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The Worlds of Hollow Moon
by Steph Bennion

A LONG TIME FROM NOW IN A GALAXY WE CALL HOME: Welcome to tales of space-opera mystery and adventure! The Hollow Moon series is for all who relish a dose of humour and practical astrophysics with their fantasy, for young adults and adults young at heart. It is the twenty-third century and scientists, dreamers, crooks and believers have bridged the vast cosmos, staking their claims where distant suns burn fierce in the sky...

Join young adventurer Ravana O'Brien as she embarks on a voyage of personal discovery through the five systems and beyond. Why are Priest Taranis and his alien-worshipping Dhusarian Church so interested in her fate? Are the rumoured greys of Epsilon Eridani just a myth? Who thought creepy cyberclones were a good idea? Are some people really as idiotic as they seem? HOLLOW MOON is for all who relish a dose of humour and practical astrophysics with their fantasy, for young adults and adults young at heart!

"The world building is excellent, the characters intriguing and the action a mix of drama and an occasional scene of pure slapstick that had me chuckling away. [...] If you like space opera, then I recommend this series."
Five stars!
- (Awesome Indies' review of CITY OF DECEIT).

HOLLOW MOON (Book 1): Here starts the tale of Ravana O’Brien, the intrepid teenage heroine of the series, a half-Australian, half-Indian trainee engineer who lives with her father in a forgotten asteroid colony ship drifting around Barnard’s Star. What began as a minor escapade to rescue her erratic electric cat soon becomes a fast-paced mystery of interstellar intrigue, taking Ravana and friends back into the civil war from which she and her father had fled. Hollow Moon is an incredible planet-hopping adventure into the shady world of politics, rebellion and school band competitions; a tale of mystery, humour and thrills! This book was described by Awesome Indies as: “...a refreshing change from the dark paranormal, dystopian and urban fantasies that populate the YA shelves...”

PAW-PRINTS OF THE GODS (Book 2): Ravana O’Brien, the reluctant young heroine of Hollow Moon, finds herself on another wild adventure, this time in the company of two extra-terrestrial greys, a cake-obsessed secret agent and a mysterious little boy wanted by the alien-worshipping Dhusarian Church. A perilous quest across the deadly deserts of Falsafah brings them into conflict with cyberclone monks, homicidal giant spiders, a psychotic nurse and a god-like cat woman with secrets of her own. Archaeologists are on the verge of a discovery that will shake the five systems to the core. Can detective Ostara and reporter Fornax uncover the truth? Paw-Prints Of The Gods is a space-opera mystery set around the discovery of ancient alien ruins on a desert planet; and a prophecy that may or may not be real...

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CITY OF DECEIT (Book 3): Raja Surya, young heir to the throne of Yuanshi, cannot stay out of trouble for long. Zotz Wak, intrepid boy inventor, decides Earth is the place to become a man. The eponymous City Of Deceit is the dystopian 23rd-century London, ravaged by rising sea levels, social inequalities and terrible politics. The United Nations is deciding the fate of Surya’s world. The Que Qiao Corporation is using the threat of alien monsters to call for war. Ravana O’Brien, the heroine of previous adventures, is stricken with a mystery illness and her hollow moon home has problems of its own. With the first ever interstellar battleships making their appearance, the far-flung worlds of the five systems would never be the same again. Taranis, the dark priest of destiny, has returned!

THE AVALON JOB (Book 4): Ravana O'Brien is confronted by her past in more ways than one. Secret agent Kedesh is back on the scene, seeking help to rescue Artorius from a shadowy American base on the moon of Avalon. A second alien portal has been found, a mysterious ancient machine that can twist space and time. Standing in the way is the vicious celebrity show Gods of Avalon, but Ravana cannot trust the slippery Kedesh and has enemies old and new out to see her fail. The rejuvenated Priest Taranis has a new chosen one, a man called The Raven who seeks Ravana's doom. A rumour of hidden gold is sowing confusion. Artorius is the key to those who want the alien portal open. Watchers are playing the ultimate game.

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SHORT STORIES: Seasonal 'Hollow Moon' short stories have been published every December since 2011. These are generally science-fiction re-tellings of traditional fairytales popular in the British tradition of pantomime, while fitting into the overall story arc of the novels: To Dance Amongst The Stars brings together the 'prequel' tales that in the overall story arc take place before Hollow Moon; while Merry Christmas, Mister Wolf brings together the 'main sequence' seasonal specials that take place during the time of the novels. Also available is Three Tales For Christmas, a free introductory anthology with three short stories and the first chapter of Hollow Moon. Other related short stories have been published elsewhere. Short-story collections are ebook only; the first three novels are available in both ebook and paperback.

