Thursday, May 12, 2016

G.I. Joe Reactivated (G.I. Joe Omega Section Book 1) by Fred T. Kerns



G.I. Joe Reactivated

(Kindle Worlds Novella)
(G.I. Joe Omega Section Book 1)
By: Fred T. Kerns

When I received this book from Fred Kerns, I was anxious to review it because of the fact it mentioned the G.I. Joes. Let’s face it, the title alone should get everyone’s attention. Most of us who grew up in the 80’s loved watching the G.I. Joes as cartoons, and some of us even had the action figures. They were just as big as Barbie was. So, as respect to the eighties, and the real G.I. Joes, and the Military itself, I couldn’t help but give respect to Fred and this book: “G.I. Joe Reactivate.”

The cover was not what I had expected, I in fact immediately thought, ‘Wait, this just might be a more futuristic endeavor.” Just from the take on the cover. But that was just a guess, I was not sure was I was in store for. 

Reading this, I was disappointed to find that the G.I. Joes has disband, and were now being hunted. I was astounded. I was picturing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and I just don’t see them giving up. But maybe this is much farther into the future, and those hunks are no longer alive. 

Then again, further into the book, you learn that ‘living legends’ join forces with the new G.I. Joe unit to rebuild and transform it into a new unit, calling it the ‘Omega Section.’ This is where the legends, like Sly and Arnie do come into play, and make something into nothing, and make it even better then it was before.

Cobra, is rising again, determined to see to it to ruin the Omega section, and take them down. Cobra doesn’t want anything like the Joes or the Omega’s to be here, to better anything or anyone. Cobra just wants to do what it always has, ruined everything and caused death and destruction.

Cobra is a group of terrorists determined to take down, Omega and anyone else that plans to get in their way. The only thing Cobra didn’t plan for, is that Omega is now stronger, and wiser, and intends on keeping Cobra at bay, if not causing them to cease to exist if at all possible. 

Omega plans to give Cobra the battle of their life. But Cobra doesn’t plan on going down with ease, and if at possible, they plan to take down whatever else gets in their way too.
This book is a small novella meant to keep you entertained, and wanting to remember everything about the eighties and the G.I. Joes. After all, they matter, as does all of the Military.

This book is an excellent five star read, short and sweet, but right on point. I enjoyed the story line, and spot on it was, reminiscing and making the Joes into something new, and battling with the continuing group of Cobra terrorists. I give “G.I. Joe Reactivated” five stars, and think Fred Kerns is a author work checking out, if you haven’t already.

Here are my questions for Fred:

1. What made you write this and how long did it take you?
It started when I heard about Kindle Worlds. I have mixed feelings about licensed fanfiction and KW's contract terms (which states that they can take your characters and plots and use them for their own works, if I'm not misunderstanding them), but in the end it was another opportunity to tell stories and hopefully make a little money from it. When KW first started, none of the properties they'd licensed interested me, but then they worked out a deal to publish GI Joe stories about a year later. When I heard about that, I started thinking, "Hmm, maybe I could do something with this." I admit I wasn't a huge GI Joe fan, but I enjoyed the animated series when I was a little kid and loved the anime-style GI Joe: Resolute movie from a few years ago, so I figured I could have some fun with it. I didn't use any of the characters I'd created for other works because of the terms mentioned above, so I created a few characters specifically for this story, just in case they're ever taken over by KW. I figured it wouldn't get under my skin if I set them up with that in mind from the beginning. I did kind of recycle a body design for one of the characters just because I thought it looked cool, but it's a new character made specifically for this setting. (I probably should figure out one of these days why an alien species in my other books is built the same way a genetically-engineered species from Earth is built, but that's a whole other topic, heh.)

Anyway, I don't remember exactly how long writing it took. Around a month or so I think, once ideas started coming together in my head, writing whenever I could between everyday-life stuff that had to be dealt with first. It was a fairly quick rough draft, probably because it was something different and fresh, so it was more fun than usual. Once I decided to set the story a few decades into the future and play around with some of the characters long after the Joe unit disbanded, add a few of my own characters, and then show the band getting back together to face an old enemy suddenly reborn, everything chugged along pretty steadily.

2. Did this book take after the G.I. Joe movies, games and stuff?
I ended up basing it mostly on a single iteration of the franchise, GI Joe: Resolute, which was written by Transmetropolitan author Warren Ellis. The cartoon from the 1980s was aimed at kids, so characters were hardly ever injured or killed, the enemy leader was incompetent, and the battles were packed with "A-Team Firing." Resolute was aimed at adults, characters were actually killed, and that's probably why I quickly decided to spring this story off from that. It was GI Joe, but I could watch it without feeling embarrassed. I set Reactivated a few decades after the events in Resolute, and just took off from there.

