Latest Exodus addition,“Infinite Retribution,” features intergalactic drag queen
PHOENIX, Arizona –In “Infinite Retribution” (Phoenix Books, April 20, 2021), the latest addition to Robert Stadnik’s widely-read Exodus Universe novels, humanity is ready to extend its hand out into space after nearly a century of oppression had prevented them from doing so. Now part of a newly formed alien alliance, the military commemorates this new age by building their first generation of starships to explore the unknown and fortify the solar system. But what was to be a routine survey mission for the starship INFINITY turns ominous as humanity’s greatest enemy, thought extinct, is found hidden on a remote planet. Will the crew try to make peace with the last of the Screen or will their desire for revenge overtake them?
Complementing the launch of “Infinite Retribution,” author Robert Stadnik is also premiering redesigned book covers for the previous books in the Exodus Universe, including:
Exodus of the Phoenix (Book One, 2010)
Phoenix Among the Stars (Book Two, 2011)
Phoenix in Chaos (Book Three, 2012)
Fury of the Phoenix (Book Four, 2012)
Fractured Alliance (Book Five, 2018)
The IO Effect (Exodus Universe novel)
The Jumpgate (Exodus Universe novel)
Stadnik invites both dedicated readers and new fans alike to explore the Exodus Universe, where they will meet memorable characters such as Captain Annette Nikols, newly minted Executive Officer Frank Rola, an intergalactic drag queen and more!
Robert Stadnik | April 20, 2021 | Phoenix Books | Science Fiction
Paperback | ISBN: 978-1-953865-05-2
About the Author
Robert Stadnik is a science fiction writer, author of the Exodus starship adventure series and Exodus Universe novels. Originally from Southern California, Robert has lived in Phoenix, Arizona for over twenty years. He travels extensively for work here in the U.S. and internationally, meeting people from all walks of life. For more information, please visit: https://robertstadnik.com/
In an interview, Robert Stadnik can discuss:
- His inspiration for the various characters in the series
- How living in Arizona, where there is a strong UFO community, may have influenced his writing
- Why the series will appeal to fans of Battlestar Galactica
- How “Infinite Retribution” diverges from the often hyper-strict gender roles of sci-fi’s past
- Why he includes a thread of hope throughout the series
- What’s next for him as an author
An Interview with Robert Stadnik
1. Where did you first get the idea for the Exodus Universe, and how did you begin building that world?
I literally dreamt up the EXODUS Universe. I vividly remembered that dream, even to this day. I saw a massive starship rising up from Earth’s atmosphere and taking its first steps into space as it headed away from the planet. When I woke up, I had the entire story running around in my head. I spent that day writing the outline and documenting the characters. Eventually, it turned into the Exodus Series.
I was interested in how the adventures in the Exodus Series shaped other events and characters in this universe I created. The biggest question was how would humanity handle space exploration now that they were free to do so? I began thinking about some of those characters who would be a part of humans first foray into deep space and started coming up with different stories surrounding that theme.
2. Tell us a bit about your characters. Who or what inspired your writing of them?
My characters are usually an amalgam of people I know or met in my life. I did model Annette
Nikols off my older sister. We lost contact with her over 25 years ago and to this day I have no idea if she’s alive or not. She was smart and ambitious, and I imagined what sort of person she might be today. I see Captain Nikols as the person my sister could have become.
I see a lot of myself in Frank Rola. Here’s a confident man who, despite his accomplishments, questions himself when faced with difficult decisions. I think no matter how confident someone is, they will doubt themselves when dealing with a challenging situation. The question is, can you push past those doubts and make those hard choices? That’s something Frank has to face in the novel.
Admiral Karla Vespia. I smile every time I think about her. I don’t know where she came from. She started off as a secondary character in the Exodus Series and kind of took on a life of her own. I never expected to see her in any of the Exodus Universe novels, but she keeps popping up. This is a woman who has lied, blackmailed, and used any underhanded tactic to destroy her enemies and achieve her goals. But I can’t help but love her because she’s honest with herself and unapologetic for her actions. But even with a lifelong career, she still surprises herself.
3. Has living in Arizona influenced your writing at all due to the strong UFO community there?
I’ve read up on the UFO sightings that have occurred in Arizona and I’m always disappointed. One of these days I wished these aliens would just get it over with and come down and say, “Hi!”–then again, not seeing one does fuel our imagination.
One of the things I love about Phoenix is you don’t have to go very far outside the city to get a good glimpse of the stars in the night sky. I used to go to my parents’ house in Prescott, grab a chair, sit out on their driveway and get lost in the stars. I would imagine where some of the ships I’ve created were flying to, or which star systems the aliens I imagined resided. Whenever I hear about a UFO sighting in Phoenix, I’ll go out onto my balcony and stare into the sky, hoping to get a glimpse of something.
4. As with many genres, science fiction has traditionally relied on the use of gender tropes and stereotypes. However, your work, especially “Infinite Retribution,” offers a new, more inclusive perspective. Can you tell us about how and why you’ve diverged from old science fiction stereotypes?
In the Exodus Universe, aliens look at humans as being able to bring individuals together to
achieve a common goal. That characteristic came through as a result of the calamity that hit
Earth in the 21 st century. Surviving through such strife forced people to come together and heal the planet, regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, etc. The characters in Infinite Retribution are a reflection of how society had evolved over the course of 100 years since the Nuclear Holocaust. The INFINITY captain has had a successful career in the military, admired and respected by all. The head of the military got to where she’s at because of her wit and intelligence. Even the president is considered one of the best leaders, seeing humanity through this new era of exploration. The idea that someone is limited in their potential by who they are is no longer a consideration. It’s their accomplishments that counts.
5. A longstanding theme that traces throughout the series is one of hope. Your writing often focuses on how a small group of underdogs can accomplish the impossible. Why is this message important?
I think a lot of people in their lives have been told, “No, you can’t.” There are individuals out
there who will tell you that you can’t do something, either to sabotage your happiness or in some misguided attempt to look out for your best interests. I certainly encountered that in my own life. My father was supportive of my writing, so long as it was a side hobby, and I didn’t give up my corporate career. I was fortunate that he changed his mind near the end of his life and encouraged me to do what I love. I wanted to convey the message to readers that, if you’re passionate about something, then pursue it. There will be individuals out there more than willing to sow seeds of doubt. Anyone can find the confidence within themselves to ignore such negativity and pursue their happiness.
6. What’s next for you on your writing journey? Can readers expect to see more Exodus Universe novels in the future?
I write what my mind directs me to write. Sometimes I have no control what story I will work on next. I was working on a science fiction spy novel until Infinite Retribution started developing in my head and became too great to ignore, so I began focusing on the newest story in the Exodus Universe. Now that it’s done, I’m back to the spy novel.
I have about 12 unfinished manuscripts waiting for me to complete. Most are science fiction, but I have a couple of fantasy novels I’ve developed. As for the Exodus Universe, yes, there will be more novels. I even have another story regarding the PHOENIX I will be writing. I can give a couple hints about it….the ship will have been in service for nearly 700 years and will see a return of a main character from the Exodus Series….figure that one out!
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