Science fiction fans will enjoy 'Zero Time'
As we know, the world did not come to an end when the Mayan calendar ended in 2012. Author T. W. Fendley explores Mesoamerican culture, time travel, the Mayan calendar and more in her science fiction novel "Zero Time," which mostly alternates between Peru in 2011 and Mexico in ancient times.
What is evident when you read Fendley's well-written story is her vast knowledge of Mesoamerican culture and science theory. The research alone to create this fictional story is impressive.
The premise of "Zero Time" is that a race of aliens time travel from a planet in the Pleiades because they are about to become extinct. They have an SRY disorder, which causes 97 percent of their infants born to be female. They are coming to Earth to correct this disorder and take a solution back to their planet with the ultimate goal — male babies to continue their race.
Sixteen alien travelers separate into small groups and leave their home planet on the same day, but they arrive on Earth, in North and South America, at different times and in various areas to assure survival.
Fendley said, "In my fictional world, they helped establish ancient cultures — the Olmec, Inca, Maya and Aztec."
Part of the novel tells the story of Xmucane, a powerful sister from Omeyocan, and her struggles once she arrives in Mexico in 3092 B.C.
One of her daughters has greed in her heart, and this causes many troubles for Xmucane, her mate and her sisters.
The rest of the novel takes place on an expedition in Peru in modern times, focusing on the character, Keihla, a science writer from Philadelphia. While exploring Machu Pichu, strange things happen to Keihla. She has visions of four mothers and playing with people she doesn't know and large serpents.
After an encounter with "a fortune teller," Keihla is able to open a clay box that no one else can and finds a necklace inside, an exact replica of the one she was wearing when she was adopted at age 4.
There's a connection between the two time periods and women's stories that unravels as readers race to the end — the good guys in each time period seem to be in danger at every turn as the bad guys try to gain power.
If you have a fear of snakes, hold on — Fendley uses snakes to allow the aliens to time travel, and she often describes the serpents as levitating, wrapping around characters and playing with the children.
She states in her author's note, "My Serpents, who bond with humans like the dragons of Pern in the late Anne McCaffery's books, manipulated spacetime to create the Serpent Ropes."
Finally, in her note, she also addresses the strange names in the chapters set during ancient times. Many readers, especially those who do not usually read science fiction or fantasy, may get hung up on the characters' names — many of which start with an X. Fendley explains that she wanted to use names from Andean and Mesoamerican history, religion and mythology.
She does give a pronunciation guide in the beginning of the story and in the author's note explains where each name came from. Never fear, there's also a Chad and Andrea in the expedition in Peru.
Fendley became interested in writing about ancient American cultures while researching story ideas at the 1997 Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop. She has traveled to archeological sites in the Yucatan, Peru and American Southwest.
She also has a website on Associative Remote Viewing at http://www.arv4fun.com. She has penned two short pieces that connect to "Zero Time," titled "The Mother Serpent's Daughter" and "Jaguar Hope."
If you are a fan of science fiction, you will be drawn into the world that Fendley has created.
Margo L. Dill is celebrating the release of her second novel, "Caught Between Two Curses," a young adult novel exploring love, family and the Curse of the Billy Goat on the Cubs. She also is the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle grade historical fiction novel. She lives in St. Louis with her family.