We continue “The Impact Series” Trilogy with volume 2, “The Collision”
We recently attended a book fair where we met the author, C.K. Westbrook, and were intrigued by “The Impact Series,” a science fiction trilogy: The Shooting, The Collision, and The Judgment. In each volume the story, told a day at a time, is that of Kate Stellute, who works for the United States Space Force in the near future and while out for a run is abducted by an alien. She becomes its media connection to the people of earth, who are warned they must change their ways or be obliterated.
As the author writes:
As the world continues to reel from the shooting, Kate must race to save humanity from more horrific violence.
After escaping an angry, dangerous mob, Kate Stellute and her neighbor Sinclair Jones set out on a journey to stop Rex––and his kind—from unleashing more pain on the remaining population. The sinister otherworldly being has already made hundreds of millions of people turn their guns on themselves and amidst the suffering and death, no one can predict what he will do next.
Kate knows she and Sinclair are up against an impossible deadline to stop Rex’s mission before it’s too late. Relying on the biophysicist’s late wife’s mysterious research to determine what caused the alien’s wrath, Kate and Sinclair join forces with NASA, a rogue Space Force agent, and two billionaire space bros. Together they’ll attempt to implement an improbable and risky plan. The unlikely team may just be the planet’s last chance to save life as they know it.
Last Tuesday we published an excerpt from the first volume, The Shooting. This week we continue with the second volume, The Collision. Please let us know how you like C.K.’s story by sharing your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Book 2: The Collision
Forty-eight Days After the Shooting
Earlier that day
Kate’s head bobbed back and forth until she finally gave in to sleep. She usually loved sleeping in cars, but dreams of nuclear bombs and mushroom clouds snapped her awake. She saw flashes of movies about dystopian life after a nuclear war. Sighing loudly, she opened her eyes.
“Are we there yet?” she asked Sinclair in a whiny, childish voice, trying to lighten the mood after all they’d gone through during the last 24 hours. Her tactic didn’t work though; her eyes scanned the horizon for an explosion or unnatural cloud.
It would be just my luck that this day would be capped off with a nuclear holocaust.
“We’ll be there soon,” Sinclair said without taking his eyes off the road.
Kate hoped his instincts were right; she was putting all her faith in him.
“I’ve been thinking: what items did you bring?” he asked.
She didn’t exactly have time to pack when she ran away from that terrifying and violent mob this morning, jumping into Sinclair’s car for safety and fleeing Washington D.C.
“Just my phone and this mask,” Kate responded, waving her green “Vegan for Life” mask. It was dirty and crumpled from being smashed in the pocket of her shorts. “Wish I’d grabbed a clean one. Shoot, I don’t even have my ID.”
How long will we be gone?
“That’s okay. I’m driving. We need to stop and get supplies. I don’t want people to recognize you,” Sinclair said, turning the car into a strip mall with both a pharmacy and grocery store.
Kate couldn’t shake the nuclear dream; hopefully, it wasn’t an omen of things to come. “Do you know if there are nuclear bombs everywhere or just out West? Are they all in
underground bunkers, or are some on military bases throughout the country?”
“Not sure about military bases. I bet there are some on the ships near Norfolk not far from here. Why?” Sinclair asked, sounding concerned.
“No real reason; I just had a nightmare,” Kate replied, looking over her shoulder through the back window.
Because of the pandemic and the July 14th shootings, the parking lot, which normally would have been busy on a Monday afternoon, was barely a quarter full. The mass shooting that led everyone in possession of a gun to turn it on themselves was like a deranged rapture of gun owners. Around the same time, on the same day, more than seventy million Americans killed themselves; worldwide, it was hundreds of millions. Amid the fear and panic, most people were staying home.
Sinclair parked near the entrance of the Target and picked up Yvette’s phone. It was apparent to Kate that he still missed Yvette; she died a short while ago, but the days were flying by since then. Since Yvette’s suicide during the mass shooting, Sinclair had been reaching out to her contacts. He scrolled for a number and dialed. The phone was on speaker, and Sinclair looked at Kate, putting a finger to his mouth indicating her silence.
“Hello?” a woman answered, sounding suspicious.
“Hi, is this Dr. Claudia Chen?” Sinclair asked.
“Yes. Sinclair Jones?” the woman asked, sounding relieved.
“Hi, Claudia. Yes, it’s me. How are you? I have been meaning to reach out. So sorry for your loss, losses,” Sinclair said.
