A #SciFiSundays #SciFiMonth Author Guest Post | Let’s travel into the Silly Hat Verse with E. Chris Garrison!

Posted Sunday, 19 November, 2023 by jorielov , , , , , , 1 Comment

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Why I’ve chosen to showcase the Silly Hat Verse this SciFiMonth, 2023:

As far as years go, [2022] had been a brutally difficult year for myself and my family. No season was without it’s own share of adverse circumstances to transition through but last November, six years after my father’s stroke and surgery, he was hospitalised twice. The first time we were a bit more fortunate as it was scary as heck to go through but had a simple solution to rectify. On a Tuesday, everything changed in that regard and we almost lost him overnight. By Wednesday, we had a bit of Hope we could find a workable solution and worked towards sorting out aftercare post-hospitalisation — only to have that dissolve into a wreck of emotions by day’s end. I partially blame the doctors & nurses for not having better supportive care and response for families at the hospital — something they’ve lacked this year vs six years ago. But, I digress.

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That’s where my heart/mind was focused last November as I had this small hope of a goal of bringing my LOVE and JOY of reading E. Chris Garrison stories into the life of the party for #SciFiMonth last year as a way of helping to further introduce her stories to other readers who are seeking the same kind of Sci-Fi I am. Most of you will already recognise the name as I have fond memories and showcases featuring her Urban Fantasy stories – of which populated throughout my blog over the years, including during #WyrdAndWonder.

As another year has passed through my hours, I have been reflective of late of how many hours I’ve lost betwixt and between trying to sort my way through the continuing changes in our lives. For those of you who are new to Jorie Loves A Story, kindly read through my collection of #TheSundayPost to become up to speed on the goings on of events in respect to my father and our continuing advocacy on his behalf now that he is in long-term care. Meanwhile, the struggle to find and capture a better work/life balance is something I hope to have mastered or at least, maintained in better frequency over the next twelvemonths as I have completely failed to do so over the last year.

The JOY I had reading this lovely guest feature last November as the hours were elapsing off the clock for SciFi Month is hard to put into words. It felt like a wonderful capture of the series itself – as it isn’t necessarily a series per se, but as you will soon find out for yourself – it is a succession of stories which are interconnected and tethered together through a rather ingenious thread of thought by Ms Chris herself. I love how this guest feature also celebrates Science Fiction and the many different avenues an author can take to thread their own needle through a genre which is constantly expanding and redefining itself through each new person who takes on the adventure of writing a story within its realms of exploration.

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I had intended to read this Silly Hat Verse series throughout November (in 2022 and in 2023) and have the capstone become this lovely guest feature wherein I knew my own curiosities about the multiverse she’s created might tip interest in others to learn about themselves. I still intend to share a review from the Silly Hat Verse before the close of November (this year) and will be continuing my reviews of the stories therein during my SciFi Sundays features, too. Let this be the beginning of a wonderful shared journey into an expanse of stories which have wickedly captured my curiosity!

What I have to share is a wicked brilliant guest post wherein she dives us into the heart of the multiverse she’s created, explains the origins of how it was created and also, the future of where the next stories will generate forward from here as well.

Join me as we dive straight into a multiverse world –
which will implore you to read each story in turn and savour the discovery therein.
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On my connection to Ms Chris (aka E. Chris Garrison):

My path first crossed with Ms Chris through a podcast sponsored by an Indie Speculative Fiction publisher which led me to hosting blog tours which celebrated her stories. Since our first encounter with each other, we’ve developed a friendship I am blessed to have and I appreciate getting to know a bit more about an author whose not only developing a unique style in the world of Fantasy but is receptive to the thoughts readers have as they gain impression by reading the stories themselves.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Chris through our respective blogs, the twitterverse, the podcast world, and privately. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time. For more information, I disclosed a bit more on my first 10 Bookish, Not Bookish Thoughts (read No.7!).

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The silly hat verse of stories:

Reality Check by E. Chris. GarrisonThe Multiverse Blues by E. Chris Garrison

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Synopsis for “Reality Check”:

A dimension-hopping science fiction / steampunk adventure!

When a quantum supercomputer’s “reality simulator” program causes temporary insanity in its beta-testers, Lee Green rolls up his sleeves and dives into a virtual world to debug the problem. Only he discovers that place is more real than anyone imagined.

