Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Crying of Ross 128 VBT

America has splintered into various independent republics after a brutal civil war. Against this backdrop, space exploration is on the cusp of new technological breakthroughs. Jim Atteberry, a mid-30s English professor at City College in San Francisco, spends his free time listening for alien signals on the amateur radio astronomy bands. His life as a single parent to his precocious daughter is turned upside-down when he hears an intelligent cry for help from the Ross 128 system and realizes we are not alone. This signal unleashes a chain of events pitting Jim and his brilliant, mysterious colleague Kate against a power-hungry scientist with his own secret agenda. Jim must learn the truth about the signal, the strange disappearance of his wife Janet, and the meaning of true love before it’s too late in this first contact thriller.

"How long does it take a subspace signal to travel from Ross 128 to Earth?" he asked.

The machine responded verbally. “Twenty-two minutes, 13.4 seconds with current subspace technology.”

Atteberry recorded the time on his notepad, then looked at the screen. “Is there any history of alien signals coming from Ross 128?”

“Negative. Although in 2017, unknown signals from that system were received at the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. They were later dismissed as Terran satellites.”

Ghost signals. That happened sometimes due to the multitude of satellites orbiting Earth back then, and now around the moon and Mars. Signals would bounce and echo off them all the time, like ripples in a pond bouncing off rocks and plants.

“Speculate as to the origin of this signal if it’s a ghost.”



“If the signal is a ghost, it is most likely an artifact of the Second American Civil War circa 2070. The Northern Democratic States and the Confederate States often used ghost signals as decoys to confuse enemy communications.”

So that’s it, Atteberry thought, he’s been chasing old civil war ghosts. Yet the question of subspace remained, and, as far as he knew, neither side in the civil war used the emerging FTL technology. It wasn’t sufficiently developed until after the new republics separated.

“What is the likelihood that these Ross 128 signals are satellite ghosts?”

“0.02 percent.”

“What’s the probability the true source is the Ross 128 system itself?”

“74.8 percent.”

Atteberry leaned forward on his workbench and realized the results were inconclusive. “What’s the probability that these signals are naturally occurring... a pulsar or a quasar for example?”

“Zero percent. The signals are artificially produced with slight variations in pattern frequency, suggesting unknown transmission methodology.”


“Improbable. There are no known humans in the Ross 128 space.”

Atteberry feared asking the next question; he swallowed hard. “Alien?”

“99.8 percent probable.”

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
When I visit my relatives in Guelph, Ontario, we often go to the Boathouse, an ice cream parlor and tea room situated on a small river and park in the middle of the city. The ice cream there is beyond delicious, and the flavor I gravitate to is New York Cherry Cheesecake. Is it my favorite flavor? I don’t know. It’s the one I prefer when I go out for ice cream, but I also adore Mint Chocolate Chip, Vanilla, Maple Walnut, and Blueberry.

In fact, I don’t think I ever met an ice cream flavor I didn’t like!

Which mythological creature are you most like?
Oh, this is a tough question because what I think I’m like and what others think I’m like can be totally opposite. However, while some of my friends might see me as a harpy, I see myself more like a centaur. And not just any old centaur, but Firenze from J.K. Rowling’s “The Chamber of Secrets”.

First book you remember making an indelible impression on you.
I believe the first book that really got me excited about the power of story and words was “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. I completely fell in love with the characters in that book. The other one that left a large impression on me was “Catcher in the Rye” by Salinger. To this day, I still enjoy reading it.

How do you develop your plot and characters?
When I put a story together, this is what I usually do. First, I come up with an interesting story idea. I phrase it as a log line, like “Suppose a teenage boy on Tatooine discovers his family murdered by stormtroopers, and decides to join the rebel alliance to avenge their deaths”. Something like that.

Then, I begin putting my characters together, starting with my protagonist. Then my opposition. Then my confidant or romantic interest or other.
With my story idea and main characters identified, I then go about the business of plotting the story out. I do this plotting before I ever write a word of the story. Of course, there is an ongoing discussion about what  writers should do: plot things out or write by the seat of their pants. I am a plotter. I plan everything out before I ever begin writing. This always works for me.

Describe your writing space.
I have two primary writing spaces. The first is my dining room table at home. On the table, I have large pieces of flip chart paper that I use to doodle on and jot down ideas. When I look up, I’m looking out into my backyard with trees hedges, squirrels, blue jays and cardinals. I tend to write there when I am home alone.

If I’m on campus at Carleton University, I write in the library. I’ll frequently find a table where I can work, or else I’ll stick with a seat where I just put the laptop on my... lap, and listen to soft music while I write.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
David Allan Hamilton is a teacher, writer, and multipotentialite. He is a graduate of Laurentian University (BSc. Applied Physics) and The University of Western Ontario (MSc. Geophysics). He lives in Ottawa where he facilitates writing workshops and teaches. When not writing, David enjoys riding his bike long distances, painting, and knitting.

Website    |    Facebook    |    Twitter    |    Instagram    |    Goodreads

Buy Links:
Hardcover     |     Paperback     |     Kindle

Barnes & Noble
Hardcover     |     Paperback     |     Nook

Kobo     |     Smashwords
Hardcover     |     Paperback


  1. Thank you so much for taking time to bring to our attention another great read. I enjoy these tours and finding out about many terrific books.

  2. Thanks for hosting this stop on the virtual book tour!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Rita! Be sure to check out my website at

  4. I can't wait to read this book!