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Traveling In Space [Kindle Edition]

Steven Paul Leiva
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 376 pages
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Book Description

A unique science fiction first contact novel from the aliens' point-of-view; a 21st Century "Gulliver's Travels" with Homo sapiens as the Lilliputians.

PRAISE FOR STEVEN PAUL LEIVA AND THE SCIENCE FICTION ADVENTURE, "TRAVELING IN SPACE"


"Steven Leiva not only promises, but delivers! Beautifully written." -- Ray Bradbury, National Book Award author of The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 

"Traveling in Space's humor and refreshing perspective are thoroughly enjoyable"  -- Diane Ackerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Human Age and A Natural History of the Senses

"Leiva's immense gifts are matched only by his wry, biting wit" -- Paul Provenza; author of ¡Satiristas! director of The Aristocrats, host of Showtime's The Green Room with Paul Provenza

"Wry humor, intellectual insight and terrific story telling are the consistent signatures of Leiva's work." -- Ken Kragen, legendary Hollywood producer/manager 


The last thing the factfinders -- who call themselves Life -- expected to find while traveling in space in "The Curious" on a mission from their planet, The Living World, was other life. But one day they stumble upon the third planet out from a backwater sun and find it teeming with a vast diversity of life including one sentient and cognizant, if primitive, species that they dub: Otherlife.

Being not only from "The Curious" but inherently curious themselves, they begin to study the Otherlife and their alien culture, discovering such strange things as: marriage, intoxicating drinks, weapons of minor and mass destruction, the gleeful inhaling of toxic substances, two-parent families, layered language, genocide, non-nude bathing, and -- the strangest thing of all -- religion.

This first contact between Life and Otherlife, disconcerting for both, has moments of humor and moments of horror -- and neither escape the encounter unchanged.


Product Description

About the Author

STEVEN PAUL LEIVA has toiled for many years in the hills and valleys of Hollywood as a producer and writer for film, stage, and special events. He writes the occasional essay for The Los Angeles Times and for the award-winning LAtimes.com blog, "The Hero Complex." Steven produced the animation for "Space Jam," pairing the witty Bugs Bunny with the sweaty Michael Jordan. His first two published novels, the satiric Hollywood-based thrillers "Blood is Pretty: The First Fixxer Adventure" and "Hollywood is an All-volunteer Army: The Second Fixxer Adventure," featured his mysterious hero, The Fixxer. His stage play, "Made on the Moon," had its world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has been performed in America by such actors as Paul Provenza, Robert Picardo and John Billingsley. Steven directed a special reading of Ray Bradbury's one-act play, "The Better Part of Wisdom," starring James Cromwell, for Ray Bradbury Week in Los Angeles as part of the literary master's 90th birthday celebrations. Steven lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Amanda, and his daughter, Miranda. You can contact the author at Firstfixxer@aol.com. Illustrator Todd Cronin is an animator and illustrator who has worked on projects for Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, Universal, and Disney. He illustrated the cover for Steven Paul Leiva's previous book, "Hollywood is an All-Volunteer Army." Todd lives in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Reese where he is writing and illustrating a children's graphic novel, Danforth. You can see more of Todd's work at: www.fishtoonzanimation.com

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 759 KB
  • Print Length: 376 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Bluroof Press (22 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0070S2314
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #524,987 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, funny, knockout 6 Dec. 2013
Format:Paperback
Possibly the most straight-faced satire I've ever read; Traveling in Space combines wit, adventure and detailed character study, as well as throwing in harsh examinations of the human concepts of love, religion and politics.

When interstellar travellers arrive above Earth, curious about the Otherlife, you quickly find yourself on a satirical romp that uses the utterly deadpan humour and total honesty of the Aliens as a foil for the scheming, complicated and emotional Humans. We delve into morals, both of the unusual and complex problems facing the Aliens when they realise they can't simply take over the earth, and of the Humans, particularly the leaders who see their opportunity for Grand Designs.

The Aliens are not without their own failings, and they are forced to confront their own hypocrisy over their enforced population control, and ultimately with a rogue element of command that threatens their entire relationship with the Earth.

Bitingly dark and endlessly teasing; this novel examines our own often silly idiosyncrasies and beliefs, and asks if we really understand our actions or just follow the base desires of our genetic coding.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 23 Sept. 2014
By Matt
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good book, but felt like it was written in the 70's
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, imaginative and exciting to read 16 Aug. 2013
By Grandmaca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Traveling in Space" is a "history" written by a member of a large group of alien beings who, by random chance, encounter our earth. The give and take between the two cultures is insightful, imaginative and exciting to read. Here is a book of science fiction in which the psychological and sociological elements are as valid and accurate as the scientific ones.

