Happy Friday, my bookish peeps, and welcome to Fall 2022. I know that there are plenty of good books, often excellent books, released throughout the year, but there’s just something about the cooler weather that calls for a comfy blanket, hot drink, and a good book. If you’re interested in something a little different, then please help me welcome Ash Bishop, author of Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc. The title and cover alone are enough to pique my interest. Mr. Bishop will be discussing with us characters and the importance of inner conflict. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share. Thank you, Mr. Bishop, for taking the time to join us today, the blog is now all yours.
On Inner Conflict
by Ash Bishop
My debut novel, Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc is about a young man, Russ Wesley, who gets offered a job hunting dangerous aliens. A squad of ragtag misfits wants him to join their ranks. He’ll be a space exterminator tasked with removing displaced creatures that are doing harm to their new ecosystem. Remember the way Ridley Scott’s Alien laid its eggs in people’s stomachs and eventually the newborn critter had to burst its way out? That’s the kind of harmful cross-species behavior they want Russ to help them stop. It seems like an interesting, albeit dangerous, job. So why doesn’t Russ want to take it?
Russ is from Earth, and he doesn’t like responsibility very much. He struggled in school, probably due to a generous helping of undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. He doesn’t have much of a relationship with his father. Ironically, his mother was too busy working hard to reinforce any kind of work ethic. He begins the novel avoiding as much responsibility as he can. Instead of putting down roots anywhere, he drifts around the United States picking up temporary jobs and looking for ways to entertain himself. He uses disposable cell phones expressly so he can throw them away once too many people get his number.
There’s a sweet freedom to this lifestyle but there’s also a heavy cost. He’s avoiding all the complicated messiness of responsibility, but he’s also removing himself from the possibility of making deep connections, enriching other people’s lives, helping, mattering. Though it’s hard for Russ to articulate, he understands that up to this point, he’s been wasting his life.
When I was younger, I was really attracted to nomadic, lawless, emotionally distant characters. Puberty was complicated enough; I didn’t need my heroes to be navigating their own complex feelings. I was a big fan of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, with his acerbic wit and powerful indifference. Chandler never let anything get to him. He’d seen the worst of humanity and he knew that eventually, everyone would disappoint him. As such, he just muscled through the mess of mankind, searching for the elusive “truth.” I saw the same power in Batman. In the corniest of his comics, he palled around with Robin and Alfred, but the best stories were just Batman hunting for crime in the mean streets of Gotham, swinging from a bat-cable and being bat-ass. His aloof attitude and emotional distance made him virtually untouchable to the things that scared young Ash Bishop the most. I’m not talking about the Joker or Scarecrow. I’m talking about emotional connections, feelings.
Years later I’m now a father with two kids of my own who read Batman comics. A little while ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I picked up Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, thinking it would be fun to wade back into the fantasy of unobstructed freedom I’d so appreciated during my younger years. Reacher wanders around the United States, remaining loyal to his friends but only from a safe distance. He usually doesn’t come to their aid until they’re already dead. The books are clever and well written but I stopped reading midway through the second one. Despite his constant, violent altruism, Reacher’s emotional and physical distancing, didn’t appeal to me anymore.
So why does my main character begin the novel wandering the United States in a lifestyle so similar to Reacher’s? Because you don’t want to start your characters fully rounded. You want them to learn, and grow over the course of the story. You want them to have to fight against their own limiting impulses and become better people.
In the second chapter, Russ learns of his beloved Grandfather’s death. He drives from Louisiana to Wyoming to attend the funeral and his grandmother is very happy to see him. She’s been caring for her dying husband, alone, and she’s exhausted and her business is collapsing. Russ sweeps in, invigorated and ready to help her pick up the pieces. The other men in town admire Russ’s carefree lifestyle. They are shouldering so many burdens, paying their mortgage, running their own business, and doing their part to care for their complex families. As one tells Russ, “This is a gift, what you’re doing to help your grandma. But take my advice: avoid putting down roots as long as you can. Roots are just a fancy word for life-crushing responsibility. I didn’t have this gray hair until I had roots.”
Russ appreciates the compliment, but is it good advice? He’s sitting on an unsigned work contract of his own. One that will make him enough money to support his grandmother more permanently. Better yet, it will transport him to the farthest reaches of space and see him take incredible risks and make lasting friendships. If only he can muster the courage to walk away from the fantasy of Batman, Marlowe, and Reacher…
Pick up Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc after Sept 6th to enjoy the ride.
Intergalactic Exterminators Inc
by Ash Bishop
September 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour
Finding work is easy. Staying alive is a little bit harder.
Praise for Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc:
“This book is so much fun it ought to be illegal in all known galaxies. Ash Bishop has written a wildly imagined, deeply felt, swashbuckling page turner. I loved it.”
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by: Camcat Books
Publication Date: September 6th, 2022
Number of Pages: 416
ISBN10: 0744305616 (hardcover)
ISBN13: 9780744305616 (hardcover)
ASIN: B0B75QDF4D (Audible Audiobook)
ASIN: B09RJMDDPB (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | CamCat Books
Ash Bishop is a lifetime reader and a lifetime nerd, loving all things science fiction and fantasy. He has been a high school English teacher and worked in the video game industry, as well as in educational app development. He even used to fetch coffee for Quentin Tarantino during the production of the film Jackie Brown. Bishop currently produces script coverage for a major Hollywood studio, but he spends his best days at home in Southern California with his wonderful wife and two wonderful children. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. This is his debut novel.
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