Blog Tour Review: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 660

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine–the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.

Then you have to deal with them.


“Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”

Stop, take a step back, and marvel at this creation. I want to pick apart Collin’s mind because his writing is beyond what I imagined. Collin takes science fiction and flips it upside down. So get ready, world. Here comes Genesis 2.0.

The last survivors of the human race have been lied to. Now their lives have changed, and they must learn to live in a world they don’t understand. Problem is that Brian, the original human malls operational manager (MOM) and general badass who wreaked havoc in the first instalment, is on the warpath with the self-aware artificial intelligence, Sky, who’s in bit of a hurry to reboot herself, and now the heroes may run out of time to save themselves and their loved ones.

I usually write my reviews within the first day or two after reading, but when I finished this book, I had to adjust my thinking, digest what I’ve read, and somehow wrap my head around this impossibly creative world building. Collin adds layer upon layer, and each one is unbelievably complex in its own right. He doesn’t just stick with one arc, whether story or character. He throws in multiple storylines, and somehow, they combine together to make a captivating science fiction story. He makes me want to read that genre.

At first, Collins throws you in a new environment with new characters. Son and his family live in mondoland, the real world outside of the generated realities and the former malls. He, one of the few people to be born after a virus that made everyone sterile, eventually meets up with our favourite characters Cisco and Dee Zu, two tests pilots. And that is where everything goes to hell.

Mondoland, the remnants of our old world, isn’t what MOM, or Sky, made it out to be. No superorganisms are out to kill the rest of the human race. And now since the malls, where the last survivors of humanity lived, are non-operational, and the main characters’ world is completely turned upside down, they must survive in a landscape they’ve never lived in.

Beyond the world building, Collin excels at writing a deeply flawed yet compelling character. Even Sky, the AI, shows her humanity, yet you want to die as much as Brian. But what stands out the most is Cisco and Dee Zu. They lose everything, they realize their lives were built on a lie, and yet they create an incredible bond. I enjoyed reading their scenes, even though they were short. And I’m dying to see how their future plays out in the third novel, which, if you haven’t figured out, I want right now.

I don’t always read science fiction, but I think Collin has convinced me to jump into that world. So here it goes.

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Blog Tour Interview: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone!

Guess who’s back on the blog? Collin Piprell! The author of MOM and Genesis 2.0 from the Magic Circles series sat down (digitally) to talk with me about his new book. I’ve been wondering how this insanely thought-up series will go, and finally, we get to find out.

Genesis 2.0 is now available online!

 


Hey, Collin. Welcome back to my blog. I’d like to congratulate you on your latest release, Genesis 2.0!

 

 

  1. You’re on your second novel in your Magic Circles series. Can you explain what’s happening in Genesis 2.0? What are Cisco and your other characters facing?

The book begins with a new character, a young man who negotiates a grueling gauntlet through the terrifying world Outside that we saw in MOM. He eventually encounters survivors of MOM’s cast of characters. Some of these have come to resemble the Olympian gods of old. Cisco himself resembles a hero out of myth, operating in both Aeolia, a virtual realm, and in mondoland, the ruined remnants of the pre-PlagueBot world (real world).

The story involves (1) a titanic contest between our villain-in-chief Brian Finister and the AI that superseded him as MOM (mall operations manager), (2) another contest between the personality alters of the fragmented AI MOM, (3) contests between our young heroes (Cisco, Dee Zu, and Son) and the Olympians (and others), and (4) two different love triangles with all the attendant drama.

 

  1. What surprised me the most is how the former generated reality test pilots don’t know how to survive in the wild (the real world). They’ve lived in malls for most, if not all, of their lives. This dependence on technology smacks you in the face when you read Genesis. Were you hoping for that effect from readers? Is there some message you are hoping to impart?

If there’s a message in that, it’s simply that digital tech and, more so, the qubital tech to come encourages us to outsource our mental faculties to the point we’re in danger of becoming entirely dependent on that technology. (Though Dee Zu and Cisco are uncommonly resourceful, for mallsters, and cope pretty well with losing their qubital umbilicals.)