For special offers, please read WyrdStar News / RSS feed for the latest offers (Amazon free offers, Smashwords vouchers, etc). Thanks for visiting! Steph.


Hollow Moon story timeline

ORDINARY PEOPLE IN EXTRAORDINARY WORLDS: The following lists the various stories in the order they fit together within the overall series timeline. To date I have published four novels (the fifth, Hollow Worlds, will be the last) and more than a dozen short stories, all of which share the same fictional universe where humanity has learned to cross the cosmos and reach the nearby stars. The worlds move on from tale to tale, but each novel and short story can be read as a stand-alone story. The Avalon Job is the only book with a cliff-hanger ending, just because it seemed appropriate given that I was trying to parody a certain film with a not dissimilar name...

The best starting point for new readers is Hollow Moon. For those chronologically-minded, the novels and short stories fit together thus:

PREQUELS

22nd Century (2160s)

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"In The Lap Of The Gods"

SHORT STORY: There are those who would stop at nothing to keep Professor Krakenspreken's innovative extra-dimensional drive from becoming a reality. For the investigating police officers, reality stretched further than they expected. Events lead them to suspect that perhaps fate is best not left in the lap of the gods, especially when the mysterious Athene is involved...
[Timeline: 120 years before HOLLOW MOON]

23rd Century (Early 2270s)

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"GENIE And The LAMP"

SHORT STORY: Angelos Inari, petty thief and self-professed laziest man in Epsilon Eridani, is offered more money than he's ever seen to steal a top-secret corporation interrogation device. Before the night is out, he is surrounded in riches and has won the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately, the mysterious Namtar has no intention of letting Inari keep his wonderful new prize...
[Timeline: 17 years before HOLLOW MOON]

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"To Dance Amongst The Stars"

SHORT STORY: Can the poor, down-trodden kitchen slave Ganesa find a Prince Charming in the shape of young, dashing space captain Hanuman? As they meet for the first time on the dance floor at the American Embassy's Christmas Ball, she is the first to admit he's not exactly her type in this tongue-in-cheek pastiche of Cinderella.
[Timeline: 15 years before HOLLOW MOON]

(Late 2270s)

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"The Watcher And The Priest"

SHORT STORY: Priest Taranis is far from home and close to death, his quest to find the mythical home world of the greys having ended in disaster. Against the odds, help is at hand, but who is the mysterious stranger wearing his boots? Caught between masters and slaves, sacrifices must be made if the dark priest of destiny is to live to tell his tale...
[Timeline: Nine years before HOLLOW MOON]

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"It's A Blunderful Life"

SHORT STORY: It is Christmas Eve and revolution is afoot on Yuanshi. Pursued by armed agents, Fenris contemplates his fate as he prepares to end it all with a midnight leap from a bridge. Then a mysterious stranger arrives to persuade him that life is worth living, but can a Samaritans hologram really hope to convince him by showing the greatest blunders of his life?
[Timeline: Nine years before HOLLOW MOON]

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"Psyche's Seven: Part 1"

SHORT STORY: The notorious prison of Feng Du was no place for Psyche to spend the first fourteen years of her life. When her mother passes away, she escapes to the mainland and finds sanctuary with a group of young miners. Meanwhile, Governor Malingee of Taotie has ambitions to be number one in Epsilon Eridani and nothing will stand in her way...
[Timeline: 'Ten years' before Part 2 (see 'main sequence')]

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"The Non-Existence Of Gravity"

SHORT STORY: Fifteen-year-old Cethlenn was lucky to be working with her Aunt Morrigan, a crazy yet talented engineer with a workshop on the moon of Asgard, Alpha Centauri. That is until Luison, an undercover corporation agent, tricks Cethlenn into a dangerous scrapyard experiment aboard the derelict USS Goliath...
[Timeline: Eight years before HOLLOW MOON]

(Early 2280s)

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"The Narcissus Solution"

