Posted on February 11, 2019 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Interview / 11 Comments

This novel takes place in a fantasy country that has reached the early Industrial Age of technology and recently instituted a democratic government.

An alien space ship arrives over the planet. The ship is owned by a mining corporation and searches for exotic mineral deposits to mine and bring back to its home planet, Zaftan 31B where rare elements are extracted from the minerals and sold.

The two main characters are MACDRAKIN GEMSEEKER, a dwarf miner and LESLIE HIGGINBOTTOM, a half-dwarf, half human constable in the small town of Skensfirth where the two have a budding romance. The alien captain, YUNTA, orders her second-in-command, SHTAP, to negotiate an agreement with the president of the country, ALBERT WEBLEY, a human. Webley agrees to allow the aliens to mine the minerals if they can find them, provided the aliens respect property rights and don’t harm folks.

Yunta faces a time limit, the ship’s supply situation dictates they start the return voyage in less than two weeks, and has no intention of slowing down the exploration and mining to protect property. Explorations are carried out by robots who cause considerable damage to property as they follow their search programs. MacDrakin destroys a robot when it trespasses on his land. After a few other robots are destroyed, Shtap demands that Webley take steps to protect the expensive robots and Higginbottom gets a telegram to that effect. Upset that she must protect the robots rather than the property, she learns that MacDrakin has destroyed yet another robot. Despite their mutual attraction, the alien presence and the telegrams are straining their relationship. The strain becomes acute when MacDrakin declares war on the aliens and Higginbottom gets another telegram ordering her to arrest anyone who damages or destroys a robot. Meanwhile Webley’s staff get reports the folks in Skensfirth are on the verge of revolt.

The robots discover two major mineral deposits. One is on MacDrakin’s land, the other is beneath the town of Skensfirth. On their first attempt to mine MacDrakin’s land, he and several hunter friends destroy all the robots who operate the mining machinery. Yunta, with the deadline approaching, is outraged by the truculent natives and sends reinforcements to get the mining operation back on track. Faced with more aliens, MacDrakin abandons his land and sets out to prevent the aliens from entering Skensfirth. A group of retired dwarf solders answer his call and join him. He is also joined by several government officials sent by Webley to solve the Skensfirth problems.

In the ensuing battle, the aliens are thwarted by weather problems, mutinous crew members and the MacDrakin’s determination. After many machines are destroyed, Shtap, the alien commander of the ground operation, calls for a truce and tells Drakin that he admits defeat and that the aliens will leave. The aliens abandon the remaining mining machines, damaged robots, weapons and a damaged cargo pod. Engineers and scientists are ordered to examine these artifacts and decipher their secrets.

With the departure of the aliens, the reason for Higginbottom’s and MacDrakin’s feud disappears and they resume their romantic interest.

In this exclusive interview, Faux News Network’s reporter Sandra Elfenheimer talks with Albert Webley, the President of Gundarland and a major character in the sci-fi series Zaftan Troubles.

Sandra Elfenheimer: President Webley, you’ve been elected to many offices.  What was your first election victory?
Albert Webley: Kindergarten.  I was elected class president.  I ran on a platform calling for longer nap periods.
SE: You were the President when the Zaftans first made contact with Gundarland.  What was your initial reaction when you heard about it?
AW: Fear. Lots of fear.
SE: Why fear?
AW: The first I heard about the aliens was one of them showed up in my office.  It just popped up out of thin air.  Didn’t even have the curtesy to use  the door and knock first.  They are huge. They are ugly and they stink.  But my fear soon changed to annoyance.
SE: How so?
AW: I became annoyed when I realized the cretin was interfering with one of my four daily naps.  It’s part of their arrogance.  They think they are so superior they don’t have consider someone else’s schedule.
SE: How difficult was it to negotiate with the Zaftans?
AW:  I don’t recall any real negotiating.  They showed up, told us what they planned to do and went ahead and did it.
SE: You just let them go ahead and do what they wanted?
AW: That’s pretty much how it went.  My advisers claimed the Zaftans were so technologically advanced we couldn’t do anything to stop them.  I have to say I wasn’t impressed with their technology.
SE: Really?  Why not? 
AW: The Zaftan always showed up at nap time.  It was obvious to me that they hadn’t invented appointment calendars yet.  So how advanced can they be?
SE: In the face of this changing world, how difficult was it to make decisions?
AW: I pride myself on my ability to not make a decision.  I didn’t make a single decision for my entire first term as President.  You see, whenever you make a decision you annoy some of the voters and that’s not a good idea.  So I avoid decisions.  I leave them to my advisers.
SE: Well that’s a different approach.  Who were these advisers? 
AW: My assistant and the Secretary of the Treasury are very good at making decisions to steer my administration.  War and Interior, not so much.
SE: Tell us about these last two.
AW: The Minister of War and the Secretary of the Interior hate each other and spend all their time and budgets engaging in guerrilla warfare. They both have very little time and money left to run their departments.  Unfortunately, both saw the Zaftan’s arrival as an opportunity to gain power at the expense of the other.
SE: Why didn’t you get rid of them? 
AW: That would require making a decision, you see.  Then I’d have to make more decisions to find and appoint replacements.  No, it’s easier to just let them be.  Besides, some of their antics are quite amusing to watch.
SE: Let’s talk about the damage the Zaftans did to the area where they mined for minerals.
AW: I’d love to continue this interview but it’s coming up on time for my next nap and you aren’t a Zaftan, so I’ll have to break this off.
SE: There you have it: an interview with one of the participants in the greatest event in Gundarland’s history
The Zaftan Troubles series of ebooks is available at:


Hank Quense writes satirical fantasy and scifi. Early in his writing career, he was strongly influenced by two authors: Douglas Adams and his Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Joesph Heller’s Catch-22. Happily, Hank has never quite recovered from those experiences.
He lives with his wife in northern New Jersey, a mere 20 miles from Manhattan, the center of the galaxy (according to those who live in Manhattan). They have two daughters and five grandchildren all of whom live nearby.
For vacations, Hank and Pat usually visit distant parts of the galaxy.  Occasionally, they also time-travel.
Besides writing novels, Hank lectures on fiction writing, publishing and book marketing. He is most proud of his talk showing grammar school kids how to create a short story. He used these lectures to create an advanced ebook with embedded videos to coach the students on how to create characters, plots and setting.  The target audience is 4th to 7th graders.  The book’s title is Fiction Writing Workshop for Kids. It’s available at:

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