For a take on the outsourcing theme, you can visit this blog post: “Outsource our minds? What a good idea.” http://www.collinpiprell.com/outsource-our-minds-what-a-good-idea/.

Even without all that, imagine your average modern urbanite reduced to living off the land. Would they have the skills to find food and water, to find adequate shelter or defend themselves against physical threats from animals and other people?

 

  1. Cisco’s (the main character) world has fallen apart. His life is turned upside down at the end of your first book. What is his frame of mind in the sequel? What is he fighting for?

He finds he’s even more in love with the “wet” Dee Zu that he was with the virtual variety. And the Lode has enough of Cisco—enough of the “right stuff,” the properly stressed personal data—that, as he has already proven, he’s capable of ascension as an autonomous ebee to Aeolia, Sky’s qubital alternative to mondoland, or what you refer to above as the “real world.” He wants to ensure that Dee Zu survives long enough the Lode can absorb enough of her data that, should the wet Dee Zu die, she also has this option of a second life in Aeolia.

At the same time, Cisco is co-opted by Sky, serving as her agent in resisting both Brian’s machinations and the attempts of Mildread, one of Sky’s personality alters, to shut down Sky’s Aeolia project.

 

  1. Who or what inspired you to write Brian and Sky (the antagonists)?

Sky, to some limited extent, is a virtual version of the ancient Pygmalion story. A human creation that comes to life in a way that causes people to become infatuated, even sexually embroiled with her. But that’s a real stretch, and is misleading.

Other than that, I wanted an AI with human qualities, at least in part, and discovered a fine source of dramatic conflict between a machine MOM (mall operations manager) who has ascended to self-aware autonomy, and Brian Finister, the megalomaniacal last human MOM, whom she superseded.

 

  1. What was your favourite part in writing Genesis?

I enjoyed writing all its various parts, but maybe I had the most fun with Brian. First of all with his “despatches,” his raving fulminations and attempts to supply a history for a future readership he believes will never exist; and, secondly, with the chapters where his scendent personality fences with the super-intelligent Sky, determined to prevail in the end, no matter how unlikely that outcome appears.

 

  1. Can you give us a glimpse into your third novel, Resurrections?

To reveal the essential theme and plot device would prove a spoiler for readers of Genesis 2.0. The best I can do is say that, underlying MOM and Genesis, we find developments that point towards a game-changing evolutionary emergence. This element is brought to surprising conclusions in Resurrections, and our heroes (including, again, new characters in addition to the old cast) have to cope with these developments, which offer at once huge promise and dire threats for the future.

Blog Tour Spotlight: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone,

This is my first stop on the Genesis 2.0 blog tour! I’ve been curious to see how Collin’s characters have dealt with their lives being turned upside down by a self-aware AI. Genesis 2.0, the sequel in the Magic Circles series, is now available online.

Don’t miss my next two stops tomorrow and Thursday.

But for now, enjoy!

 

Genesis 2.0

Collin Piprell

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Buy Links: Common Deer Press Website, Amazon CAN, Amazon US, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble

A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine—the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.


About the Author

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer resident in Thailand. He has also lived in England, where he did graduate work as a Canada Council Doctoral Fellow (later, a Social Sciences and Humanities Fellow) in politics and philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford; and in Kuwait, where he learned to sail, water-ski and make a credible red wine in plastic garbage bins.

In earlier years, he worked at a wide variety of occupations, including four jobs as a driller and stope leader in mines and tunnels in Ontario and Quebec. In later years he taught writing courses at Thammasat University, Bangkok, freelanced as a writer and editor, and published hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics (most of these pieces are pre-digital, hence effectively written on the wind). He is also the author of short stories that appeared in Asian anthologies and magazines, as well as five novels (a sixth forthcoming in 2018), a collection of short stories, a collection of occasional pieces, a diving guide to Thailand, another book on diving, and a book on Thailand’s coral reefs. He has also co-authored a book on Thailand’s national parks.

