Monday, March 18, 2019

Hello Protocol for Dead Girls by Zen DiPietro

Release date: March 17, 2019
Subgenre: Cyberpunk, Technothriller

About Hello Protocol for Dead Girls:


I wasn't so impulsive when I was alive. Death has changed me, I guess.

This isn't a dream. It's not the afterlife, either. This is something new.

I don't remember how I died. I only know that I did. My name is Jennika Monroe, and I need to find a way out of here. 

A college student reaches out from beyond the dead to solve her own murder. A struggle to identify what it means to be alive, what it means to love, and how hard a person will fight to hold onto what matters. 

This story is like nothing you've read before. It's Altered Carbon meets Gone Girl inside a Matrix type environment. It will challenge you, then thrill you, then leave you wanting more. Truly an innovative breath of fresh air that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Step into the pounding heart of a unique digital setting and enjoy this technothriller today!




Again, I find myself in the position of having to decide whether I should inform someone that they’ve died or keep that information to myself.
While Ashta had been sweet and friendly, this girl seems angry. The snap in her eyes and tightness of her mouth suggest she’d just as soon have me dead, and I have to wonder why she bothered to warn me against something that could kill me.
Since I’m already dead, my existence is beginning to mean something else to me. I’m not sure what yet. It isn’t life. What does it mean to exist without being alive?
“Are you stupid?” The girl spits the words at me.
“I guess that’s a matter of opinion,” I say carefully. “What’s in there?”
I indicate the opening with a glance.
“Why should I tell you?” she demands.
“I don’t know. You bothered to tell me not to go in. That must count for something. And we aren’t exactly surrounded by a lot of people here. Our options for socializing are limited.”
She frowns. “Have you seen any others?”
“A young girl. Now you. That’s it.”
“Are you new?” she asks.
“I don’t know,” I answer honestly. “I’m trying to figure things out.”
I take a chance on introducing myself to her. “I’m Jennika.”
“Good for you.” She glares at me.
Was she this unpleasant when she was alive? I hope not. As far as electronic ghosts go, she’s kind of a jerk.
I am the guardian of my domain and the keeper of everything I touch.
Within the closed confines of my network—and I do consider it mine now, not BomiTech’s—I have nothing but time.
I begin the process of seeking out every single hackable device within my reach. Cameras built into portable devices, cameras for teleconferences, surveillance cameras, and all audio pickups are my first tier of recruitment. Then I tap into other electronic surveillance means, like the doors of the actual building where this datacenter is located.
All this gives me a perfect image of the coming and going of everyone in the building. Not only that, but I can hear everything. I’m always listening now.
They don’t realize how much more capable they’ve forced me to be.
The difference between them and me seems greater and greater. I don’t require sleep or food or bathroom breaks. I can move so much faster than they can—at the speed of thought. Although I still think of myself as human, or at least a variation of human, they seem increasingly…less so. They’re slaves to their biological processes.
It’s an advantage I’m glad to leverage.
I put my surveillance of them into a somewhat passive mode so that if something interesting happens, I can turn my attention to it. In the meantime, I’m going to reach for my original objective.
I want to talk to my friends and family.



About Zen DiPietro: 

Zen DiPietro is a lifelong bookworm, dreamer, writer, and a mom of two. Perhaps most importantly, a Browncoat Trekkie Whovian. Also red-haired, left-handed, and a vegetarian geek. Absolutely terrible at conforming. A recovering gamer, but we won’t talk about that. Particular loves include badass heroines, British accents, and the smell of Band-Aids. Writing reviews, author interviews, and fun stuff at

Friday, March 15, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for March 15, 2019

It's time for the weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with more on hopepunk, Star Trek Discovery, The Orville, Captain Marvel, season 2 of American Gods, Us, an uproar at San Diego Comic Fest and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Film and TV:

Comments on Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek in general (spoilers):

Comments on The Orville

Comments on Captain Marvel (potential spoilers): 

Comments on season 2 of American Gods

Comments on Us


Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews:


Con and event reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends:

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Interview with Scott Colby, author of the Deviant Magic contemporary fantasy series

Today on the Speculative Fiction Showcase it gives us great pleasure to welcome back Scott Colby, author of the Deviant Magic series, who we first interviewed back in 2014!

