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Opening Chapter of Quantum Night by Robert Sawyer

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Review by Larry Hodges

It’s always a learning process to study a great novel – and so that’s what we’re going to do here as we examine the opening to Quantum Night, the new novel by Robert J. Sawyer.

What makes a good opening in a story? That should be obvious – it has to be interesting so that it draws the reader in, either directly in itself, or by asking questions that the reader wants answered. There are many ways of doing this. You might start in the middle of the action (as you usually should), such as having a ruthless neighbor arrange to kill the dog of a poor, ignored girl (“The Wizard of Oz”), or with a raid on an enemy colony (“Starship Troopers”). There are the obvious action-packed eye-candy openings used in Indiana Jones and James Bond movies. There are the enigmatic ones, such as the opening lines to “A Tale of Two Cities” (with its very long opening line that you should read that starts out, “It was the best of times, …”) and Moby Dick (“Call me Ishmael”).

There are many online articles on opening scenes; here’s “Great Beginnings” by Sawyer himself. (The article is specifically about openings for short stories, but the guidelines are mostly universal.) He goes over four types of openings, with variations of each:

  • An evocative description;
  • Introduce an intriguing character;
  • Starting with a news clipping or journal entry (trickiest way, he says);
  • Starting in the middle of the action (most versatile way).

Science fiction is the genre of ideas, and its opening scenes should reflect that. A classic example of this – if a novel that came out this month can be considered “classic” – is the opening chapter to Sawyer’s new novel, “Quantum Night.” He starts off with an intriguing character, a professor who lives in the world of neuroscience, who believes you can test whether people are psychopaths, but defends their actions as being something they cannot help, since it is their nature. Sawyer chose this opening scene carefully – as he wrote in his article on Beginnings, “If you’re going to start somewhere other than the natural beginning of the tale, you have to choose carefully.” In this case, he chose a scene that allowed him to draw us into this professor’s world, despite being only indirectly involved with the main story.

If I were to tell you the opening chapter begins with this professor teaching a college class, that wouldn’t sound so interesting, would it? That’s how the novel starts. And yet it’s enthralling as this is how Sawyer draws us into this professor’s world. He’s teaching a class on the Neuroscience of Morality, and right from the start Sawyer gives us a steady barrage of ideas and tidbits.

The novel starts with Professor James Marchuk professing his love of teaching to “… row after row of angst-soaked teenagers.” (Though not as much as his love of watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Arrested Development” – so he’s fully human.) Then it moves to an interlude of the professor being hired to defend a psychopathic killer, where he’d have to prove the killer was a psychopath, and that he therefore couldn’t control his actions. Then it goes to the actual trial, and then back to the classroom scene – all of this in chapter one. Throughout these opening scenes, Sawyer keeps dropping in ideas, details, and hints:

  • Humans as stimulus-response machines whose black-box brains simply spit out predictable reactions to inputs (from Watson and Skinner).
  • Savannah Prison photos from WikiLeaks, showing prison torture scenes by psychopathic prison guards, where “…each of these men and women had dehumanized the perceived enemy, and, in the process, had lost their own humanity.”
  • Mentions of Abu Ghraib and torture.
  • Stanley Milgram’s shock-machine obedience-to-authority experiments, where subjects were willing to apply electric shocks on others upon the request of authority figures.
  • A student argues: “You can’t change human nature.” This of course hints at one of the themes of the novel.
  • The professor defends a psychopathic killer (Becker) – who we will chillingly meet toward the end of the chapter.
  • Mention of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, wealthy university students who in 1924 killed a boy just for kicks, and were defended by Clarence Darrow as psychopaths who “…couldn’t be executed for doing what his nature dictated he do” – and the revelation that the professor agrees with this assessment: “You can’t execute someone for being who they are.”
  • The Hare Assessment test for psychopaths (lots of tidbits on this).
  • The story of Princeton seminary students, rushing to give presentation on the parable of the Good Samaritan, but ignoring a man slumped over in an alleyway.
  • The professor, from Canada, arguing with an American over separation of church and state – American: “Honey, there ain’t no such thing. Y’all socialists up there, right?”
  • Mentions of Vladimir Putin, Steve Harper, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and new USA president Quinton Carroway – sort of a mix of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
  • Homeland Security threat levels (orange, etc.).
  • Megyn Kelly on The Daily Show defending the killing of an illegal alien (“Look,” she says, “it is a fact that this guy was in our country illegally.”), and hints that homicide might be redefined as killing a legal resident.
  • The professor on the witness stand getting grilled, with conflicting testimony on whether Becker is a psychopath.
  • And the chapter’s bombshell ending, where the professor says, “Dr. Goldsmith is dead wrong, and Dr. Bagi is right. Devon Becker is a psychopath, and I can prove it – prove it beyond the shadow of a doubt.” How can anyone not turn the page?