“And the same to you,” the woman responded with a sigh. “It’s been a terrible year. Unfathomable. How do we go on? So much loss. I wish I could talk to Yvette about it. Oh, how I miss her.”
Kate still couldn’t believe that Yvette had been a gun owner, that she was gone.
“Same here. Every day. I know you two were very close,” Sinclair said.
They were both quiet for a moment.
“Claudia, are you still working at Wallops?” Sinclair asked.
“Yes. I’m here now. I come in a few days a week. I prefer it to working from home. The house is too empty; this place is pretty empty, too. Most staff work from home because of the virus and the shooting. Guess I am adhering to Yvette’s life motto: ‘Best way to be happy is to throw yourself into your work and forget about everything else.’ Right, Sinclair? What was it she used to say? It was something like that. I would always laugh because it seemed kind of extreme, but Yvette was an intense woman. I loved that about her, so much passion for her work.”
Sinclair flinched before responding, “Yvette loved her work. She often said it was her true love.”
So, Yvette was a workaholic? No wonder they were struggling with their marriage before the shooting.
“Listen, Claudia, I’m in your neck of the woods right now. I was hoping I could stop by to talk,” he said, raising an eyebrow at Kate.
“Oh, okay. Why don’t you come here to Wallops?” Claudia replied.
“I was hoping to meet at your house or someplace outside. Is there a park nearby? It’s a beautiful day and outdoors may be safer with the virus,” he responded.
“Sure. Of course. There is a little park next to a dog park about a mile from my house. I’ll text you the name so you can find it. I need to wrap up a few things here, but I’ll meet you there in an hour, okay?” Claudia asked.
“Perfect. Thank you. See you soon,” Sinclair said before hanging up. He turned quickly to Kate. “Okay, now we get you a disguise. You need to hear what Claudia says, but she must not recognize you as the person of interest in the shooting now that those assholes at Space Force are trying to make you the scapegoat. I’m sure Claudia watches the news and has seen your picture.” Sinclair got out of the car and handed Kate some cash.
The store was empty as Kate shopped; not a single person was in the store except for the cashier. It reminded Kate of the dystopian dreams she was having earlier. She wanted to finish fast and get out of this ominous, sad place.
Fifteen minutes later, they met back at the car. Kate had bought a few cheerful masks with flowers and rainbows. She also bought cheap, cute sunglasses and a reusable water bottle. She considered the hats, but they all looked too new. She didn’t want to seem obvious in trying to disguise herself.
“You look the exact same, Kate,” Sinclair said with a laugh. He bought hand sanitizer, fruit, chips, water, and a few bottles of iced tea. He rummaged in his trunk and pulled out a beat-up Nationals baseball cap.
Kate readjusted the hat size and pulled her hair back through the hole, making her long, wavy brown hair less obvious. She checked out her reflection in the car window. She looked like a teenager. She never looked her age of twenty-seven anyway; she was carded all the time, and people often asked what school she attended. The mask covered her distinctive full lips, and until the past year, big smile.
“I think this is good, Sinclair. We can’t see my characteristics, and it doesn’t look like I’m trying to hide.”
“You look young, so I’ll introduce you as Katie, Yvette’s special intern. Meaning, like Yvette, you worked for both corporate and NASA. Claudia knows about Yvette’s side gigs. If she thinks we all know, she’ll be more forthcoming. I hope so anyway, or this could be a useless trip,” Sinclair said.
Kate jumped at a loud screech and explosion just 100 feet behind them. She covered her ears and instinctively squatted down. A person across the parking lot screamed.
“Jesus Christ! What the hell?” Sinclair spun around toward the noise. “Never mind. It was only a car accident, Kate. Yep, just two cars. Just a normal fender bender,” Sinclair said, searching up and down the street, turning around to be sure his words were true. He reached down and helped Kate stand. “See, just two cars. No violence, well except to those cars,” he said in a soothing voice that had the opposite effect on her nerves. Kate felt even more jittery and on edge. “Even in a pandemic, people drive like morons.”
When they arrived at the park, they scouted a picnic table close to a big oak tree. The tree provided shade, but the occasional breeze allowed the sun to shine through the branches. Keeping their sunglasses on would seem natural, and the table was small enough that masks were needed.
“What time is it?” Kate asked Sinclair. “It’s strange to think the day started with someone shattering my front window.”
“Not even 2:30. It’s been a long day,” Sinclair said, getting out the iced teas and snacks. “Here she comes.” He looked over Kate’s shoulder to the parking area. He stood up and waved so Claudia would see them.