Tell us something about Deviant Magic. There are four books in the series, and counting. What got you started?
Deviant Magic started a long time ago, when I first wrote the story that eventually became Shotgun while pretending to take notes in my high school classes. I'd recently seen the movie Men in Black and I'd been reading a lot of Terry Brooks and I wanted to sort of combine the two. I reworked Shotgun multiple times over the next ten years before finally deciding to spin the idea into a bigger series. I really enjoy messing around with the idea of what might happen if magic were real in the modern world. It's sort of a secret to most of humanity where things stand right now, but long term I plan to break down that barrier and explore what happens when technology's suddenly not the only game in town.

The protagonist is a young sorceress trying to level the odds between humans and unscrupulous fantasy beings. She plays a different role in each book - can you tell us a bit about that?
I kind of fell backwards into the idea of Rayn as my protagonist. Initially I'd thought of her as the villain, but the more I fleshed out her background and her goals I realized that she's doing the right thing in the wrong way. She was misused by the people controlling the secret world of magic and she wants to fight back to make sure that never happens to anyone ever again. Her only appearance in the first book is a single mention at the end when one of the main characters realizes she was behind the entire problem. She's a complicated villain in book two, sort of a mentor character in book three, and a catalyst for a big reveal in book four. I enjoy working with a variety of perspectives, and I find it more interesting and a heck of a lot more fun to tell the stories of those affected by her crusade instead of just doing it through her eyes.

The stories are set in the real world (not a secondary or fantasy world) where magical creatures hide their existence from humans by means of magic and memory-altering dust. That’s an unnerving thought! What particular challenges does that create for you?
It's wild, right? I think the biggest challenge is maintaining that separation without making it feel like it's forced or like it's just a plot device. Humanity is kept in the dark because these magic creatures are severely outnumbered and they're legitimately afraid of what would happen if they were revealed--and every day that separation is maintained, the possible chaos that could occur if it ended increases exponentially. Beyond the strife caused by the stereotypical fear of people who are new and different, imagine you recently lost a loved one to cancer and one morning you wake up and find out that there are people who could've cured it with their magic. There's a lot of potential for drama here.

On your About page it says: “Deviant Magic explores themes of discovery, immortality, corruption, and the role of memory in shaping who we are, but at its core it’s a story about changes big and small and the myriad ways both individuals and institutions adapt to our ever-evolving social situation. The series also features magic-enhanced keg stands and a water nymph who gets kidnapped and trapped in a toilet.” Can you elaborate on that a bit? There are some big ideas in there. Also, what is a keg stand?
I love this question! A keg stand is a truly horrible way to drink beer. You get a keg, do a handstand on top of it, and drink from the pump. I don't recommend it. I've got a character who performs just such a skillful maneuver while magically levitating a few nearby bar patrons. The point I was trying to get across with that description is that my work is a mix of big ideas and lowbrow weirdness. Magic is often treated as a really serious power to be treated with respect. Most real people wouldn't do that. I mean, think about technology. Every single one of us has a device in his or her pocket with access to more information than our ancestors ever could've dreamed of. Most of us use those devices primarily to take silly photographs, play mindless games, or watch weird cat videos. I think people with magic powers would treat those abilities the same way. Plus it gives me an excuse to write really ridiculous scenes.

Modern or urban fantasy brings the fantastic right into the mundane. It’s hugely popular in books and across a whole range of media. Why do you think that is?
Who hasn't daydreamed about waking up one morning suddenly in possession of an ability that can change their life? I think that's the appeal; urban and contemporary fantasy play on those inner fantasies we all have about being able to make life less boring just by snapping our fingers. I think there's also a lower barrier to entry than you get with high fantasy or hard science fiction. It's your world, except your neighbor's secretly a troll and you really don't want to know about the secret ingredient in that home brew he insists you drink whenever he invites you over for a barbecue.

You mention several fantasy titans - Terry Brooks, Neil Gaiman, Frank Herbert, as well as Chuck Palahniuk and Thomas Pynchon (who doesn’t fit neatly into any genre pigeonhole). And Chelsea Handler - please tell us more about their influence and why you enjoy their work.
All of those authors are just amazingly creative (yes, even Chelsea), and I learn something about storytelling whenever I read their work. They are who they are and they put it right out there in an engaging format.

What are you working on at the moment? 
I'm working on the fifth Deviant Magic novel! I wanted to dive into the inner workings of my big evil corporation, so I'm doing so through the story of an intern who joins the company in a bigger full time role than he expected. Not only does he have to deal with his new knowledge of all the secret magic things going on, he has to come to terms with the fact that he hasn't been working for the good guys--and he has to decide if he wants to continue working with them in a role that might help temper how horrible they are. I'm really excited for this one!