"Traveling in Space" is spiced throughout with wit and humor. Not to allow any cats from bags, while reading chapter 21 "Angel Voice! You're My Choice!" I was laughing so hard I had to keep dabbing my eyes so that I could see the words on the page. As the book's remaining pages become fewer and we readers know the end is near Mr. Leiva leaves only the most touching question unanswered...at least until the final sentence. In that sentence the author gives us a funny little surprise, but so packed with significance that we fully understand this most satisfying ending.

To my delight, I was guided to this book by a friend and I hope you will allow me to expand on that favor and be your guide in discovering this brilliant work.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as anything in my SciFi collection. 19 Aug. 2013
By Mitchs Calf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is as good as anything in my science fiction collection. Heinlein, Brin, Adams, Brust, it doesn't matter, Steven Leiva deserves to be in their company. The book is funny, sure. Laugh-out-loud-as-you-are-reading-it funny even. But the humor is grounded in insights about how we live and how we think. Authors who can do that consistently are few and far between, but Steven Leiva is one.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traveling In Space rocks! 21 Jun. 2013
By Brian Hart - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book as much as Traveling In Space. The characters, dialog and situations were unique and interesting from start to finish. I have read many, many "First Contact" books and stories over time, but never had read one that had such a fun premise.

The entire story is told strictly from the point of view of the aliens, who come from what they call,The Living World. That does take a bit of getting used to at first, in the way the aliens think and speak, (we are simply called, Otherlife) but isn't that the fun of really good SF, getting you out of your comfortable human zone? The best ones allow an examination of human culture from an otherworldly point of view, making us think long and hard about who we are as a species. Leiva does a great job here, keeping the aliens consistent, and always engaging.

Any SF story is allowed at least one "gimme" and this one is, admittedly, a doozy, but just go with it and enjoy the ride. There is a bit of fantasy element at work here as well, the Living Worlders look exactly like us, except that they are so genetically advanced that they appear extremely beautiful to Earth people. You just have to go with that, and the plusses and minuses of their advancements are explored in full, and are part of the plot.

This is his first SF book, and I was expecting some creaky technology. However I was knocked out by some of the unique ideas, especially the frequent use of the different kinds of "bubbles"; very cool indeed. Bubbles are difficult to explain in this short review, but as the story moves along they start to make more sense. It allows Leiva to get around the "Treknology" problem of creating new miraculous devices as the plot gets sticky and harder to resolve.

One of the more interesting parts of the book is how the human culture has a profound effect on the aliens themselves. Again, this can be a clichéd and tired SF concept, but Leiva handles this very well indeed.

Congratulations to Mr. Leiva on a great book!

Brian Hart
Los Angeles CA
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ‘Traveling in Space’ is the wittiest sci-fi story you’ll ever hear (audiobook review) 12 Aug. 2014
By J. Delung - Published on Amazon.com
I discovered the science fiction novel Traveling in Space because I am a huge fan of up-and-coming actor and Internet celebrity Jeff Cannata (formerly of the former Totally Rad Show and the former podcast Weekend Confirmed, now producing amazing content such as the DLC podcast and We Have Concerns). Jeff (did I mention he has a YouTube show called Newest Latest Best?) always produces entertaining, thoughtful and often hilarious content. (You can also follow him on Twitter: @jeffcannata or hear him as the third chair of the /Filmcast — Jeff is everywhere!) So it was a very smart move for author Steven Paul Leiva to collaborate with Jeff to produce the audiobook version of his sci-fi story because I can’t be the only nerd driven to sign up for Audible to hear Jeff’s voice acting.

If you’re not familiar with Leiva’s work, that’s OK, I wasn’t either. But the man has had an interesting career and has done lots of fun things — heck, he produced the animation for Space Jam. Space Jam! I think it’s only a matter of time before Leiva is more well known in sci-fi circles because his writing is stellar — some might even say it’s interstellar, in fact. You’d be just as well served to read Traveling in Space, but paired with the range of Cannata’s voices, it’s an excellent listen also.

If you’ve already glazed over because sci-fi isn’t your thing — wake up! This is not your average UFO story for a few key reasons. First, it’s a very adult book with adult themes and some mature language. Second, this is a story told entirely from the aliens’ perspective. And finally, Traveling in Space is not an action story about going to war against aliens in the vein of Ender’s Game, Independence Day or other alien invasion stories with which you might be familiar. Actually, Traveling in Space is the story of us.

