This is the sequel to "Stranded", recently republished under the name of "Stranded in a Foreign Land" with an all-new cover (the cover displayed here is still the old one).
"The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye" (long title, I know, but it fits), was inspired by the 2nd government shutdown by the U.S. Congress. Instead of continuing the story of Josh and his friends (who'll be traveling to another world for another 38 years), this book explores what happens if the world doesn't follow Josh's advice to change how the world governments operate.
The story starts slowly, but speeds up later in the story (chapter 5). I tried restructuring it, using flashbacks, but it never really worked. In order to understand the story, you really need to understand the full backstory told in sequence, otherwise you won't understand why Otis responds as he does (not telling anyone what he knows, among other things).
This story does not feature Josh or the others who left the planet, though it might feature a few of those left behind. It takes place 12 years after Josh left the Earth behind, so the impetus to change has lessened. Chapter #1 introduces the main players in the story, while the Prologue, like in the original, details how the government responds to learning the aliens have returned.
This story, as you might expect, is as dark and paranoid as "Stranded" was. (Sorry, my future stories are a little brighter.)
Hope you enjoy it, it took a long time to bring together.
By the way, a short note about the long delay between stories. I've been writing steadily the entire time, but in order to perfect my writing, I hired a well-respected professional editor. (I'll detail the changes to my writing style later.) That didn't work out so well, not the least because it took months to schedule her, two months for her to finish, and months to figure out how to handle what she delivered (she had issues with the story, getting much of her advice wrong).
However, I've got several stories waiting to go. "Singularity", a story of a NASA experiment gone terribly wrong will be published on Feb. 10th, and will post here once "Poking the Devil" ends. The story that delayed everything else, "A House in Disarray", about a lesbian NYPD detective responsible for investigating the NY Police Commissioner, is undergoing final editing (to correct the editor's mistakes). (Honestly, the story is tighter and reads much smoother, and has zero sci-fi in it, but it's taken forever to finish.)