Reagent Universe, Book 1
Publisher: Fresh Publishing
Date of Publication: 03 June 2013
Number of pages: 376 p
Word Count: 133,750 words
Cover Artist: Jen Detchon
When an old and dangerous scientific project is revived by scientist Anleanlute, cybernetic humans and elves have to join forces to stop him from destroying two universes. They have to put age-old differences between their species behind them, and work together to stop the scientist.
They track him to the remote Undervalley. But Anleanlute is waiting for them and so are his allies – orcs, dinosaurs that should be long-extinct, and various monsters. But as the task force fight through hostile terrains to reach the scientist, they also bring the key to the whole situation.
Mahavir is a young human who was ripped away from his own universe when Anleanlute first opened his portal. He is unique because, unlike the cybernetic humans of his adopted universe, Mahavir is a fully organic human. Now, his very existence is the key that will allow the scientist to reach his ultimate goal. Mahavir’s death could prevent the destruction of two universes. But he has no intention of sacrificing himself.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Who gave you that advice?
Life is too complicated for any one piece of advice to be the best piece of advice. I can throw out some quotes that mean the most to me though:
“Become what you are.” -Nietzsche
“The struggle to free myself from restraints becomes my very shackles.” -Meshuggah
“When you are in pain, that is when you focus sharp as the point of a knife.” Number Six in Battlestar Galactica.
“Got to have problem solving skills.” -my high school track coach
How did you become interested or get started in your craft? Did/Do you have a mentor, special teacher, or any other important influences on your work?
I’ve had a strong interest in reading and writing since I learned how to do those things. Great Illustrated Classics, a series of classic novels adapted for children, formed the basis of my imagination. And playing with Legos. Before I could write well, I had the power to create my own worlds with Legos.
Specifically for fantasy and science fiction, I did not get heavily involved until high school. Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and World of Warcraft are my favourite franchises.
My favourite works of fiction are:
1. Bright Starry Banner by Alden R. Carter. This is a historical fiction book about the Battle of Stones River in the American Civil War. I love the way Carter blends facts, details, emotions, and thoughts to create a surreal nightmare.
2. Paradise Lost. Lucifer is my hero, because he refuses to accept an unjust status quo based on divine bullshit.
3. The Bible. I have read the Bible since I could read. I find the story of King David particularly good. War, political struggles, rich characters, family treachery, foreskin collecting. Those are elements that make good stories.
4. 1984. Because it destroys the things I value the most: trust in those closest to you and trust in yourself.
5. The Lord of the Rings. If you write high fantasy, and don’t like the Lord of the Rings, you must be insane.
6. World of Warcraft. It’s merit has yet to be appreciated, but I think people will one day recognize how amazing it’s story is.
7. Star Trek. I like all five series. The franchise knows how to use characterization, plot, and science-fiction to present subjective meaning, unlike a lot of current literature which has nothing except contrived meaning.
8. Heavy metal. Science fiction is epic, and often dark. So is heavy metal. And there’s hundreds of metal bands with speculative fiction song topics.
9. My absolute favourite works of fiction are Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, both of which share Ronald D. Moore as a main writer. To me, they have the perfect combination of plot, character development, action, themes, and darkness.
I have no mentors. I am largely self-taught. I take what I can get from people I meet, but there are no specific individuals who particularly stand out.
What do you find most enjoyable or rewarding about what you do?
People enjoying my work. And being my own boss.
Were you ever discouraged in your craft? What did you do to turn yourself around and start again?
It is extremely difficult to get established in the field, and that is discouraging. I have a little bit of a head start now that I’m published, but it’s far from what I desire.
I heard from someone (not verified) that there are more people making a living as professional baseball players than freelance writing, but more people trying to make a living off of professional freelance writing than sports.
I stick with it, because a life of working a traditional job with set hours, breaks, and protocol for 40 plus years is not acceptable, and I feel it is my dharma to write.
What do you do in your spare time? Any hobbies or something else you’d like to share?
I used to read a lot, but college course readings drained my enjoyment for the time being. Now, mostly I watch science-fiction shows since that takes less energy than reading. I’m big into World of Warcraft and some other PC games, but I’m not an avid gamer.
I try to exercising regularly. I’m a big fan of the outdoors, but not in the winter. Heavy metal, but I have yet to learn to play an instrument. Other than that, between college, work, and writing, I try to be social.
Jonathan Cortez is a graduate of Penn State Behren, with an Associate of Arts degree.
He was an avid reader and writer from a young age, but even before that his story-telling and world-building skills blossomed while playing with Lego. He largely developed his writing craft on his own.
Jonathan is a big fan of science-fiction and fantasy, although he only started reading the genres during high school. When not reading or writing, he enjoys watching TV and listening to heavy metal.
He is currently still studying at Penn State. He is also working on the sequel to Converging Fates.