I’m really stoked to be hosting Colin F. Barnes as part of his Artificial Evil Blog Tour.
Not only is Colin making waves with Anachron Press, his genre fiction imprint which is set to launch various anthologies and a Pulp Line of books in the coming weeks. His gritty cyberpunk book, Artificial Evil: The Techxorcist Book 1 is already garnering a handful of 5-star reviews in less than a month on the market.
Colin has graciously offered up this guest post, as well as a sample chapter from the book.
Check it out!
Is Cyberpunk Coming Back in Fashion?
When we look around at technology today, we see things predicted by science fiction and cyberpunk stories of a few decades ago. Back then, mostly during the late 80s and 90s when cyberpunk and the techno thriller were at their peak computers were becoming affordable and regular household items. The early Apple machines, Spectrums and Commodores brought computing to everyone; including the spotty teen in the basement.
Not only did that technological singularity change the world-or at least put in place the elements for change-it brought with it a new way of thinking; the connected world. Writers such as William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, amongst others, took the idea of the connected world and extrapolated forward to a futuristic world of hacking, cybercrime, and virtual reality worlds.
As we approached the late 90s and 2000s it started to wane a little, but another decade on and we’re seeing more technothriller/cyberpunk stories return-in the form of books, films and even TV shows. The reason for the slump, in my opinion, was that the things predicted weren’t quite there yet in reality, and regular SF such as Star Trek, Stargate, and Battlestar Galactica filled that desire of stretching out in the future.
Now, though, we are seeing the things predicted, and this is inspiring another kind of singularity; that of the connected world as something that is established, something that humanity has come to rely on. In many instances, social media is this new singularity. And with it comes a lot of problems, and thus opportunity of us writers to explore and extrapolate what this means.
In my novel, Artificial Evil, the world has suffered a great cataclysm and just one million survivors are left living in a dome city that is tightly controlled. Individuals are now one with the network, and are effectively nodes; this is kind of what is happening now, but on a much lower level. With out smart phones and always-on connections, as we move around and manipulate the virtual world, we are becoming nodes and routers of information and content. What would happen if that technology and that idea was integrated directly into the conscious mind? How much of your free will would be give over to the network? And what would that mean for the individual?
If you did lose some of your humanity, but gained the benefits of a wider network, are you still human? or another species altogether? This is partly what I explore in Artificial Evil. Our evolution might not be a biological one, but a technological one, and that, in my opinion, makes a riveting story.
About Artificial Evil:
In the tradition of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, and Richard Morgan, British writer Colin F. Barnes delivers a cyberpunk tech thriller for the modern age.
2153. Post-cataclysm. The last city exists beneath a dome where the mysterious benefactors ‘The Family’ tightly control the population with a death lottery and a semi-autonomous network.
All is well until the day family man Gerry Cardle, head of the death lottery, inexplicably finds himself the no.1 target of a malicious Artificial Intelligence. Gerry’s numbers are up, and he has just 7 days to save himself, find the source of the AI, and keep the last stronghold of humanity safe.
Gerry finds help in the shadows of the city from two rogue hackers: Petal – a teenage girl with a penchant for violence, hacking systems and general anarchy, and: Gabriel – a burnt-out programmer-turned-priest with highly augmented cybernetics.
With his new team, Gerry discovers there is more beyond the dome than The Family had let on, and his journey to find the source of the AI leads him through a world of violence, danger, and startling revelations.
Everything is not as it seems.
Gerry is not who he thinks he is.
Evil can be coded…. can Gerry and his friends stop it before it destroys humanity?
Artificial Evil is book 1 of 3 of The Techxorcist series. The larger-than-life offspring of Blade Runner, Mad Max, and The Exorcist.
Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist is available as a paperback and ebook from:
B&N & iBookstore coming soon.
Colin F. Barnes is a writer of dark and daring fiction. He takes his influence from everyday life, and the weird happenings that go on in the shadowy locales of Essex in the UK.
Growing up, Colin was always obsessed with story and often wrote short stories based on various dubious 80s and 90s TV shows. Despite taking a detour in school into the arts and graphic design, he always maintained his love of fiction and general geekery. Now, as a slightly weathered adult, Colin draws on his experiences to blend genres and create edgy, but entertaining stories.
He is currently working on a Cyberpunk/Techno thriller serial ‘The Techxorcist.’ which combines elements of Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Horror.
Like many writers, he has an insatiable appetite for reading, with his favourite authors being: Stephen King, William Gibson, Ray Bradbury, James Herbert, Albert Camus, H.P Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and a vast array of unknown authors who he has had the privilege of beta reading for.
Read Chapter 1 of Artificial Evil
Ready to sample chapter from Artificial Evil? Click to download the Artificial Evil Sample Chapter (PDF)
“Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist sees the revival of everything we used to love about cyber punk, repackaged with new twists in this tech thriller. This is a brilliant tale that combines fantastic characters, great tech and a little bit of good old fashioned possession” – Adele Wearing, Un:Bound