Common Deer Press is publishing the first three novels in his futuristic Magic Circles series.

Collin has another short novel nearly ready to go, something he only reluctantly describes as magic realism. Less nearly ready to go are novels he describes as a series of metaphysical thrillers. Not to mention several Jack Shackaway comic thrillers, follow-ups to Kicking Dogs. He also has a half-finished letter to his grandmother, dated 10 October 1991, saying thanks for the birthday gift.

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Blog Tour Review: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

 

Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: September 10, 2017

Genre: Literary Fiction

Page Count: 250

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Publisher’s Website | Book Depository


Thom’s life has a soundtrack. Unseen glass phalluses–thousands of them–whirring softly along conveyer belts on the other side of the factory wall. The snap and splash of eggs against plaster. The scratch-fizz-tang of cigarette lighters being flipped again and again. A thousand throats swallowing a thousand swigs of beer; a thousand sets of lungs choking on a thousand French inhales. Hard fists sinking into soft flesh; soft chunks dropping onto hard sidewalks. Plop-flush-drain repeat. And moonsong, high above, forever calling and calling, “Stud, rub her with the Stud Rubber.” If only it were so simple.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. Receiving one doesn’t affect my opinion of this book. I would also like to thank Common Deer Press for sending it.

 

“Barriers are only so effective. Sometimes things just leak through, even if you hold them back.”

You know when a book leaves you speechless, and you’re not sure how to properly express your enjoyment of it? Well, I’m in that particular situation. From the first opening scene, Jesse will show you what he’s made of.

A literary fiction that teeters on hilarity, intelligence, and downright fun, Unwrap Your Candy is a treat for any reader looking for the next unique read. Thom decides to leave his job at a local condom factory, all the while losing his sanity in the process.

Jesse beautifully crafts each sentence and transports you to Thom’s frame of mind. You can’t help but be impressed by the level of detail and precision Jesse puts in his story. I felt as if you might not get that attention in a book about a condom factory worker, but I was wrong. With Jesse’s writing, you see who Thom is as a man who slowly loses his mind.

Jesse’s prose illustrates the passion and ultimately the respect he has for the literary art form. Some constructions are out there, yet you never lose the appreciation for the final product. But don’t think of this book as pretentious. It isn’t. You see the dedication he weaves in each chapter. His lyrical storytelling pulls you this way, then that, and somehow, some way, you come to a satisfying conclusion at the end. And I enjoyed the adventure. It isn’t linear; it isn’t chronological. It’s organic.

One scene that sticks out the most to me is how Thom, whose life is essentially falling apart, consoles a coworker’s widow. I can’t decide why it has, yet it speaks to me, especially when Thom doesn’t quite know how to help this greiving man. And while several characters, like his girlfriend, Samantha, coworkers, and father make appearances, the story itself focuses solely on Thom and his eventual path. Maybe other authors may have developed the secondary characters, but Thom is the main focal point in this literary fiction. And I appreciate that detail to this character.

Jesse isn’t afraid to break the writing mould. So keep a look out for his future books!

 

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Blog Tour Interview: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

Hey, everyone!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jesse Miller, Common Deer’s newest author. While discussing the Common Deer Press’ Fall 2017 lineup, Elizabeth, publisher and friend, mentioned Unwrap Your Candy. Let me tell you I wasn’t expecting a book about man who works at a condom factory, loses his mind, then leaves and his job, all in one night. But since I saw the first page, then the condoms and cigarettes sparkled throughout the book’s design, I knew I was in for a fun read.

Don’t miss out on this book! It comes out on September 10th.

 


Welcome to my blog! Thank you for taking some time out of your day to have an interview with me. And congratulations on your upcoming book birthday! 

  1. Can you tell readers what your book is about?

Thanks for having me aboard your blog! Describing this thing I’ve created is tricky for me. Even though I’m the one who created it, the book may be something very different to me than it is for others. But I’d say, Unwrap Your Candy is about being madly in love with and consequently, blissfully intoxicated by language. It’s the story of Thom Evans and a day/night he spends after he leaves his miserable job at a condom factory for a night on the town with his compellingly attractive, but seriously wounded lover, Samantha. The tagline my publisher came up with is choice, something like: Imagine Woody Allen made a movie about Dilbert and James Joyce wrote the screenplay. That’s what you should expect from Unwrap Your Candy.