SHORT STORY: A trader and young daughter leave the hollow moon to reclaim a lost fortune, but are forced to seek refuge in a mysterious starship after an accident at the orbital dock. The strange ship has no crew, only a beastly robot that takes a shine to the young girl. Can she unravel its true intentions before she is spirited away for good?
[Timeline: Four years before HOLLOW MOON]

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"Rock Of Ages"

SHORT STORY: Letters from the past were hidden for a reason. But breaking into the secure facility was child's play compared to an unexpected family reunion. What was the connection between Krakenspreken's daughter and Kedesh's own lost uncle? Tea and cake at the spaceport was a welcome distraction. The mysterious woman calling herself Athene less so...
[Timeline: Three years before HOLLOW MOON]

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"Stealing Christmas"

SHORT STORY: It is Christmas Eve and Laverna is in no mood for seasonal goodwill. Cashiered from military academy with zero career prospects, she is put to the test in a job trial like no other. The people hiding away in their smug little community are ill-prepared for her spirited sales pitch. Can she find her final target and show them what a girl of action can do?
[Timeline: Three years before HOLLOW MOON]

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MAIN SEQUENCE

23rd Century (Late 2280s)

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HOLLOW MOON

NOVEL: A kidnapped prince, a school band competition and an electric cat that eats everything in sight!

Join intrepid young heroine Ravana O'Brien in a fast-paced and witty science-fiction mystery of interstellar intrigue. Having fled civil war sixteen light years away, Ravana and her father now live in the sleepy commune of the hollow moon, a forgotten colony ship drifting around Barnard's Star. Yet the evil priest Taranis, the dark architect of destiny, has returned from the dead.

What began as a minor escapade to rescue her erratic electric pet soon leads Ravana and friends on an incredible planet-hopping voyage into the shady dystopian world of politics, terrible music and rebellion! Hollow Moon is an adventure for all who relish a dose of humour and practical astrophysics with their fantasy, for young adults and adults young at heart.
[Timeline: "Last decades of the 23rd Century"]

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"Snakes On A Spaceship"

NEW! SHORT STORY: Interplanetary smugglers Hanuman and Ganesa are ferrying a party of gangsters and cargo of exotic snakes through Epsilon Eridani's asteroid belt to a festive get-together at a crime-lord's secret hideaway. A distress call leads them to a crashed spacecraft and a mysterious young woman, asleep in a medical pod within an overgrown biological photosynthetic garden. Then someone releases the snakes...
[Timeline: Two months after HOLLOW MOON]

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"Merry Christmas, Mister Wolf"

SHORT STORY: Christmas at the exclusive ski resort of Kirchel, with its concrete log cabins and artificial snow, was a tedious affair. But the robot security wolves that patrolled the dome at night were rejects from the brutal Gods of Avalon game show. When the power fails, Hestia and her friends would soon wish they had never ventured into the forest in search of park ranger Granny.
[Timeline: Two months after HOLLOW MOON]

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"A Wizard, A Sword And A King"

SHORT STORY: The young orphan Artorius is resigned to spending Christmas on Avalon alone, wandering the snowy streets of Londinium just as a new series of the bloodthirsty holovid show Gods Of Avalon is about to start. But why are the alien-worshipping nuns encamped in the fake Temple of Mithras taking more notice of him than usual?
[Timeline: Two months after HOLLOW MOON]

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"The Ivory Tower"

SHORT STORY: Civil war might be raging on the moon of Yuanshi, but Raja Surya did not think that justified spending Christmas stuck in a room at the top of a tower in the middle of nowhere. Worse still, caretaker Amashilama was making him do exercise. But who was the mysterious secret agent, lured by his terrible singing and bringing him gifts?
[Timeline: Two months after HOLLOW MOON]

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PAW-PRINTS OF THE GODS

NOVEL: On the forbidding planet of Falsafah, archaeologists are on the verge of a discovery that will shake the five systems to the core!

Ravana O'Brien, snatched from her friends for reasons unknown, finds herself on another wild adventure, this time in the company of two alien greys, a cake-obsessed secret agent and a mysterious little orphan boy at the centre of something very big indeed. Their journey across the deadly dry deserts of Falsafah soon becomes a struggle against homicidal giant spiders, hostile machines and a psychotic nurse, not to mention an omniscient god-like watcher who is maybe also a cat.

