5-Star Review of Martha Fawcett’s “Together” (Book II of the Janaforma Trilogy)

Jane Hibernia Smith lives in Toledo, Ohio, sometime around the 26th century where far too many suffer from FSP, i.e. Fundamental SocioPsychic breakdown, an attitude that spawns the attitude “Some messes are too big to clean up.” Earth is but one of many worlds in the Orion Spur and not that much different from the 21st Century world we live in, making it easy to relate to Jane and her funk. For a variety of reasons she’s bummed out, including health issues combined with the fact she’s a “casual,” i.e. a genetic “mongrel,” born without the benefit of genetic engineering.

Thus, she decides to take a break. Her plan is to visit Wonder World, but her trip reservations are messed up (showing some things never change) and she misses the shuttle taking her to the next leg of her journey. She winds up in a space taxi to deliver her to a rendezvous point, but the vehicle malfunctions, Jane passes out as environmental systems fail, and the next thing she knows she waking up in the presence of two magnificent beings. And this is where the reader is escorted from a world that may be a bit too familiar into the essence of true science fiction.

Jane, who has decided to go with her Hibernia persona, has encountered two genetically engineered wonders known as Janaforma. . Both are beautiful as well as handsome, possessing an intriguing albeit confusing combination of masculine and feminine traits. As it turns out, their sexuality is entirely different than that of humans, requiring three to achieve reproduction as opposed to the usual duo. There are lifebearers, lifegivers and consorts. In human terms, lifebearers would be those who give birth while a lifegiver’s sperm only works in the presence of a consort. Needless to say this makes for an interesting concept of a genetically orchestrated ménage à trois. On the literary side alone it necessitates the use of an entirely new set of pronouns as opposed to the he/she, his/her with which humans are familiar. While lifebearers retain the feminine side, lifegivers are referred to as le or lis while consorts are ce or cis.

Hibernia becomes part of this triad and is thus absorbed into an alien world of intrigue. In spite of the near perfection of Janaforma, they nonetheless must interact with lesser cultures and humanoids which comprise an intergalactic society. One of these is the superstitious and small-minded Tyrowsians, who deny the existence of the past, and represent a brutal, unevolved species. The plot is saturated with a variety of moral dilemmas and culture clashes as the community-minded Janaforma are subjected to the narrow-minded and unyielding opinions of those incapable of understanding a more advanced view of life.

The beauty of this story lies not only in its incredible originality but in its rich, descriptive prose. Martha Fawcett’s literary style and plot complexity is nothing short of delicious. I was effortlessly sucked into the story and characters then absorbed into the drama inherent to this mixture of worldviews and beings besides the Janaforma. The author has not only created vivid and credible intelligent alien species but enriched it further with other languages (such as the new pronouns noted earlier) and cultural details which bring everything further to life.

Nonetheless, while definitely alien, there is rich symbolism operating as well. It was easy to see how the vast philosophies present on Earth today could compare to a human caught between the diverse cultures of the Janaforma and Tyrowsians.

The story’s intensity reaches a nail-biting peak making it all the more interesting to see how it’s resolved in Book III of this trilogy (entitled simply “One” while the title of its predecessor is “Alone.”)

This book is not for the faint-hearted or closed-minded. The multitude of metaphors often reflect elements of today’s culture we choose to ignore, whether it pertains to sexuality, cultural bias, or religious intolerance, all of which prevent us from reaching a higher plane of existence. As Albert Einstein is credited with saying, no problem can be solved from the same level at which it was created. If you allow it to, this book will open your mind to new vistas of possibility and bring you to a close examination of your own beliefs, which is what landmark science fiction is all about.


Interview with Fantasy/Science Fiction/New Age Author Martha Fawcett


Martha Fawcett is an amazing science fiction writer whose work is a unique combination of sci-fi, fantasy and New Age. Her prose is a delight to read, touching your imagination like an evening summer breeze ruffling your hair. It’s easy to tell her upbringing was enriched by generations of storytellers and she has clearly inherited that gift. Her latest book, The Permeable Web of Time, is now out and you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Permeable-Time-Martha-Fawcett/dp/0989063658/

Me: Your enigmatic biographical sketch on your amazon.com author’s page (http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Fawcett/e/B007MNWZQU/) suggests that the UFO culture in Ohio had a strong impact on your writing, particularly in choosing to contribute to the science fiction genre. Was there any particular experience that influenced that decision that you’d like to share?