“Sinclair! So good to see you! I want to give you a tight hug, but I don’t dare. There has been too much COVID in my life already,” Claudia said as she sat down.
“It’s great seeing you, Claudia. Thanks for cutting out of work and meeting us. I want to introduce Katie to you. She was a very special intern, really an assistant of Yvette’s. She worked with Yvette on several of her projects.”
“Oh, I see. Nice to meet you, Katie, and sorry for your loss as well. If you worked with Yvette, you knew how passionate and intense she was about her projects. It was so unfortunate that she was home with her gun, considering how much she traveled for work. Back and forth to Texas, California, and Florida, all the time. I wish she hadn’t been in D.C. on July 14. Of course, I am sure you both feel the same, especially you Sinclair,” Claudia said, reaching for his hand across the table. “Oh, sorry. Maternal instinct, touching people.”
“I wish she had gotten rid of that revolver. She hadn’t taken it out of the box in years.” Sinclair’s voice sounded thick, like he was holding back tears. Claudia squeezed both his hands, succumbing to her instincts to comfort.
“We all miss her so much,” Claudia said with a sigh. “So, what are you doing here? I could see a road trip remembrance to celebrate Yvette’s life if we weren’t living in such deadly times. Since Katie is with you, I assume this is about work.”
“Do you want an iced tea or snack?” Sinclair said, handing her a bottle and opening the chips. He also put hand sanitizer on the table. “Yes. We are here to ask about Yvette’s work, specifically, her research about that big explosion last year.”
Kate remembered sitting in Rock Creek Park after being questioned by Space Force when Sinclair told her about the big collision and Yvette’s strange behavior. That was when she realized Sinclair genuinely believed her about Rex and was willing to help her. Here he was now, still helping her, trying to figure out if that explosion had anything to do with Rex.
Sinclair continued, “The one that was all over the news? Yvette was obsessed with it. I was only somewhat concerned because I knew you all at NASA and Yvette would find out what caused it. The A-team was involved and would solve the mystery. I also knew Yvette and NASA would let me know if anything pertinent to my research was discovered, but it just seemed to disappear from the media. Yvette was still working and traveling even as the pandemic shut everything down. I assumed she was researching the collision. After she died, and I was stuck in the house with my memories, I started digging through her work. Yvette had copious notes from the impact and research. She did a lot of process of elimination and seemed to have determined what was not involved.”
Sinclair paused and Claudia jumped in. “The first few days everyone was trying to determine if their equipment was damaged. As an astrophysicist, I was intrigued, but Yvette was consumed with calculating damage. Yvette was working overtime, checking on NASA satellites and interests, as well as corporate concerns. Everyone was freaking out because the collision was enormous. Once it was determined that nothing of ours was destroyed in the immediate explosion, we were all monitoring the trajectory of the debris. Would it set off a chain reaction of collisions? Some of Yvette’s clients were upset. They couldn’t afford to lose their satellites, either because a big sports event was coming up or they needed information; some might say spying. NASA was concerned about its satellites and the International Space Station. The Department of Defense and Space Force was in a panic. It was all hands on deck for weeks. Stressful and interesting times. A preamble to these days,” Claudia paused and took a long sip of tea.
Kate could see all of Claudia’s face when she lowered her mask to drink and decided she would not drink or eat anything.
“Anyway, it was crazy. And then it all went quiet. I just assumed everyone was taking a long breath of relief. No real damage, financially or politically. No deadly chain reaction. Everyone, government agencies, politicians, and corporate space, was relieved. If you think about it, it could have been a colossal problem. Ricocheted materials could have been devastating. NASA and the world dodged a bullet. Yvette continued her research tracking the debris using our equipment and equipment in Texas, Florida, and Hawaii. She was communicating with international interests. She was determined to find out exactly what happened. I didn’t know who she was working for at that point, but she was obsessed. She would come here, use my office, sleep in my spare room, and we barely spoke. She seemed motivated as she always was, so I didn’t think much of it. While it may have been a little extreme, I remembered that the pandemic was affecting everyone in different ways. I figured we would have margaritas when she cracked it. Is what she found on her computer?” Claudia asked.
“I looked as best I can. Some information is encrypted, you know, depending on who she was billing. I can see the research but not the raw data and conclusion. I will keep trying. Will you dig around here? See if she left anything that could be helpful?” Sinclair asked.
