When I met author Michael D. Smith, Mike or Mickey for short, at a book festival in June, I was intrigued by his book Trip to Mars. I also enjoyed visiting with him and getting a brief introduction to his other artistic work. He has written numerous books and has been painting and drawing for many years. Do visit his website to see all that he’s accomplished.
TRIP TO MARS BOOK BLURB: Eleven-year-old Mickey Smith’s first attempt at what he called a novel was Trip to Mars, fifty-five penciled pages in a small yellow notebook. Starring Jack Commer and his three brothers, Trip to Mars outlined the horrors of a 2033 World War IV and the evacuation of Earth’s surviving population to Mars. The story is a childhood prequel to–and the inspiration for– Smith’s published Jack Commer series, beginning with The Martian Marauders, where Jack grapples with Martian terrorism in the aftermath of the Evacuation, and deals with adult concerns unknown to an eleven-year-old.
Smith recently expanded Trip to Mars (all of 2,646 words) into sixty-five pages of a few lines each, drawing pencil illustrations for these pages to make a picture book paperback. The illustrations both complement and supersede the often silly sixth-grade words, delightfully blending child and adult energies.
REVIEW: I love this book. Maybe because I got to know Mike, and he was such an entertaining table buddy at the book festival, but I really think it’s because of the story and the wonderful illustrations. I was impressed that the story was written by a boy of eleven. It is very well written, and Mike shared that other than some editing for grammar, the words are the same as when he first wrote the story.
Quite an accomplishment I think, and adults will enjoy the book as much as young readers.
I was also impressed by the artistic talent of the grown up Mike; although there’s still a bit of an imp inside him as you can see in this picture; taken at the book festival and he agreed that I could post it here. He obviously has fun writing and illustrating his books, and that sense of playfulness comes across in his wonderful art.
Mike is a masterful visual artist in several mediums, and the one I like most is his acrylic paintings. They are of varied styles and subjects, some showing characters from his books. One that struck me in particular is this one used for the cover of his book CommWealth, which has an intriguing premise; anyone can take your property. Actors in a theatrical troupe try to adapt to this new policy with various degrees of success.
I haven’t read this book, but I plan to. Even though it is dystopian, and I seldom read that genre, I find the book blurb very appealing.
Mike has written a number of other books, including The Martian Marauders, a sci-fi story set in the not-so-distant future.
BOOK BLURB: In 2033 Captain Jack Commer had been ordered to drop the planet-wrecking Xon bomb to end the Final War, forcing a hasty evacuation of the remnants of Earth’s population to Mars. But by June 2034 previously unknown native Martians have risen in rebellion, led by their new human emperor, political agitator and traitor Sam Hergs. Amid family squabbles arising from the presence of four Commer brothers aboard his ship, Jack finds himself in the deep Martian desert battling Martian insurgents armed with shatterguns that crack their victims into millions of jagged pieces of glass.
Available as eBook and paperback at Amazon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, then moved to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist. The first six novels in his Jack Commer science fiction series have been published by Double Dragon Publishing. In addition, Sortmind Press published his literary novels Sortmind, The Soul Institute, and Akard Drearstone, as well as his novella The First Twenty Steps. His dystopian, black comedy novel CommWealth was published by Class Act Books. All titles are available from Amazon.
Please come back on Wednesday when Mike will be my guest with a fun interview of Laurie Lachrer, one of the characters in his Martian series. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.