Starship captain Terry Steward is committed to spreading acceptance of psi powers and other advanced mind capabilities throughout the worlds of humankind. A strange turn of fate has enabled him to overcome terrorists who would have put an end to the colony world Maclairn’s plan to achieve this goal. Now with his own ship Estel, he journeys from world to world, heralding the hopeful future about which he alone knows the full truth. But the opponents of mind power still pose a threat and on Earth the persecution of people who develop new abilities is increasing. Soon targeted by bounty hunters, Terry risks everything that matters to him in a desperate attempt to defeat Maclairn’s enemies, not guessing that if he lives long enough, he is destined for an even greater role in human history than he has played as a defender of its cause.
Targeted Age Group:: 17 and up
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This is a sequel to Defender of the Flame, although each of the two books can stand alone. I had not intended to write it when I published the preceding book, but as I thought more and more about what would happen to the main character later in his life, and how he might fill the potential role implied by its conclusion, I realized that I had set the stage for him to have an even more significant destiny than I had first imagined. And this gave me an opportunity to elaborate more on ideas expressed in my earlier books about the place of humankind in the universe.
How is writing SciFi different from other genres?
My science fiction isn’t typical of the genre and though I use many of its conventions — space colonies, faster-than-light starships, etc. — I intentionally direct it to a wider audience than sci-fi fans, which means that the characters and civilization portrayed are closer to today’s reality than fits the taste of most readers with extensive SF background. There is nothing weird in it. I focus on the thoughts and feelings of the characters and on what I believe about humankind’s future. So I don’t believe that writing it is different from writing other fiction except in the sense that the setting is imaginary and some of the details are metaphorical rather than literal portrayals of likely developments.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I imagined a main character who, though entirely different from myself, has a similar outlook toward life and reacts inwardly as I would toward the civilization in which he lives and the events occurring there. In terms of lifestyle and events we’re in no way alike — he is an active starship captain while I am an elderly lady who has always lived a quiet life! But I identify with his thoughts and feelings, and with those of the people he is close to; I couldn’t write from his viewpoint if that were not true.
About the Author:
Sylvia Engdahl is the author of ten science fiction novels, six of which are Young Adult novels that are also enjoyed by adults. The one for which she is best known, Enchantress from the Stars, was a Newbery Honor book, winner of the 1990 Phoenix Award of the Children’s Literature Association, and a finalist for the 2002 Book Sense Book of the Year in the Rediscovery category. Her four latest novels, the Hidden Flame series and the Rising Flame series, are for adults. Recently, she has published an updated and expanded edition of her nonfiction book “The Planet-Girded Suns,” now subtitled “The History of Human Thought About Extrasolar Worlds.” She is a strong advocate of space colonization and in addition to a widely-read space section of her website she created the site www.spacequotes.com, which contains quotations about why humankind must expand into space. From her home in Eugene, Oregon she now works as a freelance editor of nonfiction anthologies for high schools.
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