rogue government agency Manticore that wants her back to force her to perform ruthless kill missions, etc. for them, in the series Dark Angel by James Cameron .2) The character of Romie the super strong, female android, who is the powerful starship (warship) Andromeda`s Avatar. And lastbut not least 3) The very beautiful and incredibly sexy Stacy Kiebler, who was according to the judges one of the best dancers ever amateur or professional on dancing with the stars, and stands 6 feet tall, and who was one of the greatest athletes in the WWE.
Also the idea for the 3 tiffanies being superhuman incredibly beautiful spies who are deep cover operatives, in that they are actually what they say they are, a famous intergalactic singing and dancing trio (ten times better than 3 Beyonces), and as a result of this, they are permitted complete access to, virtually any place in their portion of the galaxy as a famous performing group came from once again the series Dark Angel, The 60`s series I Spy with Bill Cosby (where he along with Robert Culp played spies with permanent deep covers; as professional tennis players who because of their profession went all over the world while they were secretly working for Uncle Sam as spies for the CIA), and lastly by watching the incredible videos of the sensational performing artist Beyonce.
Andfurther, as the story eventually reveals Morgan Stone is a member of the Max-Jon royal family and the oldest son of the royal line and therefore prince of the realm.The Tiffanies were built especially as Morgan`s Super human Android aids and bodyguards,they are capable of doing almost anything and everything. And he came up with this idea to use them as Super-Spies the greatest by far in the Bavarian Empire (which the Max-Jon kingdom is a part of), they are under his direct control and command at all times, together they are able to do what no one else can, and this is all done with the personal permission of the Emperor and the Tri-Star Galactic Defense Force`s High Command (they are the military force that defends the enormous Bavarian Empire, and in which, Morgan Stone holds his rank of Captain).
PBR: What are your future plans for other writing? Do you have a sequel in mind for Captain Morgan Stone?
JDGK: Yes, I do. This is the first book in a series of books about Morgan Stone. The next 3 books in the series will be the Alonian Wars Trilogy, and that will only be the beginning of his adventures.
PBR: We certainly wish you the most success with this enjoyable book, and again, thank you for talking with us today.
JDGK: Thank you so much for your time and this interview Gary.