Martha: In July of 1947, the Roswell Incident occurred. Whether an actual, alien spacecraft crashed in the New Mexico desert or, as some believe, the entire story is a colossal hoax, the possibility of such an event happening captured the imagination of popular culture. I was a small child in ‘47, but one of my favorite pastimes was hanging around the periphery of adult gatherings and listening to their conversations. I remember; the topic of Roswell was on the lips of many people.

It was a lazy Saturday morning and I was nine years old. My dad came into the kitchen and poured himself his usual cup of black coffee. Sipping the steaming brew, he stared out at the misty green lawns still covered with dew. I already had a reputation for asking too many questions and this time was no exception. “What would you do if a spaceship landed in our backyard,” I asked him. He did not try to assure me that no such thing could ever happen. Instead, my question initiated a conversation that would last all weekend, as we became enmeshed in the what-ifs and varying circumstances. I don’t remember if he ever answered my original question, but he lit a fuse in my mind. I was so excited that I barely slept that night. My vision of life changed that weekend as I realized that I lived in a vast universe waiting to be discovered.

Me: Apparently, you hail from a family of storytellers. What memory stands out the most from that heritage?

Martha: Several people in my family were good storytellers, my paternal grandfather, my father, and my brother. After a lifetime of listening to them, I realize they all had a good sense of “timing.” Storytelling, especially verbal storytelling is like music, the rhythm catches and holds the ear of the listener.

In my immediate family, we honor the art of storytelling by creating elaborate fantasies surrounding our dogs and felines. Our furry family members are constantly outsmarting us; Lyssa our sable Burmese has won several Nobel prizes. Shyya, our dog, was a belly dancer (She claimed that she was bred by Sultans for Sultans); and Cerebow, a chocolate Burmese is now a supermodel and actress. My son is married to a German girl and Martina has brought her myths into the family mix. As a result, the family canines and felines are fighting gnomes and protecting us from poison-tipped darts that gnomes throw our way. It’s great fun and a creative outlet for everyone, especially around birthday-card time, when the family pets send out more cards than we do as humans.

Me: The description for “Together” mentions a Tarot reading that has a strong influence on the protagonist while “Dance of the Warrior and Witch” sounds as if it fits the fantasy genre more than science fiction. How do you define the fine lines between these two genres?

Martha: The lines between different genera are somewhat muted for me. My books are a mixture of science fiction, philosophy, romance, and spirituality. I tell unique and intimate stories of individuals and if possible, I like to write in the first person. I categorize The Janaforma Trilogy, consisting of Alone, Together, and One, as science fiction because the settings are the future, space travel is common, and the problems they encounter galactic. Each book of The Trilogy is complete onto itself; yet, together, all three books deal with the ramifications of genetic engineering. My characters encounter phenomena unexplainable through today’s science and technology, but these characters have been especially bred to deal with the complexity of space travel. Biological beings are not static or ever complete. We are evolving, so what we now may consider fantasy, may be easily explainable in the future.

Dance of the Warrior and Witch is a prequel to The Janaforma Trilogy and is a book I longed to write. The plot involves involves two schools of philosophical thought, the Shardasko Warriors (a mind-oriented cult) and the Trinity Witches (a feeling-oriented cult). No matter the genera, what holds a good book together is the authentic interaction of characters. Their journey may be short or long, but they must communicate their empathy to draw the reader into the story. A major theme in my writing is the emphasis of the personal journey each one of us must make to fulfill our potential. This takes me into the minds and intimate interaction of my characters, their personal development and philosophies, the social issues of their times, and their spiritual experiences. I attempt to focus on better possibilities for the future, which is a natural seque into science fiction.