“I’m happy to help. Breaking rules doesn’t matter anymore. We are in Armageddon now, and I am a scientist saying that!” Claudia said, laughing in a slightly hysterical way. “I lost my dad to COVID in April. I lost both my sons and my ex in the shooting. What can NASA do to me? Fire me? For going through Yvette’s files? Maybe I should sell them to one of her clients?” Claudia said, nodding at Kate.
Oh, she must think I am representing Yvette’s corporate clients. That’s good.
Under the mask and behind her new sunglasses, she let tears roll down her face.
How could Claudia sustain so much pain?
Kate sobbed as both Claudia and Sinclair looked at her.
“Sorry, but I did not know. I am so sorry for all your loss. My heart is breaking for you,” Kate said as another little sob escaped.
Claudia shrugged. “What can I do? I moved here after my dissertation. Married a local boy. Bill hunted his whole life and had lots of guns. My boys grew up hunting and shooting. I appreciated that they were self-sufficient. They were strong, rugged men and could feed themselves if necessary. My youngest left college and moved back home when the campus shut down due to the virus. I thought he would be safe here.” Claudia broke down and just wailed.
Sinclair took both her hands and attempted to console her. “I am so, so sorry, Claudia. They loved you so much. It’s so much loss.”
Kate wanted to hug her; she balled her hands into fists to stop herself. The tears continued to stream down her face behind her glasses and mask.
“My eldest was in Richmond in his recently purchased townhouse. He was an engineer for the city. Starting his life. He had a great boyfriend. We all thought he was the one. Maybe a wedding soon. I thought he was safe as well. Safe at his home during a pandemic. Both my boys safe in their homes with their guns,” Claudia continued between sobs.
Kate moved closer to Claudia and was rubbing her back. It wasn’t as good as a hug, but Kate knew she needed kindness and human contact.
Claudia sighed and took a deep breath. “At first, I blamed Bill. He gave them the guns. Made my boys love guns. I’m from Hong Kong. Moved to Los Angeles as a child. My parents were professors. I never even held a gun until I started to date Bill. I thought when in Rome, or southern Virginia, do as the rednecks do. I adopted my community ways. Though I never bought a gun; I never had the desire. I figured that was something for the boys to do together.” Claudia paused and took a sip of tea, composing herself. “I don’t blame Bill anymore. I blame that fucking bitch who works for Space Force and knows what caused this mass murder,” Claudia said, pure venom in her voice.
They rode in silence. Kate’s hands were trembling. She was still wearing her mask and sunglasses, feeling safer in her disguise.
After some time passed, Sinclair spoke. “I think Claudia is just being reactive. She is an intelligent and loving person and will realize you had nothing to do with the mass shooting, Kate.”
Kate just stared out the window for several minutes.
What was I supposed to do? Explain to Claudia that I didn’t cause the shooting? That it was actually caused by a pissed-off extraterrestrial who asked me to carry a message to our leaders in order to prevent more violence? That just being a messenger is the extent of my involvement? Yeah, right!
“More than anything, I hate being called a liar. I hate that anyone would think I was involved with bringing so much pain into the world. I hate that Space Force put my picture out into the media and blamed me for this tragedy. They are the liars! NASA, Space Force, DOD, corporations. They caused the pollution, the dangerous, deadly garbage, not me. I am being blamed. Rex caused the mass shooting, the mass suicide. All those millions of people shot themselves with their own guns. We all know the stats now; almost 40,000 Americans die by guns every year, more than 100 a day, with the majority being suicide. But I am responsible for the mass suicide? Me? A person that loathes guns and violence! Live by the gun, die by the gun. And let’s be more specific, live by YOUR gun, die by YOUR gun!” Kate said, almost shouting.
Kate paused and took a few long breaths, holding them for five seconds and releasing them slowly. She was not finished ranting. “And if an intelligent, well-educated, and loving person is willing to think the worst of me from some bullshit on TV with no facts or evidence of any kind, what will the moronic, uneducated haters think of me? They’ll definitely blame me. How about taking some personal responsibility? I had to sit there and take her accusations and say nothing. Just like in Colorado. Well, I am going to be damn sure the truth is out there to counter the lies.” Kate couldn’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu. Just like no one believed her when she tried to inform them of a potential school shooting, the government was refusing to believe her warnings about Rex and the pollution.
Tears of frustration began to pour as she pulled out her phone. Sinclair kept glancing at her, but he did not say a word. He listened as he drove until he realized she was making a call.
