The Nashoba Valley Voice talks with Galaxy Games author Greg R. Fishbone about moving the series from Tu Books to Spellbound River Press:

GROTON — A switch in publishers has not slowed local children’s author Greg Fishbone as he takes his successful “Galaxy Games” books for middle-grade readers — from outer space to inner space — with upcoming volumes set to explore characters’ lives.

“As the series continues we’ll get to know more about the players and their families,” said Fishbone. “Just as the kids are all so different from each other, their families will come in a variety of forms as well, but all equally loving and supportive. The Galaxy Games are absolutely pro-family.”

Fishbone, an attorney who also operates his own web design business, recently moved his series from Tu Books to Spellbound River Press, which is set to pick up the Galaxy Games books from volume 2.

“Tu Books is publishing some of the best multicultural genre books for children and teens,” said Fishbone of his former publisher. “Their entire list is worth checking out, and I’d have kept Galaxy Games with them forever if I could have but things happen in the publishing world that are often beyond an author’s control. It was an amicable break.

Scheduled for fall release by Spellbound is “Galaxy Games #2: The Amorphous Assassin” and in the spring of 2017, “Galaxy Games #3: The Mad Messenger.”

“Galaxy Games is my sports and science-fiction novel series for kids about the biggest sporting event in the universe, to which Earth has been invited to compete for the first time ever,” explained Fishbone, a resident of Main Street.

“The games are like the Olympics, World Cup and Super Bowl all rolled up and launched into space. And it’s all kids against kids because with most alien species, as with humans, children are better and faster than adults at picking up new rules and adjusting to new environments.

“The series follows 13-year-old Japanese American Tyler Sato and his international team of child athletes through the Galaxy Games Tournament,” said Fishbone. “Tyler stumbled his way onto the team so first he really has to prove to himself most of all, that he truly deserves to be there. And it doesn’t help that there’s a galactic conspiracy arrayed against him from the start.”

Interested in science fiction from an early age, Fishbone spent years honing his talent.

“I started as a reader,” recalled Fishbone. “I used to make a game of guessing where the story would go next. Sometimes I was right, but when I was wrong, I often liked my version of the story better than the one in the book. So I wrote them down.

“Someone told me that you had to write a million words of crap before you got it all out of your system and got to the good stuff,” noted Fishbone.

“My first published book was a contemporary fantasy called ‘The Penguins of Doom,’ but I’ve always been writing something,” said Fishbone. “That book was actually based on a shared-world thing I started between classes during law school.”

Although a fan of science fiction, Fishbone became dissatisfied with the lack of diversity among the casts of such classic novels as “Dune,” “Foundation,” and “Childhood’s End.”

“Science fiction has always been a mirror on the society it’s written for, and our society has become more and more diverse,” said Fishbone. “Many books being published today could not have been published in the ’80s, and many books that did well back then would not be published today.

“The books I liked most were the exceptions to that rule: like Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ which featured a girl protagonist; Octavia Butler’s ‘Wild Seed,’ that took place in Africa; or Ursula K. LeGuin’s ‘The Left Hand of Darkness,’ that took place on a world with only one gender. For me, these were opportunities to explore and speculate, which is what science fiction should be all about.

“I like that Galaxy Games is a story that can’t be told with anything but a diverse cast,” Fishbone said. “When you have a team that represents Earth, it has to represent all of Earth: boys and girls of many cultures, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, and backgrounds. The story simply would not work any other way.”

Fishbone fell into writing for children by accident.

“I had an editor ask me to pitch her a sports series, so I really thought about what my sports series would look like, the one that could only be written by me, reflecting my personality and my strengths as an author,” said Fishbone. “Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s silly, and sometimes there are aliens.”

The results have met with a positive response.

“Publishers Weekly called it ‘every alien-obsessed kid’s dream come true,’” said Fishbone. “Barnes & Noble’s BNKids blog recommended it ‘for kids who like lots of humor with their aliens,’ and just a few weeks ago a GoodReads reviewer wrote about how much she loved the message of peace and tolerance, the presence of different cultures and ethnic groups, and the strong girl characters.”

Interested readers can check out the Galaxy Games series from online sources such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both hardcopy and ebook formats. Book #1 is now available with #2 due out this fall.

“These are fun books,” said Fishbone of his efforts. “Or at least I’m having fun writing them, and I hope that comes through when you read them.”

Note: Galaxy Games Book #2: The Amorphous Assassin is now available from Spellbound River Press!

For only the second time ever, pre-release copies of The Amorphous Assassin were on sale at the Third Annual Central Massachusetts Children’s Book Festival. Local families came together with authors and illustrators to celebrate great books for children. “Many of my old friends were in attendance and a fun time was had by all,” said Galaxy Games author Greg R. Fishbone.

Greg R. Fishbone and David Kelly check out each other's books.
Greg R. Fishbone and David Kelly check out each other’s books.

If you like the Galaxy Games series, and middle grade sports books in general, check out David Kelly’s baseball mystery series that visits Major League stadiums across the US and Canada, his new sport-specific series, and a fascinating non-fiction baseball book about some very special mud.

