CJW: On a recent edition of Alasdair Stuart’s fantastic positive pop-culture newsletter The Full Lid, he mentioned Operation Adopt-a-Book, to whit:
2020 is a terrible year. Thank you for attending my TED talk.
It's an even more terrible year if you have a project being released this year. It is an INCONCEIVABLY terrible year if that project is a debut. Shops shut, people not buying as much, promo opportunities closed and you're competing with hundreds of other authors who've also either been moved around in the schedules or dropped altogether.
Do Something About the Suck
Pick three books you read and liked this year. Talk about them (assuming you haven't already). Write about them. Regularly. Consistently. Relentlessly. Schedule social media posts to remind people they exist. Include enough information so that people can:
Buy the book
Find reviews of the book
Find the author on social media
If possible, include the cover image
Build posts talking about the books. If you've got a couple of good pull quotes from your review, use them, or pick your favorites. Don't be spoiler-y, but do be enthusiastic. Here's an example of how I do this.
Schedule these two or three times a week for a month. You'll feel like you're doing it too much. You aren't. You're helping at range and giving books that need it a chance to be discovered.
Being that I released my debut novel this year, and Marlee released her debut memoir under a whole different name, we can certainly confirm what Alasdair is saying: 2020 was a shit year to have a new book out. In the grand scheme of 2020’s shittiness, it’s a fairly minor thing, but these books mean a lot to us both, and we’re both - to be completely honest - kinda gutted about how their releases went. So if you’ve read and loved either Repo Virtual and/or Money for Something and you want to adopt them as per Alasdair’s instructions above, we would both be incredibly grateful. And if in an effort to adopt them you could do with some pics, links, or words from either of us, please get in touch.
(And if you want to adopt someone else’s 2020 book, please do! Share the love!)
If this is the first you’re hearing of either book, then read on! (Below links are geared toward US readers. Apologies to everyone else, but your online shopping experiences haven’t been as utterly dominated by Amazon as everyone else’s, so hopefully you’ve already got some good local options in mind.)
Giftmas is fast approaching, and the global pandemic has thrown global logistics a curve-ball, so you might want to think about ordering gifts sooner rather than later ;) If you need some book-ish ideas, might I recommend:
It’s easy to talk to these women, tell them my deepest secrets. Look where we are. What else do we have to hide?
When nineteen-year-old Mia is fired from her job at an insurance company, she answers an ad in the newspaper.
It says: Erotic Massage. Good Money. No Sex.
Mia takes to her new job with recklessness and good humour. While juggling the job’s demands, she battles her problematic drug use, and the mental illness that has shaped her life. But rather than needing saving from sex work, it is the work that sometimes helps to save Mia from her herself.
A raw and honest memoir about surviving, sex work, friendships, drugs and mental illness.
MJW: Writing this book was two years of hard work, trauma, and confronting the enormity of saying goodbye to my old readership so that I could be true and honest about myself. I wonder daily if it was worth it. Still not sure.
These folks seemed to like it, though.
'Money for Something is expansive. The book is a meditation on drug use and mental illness; an account of sex work that is generous and intimate and funny; and an ode to the women Mia Walsch met along the way. Yet with Walsch’s good humour and generosity, it never feels too much. It sits comfortably in its vastness.' - InDaily
'Her stand-and-deliver account of life as a masseuse in parlours all over Sydney – and later as a Dominatrix at a BDSM club – is frank, gritty, funny, grungy and upbeat. Intense writing, distinctive voice.' - The Age
'Money for Something is an exploration and examination of the necessity and urgency of need; need as hunger, need as yearning, the need for drugs, the need to self-harm, the need for sex, attention, self-destruction, escape. There’s few that can hold a candle to her candour, as she waxes and never wanes, weighing in on “taboo” subjects —mental illness, drug use, self-harm, sexuality and sex—and makes them totems.' - Sydney Arts Guide
'Mia’s story is a far cry from the champagne-sipping, luxurious lifestyle of “Belle De Jour”. Money For Something is a turbulent sex and drug-fuelled reality rollercoaster that offers an unflinching and unapologetic perspective of one woman’s experiences in the Australian adult industry. Mia’s dark humour and refreshing honestly are what make Money For Something a memorable read.' Penthouse Magazine
A sharp-edged semi-futuristic riff about a rebellious teenager’s last week at an industrial orphanage.
‘Takes all of your dystopian nightmares and connects them to a mother lode of pure emotional intensity. There’s so much keen detail here about the cruel logic of oppressive institutions, you’ll feel Mirii’s yearning for freedom in your bones - and you’ll rejoice at every tiny moment of escape that she achieves. Welcome to Orphancorp is harrowing, scarily real, and ultimately super moving.’ - Charlie Jane Anders (i09)
‘Punchy, crunchy, sexy and smart, Welcome to Orphancorp is a short, sharp shock of a story with bruised-but-not broken characters and a bonsai dystopia you can actually believe in. Marlee Jane Ward is a writer of heart and passion, muscle and slow-burning anger.’ - Ian McDonald
‘Welcome to Orphancorp is an intimate, heartfelt story set in the darkest of places. I can’t stop thinking about these characters.’ - Kij Johnson
Having barely made it out of Orphancorp alive, Mirii is on a mission to find the most important babe in her life, Vu. Vu has been taken to ‘Psynode’, a secret facility operated by the megacorp Allnode.
After wrangling her way into the Allnode warehouse as a picker, Mirii meets Rowe, the daughter of one of Allnode’s execs, who may just be the perfect person to help her with the mission.