Who needs Indiana Jones or James Bond when you can have a barrage of tidbits that make you want to say, “Ideas and details and hints, oh my!” As to the rest of the book, you learn about utilitarianism (‘The greatest good for the greatest number”), the possible number of psychopaths in society (more than you’d think – and he names names!), how much our morality and what makes us what we are might be based on the “quantum superposition of electrons in neuronal microtubules in our brains,” and numerous other philosophical and scientific issues, including the central concept of the novel – the nature of consciousness itself. It’s a compelling, must-read story of mind-numbing concepts as we play around with the ideas of the mind itself.

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Larry Hodges is the author of Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions (from World Weaver Press), featuring the election of 2100, where the world has adopted the American two-party electoral system, with an incredulous alien ambassador along for the ride.

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Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions – On Sale Now!

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalIt’s out!!! You can buy copies (print or ebook) directly from World Weaver Press, or from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Omnilit.

Here’s an 80-sec book trailer created by Nathan Hsu.

The SF novel covers the election for president of Earth in the year 2100, where the world has adopted the American two-party electoral system. There’s also an increasingly incredulous alien ambassador along for the ride. Here’s the description from the back cover:

It is the year 2100, and the world has adopted the American two-party electoral system. The cutthroat father-daughter team of Toby and Lara Platt ran the successful 2095 campaign of the Frenchman Corbin Dubois for president of Earth. Toby soon realizes it was a horrible mistake.

An alien ambassador lands outside the United Nations, sparking a crisis. Inspired by the ambassador, Toby resigns from the campaign in protest of Dubois’s corrupt politics—but his daughter Lara takes over. Toby decides to challenge the two major parties—one conservative, one liberal—and run for president himself with a third-party moderate challenge. He vows to put his daughter out of a job.

The alien ambassador tags along on the campaign trail as she learns the violent history and eye-opening politics of 2100 Earth. The campaign for president of Earth takes us to every continent as father and daughter battle for electoral votes and clash over the ideas and issues facing the world of 2100 in this bare-knuckle, fight-to-the-finish political campaign.

So . . . what’s the big idea in this new novel, and why would you want to read it in the midst of a polarized American political season?

Presidential politics has dominated the news for years, and this year like no others. Few stories are more compelling than a bare-knuckle, fight-to-the-finish political campaign, as we are seeing right now in both the Republican and Democratic races. And yet, where are the SF stories that cover this? “Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions dramatizes and satirizes politics in creating a new sub-genre, campaign science fiction. It is West Wing in the 22nd Century. The underlying theme of the novel is moderation in politics; some will read it as a Moderate Manifesto.

There are two “Big Ideas” in the novel. The first, as noted above, is all about moderation, something you don’t see very often in modern American politics. Why must readers always choose between two extremes? In so choosing they begin to identify with the choice they made, and so they tend to move to the extremes themselves. This doesn’t make sense – but it’ll take Toby and Bruce to change this dynamic and bring back moderation.

And that brings us to the second “Big Idea” – why is the U.S. stuck with two major parties? In the novel, Toby and Bruce will mount a third-party challenge – and show how it can be done. While Republicans try to prove they are the most conservative, and Democrats that they are the most liberal, Toby and Bruce  are out to prove they are the most moderate – and begin to call themselves “Moderate Extremists.” Along the side of the floater they use to travel the world are the words, “Extremism in the Pursuit of Moderation is No Vice.”

