by Glenn Lazar Roberts. Flores of the Turlicum pursues his lost love Amina, priestess of the forbidden Temple of Vensa, across the alien planet Maalstrom to Ra’Allah, the Island of the Sun-God. In another plot filled with eccentric characters and gruesome combat, Flores discovers the Black Pillar at the center of the world and climbs from its lowest reaches to the selks’ crystalline city in the clouds. The mysterious relationships that link Maalstrom’s bizarre species further unfold in THE SELK KING. In the tradition of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs, bloody heroic fantasy at its best!


NEWS: I have recently completed the Prequel to Maalstrom, titled Temple of the Double-Sun, a novella of 34,000 words. This work tells the story of the original colonists from Earth as they land on the virgin uninhabited planet Maalstrom with instructions to colonize the planet. Needless to say, things go very wrong. For readers of Maalstrom and The Selk King who were wondering how it all started and why there are occasional remnants of a prior technical civilization, the story Temple of the Double-Sun will answer all your questions.

RECENT REVIEWS of The Selk King:

“Compelling. Any sci-fi enthusiast would love this book.” —Writer’s Digest

“Glenn Lazar Roberts is one of the finest writers of unconventional prose in contemporary fiction. His wonderfully inventive plots and mastery of the language place him in the company of Calvino, Burges, Gass. . . Highly recommended.” —C. Thorman, author of Holy Orders

“A great sci-fi fantasy story. If you like a sci-fi fantasy story then this is the one for you. The story line was fantastic and intriguing and the characters were developed and interesting. A good read!” —Marilyn Vine, Vine Voice

“Complex World-Building. THE SELK KING is the second in the MAALSTROM sci-fi fantasy series, a complex feat of world-building postulating a bizarre yet philosophically intriguing and enterprising alternative to Evolution. This is a case in which I strongly recommend starting the series from the beginning, so as to best comprehend the settings and plot.” —Mallory A. Haws The Haunted Reading Room Reviews

“A tour de force of the imagination. The Selk King should be compared to Tolkien or Jack Vance, with traces of Robert E Howard. I would throw in J K. Rowling but it is pitched to an adult audience, with a little too much blood, sex, and gore. This breath-taking epic will definitely improve one’s vocabulary.” —H. Niva

Action….monsters….right and wrong is a thin line. This book is a slow read for me. I do like the adventure that takes place. To be willing to risk everything to return a life debt is inspiring and awesome. To become more and to find meaning in life. Hope you enjoy.” —Agnes

She is being chased by him across the planet. He is about to learn the connections between everything as he enters the city in the clouds. What is going on? What will be find out? See what is really happening. I received an advance copy and I enjoyed it so much that I want to review.—A Kindle Customer (5 stars)

“Sustained flights of fancy in beautiful nets of language.” —Sirius Reviews

“Interesting and good.”  —Angie Hardy (5 stars)

“An intriguing sci-fi/fantasy read.” —Kimberly Hunter

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Maalstrom was begun in the autumn of 1975 on a manual typewriter “in a smoke-filled haze” as a twenty-year old college sophomore. This was the first fiction I ever wrote. Most was completed in two months. The Selk King came later and took four years to write.

The story: long ago, colonists from Earth landed on Maalstrom, a newly discovered planet circling a double-sun. For the full story of this colonization, see my recently completed novella ‘Temple of the Double-Sun’.

The colonists were exposed to a species of native wasp and their DNA merged with the wasp DNA. Abandoning the other colonists, some of the ‘infected’ women secluded themselves in brick shelters which they built around water springs and began giving birth insect-fashion, their male offspring living outside the birth-shelters and their female offspring confined inside.

These ‘wasp-queens’ found their lifespans greatly extended. Vensa was one of these original colonists, already thousands of years old when she gave birth to Flores and Amina, her original brick shelter, which Flores stumbled across in the cavern beneath the Temple, then crumbling and long since surmounted by the imposing cloistered Temple.

In the way of all mortals, Flores will die, but Amina will live for millennia, and if adequately protected by the unruly men exiled to the ‘outer slums’ of Her City, give birth to many generations. Amina’s manipulative and selfish behavior is essential to the survival of her quasi-insect species, to which Flores belongs.

The changes in DNA were not confined to the colonist-queens, however, but also created the malkops–or ‘selks,’ resulting in a complex biological interdependence between the queens in their temples, the men in their cities, the malkops flying above, and Atasan.

That is the background–a swashbuckling Conan-style tale of bloody encounters on an alien planet that can be read merely for fun.
The symbolism goes further.

Maalstrom is the product of an education in anthropology, archaeology, and the psychology and sociology of religion. Religious myth–or, since that is a redundant phrase, just Myth– organizes all human societies. It is social glue, the common values and thought patterns that hold a people together and enable them to communicate and cooperate. Myth is not only for ‘primitive people over there’–it is everything that you know, and what you think you know. A human without Myth is the ultimate contradiction; there never has been, and never can be, humans without Myth.

Every person with unique values and insights knows well the consequences of straying outside the boundaries of a society’s myths. They become heretics.

Flores is such a heretic. Or rather becomes one through the process of discovering the biological realities of his insect species, and the supra-factual nature of its myths. These myths are enforced by an interplay of custom, religion, economics, ideology, and ultimately raw force. No society for long allows heretics to publicly undermine the social glue that allows its society to function. Thus the City of Ven rejects Flores.

But Flores, by his Will to Power, will not be stopped by convention and searches for a way to transcend his society’s myths and acquire Ultimate Knowledge. The crystal bracelets are the mystical insight that grant this Knowledge. Yezd is the shaman who transmits the technique. The selks are the semi-divine Messengers who guard access to Heaven, and if properly ritually addressed, will transmit the Hero’s questions to the Divine.

Atasan is an anagram for Satan, the Ruler of the physical world. In Maalstrom, I provide an insight into the role of this Ruler, and I like to think, a unique and provocative explanation of the existence of evil (see Macius’ rendition to Flores of Maalstrom’s dominant Creation Myth while in Yezd’s castle). Few have understood the significance of what Macius says.

Maalstrom and its sequel The Selk King are a single story. In The Selk King, in the Chapter titled ‘Revelations’, the reader will find solutions to many of the puzzles underlying Maalstrom’s plot–just before Flores, having acquired mystical insight using his new-found shaman’s technique, storms the ramparts of Heaven. Few also have understood the mythical and philosophical significance of Flores’ invasion of the selks’ city in the clouds.

But don’t expect me to be your Shaman. Whatever you know, or think you know, Myth lies heavy not only on Flores’ perception, but on the reader’s as well. Behind the Veil, Secrets lurk. Such is the nature of Reality, on alien planets like Maalstrom as much as on Earth.

Maalstrom and The Selk King I hope remain as relevant to the Seeker-of-Knowledge’s efforts to break free of Society’s conventions and penetrate the Veil as when written. Dark, insightful and Just Plain Weird.

—Glenn Lazar Roberts
June 25, 2023