A Date with Death explores a fantastic situation in the sort of small town the author grew up in.” Why is it that the USA seems to have this unique relationship with myth and fantasy? For instance the Coen brothers remaking Homer’s Odyssey in the Deep South in O Brother Where Art Thou. 
That's an interesting question. Rural life, and perhaps more specifically the idea of "where I came from" has been heavily romanticized in all aspects of American culture, so I think it's natural that creators who want to provide an easy base for more imaginative concepts use that as a base.

Diary of a Fairy Princess features a young royal fighting the patriarchy in the most stylish way she can”. Please tell us more. 
Diary of a Fairy Princess might be my favorite. It takes place in a city packed with magical fairy creatures. The role of the princess in this society is to grow up, function as a figurehead with no real power or responsibilities, get married to whoever's chosen as the next king, and then die in labor while giving birth to the next princess. This cycle's been going on for millennia; it's necessary to keep a vile form of corruption at bay that's surrounding the city and would overwhelm it if there ever wasn't a princess. Our hero, Myrindi, isn't having it, and she leans hard into the stereotypical spoiled princess role as a means of breaking free and giving herself more agency. The story alternates between the "live" story of Myrindi battling to rid herself of her betrothed and diary entries, written in her unique voice, that fill the reader in on exactly what her life has been like. Writing from the perspective of a spoiled princess was super fun.

Stranger than Fiction is your latest book, featuring “a group of former heroes unhappy that they’ve been replaced” - an issue that is seldom discussed by Marvel or DC. What happens to superheroes when they get fired? Can you talk as well about the humour that realism introduces into your books.
When heroes get fired, it's not pretty. They let themselves go, they wallow for a bit in drugs and alcohol, and then they desperately grasp for new relevance. Stranger Than Fiction was inspired by my general dislike of young adult epilogues that show the protagonists all grown up and happily married and getting ready to send their children off to magic school or whatever. That's too easy. Life doesn't work that way, especially for people who are probably pretty beaten up inside by the ordeals they've been through. My former heroes are a mess. Their relationships are strained, their children are entitled jerks, and their lives peaked far too early. So when a mysterious figure offers them the chance to get themselves back into the spotlight and maybe knock the new heroes down a peg or two, they can't resist the opportunity--even though they know there's more going on here.

What are you watching? And will you be watching the latest series of Game of Thrones?
I don't watch much that isn't live sports, to be honest, but lately I've been really into The Incredible Dr. Pol, a reality show about a country vet. I tend to latch onto random shows like that for a little bit and then move on. I don't have much patience for binge watching and I seriously miss the days when sitting through three hours of TV meant watching four or five different things. Does that make me sound old? It makes me feel old. TV's just not my favorite thing. I'd rather read or write or get some Playstation in. I am, however, looking forward to Good Omens and I plan to (slowly) watch that.

Superheroes: are you a Marvel or a DC man? You say you started out drawing before you switched to writing. How much influence have comic books had on your writing, if any?
I enjoy both Marvel and DC, but I've never been a big comic book guy. I really enjoyed the old X-Men and Batman animated series as a teenager, though. I usually try to make sure I get to all the big Marvel movies while they're in theaters and I'm really excited to check out Captain Marvel.

Marshmallow fluff somehow evokes memories of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man from the first Ghostbusters. Is marshmallow irredeemably linked with horror, or can it be reclaimed?
Marshmallow is an irredeemable substance and should be avoided at all costs.

What do you do when you sit down to write, and what displacement activities interrupt your writing?
Life in general is a huge hindrance to my writing. Ha! But in all seriousness, I do my best work around background noise. One of my favorite activities is to grab my notebook and a handful of pens and bounce around between random coffee shops and bars. I need something to concentrate against, if that makes any sense. Plus I never know what I'm going to see or who I'm going to talk to while I'm out and about that might inspire something interesting in what I'm working on.

Amazon and the internet have given rise to many new genres, and cross-genre books. How do you see the future of books?
Although I'm sure we'll develop lots of diverse new ways to read books in the next five to ten years, I don't think the idea of books themselves will change much. I've seen companies looking to insert more multimedia into the experience and I just don't see that taking off. Reading a book is a simple task and I think people like it that way--but I'm also that old curmudgeon who wishes he had a web browser that just didn't show any pictures or video and just gave me the words, so maybe I'm the wrong person to ask. I think the publishing industry itself is ripe for a bit of disruption, but I'm not real sure where that's going to come from.

