Some don’t hold these truths to be self-evident.
In the 22nd century, pilgrims of space exploration leave Earth for nearby planets crafted for them by terraformers. Ranyk is a smart-mouthed alien, the best of the world-builders employed by the US government—and he always completes his assignments solo, pushing to the deep recesses of space for the good of colonists and to avoid his growing fame.
Until he’s handed an on-planet assignment in Ireland, of all places, as an undercover student of genetic engineering. His real plan? To pull scientists and their families out of a country careening toward civil war—and off Earth, to a colony world of their own—before a martial law lockdown ends their groundbreaking discoveries.
Sckiik is strong, female, and the head of security for a US embassy. While protecting the Ambassador from an assassination attempt, she finds clues to xenocide and rushes to warn her brother Ranyk.
Risking his life is no novelty for Ranyk. He’s been battered by asteroids, nearly incinerated in volcanoes, and has out-piloted pirates. But political espionage on Earth is more dangerous than anything he’s encountered before, and he’s completely ill-equipped for such delicate matters. Now he must figure out who to trust and who to eliminate, or it will mean his freedom, the safety of forty thousand colonists, and the lives of his friends.
In the vein of Orson Scott Card, Kathy Reichs, Hugh Howey, and Douglas Adams, Houses of Common draws fans from within and without the realm of science fiction.
“In the proud tradition of Douglas Adams, the novel gives us a totally alien sense of humor with one particularly colorful alien named Ranyk.”
-D. Roberts, Vine Voice reviewer
“Droll, at times laugh out loud funny, alien but with enough universal characteristics that I could still identify with them, I liked the book because I liked these characters. I could really tell the varied expertise of author Dalton (research, science, medicine) by the areas he focused on in his story. I’m glad it wasn’t just hard science.”
-Cheryl Stout, Top 1000 and Vine Voice reviewer.
“If you want a layered interwoven plot with compelling characters and solid hard science, then you’ve found your next read. It’s clear that the author has done his homework and created a very cool future of interplanetary espionage coupled with the struggles and challenges of the every man (and chimp).”
“One sign to me of a good book is when the story is in my head during my non-reading time, and this is one such story.”
“With the technical accumen of Card and the storytelling ability of Brooks, Houses of Common comes at you with a fast-paced, high adventure tale that is full of political intrigue and ripe with “hard” information regarding space flight, physics, and the lives of alien and human races.”
“I’m desperately waiting for the sequel(s) to be published!”
“The novel’s characters, especially the brother and sister pair from the planet Rildj, are priceless.”
-not a natural
“Anyone who loves sci-fi, but feels the genre has been chewed up and spit out too many times by writers repeating each other’s lines is right. Derick William Dalton is changing all of it.”
“Mr. Dalton’s background in medicine, his love of science, coupled with his imagination and gift of sarcasm, enabled him to weave an intriguing sci-fi. Waiting for more.”
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I’m looking at my own bookshelf, and could you all see it, no one would guess I write science fiction. It’s almost entirely fantasy novels, my very favorite being The Lord of the Rings. I’m such a fan that I postponed my first job interview after college so I could catch Return of the King on opening day.
Heck yeah, I still got the job.
In fantasy, I love the nobility and heroism and the archery. The ties characters and civilizations have to powers bigger than their world. I can’t say I mind an evil monster beheading, either. The power of sorcery is always fun, but magic brings me to the edge of the map. Here, the monsters be unanswered questions. When reading, I don’t care how Gandalf makes his staff glow or how the light of Eärendil functions. I’m happily distracted by the wonder swirling around me. But when I write, I don’t like leaving mechanisms in the realm of the unknown. Details are so much more fun, especially when they’re accurate.
As a kid, I thought the superhero version of Thor was lame, and was disappointed later to learn he was going to be integrated into the Marvel movies. But the screenwriters consulted real physicists, and instead of gagging on a genre mash-up as expected, I was geeking out at all the science they got right. I want that to happen to others when they read Dalton.
Again as a kid, I noted an apparent schism forming between Sunday school and science class. Genesis painted this amazing story that was even better than Tolkien because I was living in it, but I was told the every-bit-as-awesome mechanical details from the science books I loved were contradictory. I use the apparent word very purposefully. A page and a half of something Moses wrote piqued, but did not satisfy, my curiosity. The more I sought an explanation to the mechanics of life, the universe, and everything, the fainter became the barrier between science and religion. I geek out over gospel and have spiritual reactions to science as easily as vice versa. Those who try to convince me otherwise sometimes remind me of Morgoth, lusting to possess the Silmarils rather than in awe of how they were formed.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Possibly my favorite part of writing science fiction is extrapolating current knowledge to a new setting. In writing Houses of Common, I tried follow the trail of discoveries in genomics, economics, space exploration, and the push for environmental stability and see where they would lead in a century. And where would those trails leave characters from various backgrounds and species, and how do they deal with it? I never had a research project in school that was nearly this fun.
Mr. Dalton is a professional student who has taken an occasional hiatus for such frivolities as teaching high school science, residential construction, and treating patients as a physician assistant. In a moment of rebellion from graduate school stress, his brain refused to pay attention until certain stories were written down. He lives with his wife and children, and is planning a mountain bike trip on the moon.
Have you read this book or others by this author? Tell us in the comments how you liked it!