He finds alternate versions of his friends in that mad science reality, their lives and relationships very different from those in the “real” world. Quantum entanglements become romantic entanglements as he meets his love again in each new dimension.
Lee must save these other lives, decide which destiny is truly his, and what he’s willing to sacrifice to get there.

Synopsis for “The Multiverse Blues”:

Follow jack-of-all-trades Jules Martin as they run away to join the crew of an inter-dimensional rock/blues band. Hope’s Tour travels from world to world through the Arch Gates, a network of portals that connect parallel universes. The band’s leader is a charismatic, mysterious, delphine alien diva named Hope. Her transcendent voice draws in crowds of fans, and charms nearly everyone who hears her sing.

Random, violent attacks on Hope’s Tour begin almost as soon as Jules gets on board, and the crew has to think on their feet. Can they figure out the source of the attacks before they reach an untimely end of the tour?

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Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears by E. Chris GarrisonTrans Continental Mississipi Queen by E. Chris Garrison

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Synopsis for “Girl in the Gears”:

Actress Ida Stillwell may have been born her father’s son, but she rejected the role society cast her in. With the North American Republics on the brink of war, Ida flees her home and joins a carnival to pursue her dreams.

There she meets tomboy steam engine mechanic Duffy Hollowood. Though they become fast friends, Duffy has her own secrets. As their troubled pasts catch up with them, will Ida and Duffy make an escape together, or will they take their chances alone?

Synopsis for “Mississippi Queen”: 

In the exciting follow-up to Girl in the Gears, the duo make their way to the Free City of New Orleans, where they plan to find some answers for Ida among the eclectic citizens of the dazzling city.

Instead, they find themselves “recruited” as bodyguards for the city’s Queen Mayor, who’s on the run from an invading force, and swept up the river aboard a very special steamship: The Marie Curie!

The current ahead is filled with spies, rogues, gunfights, and even an old flame or two. Can Ida and Duffy ride out the storm and survive long enough to find the answers they seek?

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A bit of background – I originally listened to the audiobook for “Girl in the Gears” a few years ago now during SciFiMonth and loved every bit of it. However, like other stories I was intending to review over the years, this particular story was listened, savoured and loved but the words to describe my thoughts and feelings on its behalf were not written during that initial discovery. I was going through too much that November, and the audiobook and the story, simply gave me something I needed to hear and hold onto whilst the review of that experience would be pushed forward to another November and another year. It is my goal to finally bridge that experience and my re-listening experience of the story into my blog before the close of 2023. I listened to the story ahead of having a copy of “Reality Check” and “The Multiverse Blues” as well. In Autumn of 2023, I decided to re-visit the Silly Hat Verse in order of the stories rather than the order in which I first read or heard them.

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of Silly Hat Books

E. Chris Garrison Photo Credit: Ellie Sophia Photography

Chris Garrison writes fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories.
Her urban fantasies feature ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk delivered with a “lightly dark” side of humor.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a steampunk adventure with a transgender woman protagonist. The series is set in one of the worlds in Chris’s dimension-hopping science fiction adventure, Reality Check, also published by Silly Hat Books. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com in 2013. Silly Hat Books released Alien Beer and Other Stories, a collection of her short stories, in 2017. Her latest release is The Multiverse Blues in 2021. Most of her stories are now available across formats including audiobook.

Chrissy lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step- daughter and many cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape. Keep up on the latest news and releases from the author by visiting her online.

Photo Credit: Ellie Sophia Photography

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My science fiction books are all in the same multiverse, but how are they connected?

It all began with Reality Check. In that book, I imagined a Quantum-Turing computer that could swap the quantum states of two beings, one in “our” universe, and one in some other nearby universe. The computer’s creator finds himself swapped into lives he might have lived if history had gone differently. One world held airships and cybernetic zombie squirrels–and many silly hats worn by its inhabitants). Another found people living in domed structures on the Moon, above an Earth ravaged by nuclear war.

I found the silly-hat-steampunk world compelling enough to revisit. I even had a dream about the characters and had to get up at 2:30 am to scribble down ideas on my grocery list so I wouldn’t forget them. In the morning, I abandoned the project I’d been working on to start Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears, which was set in that silly hat universe, though the main characters were unaware of those in Reality Check. I do mention one of the Reality Check characters as a sort of easter egg, but Ida and Duffy don’t know who Dionne Sutton is in Girl in the Gears or its sequel, Mississippi Queen.