About Scott Colby:

Author Scott Colby began his career way back in elementary school. His stories about equipping his friends with magic weapons so they could fight ancient evils in his backyard were huge hits when the teacher discovered them and made him read them aloud to the class. Scott hated this.

The story that initially became Shotgun was written during Scott’s senior year of high school, when he decided to rip off the hit movie Men in Black but with fantasy creatures instead of aliens and elves in the Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones roles. This story was subsequently rewritten about a dozen times before it reached its final form and spawned the Deviant Magic series. The Deviant Magic story isn’t close to complete and there are many more novels on the way.

Scott resides in scenic Somerville, Massachusetts, the home of marshmallow Fluff. His other interests include gaming, fitness, and technology. Like any good Masshole, Scott also enjoys trips to Dunkin’ Donuts and swearing at the Red Sox.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Road of Skeletons (Thurvok, Book 3) by Richard Blakemore and Cora Buhlert

Release date: February 19, 2019
Subgenre: Sword and Sorcery

 About The Road of Skeletons:


On their way to the northern city of Khon Orzad, Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friend Meldom, thief, cutpurse and occasional assassin, travel along a road lined with the skeletons of executed heretics.

It's a grim path that becomes even grimmer when Thurvok and Meldom come upon a blindfolded woman who is still very much alive tied to a stake by the side of the road.

Should they continue their journey or rescue the woman and risk the wrath of the priest kings of Khon Orzad…

This is a short story of 5500 words or 20 print pages in the Thurvok sword and sorcery series, but may be read as a standalone. Includes an introduction and afterword.




The road that led to the northern city of Khon Orzad was a thin white ribbon of sand and gravel that was flanked by pine trees looming on either side, pine trees so high that they cast the road into shadow, even though the wan winter sun had barely passed its zenith.
Two men, one tall and muscular and one lithe and wiry and a good head shorter than his companion, were walking along that road at a leisurely pace. They were Thurvok, the sellsword, and his friend and travelling companion Meldom, cutpurse, thief, assassin, whatever someone was willing to pay him for. Both men were on their way to Khon Orzad in search of employment and opportunity.
So far, their journey had been peaceful, if cold, for winter was closing in and Khon Orzad lay far north of Thurvok’s usual stomping grounds. Meldom had been there before, though, and said that he knew someone in town who might be willing to hire a sellsword and a cutpurse cum thief cum assassin. But then, Meldom knew someone who might be willing to hire the pair of them in almost every city. Sometimes, the jobs were even as advertised and Meldom’s contacts paid up as promised.
The pine forest ended abruptly and before them lay the sea, its waters grey as the steel of a well-worn blade and foaming like soup boiling in a kettle. According to the map Meldom had purchased at their last stop, this inlet was called the Bay of Mourning Tides. It was certainly a fitting name, for the cries of the seagulls circling above the waves really did sound like a mourning dirge.
Beyond the Bay lay Khon Orzad, perched on a cliff high above the sea. If they had a way of crossing the Bay, Thurvok and Meldom could probably reach the city in as little time as it took to roast a rabbit or pheasant. But there was neither a ferry nor any other boat and so they had to take the long way, following the road as it wound around the Bay all the way to Khon Orzad.
Now that their destination was so close, Thurvok and Meldom strutted onwards at a brisker pace, eager to make it to the city and an inn, where they would find a hot meal, a tankard of ale or a jug of wine, a clean bed and maybe even a willing wench to share it with.
But then Thurvok came to an abrupt halt, when he spotted something alarming by the side of the road. Skeletons, lots of them.
Some still had a bit of flesh on them, others had been picked to the bone by the ravens and seagulls circling overhead. Most were standing upright, bound to stakes by the side of the road. But sometimes, the ropes that held them had rotted away and the skeletons had fallen to the ground in a pile of bones. Sometimes, rusty swords had been thrust into the ground around the skeletons, as if to keep them from running away.
It was not uncommon for cities to display the bodies of executed criminals outside their gates to deter would-be wrongdoers. But this forest of bones was extreme even by the standards of the most bloodthirsty of city states in the realm.
Even the naturally chatty Meldom had fallen uncharacteristically silent in the face of so much death.
In the end, it was Thurvok who broke the silence. “I thought you said this was a good place for business.”
“It is,” Meldom replied curtly.
“Their courts and magistrates seem rather bloody-minded, though,” Thurvok remarked, kicking aside an errant bone.
“I thought you didn’t care what courts, magistrates and judges say,” Meldom countered.
“I don’t,” Thurvok said, “But if I have to fight my way down from a scaffold, I’d like to be warned beforehand.”


