Running Out of Space (Sunblinded #1) by S.J. Higbee (Tour Stop: Guest Post + Review)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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Genre: Science Fiction
Age category: New adult
Release Date: 11 October, 2017

Elizabeth Wright has yearned to serve on the space merchant ship Shooting Star for as long as she can remember – until one rash act changes everything…

I can’t recall whose idea it was. Just that me and my shipmates were sick of wading through yet another unjust punishment detail. So we decide to take ourselves off on a short jaunt to the lower reaches of Space Station Hawking to prove that fertile English girls can also deal with danger.

The consequences of that single expedition change the lives of all four of us, as well as that of the stranger who steps in to save us down in lawless Basement Level. Now I have more excitement and danger than I can handle, while confronting lethal shipboard politics, kidnapping, betrayal. And murder.



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Guest Post by the Author, S. J. Higbee

Running Out of Space – the world…

Thank you, Ashley, for inviting me along to talk more about the world in which Running Out of Space takes place – it’s a pleasure!
The year is 2357 when Elizabeth, Jessica, Alisha and Sonja embark on their ill-fated jaunt to Basement Level on Space Station Hawking. They live and work on the English merchanting ship Shooting Star as humanity have been out in space since the invention of Pavel Philby’s matter transfer in 2081 made transporting goods and people safe and instantaneous from the mid-2090s. Just as well, for life on Earth has been getting increasingly difficult since the runaway melting of the icecaps triggered by the release of the layer of methane in the oceans in the mid-2050s which has created massive climate change and catastrophic rises in sea levels.
Elizabeth is hazily aware of this history, though she isn’t very well educated. What she does know is that her ancestors, eking out a miserable existence in a muddy refugee camp on the edges of Lake London, where the old capital of the United Kingdom used to be, jumped at a U.N. scheme to train willing families prepared to leave Earth and try their luck transporting heavy goods to and from the new colonies springing up on the Moon and Mars. After an exhaustive selection process and rigorous training period, they left Earth and took possession of their first ship London Calling in 2118 and didn’t look back…
Now, after a successful period of growth where humanity has spread rapidly through a number of star systems, all is now in turmoil again. The matter transfer system was compromised in 2335 so that now only goods in small quantities can be delivered – people are unable to use it safety. Fortunately, the breakthrough that allowed it to work in the first place also facilitated the invention of faster-than-lightspeed travel on ships, which means that at least trade and supplies can continue to get through to most of the planets and space station to ensure their survival. 
In 2331, the Eaoughts were discovered on the planet Mowgli in the Wolf system on the edge of Sector Two. The first contact encounter didn’t go well, though the details are shrouded in secrecy, rumours persist that most of the initial team were eaten. They are a tall, shaggy bi-pedal species, very strong with a warrior culture. After establishing trade links with the mysterious eco-cult, the Gaians, for all forms of vegetation for their devastated planet, the Eaoughts, or Eaties as they are often called, professed no interest in further interaction with humanity – apart from the new Homo Darwinii species bred illegally by Philbycorp as slave workers specifically to cope with living and working in reduced gravity and cool conditions. 
Elizabeth has heard the rumours about the Dars and, of course, the Eaties. Why she is so very hostile towards them is that ten years earlier – 2347 – the Eaoughts announced they were going to impose an exclusion zone. It included the secret space station where the Homo Darwinii were being bred and trained, as well as a thoroughly inconvenient slice of space that included of the major shipping routes cris-crossing Sector Two. Philbycorp were furious and leaned heavily on the Interplanetary Government to protest. Negotiations moved forward slowly, with humanity essentially throwing all their efforts to subvert the aliens’ demands. Until in 2352 the Eaoughts lost patience and blew up Mercury, giving all humans living and working within the exclusion zone three more years to leave their exclusion zone, or face being executed as illegal trespassers.
The shockwaves of those two events are still being felt throughout Humanspace. Earth immediately capitulated and Philbycorp pulled all their personnel and resources out of Sector Two back into Homespace – Earth’s solar system. 
That is the political landscape of Sector Two, where Elizabeth lives and works. Like many others, she doesn’t know all the wider ramifications – but like most merchanter families, she hates the Eaoughts – Eaties – and is roundly contemptuous of Earth and Philbycorp’s reaction to the destruction of Mercury.
I have to say that writing this has been a joy. While I like writing the books featuring Elizabeth in first person viewpoint, the big snag is that the reader can only know what she knows. And right now she doesn’t know all that much about the politics or events as the merchanters tend to be an insular bunch. But as there are two more books in this series – Dying for Space and Breathing Space, followed by at least another four in the same world featuring Elizabeth as a private investigator, I am going to have plenty of time and opportunity to explore the various corners of this world I have created – including the aliens and those Gaian eco-priests.
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity and I’ll be happy to answer any questions in the comment section below.

About the Author
Born the same year as the Russians launched Sputnik, I confidently expected that by the time I reached adulthood, the human race would have a pioneer colony on the Moon and be heading off towards Mars. So I was at a loss to know what to do once I realised the Final Frontier wasn’t an option and rather lost my head - I tried a lot of jobs I didn’t like and married a totally unsuitable man.

Now I've finally come to terms with the fact that I’ll never leave Earth, I have a lovely time writing science fiction and fantasy novels while teaching Creative Writing at Northbrook College in Worthing. I’ve had a number of short stories, articles and poems published – the most recent being my story ‘Miranda’s Tempest’ which appeared last year in Fox Spirit’s anthology Eve of War. I recently signed a publishing contract with Grimbold Publishing for my science fiction novel Netted, which is due to be released in 2019.

I live in Littlehampton on the English south coast with a wonderful husband and a ridiculous number of books. I can be found online chatting about books at my book review blog and you’re very welcome to pop onto my website and my Facebook page .

You can find and contact S.J. Higbee here:
- Website
- Blog
- Facebook
- Twitter 
- Goodreads

  
3.5/5

When I read read the blurb for Running Out of Space by S. J. Higbee I knew I wanted to be apart of the blog tour and review it. I am so glad I signed up to host! I really enjoyed this first installment of the Sunblinded trilogy. 

I enjoy when a world is set in the future. It is always fun to see how the author sees it from their PoV. Running Out of Space is no different. The world is interesting and I can not wait to find out more as the series continues. I like the idea of traveling through space and landing at different places. It reminds me of a pirate novel of sorts, only set far into future. The cultures are also intriguing. They really come to life throughout the novel and are varying, but so different from anything we know.  

Elizabeth Wright is a great main character. She is adventurous and brave. She is a leader whether she realizes it or not, and wants to go against what is expected of her to become an officer on a merchant ship. She is loyal to those she loves, and will do anything to protect them. Even if it means sacrificing herself in the process. Her family dynamics, and how she handles everything that gets tossed at really shows and defines her. 


I would recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy, futuristic, or sci-fi. It really is a fun read that kept me enthralled. I look forward to the character growth and discovering more about Elizabeth Wright's surroundings. 



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