About the Book:
In this near-future utopia, in Halcyon all are free. People with wings fly alongside skyline railcars, between the towers. They are more than what we’ve known as human, the next stage of our evolution. Amid the psychic computers and genetic freaks, competitive laser sports and mindless bots, runs a love triangle stronger than death itself. Over these three nights in 2051, Harmony and Azad must find their way through misfits and prophets, blood and tears, to new horizons. Their fate, in the time of climate change, in the afterglow of the rise of machines, is entwined with the world.
What people are saying:
“Something special and unique in its genre. Worth reading the first time and even worth revisiting to explore its complex, fresh ideas.” “In the dystopian genre, this can be a difficult line to walk, but Stelling does it masterfully.” “[The] writing in this book is beautiful.” — Steph Huddleston, The Independent Book Review
“Atmospheric and lyrical, telling the story like it took place in a dream without slowing the pace or dulling the storyline.” — Jennia Ahava, Blogger
1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?
I wrote my first story in early grade school, published by the in-school publisher, spiral-bound like a boss. It was about a giant frog who found a little boy and kept him as a pet. Well, he wanted to anyway, but it didn’t work out too well. I wanted to be a writer before that, though. Sometime around when I first heard Shel Silverstein’s poetry, I think. I remember this one about a kid saving the universe playing at the arcade. Nothing was ever the same after that.
2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?
My laptop follows me everywhere. It’s a Lenovo Yoga 730, and well recommended for the task. I prefer Word, though I’ve been wanting to experiment with Scrivener as well. Otherwise, you know it most often happens on the couch in the living room, jamming some good tunes on bluetooth. I’d love to say I take it into the mountains, and write while sitting on a cliff and watching the sun go down, but that’s just not how it works, most days. We’ve recently remodeled a reading room, so maybe I’ll start doing it there soon. Honestly, it’s like meditation though, in that it’s a headspace that matters, not a physical one.
3: Where do your ideas come from?
I tend to think of any creative act as a process of synthesis. Whether we know them or not, our influences always shape our output. Genex of Halcyon is something of a cross between Brave New World and Hamlet. Toss in a bit of The Island of Dr Moreau for flavoring, roll it around with elements of existential philosophy and a pinch of chaos theory, and eventually what comes out of that mental oven looks completely unique, unlike any particular one of it’s ingredients. Oh and Google. I’m constantly researching while I write, this being hard sci-fi, full of genetic experimentation, a unified field theory of physics, laser sports and robots that know all about you, after all.
4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?
Learning to outline properly has been one of the longest, hardest lessons of my writing journey, but also one of the most essential. I usually know titles, names and endings first, but that’s not to say they don’t change as a story develops. Outlines are not to be cages, but scaffolding is so very necessary if you’re trying to sculpt something larger than yourself.
5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?
I write mostly hard sci-fi, but tend toward the poetic, literate, adult or even erotic side of that. Some of my short fiction is more modern day, and I certainly don’t want to pigeon-hole myself into any small box. My next novel-length work is sci-fi/fantasy, with a more pulp adventure feel. I will go where my imagination leads.
6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?
My dream cast is impossible, being an amalgamation of actors and actresses of different ages, at different times, but I’ve envisioned the cast of Genex of Halcyon as including Chyler Leigh, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Emily Browning, David Boreanaz, my girlfriend’s dad, Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, Mackenzie Foy and Marion Cotillard, among others, with costumes by Grimes and direction by Stanley Kubrick.
7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
Thoreau, Wells, Burgess, Huxley, Stephensen, Gaiman, LeGuin, Fitzgerald and Neruda come to mind immediately. In nonfiction I’m a fan of Gleick, Sagan, Gibran, and anything that opens your eyes to the world outside of yourself. Lately I’ve been reading Marcus Aurelius.
8: What book/s are you reading at present?
I just finished “Beneath the Sugar Sky” by Seanan Mcguire. Honestly not blown away, but I don’t like to start something and not finish it. It wasn’t all bad, for sure, but not worth the hype, to me. I’ve also been dipping in and out of Gaiman’s “Fragile Things,” and enjoying that one well enough. I finished “Cycles of Time” by Roger Penrose last month, and you can find a short review I wrote up on my blog. I’m halfway through the audio book for King’s “Carrie” as well, and that’s pretty awesome.
9: What is your favourite book and why?
It’s a hard question, no doubt, without a fast answer. This time I think I’m going with Walden. Not that it’s the most enjoyable read of all time, but rather it was one of the most affective books in my life. Thoreau changed my outlook on everything, from nature to society to economics, with that book, when I was around 20. Everyone should read it.
10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?
Take the time. If you’re a writer, then write. Revise. Don’t be afraid of a rough draft that’s awful, but in the end don’t settle for anything less than your best work. Don’t write for a paycheck. Write for the story, for the characters, for everything you can breathe to life. This world desperately needs storytellers, and good ones. Don’t just add words to the pile. No, create something that really matters to you. I like to say that the hole you see in the world is exactly the space where you alone belong. Fill it. My dad always used to say, “Whatever you do in life, just don’t be boring.”
11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a bit of a social media slut these days. Haha. But the links are many. Find me on Facebook under Arch & Gravity Publishing, Joshua Stelling, and Quin the Game. Find me on Twitter @StellingJoshua. Instagram is the same, with both Arch & Gravity and my own page. My reviews blog, at JoshuaStelling.com, is updated semi-weekly with movie, book and music reviews, and editorials of anything I feel like writing. rchandGravity.com is the best portal for learning about the book, which is on sale all month long for $1.99 in ebook, across the web. We’re even available internationally now! So wherever you are, grab a copy and explore some shockingly different, modern science fiction. Midwest Book Review recently called Genex of Halcyon “A soaring vision of the near future.” Indies Today called it “A sublime sci-fi gem.” Thanks!
About the Author:
Raised in Colorado by an ex-lawyer turned philosopher and cabbie, and a reformed catholic nun, Stelling cut his teeth in middle-class suburbia, learning everything about sex, drugs and science the hard way – through books. A poet and music lover, he spent his time running record stores around Denver, building his own craft on the side. Now the stories in the man have become worlds, and his pages have turned into books. Combining hard sci-fi and adult fiction with a fluent love of metaphor and poetry, his work will challenge you and leave you wanting more. Should you meet a philosopher driving a cab, in the skies above Korea, sometime in the next fifty years, you’ll know it is another lost daydream of Joshua Stelling, like no other.