Really, UYC is a book of chapters, and perhaps the non-linearity of the narrative might be a barrier for someone to push through. But if you can get past some of the construct mechanics, it’s really a book of songs, with recurring phrases, with recurring lyrical motifs, many of which are introduced in a kind of overture at the beginning, stretched and unpacked as the book spins on, and then brought around in the close. I suppose that sounds kind of absurd, and perhaps worse, pretentious AF, as the kids might say. How about this: it’s a concept album in the form of a novel.

 

  1. Why did you plan to write it? Was there anything that gave you inspiration to do so?

The real germ of UYC came from an article I read many, many years ago in one of those douchebag men’s Maxim-y magazines. I was sitting there in the waiting room at the dentist’s office and the cover had a little blurb: “The Magical, Mystical Condom Factory Experience!”—some such nonsense. I think the angle was like this Willy Wonka-esque tour through the factory as told by a kind of “with it” Hunter S. Thompson narrator-type driving the story. What struck me most was how during the tour, the writer wasn’t allowed inside certain rooms—I’m sure this is standard procedure, but he made such a huge deal out of it, out of this barrier, this kind of off-scene place. It got me wondering: What was beyond those walls? And then some lyrical part of my brain took over and wondered what that all meant—the barrier, the NO that existed in a space that made barriers. From there, the unknown, the beyond, and not just the actual room in the factory, became the quest. And then in time, the mood and the undercurrents of the book started to take shape.

 

  1. Can you also talk about your main character, Thom? How did he come to life?

Thom came to life for me in the ensuing years after I had written a full draft and had put the book down for a while. There was something about his “condition,” self-imposed as it is, that some part of my brain couldn’t stop returning to it. It was a kind of unresolved melody bouncing off the walls of my cranium, trying to get out. I suppose then, so much of Thom experience is a sense of purgatory, even in, and perhaps especially in, his youth. The book is prefaced with a portion of Tennyson’s poem Tithonus, and as misguided as Thom may be, I think he identifies with the unresolved condition Tithonus experiences in the poem—the sense of being shielded physically but not protected emotionally…feeling powerless as you watch everything decay. It’s odd, but that kind of chewing on a heavy poem for years, and returning to some lines you might mutter to yourself or anyone in earshot, at questionable times even, feels real to me, makes Thom real to me, anyway.

Of course, when I first started the book, I was roughly about the age of our dear punchinello. I was once a young, anxious man vibrating with the exotic narcotics of adrenaline and hormones, trying to figure out how to exist inside my own skin. Interestingly, it was ultimately in my aging, in my removal from the kind of “condition” of this character that I suppose I could see Thom, and write from a perch where I was capable of looking back to make some out of meaning of the flurry of his youth. I always thought there was a dark humor in this book, but as I’ve worked on the revision, and the countless other revisions, and as life has worked on revising me—I suppose I’ve appreciated the humor in the Thom’s self-created folly more and more.

 

  1. You’ve published a novel before. What have you enjoyed about this book’s publishing process? 

I’ll tell you, this has been a remarkable experience. The good people at Common Deer Press have been extremely receptive to how I envisioned this book finding its form in the world. I particularly loved the way the dust jacket came out—that long phallic factory stretch into infinity just kills me. And the 3-tone trinity spareness of the cover gives me chills, gives me that rockin’ pneumonia of, say, a White Stripes album.

I am thrilled (to) be part of CDP and to bring Unwrap Your Candy into the world! This is, well, an unconventional novel, which drifts way out there at times, and it is only fitting to work with a unique publisher so keen on presenting the work in its proper form. CDP gets this book, and I very much looking forward to the unwrapping.

 

  1. You’re a visiting lecturer at the University of New England. Why did you decide to choose literary fiction over other genres? Is there something that sets it apart?

