Archive for the 'Media' Category

Introducing ReMade!

I am really excited about my newest project: ReMade, a young adult science fiction serial premiering today at www.serialbox.com.

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I say “premiering” because Serial Box stories are modeled after television development practices, and the company considers itself to be the “HBO for readers.” Before I started writing short stories and novels, I wanted to write for TV and films, so this is kind of the best of both worlds. The writing team meets in person to discuss the entire series, plan the arc for the current season, and break and assign stories. We use TV terms like “pilot” — which you can download now for free! — and every 13,000-word story is called an episode, written to be consumed in about 40 minutes. (You can also listen to the audio version if you prefer.)

This has been an incredible collaborative experience where I feel like I’ve leveled up as a writer, because I’m learning from people at the top of their craft and pushing myself to write better so I don’t embarrass myself.

New episodes are available every Wednesday, beginning today, and you can purchase them individually for $1.99 or subscribe or buy a season pass (just like on iTunes!) to get them even cheaper. If you have an iPhone, you can read them in the Serial Box app, or transfer them to the eReader or platform of your choice because they’re DRM-free.

I’ve written three of the 15 episodes in the first season, and you can refer to the schedule below if you’d like to see when those will be available. But I hope you’ll check out the whole series, because in my humble opinion it’s excellent and we’ve all contributed to this story and these characters.

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Would you like to know more? Here’s the jaw-dropping trailer:

Here’s what one of my favorite authors said about the series:

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And here’s the episode listing at Goodreads!

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where I will BEA this friday!

AASIf you’re at Book Expo America (BEA) in Chicago this week, come to my autographing on Friday to get a signed copy of my new book, Against All Silence, courtesy of my overlords, Adaptive Books!

Friday, May 13 — 2:30–3 p.m.
Table 4
Add it to your BEA calendar

You will be among the first people in the world to read this book, which will be published in August! Seriously, this is so brand new, I don’t even have copies of it yet! I really really really really hope you like it. I also hear there will be some special, limited-edition giveaways at this event, but I’m not sure if I should say more than that. ;)

If you aren’t at BEA or you miss me there, I will also be crashing the Mass Autographing Session at the SFWA Nebula Weekend at Palmer House on Friday the 13th, from 8 p.m. on. I’ll be happy to sign anything (anything!) if you corner me, but you’ll have to bring your own books!

 

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Book Review: ZER0ES by Chuck Wendig

000000Chuck Wendig’s new novel, Zer0es, is more cyber and more thrilling than most cyber thrillers I’ve read. From the very first page, it’s evident that Wendig is either secretly a world-class hacker in his own right, or he’s done so much research that he has become not only comfortable, but fluent in the technical and paranoia-fueled online world that hackers inhabit. Either way, he’s definitely on the NSA’s watchlist — but this book should be on their reading list as well, as Zer0es is an entertaining and timely addition to the subgenre.

The novel focuses on five hackers recruited by the U.S. government, given the opportunity to avoid conviction, jail time, and exposure by committing their services to a top-secret program. Being hackers, they don’t just blindly follow orders, and soon they’re asking questions and digging much deeper than anyone ever expected them to, and coming up with shocking and frightening answers.

With the fantastic TV series Leverage named as one of the novel’s touchstones, it’s not too surprising that each of the hacker main characters has a specific role to play: social engineer, cyber criminal, hacktivist, internet troll, cipherpunk. Their situations and backgrounds may remind some readers of recent news headlines; Chance Dalton’s situation clearly recalls the Steubenville High School rape case, while Aleena Kattan’s political agenda is inspired by Anonymous’ involvement in the Arab Spring. But just as Leverage‘s Parker is more than a thief, Wendig fleshes out his characters beyond their stereotypes, often subverting your expectations of who they really are, what motivates them, and what they’ll do next. By the end of the novel, you become invested in and care for even the most unlikable characters, which is both satisfying and unfortunate in a book with a startlingly high body count.

Striking a balance between not-so-riveting computer time and real world action is challenging in stories like this, but Wendig handles it deftly, and the novel is incredibly fast-paced. A big revelation, twist, or cliffhanger seems to hit readers every few pages. I am not often moved to swear at books or authors while reading, especially when I’m having so much fun, but many a chapter ended with me muttering, “Jesus Christ, Chuck.” This book is bloody and gruesome and too compelling to put down. You just have to wait for your pulse to slow, shake your head, and keep turning the pages.

The book also isn’t burdened by techsposition, a tendency to include too much computer jargon and explaining every scintillating facet of their technological exploits. But there’s enough for non-technical readers to follow along, and plenty for those who know a bit more. A lot of the hacking in the book is more than realistic — it’s actually real in the world today, and if Wendig’s representation of how easy it is to hack your social network accounts or even your car doesn’t creep you out sufficiently, you’d better start Googling. So much of the technology in the first half of the book is so accurate, by the time Wendig starts pulling out the slightly less believable black boxes, most readers will be happy to accept them as well-earned creative license and move on.

However, that same contemporary, convincing portrayal of computers and hacking may also work against the book as the plot progresses and takes a decidedly science fictional turn that strains credibility. Despite the shift in tone and shaken expectations, I was happy to ride it out to the end. Perhaps more disturbing is the possibility that Wendig is right about this secret government program too, since everything else is right on the mark. If he soon disappears under mysterious circumstances, we’ll have our answer.

Although the prologue/epilogue of “Chapter 0” fell flat for me, they’re short enough to simply ignore. Overall, Zer0es is a terrific success: an exciting, scary, and often funny novel that offers fresh insights into what it means and what it’s like to be a hacker. It now has a place among my favorite books featuring hacking, and it has certainly raised the bar for those that follow.

 

Zer0es by Chuck Wendig is out today from Harper Voyager. My review is based on the uncorrected advance reader’s edition.

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Previously Recorded at the Writers House

The YA Writers episode of LIVE at the Writers House is now online! I don’t like listening to recordings of myself, but if you want to hear me read from my story “Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell” in Kaleidoscope: Diverse Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, check out episode 111 here.

You can listen to the whole program (1 hour) — hosted by Michaela Majoun and featuring YA authors Katherine Locke, Eric Smith, Lauren Saft, Tiffany Schmidt, I.W. Gregorio, and me, as well as the musical stylings of Birdie Busch — or just my bit (7 minutes). This is one of the best events I’ve participated in, and I’m grateful to Eric and LIVE producer Alli Katz for making that possible.

From left to right: Me, I.W. Gregorio, Tiffany Schmidt, Katherine Locke, Eric Smith, Lauren Saft (swiped from http://ericsmithrocks.com)

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new book deal: AGAINST ALL SILENCE

Exciting publishing news I can share now that it’s official: I’m writing a sequel to The Silence of Six, titled Against All Silence, for Adaptive Books! I’m very excited to tell the next part of Max’s story and work with everyone at Adaptive again. These books are technically standalone (because I have feels about cliffhanger endings), but you’ll see some recurring characters (yes, her, and also, her), so feel free to read the first book or its free prequel if you like.

Here’s the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

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