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About Richard Blakemore:

Richard Blakemore (1900 – 1994) was a prolific writer of pulp fiction. Nowadays, he is best remembered for creating the Silencer, a masked vigilante in the vein of the Shadow or the Spider, during the hero pulp boom of the 1930s. But Richard Blakemore also wrote in many other genres, including an early sword and sorcery series about the adventures of a sellsword named Thurvok and his companions.
Richard Blakemore's private life was almost as exciting as his fiction. He was a veteran of World War I and II as well as a skilled sportsman and adventurer who travelled the world during the 1920s. He may also have been the person behind the mask of the real life Silencer who prowled New York City between 1933 and 1942, fighting crime, protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty, though nothing has ever been proven.
Richard Blakemore was married for more than fifty years to Constance Allen Blakemore and the couple had four children.


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About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 

Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres.

When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. She also runs the Speculative Fiction Showcase and the Indie Crime Scene and contributes to the Hugo-nominated fanzine Galactic Journey.


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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Interview with Tanner Nielsen, author of Wired: A Dystopian Novel for the 21st Century

Today the Speculative Fiction Showcase are delighted to welcome Tanner Nielsen, author of Wired: A Dystopian Novel for the 21st Century, to answer our interview questions.

First of all, tell us about your new release, Wired. What was the inspiration for your novel?
My inspiration started back a year ago. I had just gotten married, and was struggling to really cement my identity and come to terms with allowing myself to just be a man within a relationship. I started recalling my past experiences with mental illness, and what had given my life fulfillment prior to that. I read an article then that basically spoke about how to know what career you should pursue. In essence, whatever you had not been able to take your mind off for years was what should be seen as your passion. I realized that I had thought of little else other than an essay I had written in college about implementing an anarchist society in America and the fundamental philosophical standing behind anarchism to back up that idea. With that, I wrote a short memoir/philosophy book last summer consisting of my personal beliefs into coping with modern living. While writing it, I had a nervous breakdown and had to stop. I never did finish it. I keep it on my computer to read through occasionally, but it really was some scary stuff I wrote. I almost put it as an afterword to the book, but I would probably get some flack for some of it so I decided to keep it out. A few months after writing that, I (finally) read Orwell’s 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World in a three week time span. I continued to read, but was not getting the same level of satisfaction as before, and I began to formulate my own ideas into improving the typical dystopian novel mixed with some information wars and current global threats we face as a society. I like to think of it as the spiritual successor of 1984. I wrote it in a straight flurry of inspiration near the end of 2018; I didn’t shower for days on end.

You have a podcast called The Devil’s Threesome. How is that connected to your novel?
The Devil’s Threesome podcast is a result of my good friend and twin brother having a video call in January. We all live hundreds of miles apart and it really felt good just talking to one another again and cutting the shit. The podcast isn’t specifically tied to the book, but I have used it as a platform to express some of the ideas I go over in Wired.

The book’s major premise is that an asteroid will strike the earth in 2029 - or will it?
No comment 😊

You mention that the book is based on a conspiracy theory about an evil corporation. Do you view it as a fictional story with a core of truth, or a true story disguised as fiction?
A little of both really; I like to think of it more as a true story disguised as fiction though. In the book there are physical wires controlling the minds of the people to make them want to constantly check their phones and isolate themselves from the real world; we have a lot of that already without wires. I believe implants are the next logical step the government, or a corporation will take in the name of progress and health reform. We already have that Apple Watch that transmits your heart data to hospitals.

Why do you use the term “dystopian” to describe the book?
In my opinion, we already live in the world 1984 laid out. My book is an homage to the classics, Zamyatin’s We especially. They are all what ifs? In their nature. I like to think that the content of Wired is already happening, and this book will read like nonfiction ten years from now. I almost guarantee it.

