Above a horrified New York City, genetics and ethics collide as the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over the city’s rooftops. In the streets below, a brilliant young scientist has discovered a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either.
Set both in modern New York City and in the technologically sophisticated yet politically savage world of Anthem, Anthem’s Fall unfurls into a plot where larger than life characters born with the prowess of gods are pitted against the shrewd brilliance of a familiar and unlikely heroine.
It had its certain comforts and learned familiarities, but New York had never felt like home. The initial novelty of Manhattan and all of its cultural and architectural grandeur had long waned, and what she once regarded with wonder, she now felt only a moldering cynicism. These days Kristen Jordan considered the soaring edifices and crowding streets to be the material shape, the substance, behind the insatiable and thoughtless ambition of the modern. Nudging her straw against the melting ice cubes at the bottom of an empty vodka tonic, Kristen looked about the shabbily decorated and dimly lit college bar. Glowing neon beer signs and television screens hung on walls that enclosed a dozen booths and tables. A distinct smell of stale beer and hot wings hung in the air, yet the nearby conversations of fellow academics, exultant and self-assured, ignored this atrophy.
Kristen studied genetics at Columbia, and her brilliance was unrivaled. Sitting quietly and gazing across the young faces of the bar, Kristen wondered if she stood out among her outwardly preoccupied and self-satisfied peers, or if they too were all carrying unspoken anchors of anxiety and doubt. On some level, though, she knew her general restlessness was an unfortunate byproduct of her intellect, and not an affliction shared by the masses.
From across the table her fellow graduate student Steve Armstrong had started rambling over the loud rock music, his hand clutching a perspiring glass of beer. “My point is that there’s a difference between intelligence, or even consciousness for that matter, and awareness. They’re two entirely different phenomena that are always lumped into the same category. Don’t you think?”
Kristen Jordan groaned and rolled her eyes, which elicited a laugh out of another graduate student sitting beside her, Cara Williams.
“I don’t care, Steve,” Kristen said, her voice distracted and leaden. “I hardly think it’s a topic worthy of lengthy discussion. There’s no way of knowing for certain because that kind of technology doesn’t exist.”
“Are you kidding me?” Steve gulped his beer and glared at her, his words faintly slurred. The alcohol added a note of indignation to his tone. “You’re saying we shouldn’t consider how a new technology will operate?”
Interview with the author:
The last book you’ve read?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Matinicus, Maine. Anyone from Maine might balk at that statement, but it’s true. Matinicus is a plantation island about twenty-two miles off the coast. It’s way out there in the Atlantic, and it’s known for being rough around the edges. Pretty much all of the people who live on Matinicus are lobstermen whose families go back generations. Tiny planes fly daily routes to the dust-strewn landing strip in the middle of the island, and only one boat takes visitors to and from the tiny Matinicus harbor in the summer season. All told, I’ve heard the island population drops to forty or fifty people in the winter, and rises up to a few hundred in peak summer.
There’s a diesel generator by the harbor that pumps out the whole island’s electricity. Once a week you bring any recyclables to a local who manually hauls it off island in her truck. Everything else gets taken off-island with you when you leave, or burned in burn barrels. If you want a grocery store or restaurant, you better hop on a boat and head back to the mainland.
Matinicus, for me, is paradise. There’s no sound of nearby roads, no coffee shop to slink away to, no bar to wallow in—just the ocean and utter, unequivocal solitude. It’s a place that lingers like an anachronism on the edge of civilization, a modern frontier town, and—coincidentally—a writer’s ideal retreat. With me to Matinicus I bring food and my laptop. And maybe some alcohol. Nothing else.
There’s no better place on earth than Matinicus for sitting your butt down and writing.
If you could visit any place in the world or a place created by a book, where would you visit?
Jabba the Hutt’s Palace. Maybe I could get in on a day trip out to see the Sarlacc pit.
What are your thoughts on e-books? (i.e. love them, hate them, wave of the future)
I love e-books as a writer and a reader. I tend to do most of my reading at night, so e-books are incredibly convenient when reading with the lights off. With an iPad it’s no sweat. Of course I like paper books too, but the convenience of an e-book is tough to beat. Ultimately I wish I could have both. I think along with the myriad other revolutions occurring in the book industry, bundling is going to become more common. Meaning when someone purchases a hardcover or paperback, they can also download the accompanying e-book for free or at discount. It’s not like the e-book costs anything to distribute, so as an indie writer I’d be happy to give someone a free e-book after the purchase of a paper book.
Amazon has just started doing this. It’s a program called Kindle MatchBook. But I personally see this bundling as a great way for indie bookstores and indie authors to connect. Indie retailers and writers could form a mutually beneficial relationship (ignoring all the heavy hitters of the industry) whereby a reader is incentivized to purchase from the small bookstore and from the indie author because they receive a bundled purchase.
As an indie writer, e-books are my deliverance. In the past few weeks I have sent out over a hundred advance reader copies of Anthem’s Fall. In paperback form, that would have cost me hundreds and hundreds of dollars in printing and shipping costs. Instead it cost me nothing! That kind of free and simple distribution levels the playing field for writers. As a writer, e-books represent unprecedented empowerment; there’s no longer any overhead to distribution—you can reach a global readership with the click of a button.
S.L. Dunn is the debut author of Anthem’s Fall, a novel he wrote amid the wanderings of his mid twenties. He has written while living intermittently in St. John USVI, Boston, Maine and Seattle. Raised on big screen superheroes and pop science fiction, he sought to create a novel that bridged a near-sci-fi thriller with a grand new fantasy. He currently resides in Seattle with his girlfriend Liz and their dog Lucy, and is hard at work completing the next book of the Anthem’s Fall series. Get in touch at www.sldunn.com.
The Author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $30 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.