On Thursday, November 10th, Galaxy Games author Greg R. Fishbone appeared a bakery-based book signing with the first-ever for-sale copies of his newest book, The Amorphous Assassin.

“I received an entire box of The Amorphous Assassin, just in time,” said Fishbone of the book signing at Groton, Massachusetts’s Bliss Bakery. The event was part of a Local Business Night Out sponsored by the Deluxe Corporation. Fishbone added, “this was easily the best-smelling book signing I’ve ever done, thanks to all the fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies and cakes all around me.”

In honor of this historic milestone, we’ve added an inaugural answer to our Galaxy Games Trivia Page:

 

Where was the first copy of Amorphous Assassin sold?

Note: I should have started with a World Series version but didn’t have a game board ready by then.


Welcome to the first ever episode of the Galaxy Games “for reals” home edition! As you know, the Galaxy Games are the most popular contest in our galaxy, based on a logic puzzle that developed independently on over a million different worlds.

On Earth, that game popularly goes by the name of Tic-Tac-Toe, although other names are also in use across the planet, including Naughts and Crosses.

The Players

Tonight’s competition will pit Donald “The Bulldog” Trump against Hillary “Bottled Lightning” Clinton in a high-stakes winner-takes-all battle. The winner will receive a four-year term of control over the executive branch of the United States, which we’re told is one of Planet Earth’s most prestigious administrative districts.

The Game Board

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The Rules

Players will battle simultaneously in these battleground states as well as additional states whose electoral votes will all be counted toward the Bonus Jackpot in the center square. Battleground state squares will be awarded based on the projections by Earth-based news networks. The first team whose projected electoral vote total reaches 270 or more will take the center square.

The first player to score three in a row, column, or diagonally, will receive all the honor and glory that comes with winning the Galaxy Games.

In addition, the player who takes the Bonus Jackpot will get:

  • Four years of rent-free living in a big white house;
  • Access to all-expense-paid travel aboard a presidential-themed airplane;
  • A cool theme song;
  • Free admission to periodic state dinners;
  • A challenging set of job responsibilities;
  • A government pension;
  • Lifetime Secret Service protection;
  • and more!

9:30PM EST Update

Voting has ended in most states on the Eastern side of the country. As returns are being counted, all 8 of the battleground states on our gameboard are still in play. In the fight for the Bonus Jackpot in the center square, Donald Trump has a projected 128 EVs toward the 270+ total needed while Hillary Clinton has 97 EVs toward the 270+ total needed.

It’s going to be a long night.

9:45PM EST Update

At the moment, Trump is ahead in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio. With North Carolina and Georgia, and adding in Nevada, Trump could win the game without winning the Jackpot.

New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are currently leaning toward Clinton. If these states were to hold in her column and if she were to also add Arizona, she could win the game without winning the Jackpot.

There are no results yet from Arizona while voting is still ongoing in Nevada.

10:21PM EST Update

Donald Trump is first on the Tic-Tac-Toe board, taking the South Square with a projected win in Ohio.

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11:07PM EST Update

CNN is projecting that Donald Trump will win the Northeast Square by taking North Carolina.

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That puts another row, column, and diagonal out of Hillary Clinton’s hands.

I don’t know that I can stay up for this entire thing but will try to keep up a bit longer.

11:41PM EST Update

It’s not looking good for Clinton as Trump picks up the North Square with a win projected in Florida. She needs Pennsylvania and the Bonus Jackpot just to block, and Trump has a 216 to 209 EV edge at the moment.

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10:50PM EST Update

The board is looking ugly, but Clinton can still win the East Column with wins in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

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12:08AM EST Update

It’s Wednesday morning on the East Coast and Trump is edging closer to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Bonus Jackpot in the Center Square. He leads Clinton 238 to 209 at the moment.

12:33AM EST Update

Clinton is finally on the board and scores a block by taking the Southwest Square and Nevada.

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1:00AM EST Update

I’m putting the game on hold out of respect for all who are legitimately terrified about the results of this election. Honestly, I thought the election would go in a very different direction and that this game would be a lot more fun.

Goodnight, America!

Final Update

Votes are still being counted, and electoral votes in Michigan have yet to be awarded, but of approximately 132 million votes cast, no candidate will receive an outright majority. The current expectation is that Hillary Clinton will receive a larger plurality of the popular vote, while Donald Trump will receive a larger number of electoral votes.

The ultimate winner in the popular vote total, as expected, will be”Nobody” with approximately 100 million non-votes among the estimated 232 million US citizens eligible to vote. Donald Trump’s victory of around 100,000 votes in the three battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin will be enough to put him over the top in the electoral college–and will represent only about one-tenth of one percent of the voters who sat on their hands instead of going to the polls.

Congratulations where congratulations are due, and much consolation and virtual hugs for everyone who needs them. Four years from now, when Donald Trump must defend his Tic-Tac-Toe championship status against some scrappy newcomer, keep in mind that your vote is needed and that every vote counts!

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