Carl Martin


Carl Martin is the fiction pen name of Rod Martin, Jr.

Rod Martin, Jr. was born in West Texas, United States. He has been a Hollywood artist, a software engineer with a degree summa cum laude, a writer, web designer and a college professor.

Rod Martin's interests have ranged from astronomy to ancient history, physics to geology, and graphics arts to motion pictures.

He has studied comparative religion, worked as a lay minister and spiritual counselor, and taught ethics in college.

While doing graphic arts in Hollywood, he also studied electronic engineering. In 1983, as Carl Martin, he published his first novel, "Touch the Stars: Emergence," co-authored by John Dalmas (Tor Books, NY).

Later, switching careers to computers and information technology, Mr. Martin worked for Control Data, Ceridian Payroll, Bank of America, Global Database Marketing and IPRO Tech. He also created "Stars in the NeighborHood" 3D astronomy space software.

He currently resides in the Philippines with his wife, Juvy. He has taught information technology, mathematics and professional ethics at Benedicto College, in Cebu. He continues to teach online and to write books and blogs.

Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first story at age 8, inspired by an old Steve Reeves movie about Hercules. In my story, "Giant Hercules," our hero throws an enchanted discus which disappears into the distance. Later, after circling the planet, the discus returns to the arena. The hero sleep walks toward the discus, growing smaller as he nears it, penetrating the side of it to appear in space, trapped amongst the stars in a block of ice. Years later, while driving on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, I saw a billboard with Lou Ferrigno as Hercules, half up to his waist in a block of ice, floating amongst the stars. It made me wonder if writers might be connected to one another. A delightful coincidence, whether accidental or cause-and-effect.

I was also inspired by films like "Forbidden Planet" and stories like "Wizard of Lemuria." Some of it was awful, but it all tickled an itch to explore the world of possibilities.

While living in Los Angeles, I worked as an artist doing phototypesetting, layout, illustration and even did several matte paintings for a Saul Bass short film of a Ray Bradbury short story, "Quest." Mr. Bass was a two-time Academy Award winning designer. A friend of mine, George Mather (a special effects manager on the original Star Wars) had called me on the film project.

Another friend, John Dalmas (pen name of John R. Jones), had asked if he could work with me on one of my novel projects. I jumped at the chance to work with him at a time when he was beginning to dedicate his life to writing science fiction, after a successful career as a forest ecologist. Though I didn't pursue a writing career of my own at that time, it established a solid foundation for my education as a writer.

Later, I switched from an art career to that of a software engineer, eventually finishing a degree summa cum laude. I continued to use my writing skills, but for more business-related projects. Always, I hungered to tell the tales of adventure and possible realities. A number of short stories were submitted and rejected. But I always remembered the words of one professional writer who said that the only way to learn to write is to write. After writing your first million words, you start to get an idea of what you're doing. I'm always learning, even when I'm teaching others what I've learned.

In 2012, I added several scenes to my first novel with John Dalmas (Touch the Stars: Emergence) and republished it. Two years later, I finally finished the sequel, Touch the Stars: Diaspora, and published it along with an anthology of my short fiction. Now, I have several other projects in various stages of completion.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Touch the Stars: Diaspora (TTSD) was a long time in coming. I started this sequel to my first novel as soon as the first one was published by Tor Books, in 1983. The dangers in the first book become magnified a thousand fold. The technological advances also are greatly magnified. And the heroism of Jason Roanhorse is complemented by the maturing of his eldest son, Gordon.

I never made the sequel a high priority until 1990, when I took off a few months and traveled to Thailand. I dedicated several hours each day to writing. Even with nearly a dozen screaming kids in the room, the words continued to flow. One of my favorite scenes came from that working vacation. A storm on the Gulf of Thailand, at Pattaya, the scene was so vividly compelling, my wife could not coax me to come inside as I wrote down my description of the colors and shapes in front of me. In my mind, I could see the Roanhorse starship snap into view between roiling clouds and the choppy, ice green waves of the Siamese Sea.

After that trip, the novel lay dormant and unfinished for several years. I finally finished a draft and sent off a query to Tor Books. Though the editor wanted to see my mountain of pages, his reply was a wake-up call that I still had much to learn.

About that time, I took creative writing in college, hoping to learn enough and to complete the lessons John Dalmas had started. I was always the first to lay my class creations on the hearth of criticism. The fellow students, and especially the professor, were brutal. I didn't agree with everything they said, but I listened and searched for what I had done that could elicit their reaction. Their perception mattered more to me than any ego I might protect. I was there to learn and ego be damned. I took a second semester of creative writing and learned even more. My professor convinced me to take another of his classes on opera as an art form. At first, I cringed. But after the first couple of weeks, I saw the value in learning a different form of the art of storytelling. I was so compelled by this, I took a second semester of the class, studying an entirely new set of operas. It opened my eyes in ways I never could have imagined.

