Relaunching an Idea: Apocrypha!

future-city-1Recently, I began to seriously contemplate revisiting an old idea. Not just any old idea, mind you. This was an idea that went back to 2008, to the point where I first decided I wanted to move away from far-reaching, distant future speculative writing. It was also my first real stab at social commentary, predating Data Miners by several months, and which called for a lot of research.

The name I had in mind for it was Apocrypha. Basically, the two threads that came together to form this idea for me were the ideas of Demarchy and Apocalypticism. At the time, the idea that digital technology and wireless communication might one day lead to direct democracy, while religious fervor might actually spike within the current century due to climate change and the social impacts thereof.

singularity.specrepHowever, after a lot of tinkering and writing the story halfway, I found I couldn’t really make the idea work. It was my first attempt to write something contemporary and it really didn’t go so well. I’ve since tried to reboot it at least once and found I could only get a few chapters out of myself. But I couldn’t dispose of it entirely, not after all the work I put into it and all the bits of wheat I felt were buried in the chaff. And so, its lingered in my files for years.

And now, years later and after all the tech research I’ve done, I find myself coming back to the idea. This is due in part to to trends which I’ve been researching in the last few months. The way I see it, by the middle of this century, two trends will be coming together, and its anybody’s guess which will come to determine our future. The one is technological growth and change – culminating in a future of post-scarcity – and the other is Climate Change, which will lead to a future of nothing but!

Megalopolis'And that’s where this story opens up. The year is 2030, and the world is a fast-changing place. On the one hand, mega-cities have taken root in several places, such as the Nanjing Peninsula, the Gangetic Plain, Cascadia, the Northeast Megalopolis, the “Blue Banana”, and the west coast of Japan. Life in these megalopolis’ is increasingly characterized by violence, poverty, unemployment, bigotry, and an ever increasing fast-pace of life due to increasingly advanced technologies trickling down to the street.

Meanwhile, the wealthy and privileged continue to buy up property and move to higher altitudes and latitudes in order to avoid the coming difficulties. It is widely accepted that within the next few decades, waves of immigration and refugees will pour into the coastal and border regions of the developed parts of the world (those that exist outside the equatorial regions that is) and life is likely to get more difficult.

In the midst of all this, a new group is taking to the streets, a group of quasi-apocalyptics who claim that the End of Days is coming. Their message is code-named Apocrypha, since it is really a cover for their more deeply laid plans to usher about something far more sinister. As they say, some spend their lives waiting for the apocalypse, while others are determined to make it happen in their lifetime.

Crashland.ebookThis story was actually the basis for my short Hunluan, which is part of the proposed Grim5Next anthology known as World’s Undone. It’s also the basis for the serial novel Crashland that I began posting over Story Time.me back when 2012 first started. Funny thing, the year 0f 2012 was marked by a lot of dystopian and apocalyptic lit. Maybe that’s why I want to revisit it now, seeing as how we’re in the clear for the time being!

In any case, as soon as Yuva is complete, Pappa Zulu is all wrapped up, and I’m done editing and releasing Data Miners (one of these days I’ll get that damn book finished!), I plan to return to this concept and give it my full attention. There’s plenty of potential to make some predictions about the future and that’s something I can’t pass up! In addition, it was my first attempt at something truly speculative and relevant and I definitely want to pursue that again.

It is my dream, after all, to produce something that capture the spirit of this age, and since Climate Change, break-neck progress, and fears for the future seem to be the dominant trends as I see them, this might just be the book to do it with! Look for it soon, I hope it will please the discerning reader!

climatewars

Crashland – Chapter 16, Now Available At Story Time!

Alright! It’s been many weeks, but I finally got back to Crashland! I had been hoping to tackle it while on vacay up in Comox, but like many of my projects, it just didn’t happen. But back in my home, where I get most of my writing done, I back on that horse and updated it at last! Good thing too because I was worried people were starting to lose interest. So, here’s where things left off…

Last time around, Holden woke up to find that the subway tube had collapsed, that Jacobs was seriously injured and the medic named Jorka was dead. All of this was being laid at his feet by the new commander, a man named Kurzweil. After talking it over with Molya, the squad’s chief enforcer, Kurzweil ordered him to administer a drug that would put Holden in a coma so they could do their operation without him.

Molya, however, had other plans. Bringing the syringe to Holden, he told him to sneak into Kurzweil’s quarters and administer the drug to him in his sleep. Though he does not fully understand why Jacobs insists on making Holden a part of their operation, he is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. What’s more, he is not willing to contravene Jacobs orders when he’s not even awake and able to defend them. Holden agreed to the plan and set off to find Kurzweil in his quarters, where he is about to find the man asleep and defenseless, or so he thinks…

Come on by and see what happens. Then stick around to vote on the next outcome. It’s all happening over at Story Time.me!

