Okal Rel Contributors: A series of profiles celebrating the people who've contributed creatively to the Okal Rel Universe.
Hal Friesen got involved with the ORU after reading The Courtesan Prince and Righteous Anger. He was fascinated by the cultural divide between the Nesaks and the Nersallians, and his imagination gave birth to Nestor Tark, a disenchanted Nersallian soldier attracted by aspects of both cultures. Nestor has so far featured in three Okal Rel anthologies. In Opus 3, his secret admiration of the Nesak culture is revealed when he discovers an ancient Lorel hood that can reveal someone’s true desires. Nestor’s ideals are tested by reality when he is sent to the Nesak homeworld on an assassination mission in Opus 4. In Opus 5, he no longer hides who he is, but is forced to deal with the consequences of being an outcast as he races to save his kidnapped son. A Lorel conspiracy will entangle Nestor in a novella scheduled for release in 2012.
Other projects include a hard SF novel dealing with the connection of different times and species, and numerous short stories. Hal was a finalist in the Now! and Then! Mike Carey Writing Competition for the Murky Depths dark SF magazine. You can meet him in person at the Artist Takeover on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Whitemud Library in Edmonton from 2-5 pm. There will be lots of local authors, prizes, and, of course, books! You can also enter to win a copy of Opus 5 by commenting on his website: halfriesen.com.
Outside of writing, Hal is a scientist with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Physics. Strange activities like yoga, underwater hockey, and cello manifest in his weekly activities. Last year he played his first concerto solo during a Vivaldi Day Cellobration organized by Diana Nuttall. He was also on the Edmonton underwater hockey team which won the bronze medal at the national level. This year he hopes to play cello in a junior orchestra. He will also be raising money in a musical Reviewathon, where he will be playing parts of the Suzuki cello repertoire for donations. The proceeds will provide food to people in Somalia. Hal occasionally moonlights as HAL-9000 the robo-gogo-dancer.