For anyone who's curious, here's a teaser trailer for Resolute that pretty clearly shows the difference between it and the '80s cartoon.


3. Where do you get the ideas for your books?
Anywhere. Sometimes a small plot or character beat in a book or movie or video game will stick in my head and grow into something I can use. Sometimes I'll overhear part of a conversation and that'll give me an idea for some dialogue between characters. Sometimes I'll read or watch something that I end up hating, and that'll start generating ideas for a better story. For example, the myriad things wrong with Mass Effect 3 greatly influenced my writing of Freelancers, just because I'm hoping to come up with a better way to end the story. And sometimes news or other real-life stuff will lodge in my head and grow into a minor event the characters have to deal with or a whacky character they can encounter. I've gotten a few ideas from a web series called What the Fuck is Wrong with you?! which makes fun of bizarre or horrible things described in news articles. That show gave me a few ideas for a background character in Harbinger named Weird Walter, who's never actually seen, but his antics are occasionally discussed by the main characters. One of my favorite bits was a line of dialogue from Miko: "I still think his most glorious moment was the day he got high on embalming fluid and tried to fuck a picnic table." I've got another "character moment" for this guy in mind, and I'm dying to fit it into the dialogue somewhere.

Every now and then, I'll get ideas from something that happens in a video game. Most recently, something awesome happened in Grand Theft Auto Online that I'll be turning into an action scene at the first opportunity. I wish I'd recorded it, but to sum it up quickly: my character was being attacked by a biker gang and she was mowing them down with a helicopter minigun, a few hundred stray bullets hit a couple of their bikes, setting them on fire, and one of them exploded just as a truck drove past. The explosion launched the truck into the air and it sailed over my character's head and exploded directly above her, then almost crashed into the van she was trying to steal. It was so spectacular, I just have to use it for something in one of my stories. :D

Haha, just for the hell of it, here's an image of the character in one of her kooky moods: 




As for overall plots, I usually start by creating characters and thinking about the world they inhabit. Then, the story either forms out of that, or little things from the abovementioned sources or something else lodging in my memory will click together until I've got a solid idea for the plot. Once I know where the story is going and the plot points it needs to hit along the way, I start writing and leave plenty of room to explore new ideas that come to me, or alter the plot if I think of a better idea later on. And when I'm writing a series, once I have the first volume finished, the next builds on that, and the third builds on the second, and so on. And one of the chapters in Phil Plait's Death from the Skies! gave me an idea that I'm thinking about using for my next novel, which will be a sequel to Load, Fifteen Minutes, and Project Revenant.

But anyway, I get ideas for my books from just about anywhere.


4. How long have you been writing?
I started when I was a kid, and started sending stories to magazines when I was seventeen. It's been a long road, but here I am, finally starting to make some progress.

5. What inspires you to write?
I've always been a creative person. Daydreamed all the time when I was a kid. When I was in school, I was about as miserable as a kid could be, and daydreaming was my only escape until it was time to go home. In some ways, writing is kind of an extention of daydreaming. At some point all those years ago, I realized that I might be able to focus all the ideas flowing through my head into a cohesive story, write it down, and maybe make some money from it.

Ever since then, I've been driven to write. I always need to be writing something, which is probably why I'm often working on five or six stories and books at the same time. Cycling through them, writing a chapter of one and then a chapter of another, helps keep everything fresh. And when I hit a writer's block on one or two, I have others to fall back on until I can get past the block. When I'm not able to keep writing, such as the several days I was in the hospital for hernia surgery last year, or all the everyday-life stuff getting in the way during the past six or eight months, it drives me nuts. I guess it's almost like going through withdrawal. I've got all these characters and stories in my head, and I just need to write them.

6. What is your most favorite book of all time?
Oh, that's a tough one. I'm not sure I could pin it down to just one.

It changes frequently, anyway. I'd have to say one of the books near the top of my list is a nonfiction book, Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, because it was a huge influence on my thought processes and helped teach me how to think.


7. Out of all the books you've written yourself, what is your favorite?
I'd say that's a tie between my latest completed novel, Project Revenant, which I'm currently giving one last edit and planning to submit it to Baen, and my work-in-progress Uncharted Territory. In both cases, I worked a lot of action into the plot and humor into the dialogue, both of which made these books a lot of fun to write.