My involvement with The Tarot is an offshoot of meditation. I would mediate with my Mind to my left, my Feelings to my right and my Will directly in front of me. This was not a position I read about in a book, but something I agreed to do, in cooperation with my many chattering inner voices. When I personified my Will, Mind, and Feelings in this way, I created a stage for inner dialogue and cooperation. When I discovered the Tree of Life, I found that my meditational configuration could be superimposed on the Tree of Life. The only thing missing from my glyph was the top part of the Tree. As I began to study The Tree of Life, I discovered Qabalistic Tarot by Robert Wang. I understood very little of his book on the first reading, but soon bits and pieces began to make sense to me. I learned that The Tarot was our ancient Western mystical tradition that’s been reduced to fortunetelling at sideshows. The Tree of Life and The Tarot demonstrate how Archetypes moderate and makes palatable our energy from The Source.

Does it matter if my glyph may be wrong or a figment of my imagination? Hardly! Even those too afraid of breaking away from their rigid religious upbringing, trim and modify their religion to fit their needs. The important factor is I’ve created my own inner religion that suits my evolutionary process. My Aquarian goal always is to uncover better and better truths (to make the unconscious conscious); so, show me a better interior model, a truer truth, and I will humbly put my glyph aside and accept a new paradigm.

Me: Do you share your characters’ interest in divination or is it simply something you explore in your stories? If perchance you practice Tarot, do you have any interesting experiences you’d care to share? [NOTE: I’m a professional astrologer, Martha, so you’re in safe territory here. J)

Martha: I have a couple of dozen decks of tarot cards, but the only deck I use is the Crowley deck based on the Tree of Life. I use it very sparingly with people who ask me to read their tarot. I have a background in dream analysis and a long-standing fascination with myths, symbols, and archetypes. These are invaluable tool in doing a reading. My obvious reticence comes from the knowledge that I am fallible and The Tarot is a powerful tool. In my latest book, The Permeable Web of Time (which will be out in a few weeks.) The Tarot helped me structure the plot and characters. The protagonist, Sante, has been “playing around” with tarot cards. When each new character appears, Sante decides to randomly select a significator card for each person. The cards Sante pulls are the actual cards I pulled and the characters are based on their cards.

Me: What other interests or hobbies do you enjoy other than writing?

Martha: I have too many hobbies and interests. I often say, “If I could clone myself, one clone would be a gardener and another would be a gourmet chief. One would make jewelry, another would be a photographer, and one would wander the globe in search of the authentic. My rational for this particular fantasy, is that I would have more time to write.

I’ve enjoyed a life-long love affair with gardening. It’s one of those passions built into my genetics. My maternal grandmother, Viola Mae, always had cuttings in a jar, a tomato plant out back and I keep up that tradition. I have a large collection of houseplants, a perennial garden, and an herb garden. I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively in my life and photography always played a major role in my travels. A couple of years ago, I decided to put all my pictures on the computer. My husband brought a large storage box up from the basement, which contained slides, negatives, and pictures, telling me, “After you work through this box, there are eighteen more waiting for you.” For my birthday that year, I received Photoshop. I’m still working on this project. I’m crafty and like to make things with my hands. It’s a relief from the black and white world of words. I had nothing left to gold leaf in my house; so, I started making jewelry about three years ago and it turned into a passion. I would stay up until 3:00 AM creating a necklace or bracelet. My hands and fingernails were a wreck from wire wrapping. People began offering me money for my jewelry and I was tempted. I was on the verge of kissing my writing career goodbye when I received notice from Salvo Press that they wanted to publish my first book, Alone. So long hobbies! I am a writer.

Me: What are you currently working on and do you have a target date for its release?

Martha: As I mentioned above, The Permeable Web of Time, is complete. I’m now waiting for Duncan Long (check out his art at duncanlong.com) to complete his work on my cover. I have another book I plan to release sometime in 2015. It has the working title, The Zaqurlite Manuscript. [NOTE:– “The Permeable Web of Time” is now live on Amazon through the link below.]



