Over the years, we've worked hard here at TR to hire people who possess the somewhat rare combination of a solid technology background and decent writing chops. Recently, that inclination has paid a rather unexpected dividend: Cyril, our do-everything News Editor and graphic designer, has written a novel. Well, technically it's a novella, because it's not quite as long as your average paperback—but it is a very compelling work of fiction.
I have to say, I'm totally blown away by it. Cyril has demonstrated his talent for words here at TR before, but as a guy who writes lame-joke CPU reviews for a living, the idea of skillfully crafting a story is well beyond me.
The book, titled Fluke: Langara's Prize, is a near-future sci-fi tale that explores the possibilities created by advances in biomedical technology. The pacing is brisk, and the writing style is simple, elegant, and concise. I think anyone who enjoys a good book will find pleasure in Fluke, and the suspense will pull you through it quickly.
Here's a quick promo blurb for the book:
An SUV barrels through a red light. A pedestrian is injured beyond recovery. As Nathan Simon lies dying in his hospital bed, a strange man in a gray suit admits him into a postmortem clinical trial. Nathan signs the form just before losing consciousness. He wakes up to find himself lying, paralyzed, in a beautiful meadow. One hundred years have passed, and Nathan is about to become a living exhibit for one of the world's most powerful biomedical corporations.
Because this is the Internet and we can do whatever we want, TR is helping Cyril publish and promote his book. In return, Cyril has graciously agreed to give us a cut of the proceeds. So, in a very unusual way, we have a product to offer you. If you buy it, not only will you get to read a compelling story from a brand-new-yet-familiar author, but you'll also be helping to support the site.
Fluke is now available in e-reader format at Amazon.com for only $2.99. The book is DRM-free, so buyers can convert it to Nook and other e-reader formats as they see fit. Also, Fluke is a part of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, so Kindle owners with Amazon Prime can borrow the book free of charge. International buyers can grab Fluke in the Amazon store for their locales, as well. Here's the page in the Amazon U.K. store, for instance.
For those who want a bit of the flavor of the story, here's a brief excerpt that should do the trick:
“What just happened? How do I pay for this?”
Her sly grin tells me she expected the question. “You already did.”
When I press her for details, Alyssa takes me aside and explains, speaking quietly so as not to draw attention. Store computers identify visitors and keep track of transactions, she says. By law, a retail purchase involves two steps: one, taking physical possession of the item, and two, entering a verbal agreement to buy it. The value of the purchase is then deducted from the customer’s default account—in my case, my Langara Corporation company credit.
There are exceptions, of course. But that’s the gist of it.
Still clutching my purchase, I follow Alyssa through the maze of cobblestone streets and back up to the hotel lobby. Before we split up, I thank her for the evening and wish her a good night. She smiles and returns the pleasantry.
Alone again, I make my way through the long, empty corridors to my suite. Gone are the hubbub of the mall, the giggles of children playing by the fountains, and the soft sound of Alyssa’s voice. All I hear now is the stillness of the evening and my own rhythmic footfalls on the carpeted floor.
I enter my suite and shut the door. I walk up to the tall windows and peer at the city lights a half-mile down. Hypnotized, I stare at the endless patchwork of scintillating dots, some moving, some still. In the distance, I guess the shape of the mountains, timeless and impassive, hidden away behind a shroud of darkness.
Do go check out the Fluke page at Amazon and consider buying a copy. If you like it, we'd ask that folks tell their friends and perhaps take a moment to write a quick review at Amazon, as well. With luck, that will help us connect with other potential readers who might enjoy this well-told story. Thanks.