Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Crying of Ross 128 by David Allan Hamilton (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

I have the pleasure of sharing an interview with author David Allan Hamilton...

Q: Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
DAH: No, I don’t think so. Everything weird I do alone, I also do with others. Knitting, reading, writing, watching Youtube...

Q:  What is your favorite quote and why?

DAH: My favorite quote is from the songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Hemingway said something similar so perhaps the two of them influenced each other, but what I like about this quote is that it suggests through our own imperfections we are made perfect.

Q:  Who is your favorite author and why?

DAH:  This is a difficult question to answer because I don’t have just one favorite. I have several. I really like Ernest Buckler for instance. He shows me the beauty of words and the importance of art in storytelling. I like Michael Ondaatje too, for his attention to historical detail and scene descriptions. I enjoy reading Clive Cussler for his plotting and adventure. And I also like Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and Ted Dekker. Lots to choose from!
Q:  What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

DAH:  Three things stand out for me as the most important elements of good writing. The first is: strong characters. I want to like or at least sympathize with a protagonist. I want my opposition to have redeeming qualities too, not just evil ones. And I want the other characters to have their own interesting traits.
The second is a strong plot. I think we all want to see a story with plotting that compels us to keep reading, with twists and turns and all kinds of other surprises. Without good plotting, there can be no tension and therefore, no story.
The third thing is pacing. This is a subtle element in a story but we all know what happens when the pacing is off even if we don’t recognize why. Whenever the story falls flat and gets boring, or if it races, or if it drags at all, then you know there’s a problem with pacing. There are ways, as a writer, to ensure the pacing is always perfect. And that’s through effective plotting and writing in sections.

Q:  Where did you get the idea for  this book?

DAH:  The idea for The Crying of Ross 128 came to me from a news article in March 2017. At that time, the scientists at the Mount Arecibo array in Puerto Rico detected a strange signal from space. At first, they tested it against any known signal or potential origins, but couldn’t find anything. So they believed they had indeed heard a signal from the dwarf star system Ross 128.
It turns out, they were wrong. The signal was from Earth. But that fired up my imagination and so my story premise for The Crying of Ross 128 was: Suppose a signal from Ross 128 was detected on Earth, and it turned out to be alien?


by David Allan Hamilton


GENRE: Science Fiction



America has splintered into various independent republics after a brutal civil war. Against this backdrop, space exploration is on the cusp of new technological breakthroughs. Jim Atteberry, a mid-30s English professor at City College in San Francisco, spends his free time listening for alien signals on the amateur radio astronomy bands. His life as a single parent to his precocious daughter is turned upside-down when he hears an intelligent cry for help from the Ross 128 system and realizes we are not alone. This signal unleashes a chain of events pitting Jim and his brilliant, mysterious colleague Kate against a power-hungry scientist with his own secret agenda. Jim must learn the truth about the signal, the strange disappearance of his wife Janet, and the meaning of true love before it’s too late in this first contact thriller.



"How long does it take a subspace signal to travel from Ross 128 to Earth?" he asked.

The machine responded verbally. “Twenty-two minutes, 13.4 seconds with current subspace technology.”

Atteberry recorded the time on his notepad, then looked at the screen. “Is there any history of alien signals coming from Ross 128?”

“Negative. Although in 2017, unknown signals from that system were received at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. They were later dismissed as Terran satellites.”

Ghost signals. That happened sometimes due to the multitude of satellites orbiting Earth back then, and now around the moon and Mars. Signals would bounce and echo off them all the time, like ripples in a pond bouncing off rocks and plants.

“Speculate as to the origin of this signal if it’s a ghost.”



“If the signal is a ghost, it is most likely an artifact of the Second American Civil War circa 2070. The Northern Democratic States and the Confederate States often used ghost signals as decoys to confuse enemy communications.”

So that’s it, Atteberry thought, he’s been chasing old civil war ghosts. Yet the question of subspace remained, and, as far as he knew, neither side in the civil war used the emerging FTL technology. It wasn’t sufficiently developed until after the new republics separated.

“What is the likelihood that these Ross 128 signals are satellite ghosts?”

“0.02 percent.”

“What’s the probability the true source is the Ross 128 system itself?”

“74.8 percent.”

Atteberry leaned forward on his workbench and realized the results were inconclusive. “What’s the probability that these signals are naturally occurring... a pulsar or a quasar for example?”

“Zero percent. The signals are artificially produced with slight variations in pattern frequency, suggesting unknown transmission methodology.”


“Improbable. There are no known humans in the Ross 128 space.”

Atteberry feared asking the next question; he swallowed hard. “Alien?”

“99.8 percent probable.”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

David Allan Hamilton is a teacher, writer, and multipotentialite. He is a graduate of Laurentian University (BSc. Applied Physics) and The University of Western Ontario (MSc. Geophysics). He lives in Ottawa where he facilitates writing workshops and teaches. When not writing, David enjoys riding his bike long distances, painting, and knitting.

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  1. Good Morning! Thank you for the book description and the opportunity to learn about another great book. My family enjoys hearing about books they will enjoy and I enjoy surprising them with the books they love. I appreciate the giveaway as well.

  2. Thanks for hosting! Ever wonder how the US might enter into a second civil war? It's all here, and that's just the backdrop to hearing a cry for help from deep space...

  3. Great post and thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

  4. What book would you like to see a sequel to? Congrats on the release. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

    1. I'd love to read a sequel to Ray Bradbury's short story "All Summer in a Day." I suspect there's a reason he never wrote one... the first was complete.