Your videos make cell-phone masts appear terrifying, like alien invaders. Tell us more about this...
Where I live in Phoenix, we have thousands of those palm tree cell towers; there are two within 50ft of my house. I was listening to a newscast about MK Ultra, the mind control experiments of the 1960s, and the guy being interviewed straight up said “MK Ultra is still around. I’m not sure why people see it as an experiment of the past. Sure we don’t use acid any more to control people, but that’s because we don’t need to. The flicker rate on your television screen is already adjusted to put you in a trance like state, same with your phone’s screen. Those cell towers? They put out waves that make you docile and keep you in check.”

That whole thing really made me take a step back and look down the street; I had never even noticed those towers before literally right next to my house! Now I sure do. They just put one next to where I work as well, and I swear, at the risk of sounding paranoid, I get strange sensations now when I look at those towers. And with the introduction of 5G, those waves are classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization; they fundamentally destroy the DNA of people in the radius of their wave emittance. The 5G waves are also reported to mess with soil productivity, and a whole other slew of environmental destructiveness. And that’s all beside the mind control stuff that the waves may cause. We need to take a serious look at 5G.

Are you planning to write any sequels?
Originally I was, but it is not the kind of story I feel needs one. To be honest, I feel the story is definitely complete.

Tell us about your writing process...
My writing process is very intense. I wrote for sixteen hours straight one day! It is also very fluid, I did a small map on my notepad outlining the levels of conspiracy I would dig into in relation to the progress of the book; but I did little planning other than that. I knew what I wanted the ending to be, and really I wrote to that point. The book is constantly building to it.  I like to edit as I go as well, with my mindset being that I don’t want serious revisions. My writing style seems to change day by day, and I feel that if I were to add large paragraphs to certain parts, it wouldn’t fit in.

Are there any current science fiction writers whose work you enjoy?
As previously stated, Orwell’s 1984 was very inspirational to my book. As for current sci-fi, I really don’t read much fiction; I’m a nonfiction kind of guy. A current author that really influenced my writing style was Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son; Horns was the first book I read at 14 that changed my life. He’s a horror author though, and that probably explains the gratuitous violence in my book. Leonard Schlain, David Wilcock and Nathaniel Philbrick are non-fiction authors that I really like.

Why do you think contemporary writers are so interested in post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction?
To me, I think we’ve lost our sense of wonder as a society. We no longer have God, but we still have a yearning to believe in something, even if it’s a negative belief to attach to. Dystopian fiction requires faith, and I’ll admit, when I watch documentaries about conspiracies and coverups, I get that high and satisfaction that comes from a reinforcement of my worldview. It’s kind of like how Christians see a small act of kindness or have a “I prayed and found my car keys two minutes later!” moment that confirms that God is real. Same with me, but essentially on the opposite spectrum. Humans need faith in something, even if it’s the belief in unbelief (or dystopian fiction).

Is your protagonist, Teton, an everyman figure?
Definitely! I purposefully tried to make him a guy you’d see at a Walmart who you’d forget 5 seconds later. If I had one qualm against 1984 or We, it would be that the protagonists are very “chosen one” esque. I really wanted this book to read like non-fiction, so I made him very impersonal, and for the first half of the book, barely cognizant of his existence on purpose.

What do you do to unwind?
I like to drive; around age seventeen, I would buy a pack of cigarettes, hop in my car, and drive whatever album I was currently listening to. I did that all through high school and college too. I liked to do that with my twin too, and we could talk for hours, even after we had parked the car at home. I quit smoking, but I still like to drive up to Utah, just for driving’s sake.

Is America the natural home of the dystopian novel and if so why?
At the risk of sounding ultra-patriotic, I really think it’s because of the influence America has on the world’s media; we have Hollywood and movies are popular, so naturally they’d be in the United States. America has also been the world’s superpower for 60+ years; only a fool would think otherwise. Ergo, the UFOs will naturally land on the White House’s lawn (satire intended)!

What about the humour in the book?
My sense of humor is very crass, and very satirical. It’s also dry. I really like to make fun of everything (my wife hates that so much). The whole format of the book is also very satirical towards progressive politics. 

About Tanner Nielsen:

Tanner Nielsen was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up there. He then moved to Colorado at age ten, and lived there until graduating from CNCC in 2016. He moved down to Phoenix, Arizona after graduation, and that is where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and a dog. Wired: A Dystopian Novel for the 21st Century is his debut novel and is an amalgam of his life experiences, philosophies, and dark humor.

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