“Kate, before you make that call, may I make a suggestion?” Sinclair asked. “You are rightly upset, and I’m infuriated for you. But I don’t think we should head back to D.C. yet. You’ll be followed and hounded by the press. Sure, the police might provide some protection, but I fear some cops might feel like Claudia does. The police officers, just like all people, can be blinded by fear and rage and behave irrationally. Remember, they lost so many on July 14. Even without guns, they can hurt and kill people. I say this to you as you ride along a highway in the south in a vehicle driven by a Black man,” Sinclair added to emphasize his point.
Kate squeezed his arm, acknowledging that she understood him; being judged unfairly and set up to look terrible by the media was not a new thing to Black men.
“People are being irrational because they are afraid and in pain. We need to stick to our plan. We need to find out what caused that collision, the huge explosion in space last year, and why. We need to find out if it was Rex. Once we understand the explosion, I think we will better understand Rex and may be able to slow him down. Hopefully, prevent more violence and save lives,” Sinclair said.
Kate nodded. She still had tears streaming down her face. Anger made her cry, and she was still angry.
“Fine. We won’t go back,” Kate said.
She thought of her boyfriend, Kyle. Sweet, supportive, handsome Kyle, who had no clue what was going on. He risked his life this morning, leading the angry mob away so Kate could safely escape with Sinclair.
“What do you suggest we do?”
“We drive to Texas. Talk to more of Yvette’s colleagues and associates. Gather information. Maybe go to California. I have Yvette’s computers with me. Get the last encryption cracked and figure out what happened. We can’t waste time because we don’t know what Rex will do next. What do you think?” Sinclair asked, looking at Kate and not the road.
“Okay. That sounds good. At least we are taking action instead of sitting around hoping someone else will fix the problem. I hate feeling like a useless victim of Space Force and NASA and Rex. Let’s go to Texas,” Kate said, “but I need to do something now in case we die in a car accident or Rex follows through on his threat.”
Kate punched a contact number on her phone. “Hi, Mom! How are you?” she said when Jackie answered.
“Okay. I’m okay, but what is happening to you, Kate? I see you on the news as a person of interest in the mass suicide. I’m so worried about you. What is going on?” Jackie asked.
She was speaking very loudly. Kate hadn’t heard her mom so upset since Colorado.
“Where are you?” Kate asked, not answering her mom’s questions. “Are you still looking after those kids, Leia, Jake, and Katniss? I really love those ridiculous names,” Kate added, still in awe that her mom was helping orphans from July 14th.
Sinclair gave her a quizzical look.
“Actually, I borrowed a friend’s minivan; we are loading it up and soon heading to Tennessee to take the kids to their great-aunt’s house. It took a while to locate relatives who are in a position to take the kids. Big gun-loving family. It’s so incredibly sad. I booked an alleged COVID-safe Airbnb along the way to break up the drive so the kids don’t go nuts. I plan to stay in Knoxville for a few days to make sure everything is okay. I have grown very protective of these little orphans. In fact, why don’t you come and meet me? Get out of D.C.; come on a road trip with me. What do you think?” Kate’s mom asked. “I am very worried about you, baby.”
Under any other circumstances, Kate would love to take a leisurely road trip with her mom.
“I’m so glad you’re leaving Florida for a few days. I was going to suggest it, in case the media tracked you down. Best news I have heard in days!” Kate said, relieved. “And it’s not just the media being obnoxious. There are people who believe I had something to do with the shooting, and they are angry. Irrational, angry people are very scary. I am really happy you are heading out of town. When do you leave?”
“As soon as I get the kids in the car. We are packed up and snacked up and almost ready to roll. The kiddos are right here. Say hi to Kate. She needs some good energy,” Kate’s mom said loudly so the kids could hear.
“Hi Kate!” their childish voices shouted and squealed.
“Thanks, Mom, I did need that. Hello and hugs to them! Listen, I am going to make a recording of what’s been happening and send it to you. Don’t listen until they’re asleep because it’s a weird and upsetting story. I need you to save the recording. I just need someone I trust and love to know the whole story. The whole truth. Okay? Like before,” Kate gulped. “You were the only one who believed me in Colorado. Drive safely. Slow and steady, Mom. I will call you tomorrow,” Kate said, trying to end the call. She did not want to delay her mom’s departure.
“Hold on. Are you in danger? Like of being arrested? Tell me the story now, Kate. This seems so similar to Colorado. Almost as bad as Colorado! How is that? Tell me what’s going on,” Kate’s mom implored.
Damn. Now I’ve scared her. Not my intent.