Why is there an alien ambassador in the novel? The story takes place 84 years from now, and a lot of history has taken place. Readers learn of this history and about Earth politics at the same time as the alien, whose eyestalks often stare at each other in disbelief. But just as the alien – Twenty-two – sometimes has to put on his “Stupid” hat (actually Bruce’s pet, an iguana with a brain that’s half cat) to truly understand the absurdity of human politics and the two-party electoral system, so will you!

Here’s what Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Quantum Night, wrote: “Larry Hodges is an insightful political commentator and a kick-ass science-fiction writer. A dynamite novel full of twists and turns; this futuristic House of Cards is both entertaining and thought-provoking.”

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Lawrence Schoen’s Eating Authors Blog

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalThis morning I’m featured in Lawrence Schoen’s Eating Author’s Blog. Wait’ll you read about my Worst Meal Ever – you’ll never eat at McDonalds again! (The text mistakenly says it’s my first novel when it’s actually my third. However, one is self-published, and the other, while originally published by Class Act Books, I bought the rights back last year and it is now also self-published – so if you exclude those two, it’s my only current non-self-published one.)

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One Day Until Publication of Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions!

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalI’ve been posting daily notes on Facebook about Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, linking the number of days to publication to countries with those electoral votes in the election of 2100, or similar issues. Here they are! (I skipped days 9 & 10.)

It’s one day until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Antarctica will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. With climate change threatening to turn Antarctica into a new frontier for human settlement, developers jumped on the opportunity, and a thriving population soon lived there, awaiting a balmy future. But when global warming was solved – in tragic fashion – the settlements became the Ghost Towns of Antarctica – and if you want their one electoral vote, you’ll have to address their concerns . . . even the ignorant beliefs of a misinformed and possibly lovestruck teenager named for a cartoon character!

It’s two days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many countries are so large in population that they have their own regional election: China with 159 electoral votes, and India with 245. Since VP candidate Feodora is hated in China – she led the Russians to victory over them in war – things get tricky. It all leads to the infamous table tennis exhibition in the Hall of Champions in Shanghai, capital of China since the Beijing Rebellion of 2074 – and that ends in disaster. As to India – Toby won’t negotiate with gangsters, so it’s up to Bruce to secretly talk to the Delhi Lala and buy his support – but what is his price?

It’s three days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many major political parties there will be after our heroes mount a third-party moderate challenge to the two major parties, one conservative, one liberal. From the infamous 2016 American election to the election of 2095, when Corbin Dubois defeated incumbent Jing Xu in the election for president of Earth, voters have had to choose between two extremes, conservative and liberal. Now, in 2100, with a third-part moderate challenge that pits a father running for president against a daughter running the campaign of incumbent Dubois, voters have a choice. Or will dirty tricks get in the way as our self-proclaimed Moderate Extremists battle the established parties on all seven continents?

It’s four days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Australia will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. It’s the First in the World election – and any candidate who doesn’t proclaim Oceania’s right to this faces disaster. But is it right that all are equal, but some are more equal than others? (And do they really have to eat that disgusting local food? They still eat meat in Australia!)

It’s five days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Guatemala will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. After a terrible tragedy, our heroes – a third-party challenge – release the ashes of two of their team into Mount Momotombo in Nicaragua. But if they want those five votes, they’ll have to campaign in Latin America . . . from hospital beds. The badly injured alien ambassador has disappeared – did she survive? Will there be retribution? The world holds its breath as it waits, watches, and wonders.

It’s six days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Canada will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. Vancouver’s Dr. Mary Heilig had pioneered 3-D full-sensory virtual reality, Full VR for short, and it became Canada’s top industry, and made Heilig a trillionaire. But when two billion people left the real world for “Virtchy World,” leading to the ten-year economic collapse known as The Great Lethargia, Full VR was outlawed. When Canada rebelled, USA invaded. If presidential candidate Toby wants those six electoral votes, he’s going to need the support of the jailed but popular Heilig – but the 100-year-old scientist tycoon has her own plans for Toby that will leave him fighting for his political career – and his life.

It’s seven days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Thailand will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. The Asian Federation is plagued by the Pirates of the South China Sea, the remnants of the rebellious Taiwanese submarine fleet after their union with China. What can VP candidate Feodora do when she’s stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by desperate pirates? Will they let her live – and more importantly, can she tame the pirates and get those seven electoral votes?