The disturbing new leaders of the Dhusarian Church and their cyberclone monks are preparing to meet their masters and saviours. But nobody believes in prophecies anymore, do they? Paw-Prints Of The Gods is a light-hearted adventure for all young adults and adults young at heart.
[Timeline: Six months after HOLLOW MOON]

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CITY OF DECEIT

NOVEL: Raja Surya, young heir to the throne of the moon of Yuanshi, cannot stay out of trouble for long. Zotz Wak, intrepid boy inventor otherwise known as The Flying Fox, decides Earth is the place to become a man. Together they must battle the dystopian darkness of 23rd-century London: a city of deceit, under the thumb of corporations, its people barricaded behind flood walls, bewitched by the hypnotic holoverse and worse.

The United Nations is deciding the fate of Surya's world. The Que Qiao Corporation is using the threat of alien monsters to call for war. Ravana O'Brien, the heroine of their previous adventures, is stricken with a mystery illness and her hollow moon home has problems of its own.

Surya never thought he would be in the captain's chair aboard the first ever interstellar battleship. Zotz never expected to find himself accused of being a spy and terrorist at the centre of political skulduggery in London. The far-flung worlds of the five systems would never be the same again. Taranis, the dark priest of destiny, has returned.
[Timeline: Four months after PAW-PRINTS OF THE GODS]

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"Festival Of The Star"

SHORT STORY: Fifteen-year-old Tréphine has been chosen against her will to be Bishop Malebête's next wife; his previous brides have all disappeared without trace. As the town prepares for the Festival of the Star, can she escape her marriage, the bishop's slimy henchman Falacer and the horrid secret lurking in the basement of the bishop's château?
[Timeline: Four months after CITY OF DECEIT]

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"The Clockwork Cat"

SHORT STORY: Ostara Lee, private detective, is lured to the wealthy city of Bradbury Heights by a mysterious message asking for her help on a case. Captain Nyx of Newbrum police is in league with smuggler Bouki Moritasgus and only a brass clockwork cat, stolen by street urchin Tomtem from the Dickens Christmas Fair, can save the day.
[Timeline: Four months after CITY OF DECEIT]

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"Santa Claustrophobia"

SHORT STORY: It is Christmas Eve and Zotz Wak and Aurora are stuck babysitting toddler Meuler in a Cayenne shopping mall. Boredom is shattered by the arrival of Chia, the mall's world-weary Santa Claus, who is definitely not in a festive mood. Zotz and Aurora hatch a plan to help Chia bring a proper Christmas to the poor children in town.
[Timeline: Four months after CITY OF DECEIT]

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"Psyche's Seven: Part 2"

SHORT STORY: The notorious prison of Feng Du was no place for Psyche to spend the first fourteen years of her life. When her mother passes away, she escapes to the mainland and finds sanctuary with a group of young miners. Meanwhile, Governor Malingee of Taotie has ambitions to be number one in Epsilon Eridani and nothing will stand in her way...
[Timeline: Four months after CITY OF DECEIT; Part 1 is 'ten years' earlier (see 'prequels')]

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THE AVALON JOB

NOVEL: Ravana O'Brien is confronted by her past in more ways than one. Secret agent Kedesh is back on the scene, seeking help for a mission to Alpha Centauri. Artorius, the young boy taken by Que Qiao agents after fleeing the Dhusarian Church, has been traced to a shadowy American base on the moon of Avalon. A second alien portal has been found, a mysterious ancient machine that can twist space and time.

Avalon is no ordinary world. The moon hosts epic holovid events, not least the vicious celebrity show Gods of Avalon, a game based on the legends of King Arthur where players fight to survive against cyberclone beasts. Infiltrating the secret base means getting past the game arenas, but Ravana cannot trust the slippery Kedesh and has enemies old and new out to see her fail. The rejuvenated Priest Taranis, now with the might of the new Terran Federation of Worlds at his disposal, is pulling the strings. He has a new chosen one, a man called The Raven who seeks Ravana's doom. A rumour of hidden gold is sowing confusion. Artorius is the key to those who want the alien portal open. Watchers are playing the ultimate game.
[Timeline: Five months after "Psyche's Seven: Part 2"]

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HOLLOW WORLDS

COMING SOMETIME IN 2024!

NOVEL: The final instalment in the Hollow Moon series! Ravana O'Brien, Detective Ostara Lee, Artorius and their disgruntled sabre-toothed robot are marooned a very long way from home. Priest Taranis is reaping his twisted destiny with a new apprentice at his side.