You see, the story begins with the aliens discovering Earth and its inhabitants, which they call Otherlife. (Because until now, like us, they considered themselves to be the only intelligent beings in the universe.) Charged with collecting knowledge and possessing a keen sense of curiosity, the aliens determine they must learn everything they can about humans before continuing their mission to find inhabitable planets suitable for seeding life. Each member of the alien council is dispatched to research a different area of human study, concepts completely foreign to them — marriage, religion, fame, politics, war. And it is thus through the lens of an objective species that we see ourselves. In this sense, Traveling in Space is a parody on human life.

The book starts strong, but I will say that as each character begins to report back to Our Leader (what the aliens call their ship’s commander), some of their stories are more interesting than others. Some of the human characters they meet are more developed while others are not, so we as the reader never come to care enough about the latter to keep those chapters from becoming a bit drawn-out and boring. But just when I thought Traveling in Space was going to leave a bittersweet taste in my mouth, it took an unexpected turn and cranked up the action. An action scene in a story such as this could be called out of place, but its placement in the story and corresponding pacing was not unwelcome. Furthermore, the story’s climax is compelling and swift, and the ending is one that was unexpected yet totally fulfilling.

It is through the study of a race of beings initially considered inferior — us, the Otherlife — that the aliens come to understand new things about their own culture. They find their way of life completely at odds with their ethics and future survival.

Not only does Traveling in Space tell a completely fun, introspective and well-plotted story, but also it contains the wittiest prose I have read in my three decades on this planet. Leiva takes the opportunity to have the aliens say things that would sound nonsensical coming from human beings and twist them into dozens of chuckle-worthy one-liners. This book made me laugh more than once, and Cannata’s delivery of the lines in the audiobook format is on-point. Part of the genius is how the aliens say things so matter-of-factly that shed light on just how ridiculous we humans can be.

As far as the audiobook format, I am not an avid listener to books and generally prefer reading them, so my comparison points are few. I noticed a few times when Cannata’s voice for one character may have bled into another or when the delivery wasn’t as enthusiastic in some parts as it had been previously. But for a 13-hour experience, I can cut the guy a break. What other actors produce that many hours of content for their medium? I would challenge anyone to do half as good a job as Jeff does. (I would love to be there in person to see how he keeps a straight face when doing those female voices, though.) Although I’m not an expert on audiobooks, I found this performance to be commendable.

There are few books that I can unequivocally recommend to every reader, regardless of their taste, much less in the sci-fi genre. But I don’t hesitate at all to do so with Traveling in Space. It’s a completely satisfying experience from start to finish. And those are the facts, factually speaking.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Don't Care for Science Fiction 4 Sept. 2012
By Darrel W. Ray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I don't care for science fiction. I have read, maybe 4 scifi books in my entire life. The only one I liked was Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. When I was asked to "take a look" at Traveling in Space, I did so with great reluctance. I figured I'd read a few pages and then give it to a friend of mine. 200 pages into it, I realized that my friend would have to wait. This is an interesting read. I am no expert on the genre, so take my opinion for what it is, that of a novice. The premise is unlike anything I have seen or heard before. Quite contrary to the "space aliens invade earth" of the War of the Worlds or Plan Nine from Outer Space (My all time favorite Ed Wood movie. Still can't believe it wasn't a parody.) But I digress. Traveling in Space reverses the role most aliens take and creates an fascinating opportunity to look at ourselves through in interesting mirror. This is a story of largely benevolent higher intelligence encountering Earth, with the inevitable miscalculation on the part of both civilizations. The questions it raises had me thinking for days after. I did not read this book all at once, I read it in chunks of 50-100 pages over a week's time - largely because of my limited time this week, but I found myself contemplating the questions that the book raises between readings. I am author of four books and my goal is to get my readers to think, to examine their assumptions, to recognize their blind spots, among other things. I consider my own writing a success if it causes thought and consideration of new viewpoints. Traveling in Space, did that for me. It challenged me to consider many new angles to our existence, relationships, sexuality, and religion. If you are not a science fiction fan, but open to challenge, I think you will like it. If you are a science fiction fan, I am not sure what you will think, you have a lot more data than I have. Yet, I somehow think you will like it as well.

Last night I gave it to my friend. I am curious what he will think of it.

Darrel Ray, author of The God Virus and Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality
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