The Vacay Is Over!

Yes folks, tomorrow I got home and resume a normal life, which will consist of getting ready to go back to work at the local school and driving my sweetheart to work every morning. I have to say, and my wife agreed with me on this, we need a vacation after this vacation. Somehow, romping through the bush and thinking you might die of dehydration, followed by a week of house sitting a 92 year old woman and nine cats, just doesn’t seem conducive to relaxation.

On the plus side, I didn’t accomplish half of what I hoped to when it came to my reading and writing goals either. So at least there’s symmetry. If I recall correctly, my list looked something like this:

  • Finish editing Data Miners already!
  • Finish my contribution to the Yuva Anthology (Winston Agonistes)
  • Get more chapters done for Whiskey Delta
  • Write up a new chapter for Crashland (still need people to vote on that one!)
  • Proofread new submissions for Yuva (Amber, that’d be your story)
  • Get some TKD training in with the Comox Valley people
  • Sit around the deck drinking GandTs and using the Hot Tub

Well, item one was a total bust. Didn’t get one page of DM editing and ready for print. I fared slightly better one item two, finishing Winston Agonistes for the Yuva Anthology. In fact, a few thousand more words, and it should be complete. Man, I totally busted my self-imposed word limit of 5000 (it was 11, 161 last I checked)!

Third item, writing more chapters of Whiskey Delta, I totally did! In fact, I published chapters nine, ten and eleven of my zombie tale while here. As for Crashland, which only I wanted to do one chapter for? Not so much… Item five, I actually did twice, meaning two submissions were sent by the erstwhile Amber and I managed to read them both and offer some comments. Item six I managed to take care of this morning, and item seven I did like gangbusters!

As for my reading list… that went even less well. If I’m mistaken, I planned to finish Mona Lisa Overdrive, finish Second Foundation, get into We, and finish Martian Chronicles and A Feast For Crows if there was time. My progress? Almost finished Mona Lisa, made a little progress on Crows, and nix on the rest! Damn, I guess I’ll be carrying a heavy reading burden back with me to Victoria. And I hoped to do some reviews on these since I’ve been promising them for awhile now.

Ah well, as they say “The Best Laid Plans…” etc, etc. At least we had an adventure, not to mention the fact that we’ll be home, in our own beds, and not have to look forward to cats coming and going into our room all night long, demanding food, to be let out, or trying to use the damn litter box. I’m seriously reconsidering my love of cats, I tell ya! And I do have a surprise or two to look forward to when I get home so I’ll be pleased to push off tomorrow. It was also real nice to spend some time with my grandma, and she tells me she had fun too. So it’s sure to be a bittersweet goodbye 🙂

Hope everyone’s had a great summer and catch you real soon! I know, it goes so fast, but at least we can make some memories that we’ll be able to hold on to. And just think, the fall will be bringing many new and wonderful things. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, ripe apples, our favorite tv shows, new movies, new friends, and new opportunities to witness new and exciting things. I look forward to it all…

Crashland Chapter 14, Now Appearing at Story Time

Wow, it’s been awhile since I updated this story last. And I believe it was even longer before I updated it before that. But as I’m sure I’ve said, I’ve taken on some other writing responsibilities of late and it seems I’ve finally reached my creative limit. That’s what you get for constantly pushing your boundaries I guess.

Still, today I managed to tear myself away from my other writing and editing commitments and dedicate some much needed attention to Story Time and this unfolding serial novel. And I’m sure you’ll agree, this one’s also a doozy! Much like the last one, the choice is once again a matter of life and death.

Last time, William found himself trapped in a collapsing subway tube and slowly dying from internal injuries. Slipping into unconsciousness, he once again experienced an intense dream that seemed to be speaking to him, almost as if someone else were inside his head and using his memories to give him instructions.

He then woke to find Jacobs standing over him and urging him to follow him out. Though he practically had to be carried, William and Jacobs managed to struggle their way out of the collapsing tube just as the last of it came crashing down. Unfortunately, Jacobs appeared to be mortally wounded, and the people tending to William mentioned that one other person in their party had died as a result of the cave in. Readers were asked to decide which person that would be.

The choice was a tough one. Would it be Simon, the cybernetically enhanced post-human that all their efforts depended on? Would it be Molya, the team’s gunman who never seems to stray far? Or would it be Jorka, the team’s medic and the only woman William had set eyes on since the Crash began. As it turned out, audiences decided on Jorka, the female medic who was intrinsic in saving William’s life. Thus, chapter 14 opens with the revelation that not only was she killed, but that Jacobs was mortally wounded while attempting to save William’s life.

The story is on the move once more. So come on by and check it out, and as usual, stick around to vote on what happens next! It’s all happening over at Story Time.me.

