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Friday, 8 January 2016

VBT & #GIVEAWAY - A Beginner's Guide to Invading Earth by Gerhard Gehrke


Science Fiction



What would you do if you found a dead alien on a lonely highway?

Was it an accident, sabotage, or murder? And why is everyone blaming Jeff?

The extraterrestrials aren’t waiting for answers. They want revenge. And Jeff isn’t ready for company.

His only hope is an outcast mechanic from another world and a woman who might do anything to get off planet, including selling out her own kind. Jeff has to get to the bottom of why there are so many alien bodies piling up and who is really responsible.

A science fiction adventure novel, A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth tells the story of a reclusive ex-computer programmer who is the unwitting central figure of a plot to keep humanity from ever making first contact.

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Jeff fought to breathe as he spun about in Whistleʹ s tightening grasp. He saw the Grey standing calmly by, an odd smile on its tiny, noseless face. It was transfixed by the action and violence. As Whistleʹ s swathe through the ranks of the Clyptus grew, the Grey tittered.

“Hi,” Jordan said to the Grey.

It hadn’t seen her approach. It was too focused on the brawl. Jordan punched the short alien. The Greyʹ s head snapped back, and its big eyes fluttered. The Grey crumpled, its weapon flying out of its hand. Before it lost consciousness, it released the scent of rotten eggs.

“And here I thought you liked me,” Jordan said.

Meanwhile, Oliop jumped on Whistle and latched onto her head with arms and legs and tail, blinding her. She grabbed at him. When she did, the remaining Clyptus struck at her. They moved over their stomped, battered, and torn companions and stabbed away at the rocky creature. Their darts and stickers poked uselessly at her hardened exterior. Some shot her with their energy weapons, but the yellow beams did nothing. All the while, Jeff wrestled and clawed at Whistleʹ s thick arm, but he couldʹ t break free.

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Also available on iBooks

Gerhard Gehrke will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

Does a Science Fiction Story Need Aliens?
 By Gerhard Gehrke

I've never been specifically interested in aliens or alien worlds except that they have always functioned as regular tropes in science fiction so I enjoyed them well enough when they showed up. There are many great sci-fi novels without an alien in sight. Consider both Frank Herbert's Dune or Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. But adding alien life forms to a story allows the novel to take a direction that might not be possible under more mundane circumstances.

A Beginner's Guide to Invading Earth began in my work truck's notebook with the line “No one likes them very much.” That line was to be the conclusion reached by aliens intent on first contact who reached the USA and decided to try other parts of the planet after some unfortunate experiences. This developed into the aliens wanting nothing to do with the entire planet and them hanging a virtual “Do Not Disturb Occupants” sign on our doorknob. As I fleshed this out over a few months I decided a smaller story that focused on one man's experience as a scapegoat for an alien conspiracy to make first contact fail just felt better. By then I had a rough idea on where I wanted the project to go, and the aliens would have to be part of it.

Having an advanced alien culture trying to contact the worst possible human candidate became a story idea that would allow for both adventure and humor. Jeff Abel has become a paranoid technophobe partially because of the aliens' observing him as their chosen contactee.

One technological element that I wanted to explore with the aliens was how they even communicate with one another, as there are hundreds of races in my story that belong to a galactic commonwealth. An issue with their own translators becomes a plot element that I enjoyed developing as I've faced the frustration of trying to communicate with some of my own relatives when they visit from Germany.

I've forgotten most of my German even though it was my first language. I took my cousin and uncle to San Francisco for sightseeing and had to refer to a pocket dictionary to complete most sentences. So one science fiction trope I really wanted to address is how are the aliens in most stories able to drop down to Earth and be understood? Most writers insert a line or paragraph explaining it, often attributing the aliens with some kind of hand-wavy gift like telepathy. But how much more interesting if the translators are actual gadgets, as most devices malfunction or can be compromised. Let the shenanigans ensue!

So the more I thought through what I wanted to happen to my characters, I realized that aliens were needed. This opened up developing other issues that the characters would encounter. Just because something is translated it doesn't mean it's understood. And what about such vagaries as gestures and idioms? All these ideas developed into fertile grounds for storytelling that become fun to write. 

Gerhard Gehrke studied film at San Francisco State University. He wrote and produced several shows for community television. His Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories have appeared in several publications, including an Editor’s Choice-winning short story at A Beginner’s Guide to Invading Earth is his first novel.

You can connect with him at


  1. thank you for the chance to win :)

  2. If you had to describe yourself as an animal, which one would it be?

  3. Thanks Archaeolibrarian for having me today!

    An open question to your readers: What's the last book you've re-read? Read anything annually?

  4. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Sounds like a great book-can't wait to read it!
    The last book I re-read was The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. Her books are like comfort food to me and I usually re-read a few of them every year but not the same ones. I really like her characters, Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot. Jane is an elderly spinster living in a small village. She's led a very sheltered life so no one really pays much attention to her and discounts her opinions as to why the victim was killed and who the murderer is. That is, until she's proven right yet again. Hercule is a retired Belgian detective who is fastidious in dress and manner and prefers to rely on his "little grey cells" to running about searching for clues. He, of course, is always right, too!

    1. That sounds like a good one which I haven't read but should. My re-readable mysteries have been a couple of Robert Parker's, notably Early Autumn.

  6. A big thank you to Archaeolibrarian for having me today!

  7. This blurb seems to have the ring of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy! I loved those books!

  8. This book sounds great and I would love to read it. ty.