Author Spotlight: A.J. Bass

As for advice for female sci-fi authors? Don’t be afraid. The patriarchy is more (rightfully) afraid of you than you are of it.

-A.J. Bass

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Review of Paige’s Story

I don’t want to spoil it, but Paige’s Story is basically I, Robot for the new millennium. Also, I should also start by saying that at the time of writing this I am a 33-year-old male reviewing a book about a 13-year-old girl’s adventure in a world where humans and androids coexist peacefully, well, to some extent. And, I can confidently say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to the next instalment.

From the Amazon description:

When an explosion levels a secret lab in the dead of night, an experimental computer virus is unleashed on the world invading artificially intelligent workers and soldiers. Once infected, these synthetic humans experience 1 of 2 side-effects: Sentience or Corruption. 30 years later, the military and governments of the world are still struggling to cope with the shock. Synthetics are met with distrust by most, subjugation by some, and acceptance at arms-length by the rest. To further study the rising sentience in the world’s robotic population, the military has recruited the best and brightest scientific minds to research this mysterious virus. Unfortunately for 13-year-old Paige Bryan, her parents are 2 of those minds chosen, and she finds herself moving to Fort Thomas – a military base full of sentient machines. When soldiers start to malfunction and a strange little girl arrives, Paige and the scrappers of Ft. Thomas soon find themselves swept up in a mystery that, left unsolved, may mean the end of the already fragile peace between humans and synthetics.

Sci-Fi Brian’s Thoughts

Sure there is a healthy dose of action, a bit of romance (some forbidden!), and the momentary humour. But what A.J. Bass is able to do is portray a world that is believable, one that I can see existing in the near future. This near future, more importantly, brings with it all of the social and political injustices that we see today. Equality for all turns into equality for non-synthetics only. I always appreciate being told that the future may not be as accepting to technological advances as I would hope. Particularly after watching a childhood’s worth of Star Trek TNG where life is a utopian bubble occasional pierced by an outside enemy. 

We don’t talk anymore like we used to do

In Paige’s Story, Paige explores how a near future may deal with androids, conscience androids, capable of emotions, development, independent thought. These social issues are strapped to the back of a rocket called the invading virus that’s primed to set off a chain reaction of unfortunate events.  I won’t give any of them away, but again, I, Robot for the new millennium. This isn’t a book that asks who are we or how do you define a being. This book assumes it and then asks, well what next? What does it mean to be yet not to be one of the group. That is what’s special about the world A.J. Bass created, not that it is filled with conscience androids, but the question: Who am I, an android, in this world, to you? What freedom will you grant me?

Q & A with A.J. Bass

  • Is the book autobiographical at all?

Not really. There are minor aspects that come from my own knowledge and experiences, but that’s about it. For example: Paige learning Tae Kwon Do as opposed to any other martial art is because I’m a 2nd dan black belt in TKD. It’s an art I know and understand, thus won’t mess it up when I talk about it.

  • When do you know you wanted to be an author? A sci-fi author?

Funny story, actually. I had no intention of publishing this at all. Becoming an author was never on my radar. I just like to write. I had this whole world in my head and finally got it all down on paper. My husband suggested, just for fun, I send it out to beta readers. So I did, and they loved it. Then he was all, “I have a friend who would be willing to edit it.” Next thing you know I have an editor and a cover artist and it’s too late to turn back. As for “why sci-fi”, it’s always been a genre I loved. Sci-fi is one of the few genres that so deftly addresses social issues, political issues, religious issues– all these things we can relate to– while putting it in a setting that’s new and shiny beyond anything we have yet to experience.

  • Do you know where the story is going to go?

Yes, the whole thing is mapped out in my head, at least vaguely. The main points and events are all there.

  • Favourite dessert?

Tiramisu. And now I want some. Thanks.

  • What would you give as advice to other promising authors? Female authors?

Don’t get in a hurry. Take your time with your manuscript. Write and rewrite it. It will be tedious and you will hate life, but rushing to the finish just to be finished makes for a sub-par story. I tried to do that. I wanted to be published by last Christmas. I was sure my manuscript was gold. My beta readers loved it. Why wait? Right? I sent it to my editor and he ripped it to shreds– not in a “this is terrible” kind of way, but he pointed out a lot of cliches, plot holes, things I missed because I was so close to the material. I cried. I wanted to be done. But, I rewrote it taking all his observations into consideration. Then, I wrote it again, and one more time after that when the proofreader had her say. It pushed my release back by 8 months, but it was worth it. As for advice for female sci-fi authors? Don’t be afraid. The patriarchy is more (rightfully) afraid of you than you are of it.

Check Out the book on her Amazon Page Now!

Thanks for reading SF Brian’s review of A.J. Bass’ new book Paige’s Story. Feel free to support our efforts to bring you only the best. Click on any of the items of interest to buy through Amazon. 

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