It’s eight days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes France will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. How did the French cowboy Corbin Dubois become world president? How did France become a financial giant? And why do they keep 26 blue whales – including the genetically altered Lorraine – in a giant aquarium in Dover, England, a constant insult to English pride and sovereignty?

It’s 11 days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and the world is divided into 11 regions that will vote on 11 consecutive Tuesdays in a world that has adopted the American two-party electoral system. The candidates will campaign in Oceania (First in the World!), then on to North America, Russian Federation, China, United Europe, Asian Federation, Africa, Latin America, India, Islam Nation, and finally in the ghost towns of Antarctica. Who is the talkative teenage girl from Antarctica who keeps popping up? And who is the mysterious one-armed man that follows them everywhere?

It’s 12 days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Japan will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. Japan is still angry about losing a war they thought they’d won against Russia and General Feodora Zubkov nine years before, and is hungry to invade again, in mid-election. Will they? If only they knew what Feodora has planned this time . . . and those 12 electoral votes are enticing!

It’s 13 days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Sudan will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. The African campaign is all about overpopulation – and Twenty-Two, the alien ambassador, is shocked at how we deal with such things. How do they do it on his home planet of Grodan, which orbits Tau Ceti?

It’s 14 days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Russia will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. When Russia is invaded by huge armies from two countries, and all seems lost. Can VP candidate Feodora – the small general from Russia, “The Horse” to her friends, “The Mountain Monster” to her enemies – stop them? More importantly, can presidential candidate Toby get Russia’s 14 electoral votes – and can they vote in mid-war? Will alien ambassador Twenty-Two get involved?

It’s 15 days until Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is published by World Weaver Press – and that’s how many electoral votes Tanzania will have in the 2100 election for president of Earth. When the candidates campaign in Tanzania, they will meet General Bapoto, who has evil plans for them – and for Twenty-Two, the alien ambassador traveling with them. Can VP candidate Feodora escape her chains in time to save them? And who is The Cat, the mysterious woman in black?

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Pretty Pictures at War and the Goodreads Giveaway

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My story “Pretty Pictures at War” went up at Galaxy’s Edge this morning. My name’s on the cover – the second one. What happens when extremely helpful 4-D beings show up on Earth and humiliate a billionaire – and he declares war on them, and takes the battle to their own 4-D world? I’m honored to be published in such a publication – edited by the great Mike Resnick! Quick – who has the most Hugo nominations ever, with 37? Yep, that’s Mike, with five wins!

There’s also an ad on the Galaxy’s Edge page for Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, my upcoming novel, which comes out one week from today from World Weaver Press. Don’t forget to sign up for the Goodreads Giveaway! We’re giving away eight FREE, SIGNED copies of the novel.

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Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions – FREE Giveaway!!!

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalYes, it’s true – I will be giving away free, signed copies to eight lucky winners. All you have to do is go to the Goodread’s page, and click on the “Enter Giveaway” link. Make sure to mark the novel as “to read” in your goodreads page!

The novel comes out on March 8 from World Weaver Press, but the kindle version is already up on Amazon for pre-orders. (Print version should be up in days.)

18 days until publication . . .in the novel, which covers the election for president of Earth in the year 2100, where the world has adopted the American two-party electoral system, Afghanistan and Egypt both have 18 electoral votes. (There are 1333 total, with each country given electoral votes based on population.) They are both part of Islam Nation, which combined as a political entity in 2050 to consolidate their power as a voting block. Unlike other continental voting regions, it was a mishmash of countries from three continents, Africa, Europe, and Asia, with 31 countries and 211 electoral votes. The big prize is Pakistan, with 49.

How can our moderate extremists (i.e. the third-party challenge to the worldwide conservative and liberal parties) win in these highly conservative Islamic states? Well, let’s just say a highly disloyal member of the conservative president’s inner circle sends them a video of the president doing a highly embarrassing and very unconservative thing – but should they release the tape and win unethically on what they consider a non-issue? All our moderate challenger has to do is take some Eth, the drug that removes ethical constraints, and then he’ll have no trouble doing so!