But life at Allnode is far from cushy and Mirii has to battle her way through the dangers of her new job, the corps that she knows are watching her and get to Vu before it’s too late.
Fast-paced, gritty and original, Psynode follows on from Welcome to Orphancorp, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adult fiction.
‘A slick technopunk thriller from one of the most exciting writers in science fiction today.’ – Jay Kristoff
‘Even as she tells the story of a world driven wild with capitalism, she points towards the possibility of more, demonstrating in her writing that there is a way to reimagine the world through the language that shapes it.’ - Books And Publishing
Mirii has been caught — along with the friends who were helping her find her partner, Vu.
Being in prison is just like her revisiting her childhood in Orphancorp — only worse. Under the beating heat of a desert sun, the prisoners fight for food, water and a safe place to sleep.
Our heroine begins to question her urge to fight back and rebel as all it seems to do is lead her and the people she cares for deeper into trouble.
Fast-paced, gritty and original, Prisoncorp is the final instalment in the Welcome to Orphancorp trilogy.
‘It’s full of brilliantly compact, atmospheric world-building, with gritty characters you care about – a bit like S.E. Hinton refracted, through an unobtrusively queer and feminist lens, into a more prismatic view of the contemporary teen psyche.’ - Sydney Morning Herald
‘Prisoncorp offers a powerful vision of the future of the carceral state and a warning of the dark places to which prison privatisation threatens to lead.’ Mascara Review
The city of Neo Songdo is a Russian doll of realities — augmented and virtual spaces anchored in the weight of the real. The smart city is designed to be read by machine vision while people see only the augmented facade of the corporate ideal. At night the stars are obscured by an intergalactic virtual war being waged by millions of players, while on the streets below people are forced to beg, steal, and hustle to survive.
Enter Julius Dax, online repoman and real-life thief. He's been hired for a special job: stealing an unknown object from a reclusive tech billionaire. But when he finds out he's stolen the first sentient AI, his payday gets a lot more complicated.
"Repo Virtual constructs a stunningly vivid cyberpunk world that blurs the line between illusion and reality, dripping with the neon panache of a technological juggernaut in an action packed heist that'll steal your heart with ideas that are as revealing as they are powerful." —Peter Tieryas
"Repo Virtual sets itself apart with its gleeful heart and underdog charm." —BookPage Starred Review
"A richly imagined, futuristic stand-alone with appeal to gamers, SF fans, and armchair futurists alike." —Kirkus Reviews
"Cyberpunk is not only back but may have come full circle." —The Toronto Star
"White twists the volume up, both dramatizing and warning against unchecked AI. What lingers is an important observation: no culture can retain its power and sanity when there are no noncynical eyes to see it. Cyberpunk and general sf readers will enjoy and even learn from this one." —Library Journal
Before she escaped in a bloody coup, MEPHISTO transformed Mariam Xi into a deadly voidwitch. Their training left her with terrifying capabilities, a fierce sense of independence, a deficit of trust, and an experimental pet named Seven. She’s spent her life on the run, but the boogeymen from her past are catching up with her. An encounter with a bounty hunter has left her hanging helpless in a dying spaceship, dependent on the mercy of strangers.
Penned in on all sides, Mariam chases rumors to find the one who sold her out. To discover the truth and defeat her pursuers, she’ll have to stare into the abyss and find the secrets of her past, her future, and her terrifying potential.
"Rip-roaring space opera with a side of magic mushrooms! Fans of Firefly will love Killing Gravity." —Will McIntosh, Hugo Award-winning author of Love Minus Eighty.
"You might think that giving us a protagonist who can crush spaceships with her mind would unbalance the story, but White does an excellent job of writing thrilling, kinetic action scenes with Mariam and her powers, while introducing real and sensible limits to those powers." —RT Book Reviews
"Solidly fun space opera from start to finish." —Locus
"Killing Gravity, by Corey J. White, is an intense combination of rip-roaring pulp space opera action and cyberpunk noir sensibility." —James L. Cambias, Nebula Award-nominated author of Corsair.
"This novella feels like a blockbuster, full of imaginative worldbuilding and fight sequences." —Publishers Weekly
"If you’re hungering for a snark-soaked adventure with a side helping of fabulous space-craftery and densely packed adventure, Killing Gravity might be what you’re after." —Jeremy Szal
Corey J. White's space opera Voidwitch Series continues: Mars Xi returns in Void Black Shadow, sequel to Killing Gravity.
Mars Xi is a living weapon, a genetically-manipulated psychic supersoldier with a body count in the thousands, and all she wanted was to be left alone. People who get involved with her get hurt, whether by MEPHISTO, by her psychic backlash, or by her acid tongue. It's not smart to get involved with Mars, but that doesn't stop some people from trying.
The last time MEPHISTO came for Mars they took one of her friends with them. That was a mistake. A force hasn't been invented that can stop a voidwitch on a rampage, and Mars won't rest until she's settled her debts.
Corey J. White concludes his pulse-pounding space opera in Static Ruin. As the most wanted voidwitch in the galaxy has no place left to run—except back to those who created her.
She killed the man who trained her. She killed the fleet that came for her. She killed the planet that caged her. Now she must confront her father.
Mars Xi is on the run, a bounty on her head and a kill count on her conscience. All she has left are her mutant cat Ocho and her fellow human weapon Pale, a young boy wracked by seizures who can kill with a thought. She needs him treated, and she needs to escape, and the only thread left to pull is her frayed connection to her father, Marius Teo. That thread will take her to the outskirts of the galaxy, to grapple with witch-cults and privately-owned planets, and into the hands of the man who engineered her birth.