Once Humans - Vol.2 of the Daimones Trilogy by Massimo Marino is today's Sci-fi Saturday feature on One Thousand Worlds.
About Massimo Marino
I'm Italian, and because even in Italy that means everything and nothing at all, I should say, I am Sicilian. I was born in Palermo, and as it happened with countless Sicilians, I left it, back in 1986. I lived more years abroad than in my home country, and I have changed in many and different ways than my old friends there. It is always a pleasure to go back, but it is now 6 long years since my last visit. Saudade? Maybe, a little.
I lived in Switzerland, France, and the United States. I am a scientist as a background, and have spent over 17 years in fundamental research. Most of my writing are then academic stuff, and I always wonder at how much Google is able to find about everyone. I am sure one has to Google oneself so not to forget too much...
I worked for many years at CERN—an international lab for particle physics research near Geneva, Switzerland—then in the US at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Fantastic moments and memories from those years. In 2005 I moved to the private sector, worked with Apple Inc., and then for the World Economic Forum.
I wrote since I was a kid, short stories and novellas, but never had anyone read it. It was a personal thing. Then, work and life took their toll and I stopped. Slightly over a year ago, for various reasons, I started again with some burning inside that needed to come out. On the first weekend I got over 15000 words, then subscribed to critters.org for peer review, lurked a year keeping on writing and getting feedback.
On September 2012 my debut novel, "Daimones", saw the light. It received the 2012 PRG Reviewer's Choice Award in Science Fiction. Last February it was awarded with the Hall of Fame - Best Science Fiction by Quality Reads UK, and received over 64% of the 1600+ readers votes. To the day, Daimones has sold over 4,000 copies. Both novels are available as digital and printed editions.
The sequel, "Once Humans", was published last July and has sold more than 1,000 copies since. I'm writing Vol.3, "The Rise of the Phoenix”. Its Prelude (chapters 1-4) has been published last November and readers can have a taste of what’s coming in the trilogy.
In January 2014, the “Daimones Trilogy” won the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award as Best Science Fiction Series.
The novels have been optioned by an Independent Audiobook Publisher in the US, Sci-Fi Publishing LCC, and both Daimones and Once Humans are now available as audiobook, too. (From audible.com, Amazon and iTunes).
My Amazon page is: http://www.amazon.com/Massimo-Marino/e/B008O53L5O
my blog: http://massimomarinoauthor.com
We had the perfect life in the French-Swiss countryside until that mysterious windstorm in February. No one realized anything unusual has happened, but the next morning, while driving Annah, my daughter, to school, I discovered that vehicles littered the highway, with their dead occupants still inside.
Returning home, no one answered the phone at any of the emergency departments nor could I or my wife, Mary, reach our relatives and friends. Checking on the neighbors, I found them dead.
We soon realized we might be the only survivors of a global catastrophe. We stocked up on emergency supplies, turned the house into a stronghold, and collected food and medicines. The Internet still worked so I launched a large, online campaign to find other survivors with the hope of learning more about what we were facing. While waiting for any response at all, I managed to befriend some neighborhood dogs and we armed ourselves with survival gear.
At first, it felt weird and disturbing to go into stores and take things without paying but, of course, there was no one to pay. The whole world had become a ghost town.
At home, to keep a sense of normalcy, we went by the calendar and home-schooled Annah. After lessons and on weekends, we trained the dogs, practiced shooting with the arsenal I had gathered, and patrolled the surrounding area to nurture the hope of finding others alive.
More changes came as the months went by and our lives took some turns we couldn’t have predicted in our wildest dreams. Yet, now, it became a case of survival and adapting to what would come our way.
Finally, we discovered others had also survived and that some strange entities were behind the human extermination.
We met Laura, and her presence made us question what was right and wrong in our new existence. Mary chose to support Laura's infatuation with me rather than chasing her away and possibly condemning Annah to an isolated life, waiting alone for her own death. We became a multi-partner family and Laura became pregnant to give birth to our daughter, Hope.
Those behind the extermination of humans manifested themselves to me, and my family experienced the horror of the first encounter. I learned from the aliens—the Moîrai Alaston, Mênis, and Algea—what the extermination entailed: the genetic transformation of a small group of people, the Selected, and a planned process for the creation of a new race with others survivors spared in the culling.
Through the Palladium, an alien artifact that modified us genetically and provided the Selected with a means of direct communication, I recovered the lost memory of the frightening history of mankind; a disturbing revelation I could’ve never envisioned.
Yes, I’m one of the Selected on the planet and I’m charged with the reconstruction of the race of man. Mary became the mother of my first transgenic baby and, together with Laura, we settled with the first survivors we met beside Laura: Jean-Claude and Liliana, Camille and Sarah, and others who joined us in the medieval city of Civita, Italy.
The communities of spared ones, each led by at least one of us Selected, grew under the benevolent eyes of the Moîrai. The aliens instructed the survivors thanks to the Palladiums and we all developed technical skills that were crucial in the initial months and years.
The final events brought some closure about the catastrophe to everyone... but also laid a heavy burden and responsibility on the Selected and myself.
We kept in touch with other communities and the Moîrai, the humanoid glowing aliens who culled the race of men with their twisted salvation plan. They became a constant presence although they tried not to become an intrusive one.
Early during the first year, another Selected, Marina, and her rescued people joined us in Civita; other spared ones found our community, too. They said they followed the Palladium’s beams, visible from afar. People still feared the future, the uncertainty, and the way the Selected had been changed scared many of the spared ones. We knew people thought of us as aliens—the same as the Moîrai—and suspicion took hold in the minds of those who refused to join us. They were suspicious...we are different...though, in many respects, we are all still the same.
We couldn’t verify the actual number of survivors and we had no way to tell whether only ten million spared ones lived on Eridu, as we called Earth. Communities founded by the Selected received support from the Moîrai and they allowed each community to become self-sufficient. Things looked promising and were moving along, so why did I have the impression the Moîrai pursued other goals than just helping us to settle in only a few years? At times, they showed urgency in their manners I couldn’t explain.
Where you can purchase Massimo Marino's books: