Beneath the Lanterns

Beneath the Lanterns is an adventure novel set in an imaginary land. When the son of the ruler of Azere, finds himself engaged to a daughter of the Empress of Jasmyne, his good friend, Kel Cam, offers his help in dealing with this unwanted bride. Kel soon finds himself entangled in the intrigues of empires, threatening not only his freedom, but his life – proving that no good deed goes unpunished. More
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About C. Litka

I read hundreds of science fiction books in my youth. Since then I've read many other types of novels; detective stories, mysteries, adventure stories, humor, and sea stories, most written in the first half of the 20th century. All these different types of stories have shaped the stories I now write.

My long space opera/planetary romance, “The Bright Black Sea” and “The Lost Star's Sea” borrow their themes from my fond memories of those early science fiction stories, and, as I've come to realize, from Edgar Rice Burroughs in particular. Their story style, however, reflects the adventure stories of the late Victorian and Edwardian age, by the likes of H Rider Haggard and the sea stories of C J Cutcliffe Hyne and Guy Gilpatric.

“A Summer In Amber” draws its inspiration from the Scottish stories of John Bucham and Compton Mackenzie, as well as Downton Abbey.

“Some Day Days,” it's a rather experimental romance whose perigee is far from clear, even to me.

My newest novel, "Beneath the Lanterns," was written as a fantasy adventure. However, its primary fantasy element is that it is set in an imaginary land, and so it can also be read as a straight adventure or even as science fiction, since it has a science fiction backstory.

What all these stories have it common is that they are stories written the way I enjoy my fiction – lighthearted, character-driven stories with danger, adventure, humor and a bit of romance told from the “ground level” of first person narratives.

As for me, well, I've lived a very ordinary life. One wife, two grown children, a couple of grandchildren, no dogs, no cats, one car and a house in a small Midwest town. Besides writing for a couple of hours each morning, I paint impressionist paintings,
( ) put several thousand miles on my bike each year, putter around the yard in summer and the web in winter.

Also by This Author


Review by: Hannes Birnbacher on Sep. 29, 2018 : (no rating)
One definition for Science Fiction is extrapolation of today's real conditions (social, technical) into the future, or to ask "how would it be" if one parameter is changed, for example life on an other star like "Dragon's Egg" from Robert L. Forward, or a mutation within the human genome, like "Slan" from Van Vogt.
Other novels, which aren't "hard" SF and often called fantasy, just try to entertain the reader by an exciting plot, with some future, alternative or astronomical names mixed into it so the authors need not to follow our strict scientific and historic environment, or they are using distant places or times as a stage for a romantic love story, which could have happened in today's real world either.
But alas, not all authors are equally gifted in writing an interesting and scientifically correct plot with touching, individual characters.
Chris Aylott in an review on "Dragons Egg" titled "The Humans Were Flat but the Cheela Were Charming in 'Dragon's Egg'" brought it to the point: "The same can't be said for the human characters. They're perfect representatives of the cardboard scientists typical of hard SF".
Rhetorical question: What do you remember from Asimov's "Foundation"? The human characters or Hari Seldon's Thousand-Years-Plan?
Not so C. Litka. Other authors clink out a new novel about their man-eating space crocodiles every month (and I devoured all of them as they came), Litka works on his latest idea for years until he has it all correct - and he writes great romance as well. I can not imagine that his early work, "A Summer in Amber", a beautiful romance playing in a meticulously worked out future Great Britain, will be surpassed by any future SF Author. With "Beneath the Lanterns" he has done it again, but of course, in a completely different time and based on a new plot.
It starts unsuspiciously. Okay, the times of day seem to have changed from 24hrs to something like quarters of the day, and the first, second etc. hour of the quarter, but that's the freedom SF Writers have. Going along the plot, which is love and combat, unsuspicious as well, the reader becomes fascinated with the world Litka has developed. WTF are the "Lanterns"? Is it spring, summer, autumn, winter? There are more and more little differences. I think Litka has set up a riddle for readers and has fun imagining how they, bit by bit, solve the riddle or at least try to do so, unless they are fully distracted by the romance developing over the time.
Unlike some other SF novels, the background proves inventive and consistent. "Beneath the Lanterns" could have been written by a physicist or an astronomer, and still has a beautiful balance between the "Science" and the "Fiction", exciting and touching at the same time.
Of course Litka did not forget to include those unforgettable, subtile humouristic events, little gems we readers have become accustomed to find in his novels!
Remark: I almost never award a rating to the books I am reviewing. Please see my profile for the reason. Download this one. It's fun, it is exciting, and I myself estimate C. Litka to be in the best 10 percent of authors.
(review of free book)
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