The Permeable Web of Time: http://www.amazon.com/The-Permeable-Time-Martha-Fawcett/dp/0989063658/

Alone (Book I of the Janaforma Trilogy): http://www.amazon.com/Alone-Janaforma-Trilogy-Martha-Fawcett/dp/1609770242/

Together (Book II of Janaforma Trilogy): http://www.amazon.com/Together-Book-II-Janaforma-Trilogy/dp/0989063615/

One (Book III of Janaforma Trilogy): http://www.amazon.com/One-Book-III-Janaforma-Trilogy/dp/0989063623/

Dance of the Warrior and Witch: http://www.amazon.com/DANCE-WARRIOR-WITCH-Martha-Fawcett-ebook/dp/B00GSF6154/

Together (Book II of Janaforma Trilogy) eBook only: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/218451


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Martha-Fawcett/261918323892425

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=146874706

Twitter: https://twitter.com/marthafawcett

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6062083.Martha_Fawcett

Website/Blog: http://marthafawcett.com

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Martha-Fawcett/e/B007MNWZQU/

Review of Martha Fawcett’s “Dance of the Warrior and the Witch” — A Sci-fi/Fantasy/New Age Trip through Space and Time


Martha Fawcett is a literary gourmet chef who specializes in bibliophilic ambrosia. Her style is so rich with description and metaphor that it can be almost euphoric to read. This story is an unusual tale that treads across science fiction, fantasy and new age genres. Her characters are convincing and easy to relate to as well as the alien Gathosian culture and various planets she created. The juxtaposition of the two main male characters, Elan and Stellium, where one was a human born on Earth who relocated offworld with his parents as a child, while the other was a Gathosian raised on Earth, created an interesting balance and means for contrasting the two cultures and finding where and how they intersected. Much you could relate to as an earthling, yet there was enough that was alien about it to transport you to another time and place.

The first part of the book, which was my favorite, takes place at a school that trains warriors in a variety of disciplines and techniques which include not only spiritual development, survival, and martial arts but jumping time dimensions. Elan’s mentor, Kyron, is another important player. I felt his name was well-chosen as a subtle reference to Chiron, the mythological centaur and “wounded healer” who astrologically symbolizes the hurts and disappointments we experience that often never heal; indeed, if there were one theme I would attribute to this story it would be that of healing. All the protagonists were convincing but my favorite character in this story was actually Cerebow, a “dulcerary panther” with telepathic abilities.

I was so entirely immersed in this Shardasko Warrior school environment that it felt as if I was there as well. This made it all the more entertaining when Elan went to visit his human sister who continued to live in an earthlike culture. At that point the school seemed so familiar and normal I could totally relate to how foreign “normal” had become. His sister’s sarcastic remarks were hilarious and exactly what you’d expect to occur between siblings when one chooses an avant-guard lifestyle.

The relationship between the three protagonists when the Trinity witch, Iosobell, entered the scene was an interesting study of the different roles individuals play across multiple lifetimes. I must say when these two men and a woman were involved in what can best be described as some sort of tantric three-way conducted in a retro-gravity device that I was a bit startled. Nonetheless, it was done in a tasteful and metaphorical manner that emphasized the love and spiritual bonds between them making it sensual while avoiding the clumsy, graphic prose typical of erotica.

Much of the remainder of this story explored the karmic path of deeds and events as they ripple through time and fate in both directions. Soul groups travel together through time and space yet individuals play a multitude of different roles and incarnate in both genders. Trying to heal or, better yet, prevent catastrophes caused by mistakes born of ignorance, foolishness or immaturity becomes a thought-provoking consideration as the three protagonists strive to do just that amid the challenges presented by “free radicals” or what could best be described as tortured souls or devils.

My least favorite part of this book was one of the middle chapters where a lengthy narrative attempted to map out the chain of events the protagonists were trying to untangle. To me it oscillated between confusing and boring but I persisted in the hope that ultimately the story would return to its former grace and lucidity, which it did, and ultimately provided a satisfying ending.

It would have been handy for the book to contain a glossary of the various Gathosian words. I also would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the print version instead of electronic because a physical book makes it so much easier to flip back to other parts to refresh your memory, check the meaning of an alien word, etc. This story was quite complex and unless you have a memory like a steel trap there will be parts that can be confusing. It’s a story that would undoubtedly be enjoyed more on the second read.

This is not a book for someone who wants to enjoy a simple, straight-line plot that’s easy to follow. It challenges the reader and truly transports you to another alien world and culture, a task that was executed beautifully by this skilled, imaginative and very talented author. When a book can make me laugh, cry, and even gasp a few times while I luxuriate in a writing style best described as Nirvana, I will definitely give it five stars, only because I cannot give it more.