Rob. Thirty. Author. Journalist. Sound Engineer. Snowboarder. Hip-hop artist. Tall. Basketball-player-length arms. Lots of tattoos. Glasses. Bad hair. Proud South African. Born in Johannesburg. Splits time between London and Vancouver. Digs New York. Doesnt dig Vegas. Loves New Orleans. Not a helicopter pilot.
Debut novel. Tracer. On Orbit Books. Out July 2015 (UK). Out sometime 2016 (US). Space stations. Parkour. Explosions. Good times. Two sequels. Huzzah!
Imagine The Bourne Identity meets Gravity and you’ll get TRACER, the most exciting action thriller set in space you’ll ever read. Sarah Lotz, author of The Three calls it “fast, exhilarating and unforgettable”. A huge space station orbits the Earth, holding the last of humanity. It’s broken, rusted, falling apart. We’ve wrecked our planet, and now we have to live with the consequences: a new home that’s dirty, overcrowded and inescapable. What’s more, there’s a madman hiding on the station. He’s about to unleash chaos. And when he does, there’ll be nowhere left to run. In space, every second counts. Who said nobody could hear you scream? ‘A stunning debut that never lets up, from the nerve-jangling beginning to the explosive end’ James Douglas, author of The Doomsday Machine ‘TRACER sets a new standard for all-action SF’ Ken MacLeod
Tracer is a debut, and debuts are something i love, a chance to meet a new author, to get to know their imagination and their world, something that has probably been bouncing around as a personal passion for years, to really explore their personality, as i feel they give more away in book one than any other.
On a personal note for this review i struggled with Tracer to begin with, i found many similarities with Hugh Howey’s Wool Trilogy. I found myself about 60% into the book and in a quandary, do i keep going?
But then something happened, and to be honest im not sure what it was, but when i wasn’t reading the book i found myself speculating what might happen next, and wondering how the characters might survive and beat the odds, it was a clear view that the book had grabbed my attention and imagination without me knowing.
I still think that there are comparisons to other dystopian books or recent vintage, but it also carves out its own niche with its use of Parkour as a means of getting around the space station.the writer doesn’t drown you in his love of the free running sport, but gives that level of detail and enthusiasm you would expect from someone who has a love of it.
I think there are very clear signs that Zero-G has even more potential, as the author gets a chance to improve on his debut, and my gut tells me he will get better and better.
Parmenion Books QA – Rob Boffard
1) Where did you get the inspiration for this story?
I wanted to write about a space station – one that was old, broken down, falling apart. I got to thinking about how you’d move packages and messages around, and I decided that I wanted to tell the story of the people who did it. These couriers would be fast, good on their feet, good with their fists…perfect fodder for the action movie in my mind.
2) Are your Tracers based on people you know? (inspired by people?)
If you look closely, you’ll see that my main character Riley is actually George H.W. Bush in disguise. On the real, I cooked these characters up in my head – they’ve got more me in them than anyone I know.
3) The book for me had parallels with with Hugh Howey’s Wool, are there any books / authors that you think inspired you?
Howey’s a monster – although I only read his stuff after I wrote the book. Suzanne Collins was what really inspired me to write it. I breezed through The Hunger Games series in a weekend, and thought, I want to write something like that.
4) Who are your favourite authors?
I love classic mystery authors like Jeffrey Deaver and Ed McBain, plus Stephen King, and some really pulpy scifi writers like Margaret Weiss. And for whatever reason, I’m a big Bill Bryson fan – he’s super smart and super funny.
5) Is book 2 Zero-G underway? (how is it progressing?)
I’m about a day away from sending what I hope will be the final draft to the publisher! Then it’s all about editing book 3. ZERO-G though…it’s everything TRACER is, turned up crazy loud.
6) Tell the reader something about you? – how / why did you become a writer?
So this is going to sound so arrogant, but sod it. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever really been good at. When I was about seven, we got a class assignment to write a poem. I wrote this one about an elephant, and the teacher started bugging out over it. She read it out to the class, then to her colleagues in the staffroom. I’m sitting there like, really? I knocked that out in ten minutes. Since then, writing has been my drug. There – arrogant bit over.
7) If you could invite any 4 characters to dinner (real or fictional ) who would they be?
Long John Silver, Han Solo, Ellen Ripley and Gok Wan. I’d do it just because it’d be funny to see someone like Gok Wan try to hold his own against three of the baddest fictional characters in history. He’d either make a really good go of it, or get slammed.
8) Finally…the publisher give you a soap box and a spot outside Kings Cross station, you need to sell your story to passers by…. what’s your pitch… why should we read it?
GOOD PEOPLE! JESUS SAVES! HEED THE GOSPEL OR YOU SHALL BURN IN – wait, hang on, sorry, reading from the wrong side of the paper. Here we go. HERE YE HERE YE! GRAND SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURE! PARKOUR IN SPACE! COME ONE COME ALL! EXPLOSIONS! FIGHT SCENES! INCREDIBLE ONE-LINERS!