Today, I am delighted to have author C.S. Boyack or Craig from Entertaining Stories over to tell you all about his fantastic new book, Grinders.
Thanks for the invitation, Robbie. I’m here to talk about my new book, Grinders. I’ll let the blurb speak as to the plot and characters today, because this post is about the environment the story is placed in.
Grinders is in a sub-category of science fiction known as cyberpunk. This is neither dystopia nor utopia, but a futuristic world where computer technology is a driving force. Which is getting me to the main topic today: Solving Problems Creates New Ones.
Science Fiction is a great exercise for any author. We have to ask ourselves where we will be in the future based upon what we see today. I see a world where Alexa and Siri are pretty prominent. A world where home security runs through a doorbell camera. We are addicted to our phones, and technology is replacing a lot of jobs.
We have environmental problems, social problems, political problems, and many more that I won’t highlight to keep this post from becoming a list. Add all of that into my writer’s stew and what does the broth taste like? (Cooking reference for Robbie.)
In the future, we’ve solved our energy crisis by relying on solar power. In it’s first form, this became the Electronic Forest. I read about some scientists who grew carbon fibers inside woody plants that could serve as electrical wiring. Obviously, I built on that for the story and the forest uses photosynthesis to create electricity that flows from the leaves to the roots of the forest, and into cables that send it into the city.
I thought this was pretty cool, because it provides wild areas and a home for wildlife. People are greedy, though, so this is being torn out in the story because it’s been superseded by more efficient technology and the land is valuable. This is one example of the good and the bad. The forest was a lovely thing, but it’s been replaced by something better… at what cost?
Our personal digital assistants and home security systems have all been upgraded into one of two things. People either own a home robot of some kind, or have a holographic assistant. Either of these can control the household, order groceries, or lock the doors at night. They are so capable that most entry level jobs were replaced by them as well. We have in-house restaurant apps, with food delivered by robots. Where are the people supposed to work? I even have cyber cops and doctors in the story. These are usually projections of actual people emitted by a cruiser or ambulance. This could be a good thing, because an actual MD can direct the EMTs at an emergency, or a holographic cop could do something like direct traffic. Those servers, secretaries, and clerks are lost forever, though.
Working from home is a big deal in the world of Grinders. This has created a kind of cyber shut-in. People never actually need to leave their houses. They have some kind of AI to arrange grocery delivery (via drone, no driver required), all their work is online, and even entertainment is readily available without going outside. Most people still do, but there are a large number of these people in future San Francisco where the story is placed. I wanted this to be both good and bad, because that’s how real life is. Sure, it cuts down on traffic, small altercations, and (I swear I didn’t plan this, but today we have something new) the spread of disease. The cost is our loss of humanity, obesity, and unawareness of the real world. There is an app if they want to walk through the forest, so the loss of the Electronic Forest is no big deal to them. These people still get to vote, but they have no idea what happens outside their door.
Plastics are a big problem today. In Grinders there are a lot of paper cups and straws, because we’ve reduced the use of plastic. However, the politicians have classified plastics as a hazardous substance, and there is a reference to a Superfund clean up site. I don’t detail a lot about this, and you can imagine doing away with plastics as a good thing, but fencing off specific areas will cost jobs, drop home values nearby, and create other problems.
This is my deeper dive into the environment for those who like that kind of thing. In the actual story, you’re going to have to infer some of this, because good stories are about characters and plot. I’m not going to blatantly call everything out, (Okay, a few things) but you will be able to get the gist as you read it. In fact, I hope it makes you think just a bit.
I’ve come full circle now. You’ve seen some of the cyber and some of the punk that goes into this genre. I hope you can see that it isn’t all flash or grimdark. Real life comes with a scoop of good and bad, and that is a constant in my futuristic San Francisco. I hope some of you will give it a chance.
Now it’s time for me to drop a cover and blurb, along with the purchase link. Thanks again to Robbie for letting me spread the word on her site today.
Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.
Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.
Paired with a veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.
Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.
Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.
This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.
I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.
Purchase Grinders by C.S. Boyack
Purchase link: http://mybook.to/Grinders
Contact C.S. Boyack
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A recent review of Grinders
5-star verified purchaser on Amazon
Boyack’s done it again. I have no clue where he gets his ideas, but his well certainly hasn’t run dry.
GRINDERS introduces us to people who illegally modify their bodies with technological upgrades and the police squad tasked with stopping them. Sort of. Really, the grinder squad is a punishment for cops and no one really seems to care that people are paying for enhancements. Lou is a vet, marking time until his retirement. He’s partnered with Jimi, a young cop with a mistake in her past and a desire to make her way out of the grinder squad—by making a huge grinder bust.
The interplay between Jimi and Lou is stellar. She makes the grizzled cop care a little more, and he teaches her patience and wisdom. Typical mentor/mentee relationship, right? Wrong. This is so much more. There’s humor, there’s poignancy. There’s a real emotional connection, both between the two of them and between them and the readers. Throw in an exceptional cast (both real and virtual), and you’ve got a full and diverse pool of characters. The villain is driven and a tad demented. I loved viewing the world from his perspective. And the POV at the end (which I won’t spoil) was a HUGE payoff for me. It really brought everything together in a clever and satisfying way.