Wheeler has always enjoyed anything artistic from writing, drawing, sculpting, music, acting and even the martial arts. From a young age Ruth was praised for her creative writing and her teachers asked her to read her short stories in front of the school; which is not easy when you’re not the most outgoing pupil. Choosing a career path in the arts, she went on to do a degree in Fine Art at Solihull college. Graduating in 2002, she has since been paying the bills working as a graphic designer. After years of recreational writing, at the age of thirty, her debut novel was released.
I was inspired to write All Aliens on a stop at a motorway service station one summer. They are a world in themselves – so generic and devoid of any distinctive character. They seem to be designed to disorientate the weary traveller and make you ask that question “So where exactly are we?” It got me thinking that, were you a sleeping passenger, would you know whether you were in Exeter or Carlisle? Then I began to think bigger. Perhaps you could be on a different planet altogether. I have always had a passion for science fiction and surrealism – placing familiar objects in unfamiliar surroundings. And this was where the initial ideas for my novel were born.
It is 1998 and Tom Bowler, an intelligent young man, fresh out of high school is planning on taking a year out before he goes to university. He lives in a small town in England where he grew up and his life is rather limited, geographically. He is looking for a job to fund his social life during this year and comes across an advert for an assistant at a fast food restaurant at a "local" service station. He soon discovers, however, that by "local", the advert was referring to Truxxe, a planetoid stationed between local galaxies Triangulum and Andromeda. So Tom decides to pursue adventure very far from his small world on Earth and discovers that serving burgers to an infinite array of alien life forms is only the start of his escapade.
The main plot follows Tom Bowler on his journey from Earth to the planet Truxxe to his new position as an Express Cuisine Attendant (or “burger boy”) at Truxxe’s Superior Services station (or TSS). He encounters many strange beings and customs during his stay at the service station alone.
Truxxe does not orbit a sun, therefore it remains in perpetual darkness and has to rely on its hot central core for warmth and artificial interior environments for light. The most extraordinary feature, however, is that two thirds of the planet is made up of an assortment of different terrains and, ultimately, fuel. Therefore not only is the location of Truxxe the ideal midpoint between the two galaxies for travelling star ships, but it is the perfect place to refuel, on account of the variety of fuel available for all manner or inter-world crafts. The Truxxians have exploited this fact and built their enterprising TSS in the rich northern hemisphere.
One day while working at the restaurant at TSS, Tom overhears two customers discussing the composition of the planet. They seem to be under the impression that there is a conspiracy – that the location and structure of Truxxe is a little too convenient and coincidental. Perhaps it was engineered? The creatures are looking at a map which Tom accidentally ruins but later finds in the rubbish bin and uncovers more clues to this conspiracy theory. He finds that his friend Kayleesh is no stranger to the rumours either and is excited to join Tom and the conspiracy theorists in an adventure to discover the truth about Truxxe.
The group working from Truxxe is a small part of the entire mission, however, who have together located identically sized craters in the terrains of planets of the two neighbouring galaxies. Tom and his friends Kayleesh and Raphyl and the conspiracy theorists travel to two such planets. Both are very different topographically, but both have the mysterious crater feature. They also work out that the base of each crater has been subjected to intense heat; the floor of one is littered with a carpet of glass shards, formed from the condensing of sand and the once grassland of the other has been scorched. They hear word of a suspiciously heavily –guarded machine on the second planet, Lueanina. There are two brothers amongst the otherwise hostile habitants who are willing to explain the truth to the travellers. They learn that Luenia’s primary business is the manufacture of spaceships. Over centuries, civilisations had endeavoured to harness and use the power of instant travel via wormhole technology instead of using slow spaceships. Luenina, its very economic existence threatened by this prospect, devised a horrifyingly magnificent machine to re-rout the preliminary journeys through a wormhole and create such a devastating affect that scientists would never want to use them again, rendering them obsolete. Rather than just the traveller crossing through the wormhole, the surrounding terrain some hundred metres in diameter would also travel with devastating fatal results at the destination point as the traveller would be crushed by the landmass. The destination point would also be defaulted by the re-router to wherever the re-router happened to be. In this case, the default position was Truxxe.
Tom returns to Truxxe where the final spotoon match takes place - a game popular at TSS. After celebrating that their team came second, Tom, who has been led to believe by Kayleesh that Raphyl is from the poorer, southern hemisphere asks Raphyl what thinks about Truxxe now that he knows the truth. Raphyl, through his drunken daze, informs him casually that he’s not from the south; he’s from the past. And so the reader is left with this notion and also several others thread through the context of the main plot, anticipating answers from the next book in the series.
5 stars - gemma walton - 21 June 2010
really enjoyed the book - it was very descriptive, whilst still being a compelling read. ruth has an amazing imagination and makes the unbelievable sound perfectly plausible and believable. i loved the humour especially with the crystal growing and retrieval - and also the spottooning (which im hoping it wont become a new sport on earth!!)the door is opened really nicely for a sequel with more of toms adventures.... burger ingredients .... alien relations....a home visit with the new found tablets or new found friends...... looking forward to the sequel!!
5 stars - david - 21 June 2010
all aliens like burgers is the dabut novel from author ruth wheeler and its a cracker. the basic plot concerns tom bowler who applies for a job at a "local" service stations fast food restaurant - which turns out not to be what or even where it seems. i wont go into any more details and ruin your enjoyment. ruth wheeler has created and enjoyable story with interesting and well fleshed out characters. the narrative moves at a good pace and makes an ideal read for anyone, like me, who enjoys a good science fiction novel with a twist.i was lucky enough to meet the author at a local book signing and found her to be charming and very down to earth. ruth also told me she is working on a sequal to this book. i for one, will be waiting with eager anticipation for more adventures of tom bowler.