Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rush & I

Thanks to RUSH for kind permission to use the lyrics to 2112 in "I".

It was the album "2112" that first introduced me to Ayn Rand in my early teens, via the reference in the album's liner notes to the genius of the great Objectivist philosopher. So it is wholly appropriate that it comes around now to the inclusion of several excerpts and references to that seminal prog-rock record in my sequel to Ayn Rand's Anthem, on which (at least in part) 2112 was based.

While the ending of the musical version of the story was problematic at best, being fraught with nihilistic pessimism and leaving many questions unanswered (one might imagine Rush penning a sequel to 2112 in which the protagonist emerges from death into a Hemispheres-like realm of continued existence) - not to mention its inherent elements of mysticism being entirely opposed to Rand's rational outlook - Anthem itself ends on a note of hopeful optimism, albeit one that is left unsettled, with the world still fully ensnared in the throes of totalitarian collectivism. Therefore, neither version of the tale felt entirely conclusive.

It was my intention in writing "I", therefore, to provide a more suitable ending with a sense of closure. After all, the idea that a single man could overthrow an entire world government begged many questions of its own. How does one free a people who do not even know they are enslaved? What means and methods does he use to break those chains? What is their response, and how does the World Council react? Surely they would not sit idly by while one by one the unhappy citizens depart for greener pastures, ala Atlas Shrugged? Does the world devolve into a fourth war of widespread violence and fire? Or is it something more clandestine and subversive in nature?

These are the questions I sought to answer when setting out to develop the story of Anthem (and 2112 by extrapolation) further. While the specific details of 2112 are distinct from Anthem, the story arc and structure are much the same, and consequently I found myself referring to (and quite often listening to) the album again and again for inspiration, even though the characters and events of I are those of Anthem - that is, discovery of electricity and light rather than music. Yet many of the lyrics suited so well that I found I wanted to include a few to bring the whole full circle, as it were. 

Consequently, I sought - and ultimately received - permission from Rush's music publishers to do so. Thus, you will find three snippets of lyrics and a handful of subtle references to 2112 scattered throughout I, some more and some less obvious than others. I wish to thank the band (and Neil Peart as lyricist specifically) for kind permission to use their work. I can only hope I did them justice.

(Incidentally, the lyrics in the meme above are taken from The Fountain of Lamneth, Part VI, from the Caress of Steel album, not 2112, but are equally apropos.)


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Annotated Anthem - FREE eBook

Click to download free ebook
"It is a sin to write this..."

These immortal words form one of the finest opening sentences in all of literature. They are simple, direct, compelling, immediately prompting many questions. Why is it a sin to write? What are we about to read that is considered so egregious as to be a sin? Who is writing it, and why? What prompted this immoral action, and what will be its consequences?

Ayn Rand wrote Anthem in 1937 as a warning against totalitarian oppression and the dangers of collectivism - the ultimate result of extreme socialism in which all are made equal regardless of merits. She saw the results of this firsthand in her Russian homeland before fleeing to the U.S. This short dystopian novella presents a world where all live only for their brothers and the singular pronoun has been removed from human language.

I first read Anthem in my early teens, and have read it many times since. It was a formative influence on my deeply ingrained sense of independence and self-reliance. It was an influence on George Orwell and Neal Peart as well.

In writing my sequel to Anthem I re-read it again a dozen or more times, gleaning details and making copious notes on everything from social structure to population count. How many people live in the City? How long has it been since the Great Rebirth? What technologies are available? How many Vocations are there and what do they produce? How do the Councils function and how are they selected? The more important question in the end, of course, what "how does it all turn out?" That is the question I attempted to answer in the writing of I.

In gathering together all these details I compiled a number of lists and charts, many of which can now be found in the Archives section of my website. However, in order to facilitate a quick and easy reference I also produced what I now call "The Annotated Anthem" (complete with matching cover), an ebook edition containing 577 interlinear hyperlinked end-notes and running commentary addressing a broad range of issues, such as:
  • analysis of plot details and structure
  • character traits and motivations
  • detailed breakdown of socio-political structure
  • population count based on numbers given
  • Homes, Departments and Councils evaluated
  • technologies present or inferred in the City, as well as what is absent
  • inconsistencies and contradictions in the narrative or details
  • aspects of Objectivist philosophy considered in context
  • differences between the 1938 and 1946 editions, along with selected quotes of deleted lines
You can download the ebook free in three formats (Kindle, ePub, PDF) by clicking the image above and signing up for my mailing list (I hardly ever send out anything, so you won't be spammed, and you can always unsubscribe). If you're interested in dystopian fiction of this sort I am in the formative planning stages of an original apocalyptic fiction novel that I hope to start this summer. The mailing list will allow me to keep you posted on my progress. It may or may not be a graphic novel.

Either way, this is a chance to get a critical edition of Anthem free of charge. Rand's book is in the public domain in the U.S. where I live, but most free editions are poorly formatted or taken directly from Project Gutenburg. This edition is derived from the revised corrected text of the 1946 edition, of which I have several versions, including an original Pamphleteers edition from Caxton Press in Caldwell, Idaho.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I: Print Edition Cover Final

I meant to post this earlier, but have been quite busy getting ready for the launch of "I" next Wednesday. This is the final "grunged-up" layout for the print edition cover, as opposed to the "clean" version posted earlier.

The image is intended to depict the "Brotherhood of Men" mural painted on the walls of the Hall of Justice by the Home of Artists, a propaganda wing of the City Council. As such, I felt the shapeless, faceless "men's room" emblem was the ideal choice to represent the mindless mass of automatons that populate the City of Ayn Rand's Anthem. "I" is the story of their liberation.

The first shipment of print editions arrived this week:

These will mainly be used as review copies and giveaways on Goodreads and LibraryThing for promotion purposes. If you would like to receive a review copy you can contact me through the link above. It is highly recommended, though not required, that you have read Anthem first. Review copies will be distributed at my sole discretion.

The print edition of "I" is distributed through Ingram, and therefore is available to order at any bookstore. It runs 251 pages (266 with front and back matter), at just around 122,000 words. Suggested retail is $12.95.

Print edition pre-orders at Amazon:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

"I" Kindle Edition Available for Pre-Order

Click Image to view Product Page
I - A Sequel to Ayn Rand's "Anthem"

Fantasy Castle Books
ISBN: 978-0-9821538-8-8
ASIN: B06XZC2GH7251 pages

Release Date: May 31, 2017

Available for pre-order today in Kindle format on Amazon. Print edition pre-orders forthcoming.

Stay tuned for additional content to be posted on my website, including an exclusive "Annotated Anthem" as a free download in the coming weeks.

Note also that the cover art has now been finalized. Print edition jacket art will be posted when the print pre-order page is live (this will take some weeks, as I go through Lightning Source for print on demand, and their process is somewhat cumbersome).

There will also be a free Matchbook bundle so that those who purchase the print edition will also get the ebook free.

There may also be an ePub edition at some point, but for now it will be exclusive to Amazon. This enrolls it in Kindle Unlimited, so those of you who subscribe or have Prime will be able to borrow it after its release.