So what should he do? The world is watching . . . and so is the alien ambassador!

In related new, World Weaver Press will have a new Editor-in-Chief. Co-Founder and outgoing Editor-in-chief Eileen Wiedbrauk will be leaving after four years. A great thanks goes to her for all the work she did in editing Campaign 2100! The incoming Editor-in-Chief is Sarena Ulibarri, who takes over on March 1. She, along with publicist Elizabeth Wagner, have already been a great help in getting the novel ready for publication and in publicizing it. Here’s the World Weaver Press News Release on this.

Here’s a little about the incoming Editor-in-Chief: Sarena Ulibarri earned an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and attended the Clarion Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers’ Workshop at UCSD in 2014. Her short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed,NewMyths.comThe Colored LensKasma SF, and elsewhere. She currently lives in New Mexico with her husband and their Welsh Corgi. See her web page at sarenaulibarri.com.

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The Cover for Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions!

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Campaign 2100 Front FinalHere’s the cover! The novel will be out on March 8, from World Weaver Press. It’s also up on Goodreads, where we’ll have a Giveaway – more info on that soon. It’ll be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Books-a-Million, and Omnilit.

Here’s what Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Quantum Night, wrote: “Larry Hodges is an insightful political commentator and a kick-ass science-fiction writer. A dynamite novel full of twists and turns; this futuristic House of Cards is both entertaining and thought-provoking.”

Back Cover Text

It is the year 2100, and the world has adopted the American two-party electoral system. The cutthroat father-daughter team of Toby and Lara Platt ran the successful 2095 campaign of the Frenchman Corbin Dubois for president of Earth. Toby soon realizes it was a horrible mistake.

An alien ambassador lands outside the United Nations, sparking a crisis. Inspired by the ambassador, Toby resigns from the campaign in protest of Dubois’s corrupt politics—but his daughter Lara takes over. Toby decides to challenge the two major parties—one conservative, one liberal—and run for president himself with a third-party moderate challenge. He vows to put his daughter out of a job.

The alien ambassador tags along on the campaign trail as she learns the violent history and eye-opening politics of 2100 Earth. The campaign for president of Earth takes us to every continent as father and daughter battle for electoral votes and clash over the ideas and issues facing the world of 2100 in this bare-knuckle, fight-to-the-finish political campaign.

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Cover Reveal in Two Days!

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larry1_sm2I normally blog here every Monday, but I’m going to postpone it two days until Wednesday – that’s when we’ll have the big cover reveal for Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions

!!! It’s gone through many variations and iterations, but we’ve pretty much finalized it now. See you in 48 hours!

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Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions – Press Release

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larry1_sm2The following press release just went out to 382 media outlets. (Side note – the cover is almost ready, and will likely be unveiled next week. Here’s the World Weaver Press page for the novel.)

“CAMPAIGN 2100: GAME OF SCORPIONS”
BY LARRY HODGES

Alpena, MI (February 4, 2016) – World Weaver Press has announced Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, a satirical drama by Larry Hodges that covers the election for president of Earth in the year 2100, will be available in trade paperback and ebook Tuesday, March 8, 2016. 

Praise for Campaign 2100:

“Larry Hodges is an insightful political commentator and a kick-ass science-fiction writer. A dynamite novel full of twists and turns; this futuristic House of Cards is both entertaining and thought-provoking.”

— Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Quantum Night

 Platt ran the successful 2095 campaign of the Frenchman Corbin Dubois for president of Earth. Toby soon realizes it was a horrible mistake.

An alien ambassador lands outside the United Nations, sparking a crisis. Inspired by the ambassador, Toby resigns from the campaign in protest of Dubois’s corrupt politics—but his daughter Lara takes over. Toby decides to challenge the two major parties—one conservative, one liberal—and run for president himself with a third-party moderate challenge. He vows to put his daughter out of a job.

The alien ambassador tags along on the campaign trail as she learns the violent history and eye-opening politics of 2100 Earth. The campaign for president of Earth takes us to every continent as father and daughter battle for electoral votes and clash over the ideas and issues facing the world of 2100 in this bare-knuckle, fight-to-the-finish political campaign.

Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo.com, WorldWeaverPress.com, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram.

