Published by Flux on 4-8-2015
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future
A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.
As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.
Hands down the most enjoyable part of writing my debut young adult sci-fi novel Zeroboxer was envisioning, creating, and depicting the futuristic sport of zeroboxing.
Zeroboxer is about a young man named Carr Luka who battles to make it to the top in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing amid brewing interplanetary conflict between Earth and Mars. It’s been aptly described as “Rocky meets Gattaca.” When I tell people about the book, one of the reactions I commonly get is, “So…wait, how would you fight without gravity? Wouldn’t people just float away from each other?”
As a martial artist who’s trained for many years, I’m well aware of how much everything we know about fighting is dependent on gravity—shifting one’s weight to attack or retreat; taking an opponent’s balance away by tripping, tackling, or throwing; generating striking speed and power through connection to the ground; holding or pinning the other person using one’s own weight.
In space, if you hit someone, the two of you would indeed float away in opposite directions. We can assume there would be a constrained space in which matches would occur. The entire inside surface of this space (the “Cube”) would be an arena.
In the Cube, up and down would be easily reversed. The full mount, a very advantageous position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, would essentially be no different from closed guard. Fighters could fly from one wall to another, twisting and turning in space. Competitors would have to be trained out of thinking of ‘up’ and ‘down’ and be immune to the nauseating experience of spinning around and around with no fixed orientation.
To enable the fighters to “stand” and move along the walls I imagined them wearing magnetic shoes and gloves that would cling to the Cube walls, mimicking gravity to some extent and thus giving them enough stability to trade blows.
It occurred to me that just as today’s fighters tend to fall into the camps of those that excel in a stand-up match and those that prefer ground combat, futuristic zeroboxers might either be “fliers”—fighters superb at taking advantage of the directionless environment to attack from all angles, bounding and rebounding—and “grabbers”—competitors who would hang onto their opponents and grapple with them in space, using many of the same joint locks and chokes we see in MMA today. Zeroboxing would evolve to include both, creating an awesomely challenging, fluid, and spectacular sport.
Imagining cage fights in space was so much fun, I had to get other martial artists involved when I put together the video trailer for Zeroboxer. If you missed the trailer when it was released last month, you can watch it below. And you can pick up Zeroboxer, published by Flux, in bookstores and online on April 8.