The watchers Athene and Ares are bringing their great game to a close, the last roll of the dice to seal humankind's fate. Ravana does not want to be their pawn but it seems she has little choice. Can her and Ostara's friends back in the five systems find them before they are lost forever? What exactly do the scheming alien watchers have in store for human civilisation? Dyson trees, biological skyships, space dreadnoughts, alien greys: the five systems are not big enough to contain the plot...
[Timeline: Six weeks after THE AVALON JOB]

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The Five Systems: a guide to locations

In the Hollow Moon series, the Solar System and neighbouring star systems with permanent human settlements are collectively known as the Five Systems. The following is a list of places referenced in various stories, planets and major moons. The charts are not to scale!

Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri system

Double star with red dwarf companion, four light years from Sol: Alpha Centauri A is a G2V star, of mass 1.1 and radius 1.2 of Sol. Alpha Centauri B is a K1V star, of mass 0.9 and radius 0.9 of Sol. Proxima Centauri is a M5.5Ve star, four light years from Sol, of mass 0.1 and radius 0.2 of Sol.

Barnard's Star

Barnard's Star system

M4Ve star (red dwarf), six light years from Sol, of mass 0.2 and radius 0.2 of Sol.

Dandridge Cole

Hollow AsteroidSome of you who have read my 2012 novel Hollow Moon may know that the asteroid colony ship at the centre of the story is named after Dandridge MacFarlan Cole, American aerospace engineer, futurist, lecturer and author who died tragically young (age 44) in 1965.

Cole often promoted the idea of colonising the asteroids. The 'planetoids', as he argued they should be called, could be hollowed out or inflated to create a bubbleworld with habitable space on the inside. He envisaged the resulting space arks orbiting within the solar system or even being sent out on interstellar expeditions.

He and artist Roy Scarfo collaborated on the book Beyond Tomorrow: The Next Fifty Years in Space (1965), a wonderful vision of future advancements in space exploration, space development and colonisation, all based on scientific feasability at that time. The illustration on the right of a hollow asteroid is taken from this book.

(See also 'In Memory of Dandridge MacFarlan Cole', WyrdStar News Archive.)

Epsilon Eridani

Epsilon Eridani system

K2V star, 10 light years from Sol, of mass 0.9 and radius 0.7 of Sol.

Sol

Solar System

G2V star of mass 2 x 10^30 kg and diameter 1.4 x 10^6 km. Humankind's native star.

Tau Ceti

Tau Ceti system

G8V star, 12 light years from Sol, of mass 0.8 and radius 0.8 of Sol.

Betty Hill star map

Betty Hill's star map

Betty Hill sketched her 'star map' after she and her husband Barney underwent hypnosis following their legendary encounter with extraterrestrials in New Hampshire, 1961. The first serious analysis of the map was done in the late 1960s by astronomer Marjorie Fish, who thought the map represented the view from the binary star system Zeta Reticuli. Fish later retracted her findings.

Around the same time, Betty Hill's map was also examined by aeronautics worker Charles W. Atterberg, who decided the base stars (top right) were Epsilon Eridani and Epsilon Indi, despite these two stars being in different constellations and not close neighbours in space.

“For all our wondrous technology, mankind still clings to his barbaric ancestry,” Fenris told her. “The greys have shown us there is another way. The Isa-Sastra is a gift to mankind, given to the first prophet Betty Hill over three hundred years ago and which fate has now placed in the hands of our High Priest Taranis.”

Ravana smiled. “Betty is a funny name for a prophet.”

“History is full of people with strange names,” mused Miss Clymene.

“Legend says Betty hid the book, for she knew the time to reveal its teachings was not yet right,” continued Fenris. “It remained lost for many generations, until fortune brought it to Taranis, who deciphered the wisdom within the ancient script.”

[Hollow Moon, Chapter Seven: Voyage to Epsilon Eridani.]

In the Hollow Moon series, the twenty-third-century interpretation in the Isa-Sastra corrects Atterberg's error. The interstellar pathways shown by this infamous map are revealed following the discovery of ancient alien Dyson trees, bioengineered living constructs. ["In The Lap Of The Gods"; "The Watcher And The Priest"; The Avalon Job; Hollow Worlds]


~ THE WORLDS OF HOLLOW MOON ~

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Prequels
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Book 1
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Book 2
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Book 3
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Book 4
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Book 5
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Main Sequence
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Intro Anthology