Larry Hodges, from Germantown, MD, was going to be a math professor (bachelor’s in math), but science fiction writing and table tennis (yes, ping-pong) sidetracked him, and now he writes (and coaches the latter) for a living. He is an active member of Science Fiction Writers of America with over 70 short story sales. Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions is his third novel, and combines three of his favorite things: science fiction, politics, and table tennis. He’s a graduate of the six-week 2006 Odyssey Writers Workshop and the 2008 Taos Toolbox Writers Workshop, and is a member of Codexwriters.com. His story “The Awakening” was the unanimous grand prize winner at the 2010 Garden State Horror Writers Short Story Competition. He’s a full-time writer with eleven books and over 1600 published articles in over 150 different publications. He also writes about and coaches the Olympic Sport of Table Tennis, is a member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame (Google it!), and once beat someone using an ice cube as a racket. Visit him at larryhodges.org.

World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.

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Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions – Release Date March 8

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larry1_sm2Last week in my blog I wrote about the release of the novel on Jan. 26 (yesterday), and the mysterious “Top Secret” cover for the novel. And now the truth has come out – not just for you, but for me as well.

Why was I so mysterious about the cover last week? Because I hadn’t seen it, and had no clue what would be on the cover, despite the fact that at that point, the novel was supposed to have already been at the printer, with copies available two days later for the Confusion SF Convention in Michigan. However, all was not as it seemed.

I’d been emailing with the publisher for many weeks, asking about the cover, and couldn’t get an answer. So you can imagine how my frustration grew daily as the release day approached and the publisher simply wouldn’t discuss the cover with me. I finally resigned myself to the idea that I, the writer, wasn’t to be “in the loop” regarding the cover, and that I wouldn’t see the cover of my own novel until after it was published. You can imagine my thoughts on that. I was also frustrated by the lack of any pre-release publicity – not even a press release. I was told that would go out after publication, i.e. there would be no attempt at building up buzz. Again, I was not happy. There was also an “Upcoming Books” listing at the publisher’s page, but my novel wasn’t on it – neither were any others – it was blank.

Then, late on Thursday night, Jan. 21, five days before the scheduled release, I got that email no author wants to hear – the publisher was closing down!!! Finally I learned why there had been no cover or publicity – since the publisher was closing, the novel wasn’t to be published.(I was asked not to go public with this info until the end of the week, so we’re well past that.)

Or was it?

One day later I received an email from one of the assistant editors, who was negotiating to buy the company. And lo and behold, it looks like that’s happening, and so World Weaver Press will continue! And they still want to publish my novel. However, it’ll have to be postponed. The publication date is now March 8, assuming all goes well.

Hip Hip Hooray!!!

The down side is that the novel was long planned to come out in the middle of the presidential election, since it’s a political novel that covers the race for president of Earth in the year 2100. (With a third-party moderate challenge, a father pitted against a daughter, and an alien ambassador observing and often participating.) The plan was to have it out before the Iowa caucuses, which will be held Feb. 1 (next Monday). So we’ll lose some of that. In an ideal world, of course, the plan is that I’ll be interviewed on all the news shows along with all the candidates, and of course Trump will attack it, calling me a “hack writer,” and that’ll make it a best seller.

Or perhaps Trump will sue me, because he’s in the novel – sort of. I wrote the novel long before he entered the race for president, so I wasn’t taking advantage of that. One of the four main characters is a professional table tennis player who drops out of the pro circuit to run the worldwide third-party challenge for the presidency. He is sponsored by Trump Sports, and uses Trump table tennis equipment! Yep, I decided to make the imaginary Trump Sports a big company in the year 2100, where it’s mentioned six times – the pro table tennis player uses a Trump Maestro Prime racket, wears Trump table tennis shoes, and at one point browses over a pack of Trump sports cards, where the best table tennis players in the world are featured. (He’s disgusted because he’s not included. That Trump is such a hack!)

Of course, Trump does play table tennis, right? (Yeah, I put that graphic together. Please, Mr. Trump, sue me!!!)

The upside to all of this is that now we’ll have time to build up buzz, and we’ll still get the novel out during the height of the presidential race. So . . . should I wear makeup when I get interviewed on CNN?

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