I am! I generally teach writing courses at UNE, including creative writing courses.

Choose literary fiction? That’s not exactly it for me. Really the question is: What is literary fiction? I’m not trying to be bratty, but it’s worth considering. It’s certainly something we wrestle with in my writing classes. As I understand G E N R E, with a capital G—as both a writer and a teacher of writing—is that other genres radiate from literary fiction, and we receive their rays on many different planets. Literary fiction, for me, without putting too fine a point on it, is a home-base of sorts, an incubator, a kind of Rome from which all other genres widen and radiate. And that’s what makes other genres interesting, in their reach and radiation from home-base. And really, UYC is a probably a little bit of a transgressive book in the truest sense and in the genre sense. But I don’t really live and die by genre.

Literary fiction so often has elements of other genres. Christ, one of my favorite short stories, The Swimmer by John Cheever is really a ghost story. I love reading that story with my fiction students as “literary fiction” and then looking at from another genre-y lens. EXPLOSION! Students come in loving stories, so I really try to avoid being sclerotic with how I define or have them experience fiction. Tell me a story. Make me care. Avoid cliché. Get out of your comfort zone. That’s really my ambition in the classroom and at my writing desk.

 

  1. Are you planning to write more books in the future at all?

Well, I’m so pleased that my fabulous publisher has purchased the rights to my first novel and will be re-releasing ARK. That will be the next project to attend to. You can check out a little sample of the cover art and a blurb about the book here:

https://www.commondeerpress.com/ark

Beyond that, I’ve been writing an eschatological novel, a kind of mosaic for years and years now, which feels like with just my luck, that I’ll finish just in time for the end of the world. I’m calling it the WAX novel at this point, like drip candles that accumulate on prior drippings, because it seems like with this project I keep returning to it, burning over for a while when I can really focus; and then I’m back teaching, and that kind of singular focus I need evaporates. The cycle has been going on for a long time, writing in fits and bursts… falling into the book, back again, and then I’m gone again. The process of coming and going in and out of the book, that wax and wane, is having an impact on the style of the prose for sure.

 

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@AHerdOfDeer

Blog Tour Spotlight: Unwrap Your Candy by Jesse Miller

 

Today’s my first stop on the tour. I have the pleasure to announce the publication of Unwrap Your Candy, by Jesse Miller. UYC is now available for purchase.

 

I hope you enjoy. And don’t miss my next two stops this week!

 

Unwrap Your Candy

Jesse Miller

Publication date: September 10, 2017

Publisher: Common Deer Press

Buy linksGoodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Publisher’s Website | Book Depository

Tagline: Imagine Woody Allen made a movie about Dilbert and James Joyce wrote the screenplay. That’s what you should expect from Jesse Miller’s Unwrap Your Candy.

 

Thom’s life has a soundtrack. Unseen glass phalluses–thousands of them–whirring softly along conveyer belts on the other side of the factory wall. The snap and splash of eggs against plaster. The scratch-fizz-tang of cigarette lighters being flipped again and again. A thousand throats swallowing a thousand swigs of beer; a thousand sets of lungs choking on a thousand French inhales. Hard fists sinking into soft flesh; soft chunks dropping onto hard sidewalks. Plop-flush-drain repeat. And moonsong, high above, forever calling and calling, “Stud, rub her with the Stud Rubber.” If only it were so simple.

 


About the Author

Jesse Miller is the author of two novels including the forthcoming Unwrap Your Candy from Common Deer Press. He is a Visiting Assistant Lecturer in English at the University of New England.

He lives in the great city of Portland, Maine, with his wife, two cats, and dog. Jesse roots for the Red Sox.

 

Website |Facebook | Common Deer Press | CDP Twitter

 

 

www.commondeerpress.com

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@AHerdOfDeer

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

 

Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Published by: Clean Reads Publishing

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 180 pages

Rating: 3/5

Source: eARC from Xpresso Book Tours

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble


The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.


Receiving an eARC from Xpresso Book Tours does not affect my opinion of this book.