8. What are you working on now?
After having my routine derailed pretty thoroughly since around the end of last year, I'm starting to get back on track. The plan right now is to finish the latest chapter of Freelancers, then another chapter of Harbinger, followed by getting back to work on Uncharted Territory, since it's been quite a few months since I've had a chance to add a new chapter. I also need to finish the final edit on Project Revenant and send it off to Baen. After that, I'm hoping to get started on that book's sequel, as well as the sequel to Reactivated, since it was published quite a while ago and I need to get off my ass and continue the series.


9. How many books have you written?
Eight so far, if you count the still-in-progress Uncharted Territory.

Thirteen, if you count my fanfiction pieces. A dozen or so more, if you count the serialized Elsewhere (another one I really need to get back to work on).


10. Please share with us your social media links and book links:
My website, which has links to some of my novels and stories (the site needs some hefty updating): http://fredtkerns.weebly.com/
My blog, which has links to most of my work, plus a few character profiles: http://fredtkerns.blogspot.com/
My Twitter page: https://twitter.com/fredtk

Direct links to my books:

Load: 

Downtime:


Fifteen Minutes:

Chaser: 


Game Over:









11. Anything to add?
I've also been making a pair of video series in which I discuss writing. One uses Mass Effect 2 as a springboard for talking about good writing, among other topics. It used to have a longer title, but I shortened it recently. It's now titled, Mass Effect 2 Writing Discussion. The first video is here: https://youtu.be/Tu0NPe60Mpw

The other series is titled, How not to Tell a Story, and uses Mass Effect 3 as a springboard for discussing things to avoid when writing and how to fix bad writing. I'm currently editing the latest video in the series, and hope to get it uploaded sometime in the next few days. The first video is here: https://youtu.be/0EBy4rHvXsU

Finally, thanks for reviewing my work and giving me the opportunity to answer some questions and talk about my books. I had a blast, and I hope you and your readers enjoy the interview and check out my other work.







G.I. JOE: REACTIVATED (Kindle Worlds Novella) (GI Joe: Omega Section Book 1)G.I. JOE: REACTIVATED (Kindle Worlds Novella) by Fred T. Kerns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I received this book from Fred Kerns, I was anxious to review it because of the fact it mentioned the G.I. Joes. Let’s face it, the title alone should get everyone’s attention. Most of us who grew up in the 80’s loved watching the G.I. Joes as cartoons, and some of us even had the action figures. They were just as big as Barbie was. So, as respect to the eighties, and the real G.I. Joes, and the Military itself, I couldn’t help but give respect to Fred and this book: “G.I. Joe Reactivate.”

The cover was not what I had expected, I in fact immediately thought, ‘Wait, this just might be a more futuristic endeavor.” Just from the take on the cover. But that was just a guess, I was not sure was I was in store for.

Reading this, I was disappointed to find that the G.I. Joes has disband, and were now being hunted. I was astounded. I was picturing Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and I just don’t see them giving up. But maybe this is much farther into the future, and those hunks are no longer alive.

Then again, further into the book, you learn that ‘living legends’ join forces with the new G.I. Joe unit to rebuild and transform it into a new unit, calling it the ‘Omega Section.’ This is where the legends, like Sly and Arnie do come into play, and make something into nothing, and make it even better then it was before.

Cobra, is rising again, determined to see to it to ruin the Omega section, and take them down. Cobra doesn’t want anything like the Joes or the Omega’s to be here, to better anything or anyone. Cobra just wants to do what it always has, ruined everything and caused death and destruction.

Cobra is a group of terrorists determined to take down, Omega and anyone else that plans to get in their way. The only thing Cobra didn’t plan for, is that Omega is now stronger, and wiser, and intends on keeping Cobra at bay, if not causing them to cease to exist if at all possible.

Omega plans to give Cobra the battle of their life. But Cobra doesn’t plan on going down with ease, and if at possible, they plan to take down whatever else gets in their way too.

This book is a small novella meant to keep you entertained, and wanting to remember everything about the eighties and the G.I. Joes. After all, they matter, as does all of the Military.

This book is an excellent five star read, short and sweet, but right on point. I enjoyed the story line, and spot on it was, reminiscing and making the Joes into something new, and battling with the continuing group of Cobra terrorists. I give “G.I. Joe Reactivated” five stars, and think Fred Kerns is a author work checking out, if you haven’t already.

View all my reviews