“I’m totally fine. I promise. It’s too long to get into now. Yes, it’s eerily similar to Colorado in a way, but not exactly bad.” More like terrifying, horrific, and deadly. “I’m on a road trip with a friend,” Kate said, wincing as she tried not to lie.
“Kyle?” Jackie asked.
“No, Kyle’s holding down the fort,” Kate said, feeling a twinge of guilt. “I’ll call you tomorrow, Mom. Maybe we can get our paths to cross. I love you and I will talk to you tomorrow,” Kate said, ending the call and wiping away tears.
“You are right, Sinclair. The world is full of assholes, but it’s also full of innocents who don’t deserve any of this. We must do all we can, and as quickly as we can, to prevent more violence,” Kate said as she looked out the window, eyes warily scanning the landscape.
“What happened in Colorado?” Sinclair asked.
“Colorado was a long time ago, and it’s not relevant,” Kate replied.
Kate looked out across the four-lane, mostly empty highway. Green pastures, some with cows, flew by. They passed an occasional billboard with smiling unmasked faces, reminding her of the world before the pandemic and the shooting.
“I’m curious, and if you don’t mind sharing, I would like to know,” Sinclair said.
Kate took an audible deep breath before replying, “Okay, Colorado. I was born in Colorado and lived in the burbs outside of Denver. One day when I was in middle school, in seventh grade, I was walking…”
To be continued
Be sure to check out our interview with the author just below her photo and bio.
Next Tuesday: Book Three, The Judgment
CK Westbrook is an environmentalist who lives and works in Washington D.C. and a self-described old-school news junkie. CK has worked with the U.S. Congress and many Administrations to try to protect our water, air, and wildlife from pollution, abuse, and exploitation. Since the state of our planet and the news is bleak and depressing, CK escapes reality by creating intriguing characters in a science fiction world. The world these characters live in may be dark and scary, but they have fantastic adventures which impact their planet. In addition to creating imaginative stories, CK breaks free from daily life with an intense passion for travel and has been to all seven continents. CK loves weaving real-world topics and crises into suspenseful sci-fi and fantasy. To learn more about CK Westbrook, please go to www.ckwestbrook.com and 4 Horsemen Publications, on Twitter @WestbrookCK, and as CK Westbrook Author on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Featured image of space junk courtesy MIT.
An Interview with C.K. Westbrook
FC: When did you first get the idea to write this novel, and why?
C.K.: The pandemic created a lot of free time which allowed me to think, be creative, and write. We went into COVID lockdown in March 2020 and everything was dark and scary. There had been more than 400 mass shootings in the USA in 2019. I had been active in the gun violence movement and often heard the argument that “we can’t do anything about gun violence because we will never get rid of the guns.” So, I sat in my house at my computer combining all these thoughts and feelings and thinking about illness, fear, death, violence, and what we think makes us safe. I let my imagination take over and a few weeks later, the first draft of The Shooting was written.
FC: Why did you decide to write it as a trilogy?
C.K.: The stories are intense and suspenseful and seemed like a natural fit to be a trilogy with dramatic cliffhangers. I don’t want to give anything away, but I saw the full timeline in my head as I wrote The Shooting.
FC: What’s the most interesting or surprising thing you learned while research and writing it?
C.K.: I knew how terrible gun violence is in the United States, and I knew about the problem of space debris. But my research showed me the enormity and how extremely dangerous both problems are and how little our government is doing about them. Like the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction crisis, the government at all levels is not doing nearly enough to address these deadly problems.
FC: In what way is the book you wrote different from the book you set out to write?
C.K.: I knew the book would be about pollution and guns, but the feminist themes kind of snuck in. I was not really surprised, because I am a feminist, but it’s there in so many ways.
FC: Who are two creative people, one a writer and another not a writer, who have influenced you and your work?
C.K.: I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins because she writes about violence without glorifying it. I have enormous respect for Jane Fonda. She has written books, but not fiction. Her brave creativity and brilliance are in her acting, producing great films and projects, and activism. I was arrested with her at a climate change protest and we spent hours in jail in a group of women talking about life, history, war, the environment, people, trauma, fitness, health, and the things we do for what we love.
FC: Persuade someone to read your book in fifty words or less.
C.K.: Science fiction usually has a catastrophic event that changes everything. The event in my book is that almost every gun owner, worldwide, turns their weapon on themselves at the same time. How? Why? Will there be more global violence? An unexpected hero must rise up to save the world.
And remember, next Tuesday is The Judgment, Book Three of “The Impact Series”