Press Release- The Island
A South Auckland author who mixes sci-fi with satire has released his fifth book, tackling the topics of the day including corporate culture, immigration, environmental concerns and the election of Donald Trump.
Keith Fenwick of Totara Park, Manurewa, said his books – following the exploits of a Northland farmer named Bruce who is abducted by aliens - are “a bit like The Hitchhiker’s Guide meets Guardians of The Galaxy.” In the latest book in the Skidian series, The Island, Fenwick said Bruce has grown from being “a bit of a hoon with a lot of rough edges, to someone having a moral centre, and who had become a somewhat unwilling global, benevolent dictator.”
“In the first book he starts as a Barry Crump-ish character who is trying to work out what the aliens want of him after his abduction.”
Fenwick said his writing ties in with a vein of Kiwi humour first tapped into by Barry Crump. In the same way Crump wrote about larrikins he knew in his real life, Fenwick’s followers eagerly await each new instalment to see if he has lampooned some of them.
“The readers I am in contact with – particularly those in my workplace – are looking to see what’s going to happen, to see if I have included them as a character or a caricature – and yes, sometimes I do,” Keith said. “In the latest book there is an evangelist crusader. He is the sort of person who promotes a certain set of values which he does not personally conform to. I’m waiting to see the reaction of the real-life person this character is based on.”
Fenwick has grown a steady audience since releasing the first Skidian Chronicle in 2012, and delivers his material mainly through Amazon, LinkedIn, as well as his Scifibookshop.co.nz website.
Working for a large organisation in Auckland, Fenwick said corporate business machinations are a frequent source of inspiration, as well as sales - often to his colleagues.
Fenwick, like many authors, wrote his first novel then placed it in a drawer for years, unsure what to do with it.
“I wrote the first two novels in my early 20s. I’m 57 now. Early on I had a good crack at trying to get them published but got discouraged when I wasn’t successful. I tucked them away in a drawer, pulling them out from time to time to have another crack. A few years ago, I was introduced to a Kindle by my wife, who would get me back on the road to writing. I was reading some of the cheaper sci-fi books on Amazon and I thought ‘Some of the books I’ve got stashed away are as good as this.’”
“I tidied the original books up, updated them, got them copy-edited and decent covers and the rest is history. I thought if I don’t give this a go now, I’ll never get anywhere and I didn’t want to die wondering.”
Previous Skidian Chronicles instalments were published in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. The Colonists, published in 2018 had an official launch at the Writers Read bookshop in Lower Hutt.
Skid – The First Chronicle – was partly inspired by the culture shock he observed when working as a Methodist Church volunteer in the 1980s in Western Samoa.
Fenwick said his books use science fiction as a storytelling device to get people to look at the world. “For example, looking at what happens if you don’t take care of the environment and address global warming. Also, my books examine frustrations which may come up with working in corporation, and subjects like asking how Donald Trump, someone so clearly unsuitable for public office could become president of the USA?’
“I try to pick holes and take the piss out of things… I use sci-fi as a vehicle so I don’t have to be specific about what I was taking the piss out of originally.”
“Some of the humour is quite spontaneous. A big part of it is therapeutic. I’ve got a story I want to tell and I’m letting the pen guide me. I’m also taking things happening in the world around me from work life, personal and planet and adding those things in. I find things that are absurd and poke fun at them.”
Find out more at www.Scifibookshop.co.nz
Blurb for The Island.
With the assistance of a group of aliens known as the Multiplicity Bruce Harwood has become the benevolent emperor of all the world’s man has expanded to.
The aliens are from the planet Skid who left their physical bodies behind and transcended to a futuristic version of the cloud several thousand years ago. The Transcendents who still have an interest in their home planet have developed into a hive mind and call themselves the Multiplicity.
As a payoff for Harwood helping them out of a tight spot, the Multiplicity has supported Harwood’s quest to establish a new world order on planet Earth. An enormous cultural shift is underway. However, it will take some time to embed a fairer and more decent socio-economic model into the global human psyche, where the need to work for a living is a thing of the past.
Harwood is a notorious micromanager so to prevent him from sticking his nose in where it isn’t wanted and derailing the process, Harwood is encouraged to take some time out. He and his family, accompanied by a few friends depart on a sabbatical, leaving the B team in charge.
After the success of the previous books in the Skidian Chronicles series, Keith Fenwick returns with an even more entertaining and offbeat tale in his quest to address some of the key challenges facing mankind and explore a hopeful vision of the future.