“We have all sacrificed something, even you. To have lost everything but have hope to rebuild the future is the strongest weapon in the world.”

I’ve been wanting to find new authors and series, so when I read some reviews of this book, I was interested to sign up for a tour. Black Dawn is Mallory’s debut novel. And even though it has a few rough edges, Mallory introduces you to an intriguing world brimming with magic and tainted by betrayal.

Emory Fae believes she’s your typical young woman. Nothing exciting happens in her life, until two men show up at her apartment and tell her she’s the lost heir of a war-torn world filled with magic. These men, Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster, hope she will be the flame for the Black Dawn rebellion, eventually lead them to peace, and reclaim her throne. However, Emory discovers her past holds more secrets than she can imagine. And she may not want to uncover them.

Mallory doesn’t give you a dull moment. From the first chapter, she jams in non-stop, high-paced action. One of my concerns of the book is that it can be fleshed out more much than just 180 pages. I felt that some scenes were too fast, and the first half of the book seemed too rushed. But don’t let my issue persuade you not to pick up the book though. The book improves in later chapters. And I was eager to see what happens with Emory.

The author also offers you a taste of this series. And, hopefully, with more sequels to come, you’ll get to see what happens to these characters. Emory, whose parents started the Academy for children who possess magical abilities and were killed by one of their pupils, now called the Mad King, discovers she too also has powers of her own. Being thrown into a new environment, and a new world, will test anyone’s psyche. But she finds out that she made the decision to have her mind wiped and to be sent to Earth. Well, I’m not surprised she has a hard time adjusting to the news.

I had a hard time warming up to Memphis, and I’m not the only one to feel the same. His treatment of his girlfriend, Nyx, throws me off. And I feel that he manipulates everyone around him, especially Emory, who he’s loved since they were children. Now Brokk I can get behind. His character arc takes a drastic change than what I imagined it might take. So I’m curious to see what Mallory will do with him.

With political plays, betrayals, and unanticipated plot twists, Black Dawn is a solid start to a new fantasy series.

 


About the Author

Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favourite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.

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Giveaway

Here’s your chance to win a free signed copy of Black Dawn! The contest is international and ends June 22. ENTER HERE.

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: MOM by Collin Piprell

 

MOM by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: April 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Extent: 324 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Publisher

A GOD IS BORN!

TOO BAD ABOUT THE PERSONALITY DISORDER

So reads the graffito.

MOM is the mall operations manager — the greatest intelligence in history, a machine awakened to self-awareness at a time when the last few human survivors have withdrawn to the last two remaining refuges on Earth. Quarantined from the global nanobot superorganism outside the malls and from each other inside, the mallsters are utterly dependent on MOM for everything — including the ever-more suspect information they’re getting about the world Outside.

Now the malls are crumbling.

A mystery thriller set in the second half of the twenty-first century, MOM is the first novel in Collin Piprell’s darkly comic and always thought-provoking MAGIC CIRCLES science-fiction series.


Stepping just an inch inside Collin’s world is not only terrifying but also thrilling. I wondered what I have gotten myself into. I haven’t dived in to sci-fi for a long while. But Collin creates a richly dark and gritty story that will keep any science fiction lover up at night.

 Our society is dead. The last remaining humans retreat and find shelter in Malls, where MOM (mall operations manager) protects them from the outside post-apocalyptic world and the superorganisms that destroyed it long ago. Cisco the Kid, the protagonist, and other test pilots “world” in generated realities. Throughout the book he starts to lose himself, and he finds that something in these virtual worlds doesn’t add up. Once Cisco and the others discover MOM may have misled them and may also have become a self-aware AI, which may be slipping into insanity, life as they know it will change forever.

Overall I enjoyed reading MOM. I discovered an intriguing side to futuristic sci-fi, which isn’t always on my TBR list. You get a strong sense that Collin takes the time to flesh out his work. And he dedicates his efforts to create an entirely unique world. How many times have you heard the word “autonomous ebee” (electronic being)? For this fantasy lover, I’m lucky if I understand it (and thankfully I do).

