Guest post by Andy Oppenheimer
The author: Andy Oppenheimer AIExpE MIABTI
I’m Andy Oppenheimer, a British consultant, author and editor specialising in defence and counter-terrorism. This work has greatly influenced my first venture into writing science fiction.
I am new, and very late, to the fiction writing party. The first in my sci-fi trilogy, Fields of Orion: An Odyssey, came out in August 2019. Fields of Orion: The Mission was published last October, also on Amazon, and continues this epic story of first contact.
In the two decades before I started writing science fiction, I wrote and lectured about defence, weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, bio, chemical), and counter-terrorism. Before that, I worked in publishing – starting with a job at an American futuristic science magazine, Omni, which also published science fiction. I went to the big conventions in the USA and here in Britain, and met many famous authors.
I wonder if I should have started writing sci-fi back then. But during my time at Omni I was more involved in the London nightclub scene as a DJ and part-time synth-pop singer. I think of myself less as an author and more a spinner of ideas with no forethought or planning, just inspiration.
Fields of Orion I and II
Both books are set mainly in London – in particular, the north London park Highbury Fields – which used to provide solace and escape during past crises when I lived nearby some years ago.
I held off publishing Book II until later in the first year of Covid-19, in order to factor the pandemic into the plot.
Terrorism is a big theme in the stories, and the paranormal elements build with the tension and the action. Fields of Orion is gritty, realistic, with a fulsome helping of sex and romance.
Where are the women in my stories, you may ask? As well as Adam’s many lovers, the formidable Intelligence Chief, Carolyn, is a prime protagonist. A former cop, she gets caught up in the weirdest set of events ever faced by an MI5 operative. The other key character, biogeneticist Dr Allison Hardy, plays the lead role in revealing the story’s big secret. Bea, Dan’s research assistant, gets recruited into a dangerous role in MI5.
Betrayal, treachery and secrecy are huge themes. Both books straddle the genres of spy and military thriller as well as science fiction.
An equally powerful influence is the music and imagery of David Bowie – which is a lightmotif throughout. Bowie has influenced my life and creative work beyond much else.
Added to which is the Orion myth theme, which runs throughout the portrayal of Adam. Fields of Orion (III): The Return will expand on this even further, as well as my forthcoming memoir written as Orion - The Hunter’s Story. More on that later.
Fields of Orion (I): An Odyssey
While in service in Iraq, charismatic, handsome British Army bomb-disposal operator Major Adam Armstrong develops extraordinary abilities of telekinesis and rapid recovery. He is reluctantly recruited into a futuristic military project to create super-soldiers, headed up by the ice-cold Captain Sheena Maxwell, a spurned lover hell-bent on revenge.
When geneticist and MI5 agent Dr Allison Hardy makes a shocking discovery about him, she propels the most covert government project in history into unknown territory.
As the plans of the extreme-Right terror group Adrestia approach their terrifying climax in London, Sheena’s diabolical plot against Armstrong gathers pace as he takes the Longest Walk of his career into unprecedented danger - while carrying the world’s most devastating secret.
Fields of Orion II: The Mission
Fields of Orion II: The Mission focuses on Adam’s monumental task - to tackle the greatest threat to life as we know it lurking below the Iraq desert.
On his tortuous journey he faces enormous challenges as he deals with all who stand in his way: the lovers who betray him, the enemies who seek to destroy him, and a catastrophic threat from a real terrorist group we have all been sadly familiar with: ISIS.
The cataclysmic events which ensue culminate in the most dangerous secret in history being fully revealed. An even greater disaster looms, to be unleashed by a devastating entity: the reason for Adam’s very existence.
He has already faced the ultimate terrorist threat in London. He will do anything to accomplish this next mission.
Inspiration behind Fields of Orion
My story’s main character, big handsome Major Adam Armstrong, is based on someone who has inspired me beyond measure in my area of work. Adam is a British Army expert in bomb disposal - but with one hell of a difference. He is a true hero, an alpha male, a superman – but in facing vast, unique challenges, his vulnerabilities are exposed.
I got the idea for the story while painting a picture to donate to Felix Fund, the Bomb Disposal Charity. I have been painting since childhood. In the painting, called ‘Nine Lives’, a bomb disposal operator crawls through a scorching desert, his hand raised about to dismantle an explosive device. Bowie’s lightning flash pierces the sky which is filled by a vast sun. The army guy could be in any desert, anywhere in the known Universe. The cats are Schrödinger’s Cat: bomb disposal operators are said to have nine lives. He is both dead and alive at the same time until he has disarmed the device.
I drew the cover artwork for my next book, coming out in mid-April - a spin-off from Fields of Orion.
The Hunter’s Story
The romantic themes in Fields of Orion led me to write The Hunter’s Story: my memoir as the legendary Orion the Hunter in Ancient Greece. This is an even more drastic departure from my earlier writing career: it’s not just science fiction, it’s an erotica title.
The Hunter’s Story is a dark romantic tale of sex and violence, of unrequited love, of Greek tragedy, of the hunter becoming the hunted.
However, the beginning and the shocking end of this confession from a constellation are not according to myth.
I have spent my life changing and experimenting: the Orion ‘persona’ is just my latest morph and reinvention into something odd and edgy. The rampant, rough hunter who ends up being banished to the eternal purgatory of outer space is arguably one of the first science fiction stories ever told, in its many versions.
I think other accounts are either by Classics authors or teenage romances. In writing this as an Adults Only title, I’m venturing into the unknown - as the usual ‘market’ for Greek myth stories is probably young adults and teens.
I dream up ideas because I become inspired by something or someone and then just bash them out in book, song, or presentation. I love writing,. but when it’s done, you are just one star in billions of galaxies of books. I hope you will enjoy the few I’ve written so far.
Hunt me down at: