I am angry with America, so I wrote a novel
Last year, I had a nightmare in which I was visiting a forgotten European city. Every so often, an alarm blared, people filed into their homes and locked the doors. Why? Zombies, of course.
When I woke up, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the zombies. These were a tamer, slower variety than you’d see in most horror movies. I was impressed that dealing with zombies had become a way of life, something as common as opening umbrellas against the rain.
So I sat down and started writing. A sixty page novella poured out. It was a third cousin of my dream, with a rabies-like virus and events unfolding in Brooklyn and Pennsylvania.
I sent the manuscript to my editor, figuring I’d release it as a quick little read before starting on a novel. Something to wipe the slate clean after spending three years immersed in The Firesteel.
She wrote back. She’d read the whole thing in one sitting, on her screen, as she prepared to print it out. After talking with her, I decided that Suspension could be something bigger. I have been changed by our changing country, and I saw that transition laid bare on the page.
I don’t know what comes next for America. The GOP and DNC are destroying themselves. Political debate has peaked into pure character assassination, and news is entertainment. I wrote Suspension to peer through the door of “together we stand, divided we fall,” because I suspect that divided, we do not fall. There would be no crash, no satisfying bonfire to send off the United States of America.
People have lived in times of war, times of famine and natural disaster. There was no ultimatum. Community and nations are figments of our imagination, powerful in the same way that gods and religions are powerful, all leaps of collective faith. There is nothing to burn. There are only people who decide to change their minds or turn on each other.
So much of our stability depends on invisible things, and so much is taken away. Divided, we dissolve, stitched together by isolated, frequent acts of benevolence.
If you like Station Eleven, The Walking Dead, Lost, or anything by Margaret Atwood, you’ll probably like Suspension. I’m crowdfunding pre-orders to get it to print, using a platform called Publishizer to get the campaign out in front of publishers. You can snag an early copy of the e-book, a beautifully bound hardcover, or a bundle that includes The Firesteel if you missed that boat.
It is 2018.
American cities are under strict quarantine and nearly 30% of the population is infected with Xavier Hemorrhagic Flu (XHF). The international community has closed its borders to the United States, people disappear after suspicious Tweets and reality TV continues to dominate the air.
Fi Ocampo is a writer for an independent news site. She breaks the story of two men who are caught contaminating Pittsburgh’s water supply with medicine meant to halt XHF’s brain deteriorating symptoms. The Internet erupts in debate. Some condemn the men as terrorists, others praise them as martyrs for the XHF cause.
Fi’s investigation of the two men leads her to a small commune in rural Pennsylvania, where she must face her past and secure her future. Fi must find the surprising truth behind the contamination and discover the cost of making what’s invisible visible.