Years later, I decided to write a serial in the multiverse set out by Reality Check. It’s not a direct sequel, but The Multiverse Blues does include a few characters from Reality Check, and some of the worldbuilding in the silly hat world directly impacts its plot. Unlike the reality-swapping that’s done in Reality Check, The Multiverse Blues features dimensional gates that have been established since then, which allow people to pass physically from world to world. They can even meet the alternate versions of themselves.

You might wonder whether you should read these in the order I wrote them. There might be some benefits to reading Reality Check before The Multiverse Blues, just to know more about some of the characters introduced later in the latter, but I tried to make these stand alone, so that a reader could pick up the Trans-Contienental books or The Multiverse Blues without even knowing that Reality Check exists.

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That said, I’d like to talk about how I imagine the “Silly Hat Verse” works.

In Reality Check, I started with how a quantum computer works. At the lowest level, a quantum computer deals in “qubits” which can be in more states than just 0 or 1 that exists in conventional computers’ bits. Here’s how Lee, the main character of Reality Check explains it:

It’s a quantum computer, so it does operations on a subatomic scale. But it’s kind of spooky since it uses other dimensions to come up with answers in parallel.”

“Huh. So, like, there are computers like this in other dimensions, and they all work together on programs?”

I thought about it. “Not exactly. Maybe. We don’t really know what the parts of the qubits that extend out of our universe might be like.”


“Qubits, with a Q. Each bit in the processor is a little multidimensional… uh, thingy.”

Obviously, I’ve taken gobs of artistic license in how I envision quantum computers to work, but this was the seed for the idea of swapping lives with someone else very much like yourself in a nearby universe as it happens in Reality Check.

But what do I mean by a “nearby universe”? I wanted to have Lee visit a steampunk universe and a moonbase universe at the very least. How are those nearby?

For the steampunk universe, I decided that Isaac Newton had focused on alchemy, rather than physics, optics, and mathematics. I also decided that the British Royal Society had never formed, and that natural philosophy remained very proprietary and the institution of science as we know it didn’t come about. No publishing results, no sharing of theories to test, just alchemists and isolated scientists working on their own. This stunted technological advancement, and it also changed how it advanced. One country might have mastered steam engines, another might have developed internal combustion engines. Yet another would specialize in electricity, while still others might have breakthroughs in biological science. Each would be specialists in their area, with no crossover to other areas of science and technology.

I decided that this is why the society of the “silly hat” world would seem Victorian or neo-Victorian to the eyes from someone of our world, even though no time travel was involved in Lee’s visits to other universes.

Similarly, the moonbase world came about because there had been a limited nuclear war as a different outcome from the Cuban Missile Crisis in the early 60s. The space race became more urgent, and it became the main front of the cold war. The United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan all established bases on the Moon, which thrived until an all-out nuclear war devastated Earth, leaving the lunar colonies on their own.

So, when Lee hops to another reality, he’s moving sideways in history, experiencing a different timeline than the one he knew growing up. He finds himself in the body of the person he would have been if he’d been born into those worlds.

I ignore all this from the point of view of Ida in the “silly hat” world. She knows nothing of the multiverse, our world, or the moonbase world.

Confession: the project that I abandoned when Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears came to me in a dream was a direct Reality Check sequel. It was overly ambitious: It switched between four first-person narrators. Each narrator originated in a different world, and each found a way to physically travel between realities. This was further complicated by the fact that each of the characters had alternate versions of themselves running around, and I resorted to making a sort of board-game-like system of chits on a map to track where everyone was at any given time.

I realized that if I needed something so complex to wrap my brain around everything as I wrote it, my readers might be lost entirely.

This is where the idea of The Multiverse Blues came from. I’d had this other idea, of a character who’s a roadie in an alien diva’s rock band, rattling around in my head for years. Changing the story from traveling in a spaceship to just a tour bus that could drive from world to world using interdimensional gates seemed like a lot of fun. So, rather than a direct sequel to Reality Check, I give the reader a tour of the multiverse through the eyes of Jules, who’s coming into this without knowing anything about the events of Reality Check. I just couldn’t resist having some of the Reality Check characters involved, however. And while Ida and Duffy of Trans-Continental don’t make an appearance in The Multiverse Blues, there’s spill-over from their world as part of the background conflict in that story.