My college work was focused on computer science. I had loved mathematics and logic for as long as I could remember. When my late father had worked in the space industry in the 60s, I even had helped him draw logic flow charts for his work. In the late 90s, I finally had a computer with enough power and colors to display stars the way I had always wanted to display them. I programmed a 3D star viewer, later called "Stars in the NeighborHood" (or "Stars in the Hood"). This had helped me visualize the last part of my novel, adding scenes that felt more real because I could now see the constellations from that other star system.

In 2002, I took a year off from software engineering. I had made enough money to dedicate a solid block of time writing something new. I didn't feel strong enough yet as a writer to modify what I had already written on TTSD. I felt it would be better to write something entirely new, improve my game, and then come back to Diaspora with a new level of writing skills. That's when I wrote "Edge of Remembrance." That ended up being nearly a thousand pages. I ultimately broke the story into two parts -- "Edge of Remembrance: Gods and Dragons," and "Edge of Remembrance: Tales of Atlantis Lost." Both of these take place in the same Roanhorse universe as the two "Touch the Stars" novels. The first was published in 2006 as an eBook. I'm currently adding more scenes in preparation for republishing it, hopefully in 2017.

In 2007, my computer career ended by choice and my writing took a break for matters of the heart. I found my soulmate online. Now, after more than 9 years living overseas, the bond between us has grown even stronger.

Being semi-retired gave me much more time to write. After adding a few scenes to my first novel, I finished up "Touch the Stars: Diaspora" and published it in 2014. After more than 30 years, the book was finally done.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Carl Martin online

Where to buy in print


Edge of Remembrance
Through science, humanity is on the edge of remembering events and people who have remained forgotten beyond the earliest borders of history. This series explores the lives of two archaeologists separated by 12,000 years.
Gods and Dragons
Price: $2.99 USD.
Tales of Atlantis Lost
Price: $4.99 USD.
Touch the Stars
Jason Roanhorse is not your typical Apache. He lives in Scotland and runs a major aerospace corporation bearing his name. When he enters a room, he fills it with his presence. This larger-than-life character is responsible for the development of a faster-than-light space drive and its implementation for the benefit of all humanity. Yet, there are those who would want such a discovery destroyed or stolen. The powerful and secretive Hamilton Club has worked for more than a century to enslave all humanity, and Roanhorse has become their biggest threat. This series starts with an R&D accident and expands into dozens of star systems surrounding our own. There are plenty of opportunities amongst the stars, but also an uncomfortable array of dangers.


Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,900. Language: English. Published: September 22, 2019 by Tharsis Highlands. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
Short story about a much needed breakthrough. If the scientists didn't get this right, they would lose the war. And losing meant death for all of humanity. The enemy didn't want to conquer; they wanted to annihilate. Welcome to the 32nd century. Humanity had already spread to the stars, but this new competitor wanted to disinfect every human planet.
The Water
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,770. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2019 by Tharsis Highlands. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
The planet Lavoisier held 30,000-year-old secrets. This short story takes place in the Psi-5 Aurigae star system, a solar analog with one Earth-like world dubbed Lavoisier. The fourth expedition to that star system made several startling discoveries, the most profound of which involved the planet's prodigious covering of water.
Tales of Atlantis Lost
Series: Edge of Remembrance. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 115,320. Language: English. Published: March 15, 2017 by Tharsis Highlands. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Tales of Atlantis Lost is book two of Edge of Remembrance. It includes ancient technology, intrigue, murder, deception, super technology, space travel, terraforming another world, and more. Gunter Jürgens discovers he has an intelligent and attractive fan who will not go away. Merla Velzna faces her greatest challenge since the destruction of her homeland.
Gods and Dragons
Series: Edge of Remembrance. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 139,940. Language: English. Published: February 14, 2017 by Tharsis Highlands. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
“Merla Velzna had earned the right not to kill. No one else born into the Military Class had ever gained her advantage—the freedom to choose her own destiny. For eight years, digging for artifacts had given her peace. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, her military training was once again active in mind and body. Someone was following her....”
Entropy's Children
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 57,980. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2015 by Tharsis Highlands. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Twelve tales of short science fiction meant to challenge your mind. From a brave soul at the end of one universe to a brave soldier a thousand centuries beyond the end of our own history, these tales stretch your intellect. If you remain humble, you might see something entirely new. Entropy's Children will leave you with a new appreciation for the universe in which we live
Touch the Stars: Diaspora
Series: Touch the Stars. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 167,700. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2015 by Tharsis Highlands. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » High tech, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Part 2 of Touch the Stars. The sinister Hamilton Club has gained an alien ally named Vormin Kark. With the alien's super technology, Roanhorse Aerospace and the rest of humanity don't seem to stand a chance. But Jason Roanhorse finds his own helpful aliens, plus an elder son who comes of age to help battle the forces of evil.
Touch the Stars: Emergence
Series: Touch the Stars. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 75,660. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2015 by Tharsis Highlands. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Conspiracies do exist and they are far more common than you might realize. When Jason Roanhorse and his aerospace company discover a faster-than-light drive, he attracts the attention of the ultra-secret Hamilton Club, a group of the world's most powerful. The Hamilton Club is bent on global conquest and the Roanhorse discovery could jeopardize their plans. Roanhorse has to be stopped.

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