Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Two Weeks Until BUSTED SYNAPSES!!!

November 3, 2020 is almost upon us, which marks a momentous event of great importance to everyone: The release of my rural cyberpunk novella Busted Synapses! The pre-orders have been open for some time now and will let you get a copy early, and there's also links to it on Powell's and Amazon. Here's what some people are saying about it:

"Satifka effortlessly packs a full adventure into a limited page count. Readers will be hooked." --Publisher's Weekly "Johnny Mnemonic goes Millennial. Cyberpunk is not dead, and Erica Satifka is its queen.” --Silvia Moreno Garcia, Mexican Gothic

"Busted Synapses is the cyberpunk cry of Generation Screwed—a shrewd look at transhumanism through the lens of insurmountable debt and a thoroughly dehumanized workforce. A stunning novella from a unique voice in the literary class war." --Meg Elison, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

"What constitutes a human life? Erica Satifka asks that monster of a question in Busted Synapses, and the answers offered aren’t for the faint. With poignant sensitivity and science-fictional rigor, Satifka proves herself an uncanny
chronicler of the huan—and inhuman—condition.”
--Jason Heller, Strange Stars

So what's Busted Synapses about? Like the Publisher's Weekly review said, there's a lot going on here. You can read a little about the things that inspired the novella in my piece on the Speculative Chic blog, but basically I wanted to write a story in a genre known for a particular kind of grungy, industrial, urban setting and instead place it in the kind of town that the great march to the future leaves behind, a town like Wheeling, West Virginia. In the world of Busted Synapses. the major cities are run by the Solfind Corporation, which has showed up in a handful of my published stories (and yes, they all interconnect). But these high-tech enclaves aren't for regular people, an injustice that call center employee Jess Novotny painfully learns when she's priced out of the newly bought "island city" of Pittsburgh. Into this despair-ridden world steps Alicia, one of the androids who's succeeded in making humans like Jess redundant, but who wants nothing more than to blend in with the denizens of Wheeling, including small-time drug dealer Dale Carter.

And that's just the first couple of chapters!

Busted Synapses also has a Goodreads page, so if you're planning to read it please pop on over to add it
to your list. While Busted Synapses tells a complete story, I have many ideas for future stories and novels set in this world, and there's a much better chance of that happening if this book does well. So pick up 2020's best rural cyberpunk novella set in West Virginia, before reality catches up to it completely.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Story Notes: "Sasquatch Summer"

First things first: Yes, after four long years I have another book coming out. I'll be making another post about it soon, but just in case that future post as delayed as this one I should mention that it's cyberpunk set in rural West Virginia, you can pre-order it now, and the cover is amazing. Oh, and the title is Busted Synapses, a reference to the side effects of the drugs used in the book, because you can't have cyberpunk without drugs. I'll be talking about it anywhere I can (which unfortunately doesn't include any bookstores or conventions), including here, but if you liked my previous book Stay Crazy I'd be real stoked if you pre-order this one too.

Sasquatch Xing Rectangle - World Famous Sign Co.But the novella isn't the only thing that's going down. I'm still writing short stories from time to time, and earlier this month one of those stories was published! Not getting around to writing up story notes until now is pretty inexcusable, but call it a combination of 2020, laziness, and believing the story pretty much speaks for itself.

"Sasquatch Summer" is my first attempt at writing historical fiction. Set in turn-of-the-last-century Oregon, it centers on a small town torn apart by the fight between a small-time timber industrialist, a trainload of New York City anarchists, and the gentle socialist sasquatches that lived (and as far as I know still live) inside Mount Hood. The narrator is Helen, a plucky girl who stumbles into this messy political situation when her brother is kidnapped by sasquatches. Here's an excerpt:

That was the summer the sasquatches came down from Mount Hood and put Papa out of a job. 
It wasn’t their fault, not really. Sasquatches don’t need tools to work. When a sasquatch wants to tear down a tree, he doesn’t use an axe. He grips each side with his leathery hands and just pulls until the earth decides to let that tree go. When a tree falls on a sasquatch, the company doesn’t have to pay his family any compensation like they did to Jimmy’s family. That creature just rolls out from under the tree and keeps on walking. 
Of course, most folks didn’t see it like that.
Automation has arrived in the Oregon wilderness, courtesy of cryptids who are too intelligent to understand money. To the rescue of both the exploited sasquatches and the dispossessed townsfolk come a motley gang of proto-feminist city folk who seek to form a sasquatch union, but the cultural disconnect between the brash newcomers and the unemployed townies seems like it may do more harm than good for everyone. In the end, the sasquatches need to speak for themselves, but how can a creature that doesn't talk have a voice?

Though written as a several-years-after-the-fact reaction to Occupy Wall Street, this story is really damn 2020. Because I want you to actually read the story, I won't go into the resolution, and will only say that it emphasizes the importance of helping communities on their own terms, and that it's pretty optimistic for one of my stories. You can read it right now at Kaleidotrope, one of the best smaller online magazines out there, and there are many other great stories in this issue. So go read it!