The cover for BINARY STORM, the Paratwa Saga prequel, is almost finished. It looks apropos to the story, noirish and menacing. The art was done by Larry Rostant, a 2016 nominee for the prestigious Hugo Award for best professional artist. Rostant did the covers for George R.R. Martin’s "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels, better known by their HBO series title, "Game of Thrones".
The cover should be online soon. US, UK and ebook editions of the novel are slated for early November.
For someone who came of age prior to the Internet, I continue to be amazed by the online realm. The invention of the net is a spectacular and far-reaching achievement, quite possibly among humankind’s greatest. Yet for all its capabilities and future promise of connecting every soul in the world, it also serves to empower and amplify our darker emotions.
Forbidden Planet is one of my all-time favorite science-fiction films. Its sixty-year-old special effects don’t compare to the incredible CGI available to contemporary filmmakers and some of its elements are puerile by today’s standards. Yet the movie remains impressive. I first saw it on rerelease years after its 1956 debut and found its story and themes, loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, more sophisticated than most SF cinema of the era. Gene Roddenberry noted that Forbidden Planet was one of the inspirations for his creation of Star Trek.
The story revolves around a starship crew sent to determine the fate of a colony on the planet Altair IV, which has been out of touch for 20 years. Led by Commander Adams (Leslie Nielsen in his pre-comedic days), the crew finds a survivor, Dr. Morbius, and his engaging daughter, who was born there. Morbius tells Adams that the rest of the colonists, other than his wife who died of natural causes, were destroyed by an invisible “planetary force.”
A series of lethal attacks on the ship and crew by the mysterious force lead to a confrontation between Adams and Morbius, who has discovered the subterranean technology of the Krell, a long-lost civilization. The Krell’s greatest scientific achievement was a mind-over-matter machine that could materialize anything the populace could imagine, but which ended up destroying their entire species over the space of a single night.
Adams has fallen in love with Morbius’ daughter and intends to take her back to Earth. Adams forces Morbius to admit that jealousy over the prospect of losing his daughter, coupled with experimenting too closely with Krell technology, has given his subconscious mind terrible powers. Morbius is the planetary force. He not only unknowingly murdered the colonists because they wanted to leave Altair IV but is responsible for the attacks on Adams and the crew.
That’s the basic plot synopsis. What follows is the point of this recap. Here’s a taste of Adams’ dialogue as he accuses the disbelieving Morbius of being the agent of destruction.
Creation by mere thought… But like you, the Krell forgot one deadly danger. Their own subconscious hate and lust for destruction… And so the mindless beasts of the subconscious had access to a machine that could never be shut down. The secret devil of every soul on the planet all set free at once to loot and maim.
I tend toward a glass-half-full view of the world; it’s an exaggeration to say that the subconscious harbors only the darkest of emotions. Yet Adams’ words have always resonated. I can’t help but see parallels with contemporary civilization.
Today, massive clumps of cynicism-driven anger and fear morph into screeching diatribes, right-wing and left-wing alike, that increasingly clog the flow of rational online discourse. Could the Internet, despite its wondrous capabilities, be the Krell machine that can never be shut down, enabling the secret devil of every soul on the planet to ultimately bring about our collective downfall?
Just finished doing some edits on "Binary Storm" the other day. Looking forward to getting cover art soon and will post it here. The new novel remains slated for November publication. Happy 4th of July weekend!
Here's a link to the recent "Ask Me Anything" I did on Reddit.
On Wed., June 8, I’ll be doing an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) on Reddit, the entertainment and social news service. Slated to begin at 6 pm EDT and run about two hours, it’s similar to an online press conference. I’ll be fielding questions and comments on my science fiction novels--past, present and future--as well as writing in general and other topics.
Reddit is a source for what’s new and popular on the web and attracts more than 200 million unique users monthly. More info here:
Since finishing "Binary Storm," I've been doing "test probes" for new projects, including that contemporary SF thriller. Haven't committed to a new book yet but expect to soon. Following completion of a major writing effort, I'm always in freefall for a short period. Always happy when gravity again takes hold.
"Binary Storm," the Paratwa Saga prequel, is done! Just handed in the manuscript yesterday. Angry Robot Books plans to publish paper and digital editions in early November. One of the many joys of writing is completing one project and anticipating the start of another. Up next, possibly a new novel, a contemporary science fiction thriller that I started a few years ago and put on the back burner. But maybe I should take a short break first and embark on that long-envisioned trip to the seventh Jovian moon...
The long-gestating prequel to my three-book Paratwa Saga is coming. Specialty publisher Angry Robot Books has acquired world rights and plans to publish paper and ebook editions of BINARY STORM in the fall.
The new novel takes place several hundred years before the events of “Liege-Killer” and its followups, “Ash Ock” and “The Paratwa.” BINARY STORM serves as a standalone novel, however, readily accessible to readers unfamiliar with the Saga.
For more details, check out this exclusive article on Hugo Award winning fanzine SF Signal: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2016/02/guest-post-christopher-hinz/
I’m excited to return to the universe of the Paratwa. I’ll post updates and related news as it becomes available.
Ebook publisher Open Road Integrated Media is offering "Liege-Killer" at the bargain price of $1.99. "Liege-Killer" is featured as a Kindle Monthly Deal on Amazon and discounted through other retailers as well, including Apple, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Kobo and Overdrive. The discount is available through January.