Collin’s world building is superb. It hooks you in and takes you on a sci-fi junkie’s mind-altering adventure. His characters move the story along and keep your attention. I’m not a huge fan of multiple POVs in stories. Sometimes I find any more than three distracting. However don’t let that issue waylay you from reading the book. From chapter one to the next, you aren’t sure which POV you’ll read next, but that change keeps the story stimulating. One big tip any readers need for MOM is to pay attention to every detail. Collin incorporates intricate information into his work.

I think my only negative for the book is the terms and the language characters use. Understanding what each new word means took me awhile. If you aren’t accustomed to this type of writing, you may feel a bit lost. But, and I mean but, I am grateful for the glossary (yes, this book has one). You know you’ve stepped into a multi-faceted universe when you find one at the end of the book.

But if you’re a sci-fi fanatic like some people I know, MOM should be your next book. This book will take you on the craziest trip you’ve ever been on. And it will make you question everything. So get ready and strap in. MOM has just arrived.

Blog Tour Spotlight: MOM by Collin Piprell

Hey everyone!

I’m pleased to announce the official release of MOM, by Collin Piprell. Today’s my first stop on the blog tour. Don’t miss my next two stops in the coming days!

 

MOM

Title: MOM

Author: Collin Piprell

Genre: Sci Fi

Release date: April 5, 2017

Publisher: http://www.commondeerpress.com

Buy Links: Amazon Common Deer Press BN

Tagline: A mystery thriller set in the second half of the twenty-first century, MOM is the first novel in Collin Piprell’s darkly comic and always thought-provoking MAGIC CIRCLES science-fiction trilogu.

Blurb:

A GOD IS BORN!

TOO BAD ABOUT THE PERSONALITY DISORDER

So reads the graffito.

MOM is the mall operations manager — the greatest intelligence in history, a machine awakened to self-awareness at a time when the last few human survivors have withdrawn to the last two remaining refuges on Earth. Quarantined from the global nanobot superorganism outside the malls and from each other inside, the mallsters are utterly dependent on MOM for everything — including the ever-more suspect information they’re getting about the world Outside.

Now the malls are crumbling.

 

About the Author:

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer and editor resident in Thailand. He is the author of four previous novels and a collection of humorous stories, now out of print, as well as four books on national parks, diving, and coral reefs, which are also out of print. *MOM* is the first novel of Magic Circles, a science-fiction trilogy in progress. Visit http://www.collinpiprell.com to learn more.

Website: http://www.collinpiprell.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/collinpiprell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/collin.piprell

We hope you love the book as much as we do!

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Blog Tour Interview: MOM by Collin Piprell

Today’s my second stop on the blog tour! I had the pleasure to read an eARC of MOM by Collin Piprell. And I had to learn more of this futuristic world, so I set up an interview with him.

Hope you enjoy!

Siobhan

 

 

  1. MOM is one of the most complex multi-layered stories I’ve read in a long time. Can you tell the readers what it’s about?

That may be true, but I’d like to reassure readers that the novel focuses on dramatic developments between the characters — the heavier themes and multiple dimensions frame the action without intruding on what’s otherwise just a rollicking good read.

MOM is the “mall operations manager,” a machine intelligence become self-aware. And one theme in this book is the question of reconciling machine and human evolution. MOM also takes disintegrative trends in our current material and cognitive worlds and extrapolates to what may not be unrealistic extremes in the not very distant future. Forces for disintegration contend with reintegrative moves as background to the dramatic conflicts.

In the Magic Circles series as a whole, this becomes in part a contest between opposing cosmic imperatives — call it a war between the urge, on the one hand, to bring everything in the world under the control of one agency in the search for absolute security, and, on the other hand, the acknowledgement that error and diversity and conflict play essentially positive roles in our experience, essential to our staying open to the rise of real novelty — what some describe as creative emergence.

In fact, the story eventually proposes novel developments at least as revolutionary as the rise of life itself, or cultural evolution’s supersession of biological evolution. That thread is developed more surely as the story unfolds in Genesis 2.0 and Resurrections and beyond.