The Town of Sidney, a City-Wide Hotspot

A news in my local paper announced something quite interesting, something which made me think my writing actually be slightly relevant. It was one of those “I told you so” moments, you might say. Well, according to the Peninsula News Review, the town of Sidney (about fifteen minutes drive up the road from where I live) has become one gigantic hotspot. Yes, that basically means that wherever you go in town, you will have wireless access to the internet. And, here’s the cool part, it’s all free and has been for almost a year now.

How does this relate to my own writing, you might ask? Well, it just so happens that I’ve been experimenting with the idea of an entire mega cities that function on this same principle in the not-too-distant future. In fact, it’s kind of intrinsic to the whole Singularitarian, Demarchist concept, where human beings are augmented with cybernetic implants (usually silicate, in literature) that allow them to access the networks wirelessly and hands-free at any given time. That way, they can participate in government, conduct business, and access information all day long, from any locale remotely.

And it just so happens that this idea is the cornerstone of Crashland, my serial novel over at Story Time. Basically, the premise is that by networking the entire world – by bringing all business, industry, information, communications, government and foreign relations under one wireless roof – the world became extremely vulnerable should a rather enterprising hacker could get past it’s built-in firewalls. And of course, that’s what exactly what happened, hence the name of the story!

Funny thing though. In spite of the rather cool nature of this development, the town of Sidney still feels that the word just hasn’t gotten out there enough. Well, I’m doing my part to spread the word with my meager little blog here, when not plugging my own work that is! And hopefully all the signs they are planning on placing on the highway and by the ferry terminal will help too. How’s are these for promo ideas:

“Entering a City-Wide Hotspot”, “Entering Sidney’s Wi-Fi Zone”, “Free internet for the next 10 km”. What do you think?

“Revolution” to premiere in 2012

A new show will be premiering this year, directed by Jon Favreau (who directed Iron Man 1 and 2) and executive producer JJ Abrams (who brought us the relaunch of Star Trek). Apparently, this show asks the question of what would happen if one day, all the electricity and electrical equipment in the world just shut off. In essence, this new show, named “Revolution” is all about the struggle to rebuild once civilization as we know it crashes and all our modern technology is rendered useless.

Hmmm. A show about a dystopian world where everything goes down and people are forced to survive by their wits? I call plagiarism on NBC! Anyone who’s been following my site or Story Time knows that this is the EXACT premise of Crashland. But whereas my story was all about infopocalypse and cyberwarfare, Abrams show seems to center on the idea of solar flares, EMPs being set off, or some such thing. Because God knows if he’s doing the whole “viruses crashed everything because everything was networked” concept like I did, I’m really gonna sue his ass!

But then again I imagine the producers of Battlestar Galactica might come knocking on my door… Damn! Can’t a man sue for plagiarism without falling prey to the whole “people in glass houses” thing? In any case, the real focus of the show is about what happens 15 years later when a group of people begin going about the process of rebuilding. This is predictably complicated due to the rise of warlords and criminals who have profited from the chaos.

A pretty straightforward premise, and not exactly new either. In fact, ever since the rise of industrialization and electricity, their have been no shortages of satirists and critics who have wondered what would happen if it all broke down. It was from this point onward that human beings became truly dependent on technologies that could be described as “prescriptive”, in the sense that they seemed to create needs and dependencies rather than address them. But this is why the concept of it all going down has remained relevant.

And if anything, its only increased in relevance as our dependence on electricity, electronic devices, and industrial products has grown by leasp and bounds. Today, it could even be said we have reached a stupefying level of dependence! Ah, but what can you do about it? Can’t imagine what I’d do without my gadgets. Probably pick up a gun and force people to bend to my will! Let’s keep those grids working people, you wouldn’t like me when I’m deprived and armed 😉

Crashland – Chapter 11, Now Appearing at Story Time!

Alright! After days and days of sinking my teeth into utopian lit, I’ve finally managed to get back to my dystopian ways! Which means that Chapter 11 of Crashlands is now available over at Story Time. And as promised, things are getting tense!

Last time, Holden was introduced to the being known as “Simon”. As usual it was up to the voting audience to determine what Simon was. Was he a cyborg that could interface with any machine on the planet? Was he a Nexus, a special type of Cyborg that authorities use to monitor the infobahn? Or was he a cyber terrorist that they had captured and turned to their cause?

Well, after some deliberation and a plea from the author, audiences got their votes in, a tie was broken, and Simon was declared a Nexus! Now, in chapter 11, we get to learn more about him, what his purpose is in their mission, and how Holden is expected to help him out. He also learns, now and for the first time, exactly where they will be heading to.

And so the question is once again posed to you, the voting audience: what happens next? Come on over and see what happens in this chapter, then stick around to decide on the next outcome. It’s in your hands people, whatever you say goes!