If you’re sad at the loss of Reality Check 2, please understand that I’m much happier with the story I told with The Multiverse Blues, and that elements of that abandoned story were used to create it. Also, some of the RC2 chapters went on to be stand-alone flash fiction in my short story collection Alien Beer and Other Stories.

I hesitate to call these books a series, but they’re interrelated and entangled in a way that makes me think of them that way. They’re all separate from my urban fantasy books (Road Ghosts Trilogy, Tipsy Fairy Tales Trilogy, and Trans Witch), though some of the characters are linked by a certain fictional pizza place. And a certain cameo by a helpful little guy with an outrageous accent. But that’s another story.

So, whatever order you read my science fiction books in,

I hope you enjoy exploring the worlds and multiverse in which they’re all set!

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One of the beauties of participating in Sci Fi Month is celebrating a genre which is wickedly being explored by Indie Authors and Indie Publishers – as I have held a long appreciation of love and joy for discovering their stories. I have the tendency of reading a heap of Indie Speculative Fiction – as my blog attests by the reviews I bring to my readers – whether their featured during Sci Fi Month or Wyrd And Wonder or throughout the months between the events themselves, there is something wicked special about the writings being produced by the Indie scene in publishing. It is an absolute joy for me to shine a light on Ms Chris this Sci Fi Month on behalf of her stories which creatively tuck into sub-niches of influence in Science Fiction whilst also re-define the ways in which Science Fiction can be both explored and written.

To me, that is one of the benefits of the genre itself – to find new voices in the stories and to find the stories which are being written which speak to each of us as readers and explorers of Science Fiction. This has been a life-long pursuit of mine to find the writers who are writing the stories I love most to read and it isn’t often I can attest to loving a singular author whose found a way to entreat me with a curiosity of intrigue to read both sides of their Speculative journey – from their Urban Fantasy stories to their Science Fiction stories – and yet, Ms Chris encompasses both disciplines so brilliantly as to continue to enchant my imagination.

I am hopeful this introduction to the Silly Hat Verse has given you a lovely nod of intrigue yourself and that perhaps, when your seeking your #nextread, one of these stories might make it into your hands and heart, too. Happy Sci Fi Month everyone and I look forward to visiting with you and sharing more with you soon.

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This is part of my participation during SciFiMonth 2023:

SciFiMonth banner created by Imyril and is used with permission. Artwork Credit by: https://www.123rf.com/profile_artcuboy.

I will be sharing my thoughts & reactions on behalf of “Reality Check” before the conclusion of SciFiMonth 2023 – be sure to check back with me to see when the review posts on Jorie Loves A Story. Leave me a comment if this guest feature left you curious to enter the Silly Hat Verse with me, too!

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featured during my continuing showcases for:

#SciFiSundays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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{SOURCES: Cover Art for “Reality Check”, “The Multiverse Blues”, “Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears” and “Trans-Continental: Mississippi Queen” as well as the synopsis for the stories themselves were provided by the author E. Chris Garrison and are used with permission. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge provided by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.  Official #SciFiMonth graphics were provided by the event host Imyril and are used with permission.  Artwork Credit for SciFiMonth 2023 banner by: https://www.123rf.com/profile_artcuboy. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Guest Post SciFiMonth banner, SciFiSundays banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2023.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 19 November, 2023 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Bookish Discussions, Futuristic Fantasy, Hard Science Fiction, Indie Author, Science Fiction, Soft Science Fiction, Space Opera, Speculative Fiction

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One response to “A #SciFiSundays #SciFiMonth Author Guest Post | Let’s travel into the Silly Hat Verse with E. Chris Garrison!

  1. What a wonderful surprise to wake up to this morning! Thank you for featuring my science fiction this SciFiMonth!

    I have not written a word of fiction in 2023, though I published Born This Fae, which is a part of the Tipsy Fairy Tales, but with a new cast of characters in that story.

    But by coincidence, today I’m starting a new collaboration with two author friends. It’s too soon to tell much, but it’s going to involve Lily from Trans Witch!

    Anyway, I’m always happy that you enjoy my books, it’s one of the reasons I keep writing.



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