Throughout MOM and the novels that follow, there’s also much play with the variety of ways we can experience “reality.”

Here I should say again that, despite all that, MOM basically presents a ripping good read. And so my dear, departed mother would agree were she still with us.

 

  1. MOM has been published before. Can you explain what has changed from the first publication?

Not much has changed. The publisher chopped about 10,000 words (10 percent) — mostly a first few chapters I’d thought were needed to introduce readers to life in the malls and in the Worlds — and I had to agree that, after I wrote patches, the book now gets off to a faster start, while nothing essential has been lost.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the same book. I’d had the ruins of the Baiyoke II Tower, formerly the tallest building in Bangkok, poking up out of the sea that surrounds the Eastern Seaboard, Southeast Asia (ESSEA) Mall. In the current edition, I’ve substituted the MahaNakhon, an even taller building that’s almost finished.

 

  1. I see that Bangkok holds a special meaning to you. Why have you incorporated it in your stories, especially this one?

I’ve lived in Bangkok for quite some time, and it seems natural to borrow settings from that city and the rest of Thailand. MOM is set in (1) the ESSEA Mall, what remains of a coastal megalopolis; (2) generated realities set in 1980s-90s Bangkok; (3) a subterranean site beneath a much-changed landscape several hundred kilometers north of Bangkok; and (4) the Eastern Seaboard, United Securistats of America (ESUSA) Mall, roughly where New York used to stand.

 

  1. What inspired this futuristic sci-fi? Has recent (or older) technological advances inspired the book at all?

I believe nanotech and qubital computing will together transform our lives far more than the digital revolution ever has. And — like the digital revolution, or the Industrial Revolution before than, and so on back to the rise of agriculture and cities and to even earlier radical transformations of our human worlds — these technologies will bring new advantages, some of which would seem miraculous to people from our time. At the same time, they’ll bring new problems, some of them so horrendous as to threaten the extinction of all life on the planet.

At the start of MOM, the PlagueBot — a global superorganism emergent upon a failed “gray-goo scenario” involving self-replicating nanobots — presents one of these threats. But nanotech and qubital computing have also provided fixes, however inadequate, by way of the malls and the Worlds, among others. Much of the drama arises amid the ever-accelerating failure of these fixes.

Later in the Magic Circles series, we see what looks like the end of humanity and the rest of the planetary biosphere transformed into a strangely familiar but in fact radically new basis for Gaia 2 and a human renaissance.

 

  1. Can you explain to readers what worlding is and what’s its purpose in this dystopian world? How did you come up with the concept? How does it affect Cisco and others?

Worlds UnLtd is an infinite manifold of interactive, totally immersive generated realities accessible to denizens of the malls on certain days. These are the only escapes from the quarantine imposed on the mallsters. Except for telepresent encounters in their holotanks or in the Worlds, these few surviving people are kept strictly isolated both from Outside and from each other inside. One of the early mysteries in MOM is why it’s an offlining offense to try entering the Worlds on a Monday. Another mystery is why the ever-more frequent Mondays are getting longer and longer.

Meanwhile “to world” has become a verb, and people can be more or less adept at worlding. Because of their special training and experience, Cisco Smith and Dee Zu, two of the main characters, are Worlds test pilots, making sure they’re safe for the average mallster. The Worlds — realer than real, higher-rez and infinitely customizable — are utterly addictive, and most mallsters, if they could, would spend their entire lives in them.

 

  1. Now you’re expanding on your series, what are you looking forward to in the next instalments? What do you have planned?

In MOM, I established a variety of fictional “worlds.” When I started writing Genesis 2.0, I was delighted to find that, rather than creating worlds, it was more like I was exploring worlds that were already there. Implicit in the settings that underlay the dramatic action in MOM I found all kinds of new features and dimensions. The same thing is proving true as I work on Resurrections.

Much of the pleasure of writing Magic Circles, one reward for all the hard work, has been this excitement at learning what happens next and where those developments are going to lead.