My writing examines the complex and often tenuous relationship that humans have with other beings that share the oceans, mountains, deserts and forests of Earth. My books, nonfiction essays, screenplays and short stories reflect the human-animal connection that is interwoven into the fabric of our daily lives. I am a lifelong student of ethology, a branch of behavioral science that seeks to understand the emotional and social lives of animals. In fiction, I like flawed, but likeable human characters who are plucked from their ordinary lives and thrown into extraordinary and oftentimes dangerous circumstances.
Blue Planets : Book I of the SOFAR Trilogy
The first book of the SOFAR Trilogy received rave reviews from readers throughout the United States and from as far away as Tanzania, Africa. However, undoubtably one of the most charming reviews came from Mrs. Anderson’s 4th grade class in Limon Colorado.
Sue Ann Anderson, a friend of the author, and a teacher in Limon, read John’s first book shortly after it was published. With a little “editing” for language, and descriptions of adult behavior, she was able to read Blue Planets to her eager 4th grade listeners. The children were so taken with the characters and the story, they wanted to offer their own reviews, with a special fourth grade perspective. A selection of their drawings and thoughts can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Thank you for writing this fantastic adventure, that brings to life all the diverse habitats of the Southwest. The beauty of the desert, mountains, and sea, the folklore of Indigenous People, science exploration, and ordinary folk doing the extraordinary; this book has it all!
-Laurel Dunlap, Tucson, Arizona
If you’ve ever wished for a UFO in your own back yard, this is pretty close. Complete with his decoder ring, Azrnoth-zin from Delphinus in the seventh world of the Yllantros system crashes his spaceship into the Gulf of California. He is rescued by an American seafaring jack-of-all-trades but not until after he has been tracked by a couple af astronomers on Kitt Peak.
– The Arizona Daily Star, J.C. Martin, May 2, 2004
Offworlder : Book II of the SOFAR Trilogy
Cooper Ridley was dead. At least until Azrnoth-zin turned his ship around and brought Ridley’s body aboard his spacecraft. In a desperate act to save Ridley’s life, Azrnoth-zin goes against all Delfinian tenets of first contact and places him in a neural reorganization chamber. Ridley’s life functions are restored, but something is wrong. Ridley now discovers he has mental access to the alien history including secrets not known to most Delfinians, including Azrnoth-zin. They finally catch up with the remainder of the Delfinian fleet; the Water Council deems Ridley to be a threat and banishes him to the Displaced Work Force, where every day is a fight for survival. Meanwhile, Azrnoth-zin is tried as a deserter and traitor and is handed a sentence worse than physical death. Now, many light years from his home world, Ridley comes face to face with the Trochinids, a malevolent alien force moving through the systems, consuming everything in their path. He must use all of his newfound knowledge, along with some good old-fashioned Earth-borne skills to survive the Trochinids, the Delfinian Water Council, the exotic and beautiful squadron commander Mara-jul, and a bunch of displaced aliens who just don’t like the way he looks. Maybe staying dead wasn’t such a bad idea.
Cooper Ridley is the new Travis Magee -his own man and everyman.
– Aimee Bradford, RN of Tucson, Arizona
I liked Blue Planets a lot (the first book in the Sofar Trilogy), but this one blew me away. I was so wrapped up in the exciting, gripping ending that I blew off work for the rest of one afternoon just to finish it!
Much more in-depth character development than the first – more characters to like, too – and it all takes place in another galaxy, so I was impressed by the sense of place developed by Mr. Gentile, whom I presume has had no out-of-our-galaxy experiences.
– Roseann Hanson, Executive Director, African Conservation Fund
Sirens Song : Book III of the SOFAR Trilogy
The image of Cooper Ridley flashes on television screens all over planet Earth. Ridley warns of an unimaginable danger, a threat to all Earth’s creatures.
Azrnoth-zin, Mara-jul and the Displaced Alien Work Force join Ridley to convince the world’s leaders to unite against this deadly menace. Cooperation is not forthcoming.
Using secret contacts and brilliant disguises, the Phoenix Project surfaces in a final attempt to seize alien technology. A near fatal encounter occurs at the United Nations building leaving the Phoenix Project exposed. Duped by her own cabinet, The President and her family are taken hostage.
Earth friends, the Dutchman and marine biologists Doctors Darcy Billings and Teresa Gamez, become involved and, along with Ridley and his small group of aliens, are the only deterrent to the Trochinids. In an undersea base nearly two miles down, the marine biologists and a team of scientists work frantically to discover a weakness in Trochinid physiology.
Under attack at Pisaster base, Darcy, Teresa and Mara-jul make a discovery that may turn the tide of the war. In the final moments, they place all their hopes on a strange phenomenon in the SOFAR channel. It is Earth’s last hope.
Years ago, you did a reading of your first book in a small California town…Lakeport (at Catfish Books, owned by Lynn Fegan).
I was captured by Blue Planets. Having just finished Siren’s Song, I am saddened to realize that 3 books make a trilogy ….well, I really did know, but will miss all of the friends I made taking this journey.
Thank you so much for all your dedication to making these stories fanciful but full of thoughtful insights.
– Lynn Hughes
I connected with the characters and how they related to the natural world.
Blue Planets, Offworlder and Siren’s Song will reside on the shelf next to my entire collection of Louis L’amour’s books. I am absolutely going to read the SOFAR Trilogy again!”
“And, Az-r-noth-zin – I love that guy.
– Harry Hayes, Arizona Pioneer Family
A few months ago I became acquainted with John Gentile through his day job as a physical therapist as he helped my wife in her recovery from surgery. I learned that he had authored a sci-fi trilogy and that we were invited to attend a book signing on the occasion of the publishing of the final volume. My wife purchased all three books, for me, since she doesn’t really cotton to science fiction.
Recently I laid down the final volume with a sense of profound disappointment. (I had promised John that I would be objective and honest in my review and opinions). The observations that follow illustrate my regrets and personal feelings of loss as I reflect upon how and why the Trilogy affected me.
I am sad to report that “Siren’s Song” writes finis to the adventures of Cooper Ridley and his band of oddly acquired and fascinatingly odd brothers – and sisters. What a great yarn! The real and imaginary worlds of Arizona, the Sea of Cortez, Delphinus and remote galaxies are interwoven with real and imaginary humans, dolphins, Delfinians and Trochinids who wage war with both atavistic ferocity and futuristic science.
The story line captures one’s attention first. Then the characters, both of this and other worlds, become friends and foes who occupy the reader’s imagination and demand his belief in their escapades. The blending of natural science narrative, drawn from the author’s expertise, with the imaginative scientific technology of the various beings from other planets in other galaxies is seamless.
One surprise to me was the ease with which the dialogue flows, particularly when one considers the difficulty of communication among such disparate characters. It not only reads easily, but also reflects and displays the personas and cultural biases of the individuals.
A word of warning to the potential reader: read each volume in its proper sequence to fully appreciate the story itself. And furthermore: don’t expect to read “Blue Planets” and forget the two sequels. Curiosity will defeat you! Then, after the middle book, “Offworlder,” anticipation of the climactic events in “Siren’s Song” will pull you into its whirlpool.
As I said –“What a great yarn!”
– Harry Jamison, retired Corporate Executive, October 24, 2007