NA Future Noir
Publication Date: 2013
EPISODES 1-3 (Delirium, Agony, Ecstasy) of the Debt Collector serial. Contains mature content and themes. For young-adult-appropriate thrills, see Susan's bestselling Mindjack series.
What's your life worth on the open market?
A debt collector can tell you precisely.
Lirium plays the part of the grim reaper well, with his dark trenchcoat, jackboots, and the black marks on his soul that every debt collector carries. He's just in it for his cut, the ten percent of the life energy he collects before he transfers it on to the high potentials, the people who will make the world a better place with their brains, their work, and their lives. That hit of life energy, a bottle of vodka, and a visit from one of Madam Anastazja's sex workers keep him alive, stable, and mostly sane... until he collects again. But when his recovery ritual is disrupted by a sex worker who isn't what she seems, he has to choose between doing an illegal hit for a girl whose story has more holes than his soul or facing the bottle alone--a dark pit he's not sure he'll be able to climb out of again.
The first three episodes of the Debt Collector serial are collectively the length of a short novel, or 152 pages. These are the first three of nine episodes in the first season of The Debt Collector serial. This dark and gritty future-noir is about a world where your life-worth is tabulated on the open market and going into debt risks a lot more than your credit rating. Episode 4, Broken, releases 4/17/13. For more about the Debt Collector serial, see DebtCollectorSeries.com
Guest Post by Susan Kaye Quinn
Future-Noir or Why Retro Science Fiction is Awesome
Apparently, I write strange science fiction.
This comes up whenever I try to classify my stories to readers, bloggers, the lady at the checkout stand, my mother, or Amazon (who insists that I need a "category" in which to place my books; I insist I need about five). Apparently I write novels that mash together all kinds of genres in an indiscriminate cross-pollenation that would have Isaac Asimov turning in his grave... if he hadn't done the same sort of thing himself as a young man (winking at you, Isaac!).
Seriously, if you want to see a good bar brawl among literary types, just ask them what's the genre of Hunger Games or Time Traveler's Wife or any Nicolas Sparks novel, and watch the rhetoric fly! I personally have a very laizzez-faire approach toward genre definitions, which is sure to infuriate genre-disciplinarians. (I don't mention my east-indian-influenced steampunk fantasy romance to genre-afficianados. I don't want them to rupture something.)
I figure the story comes first; people can decide what genre it is after it's written. So no one was more surprised than me when I ended up writing a future-noir.
On a long car ride, just me and my Muse...
Muse: The Debt Collector.
Me: Er, what? Who are you?
Muse: When people's debts exceed their future potential contributions to society, he cashes them out.
Me: Whoa. Tell me more.
Muse: He extracts their life energy and transfers it to a "high potential" - someone who can use it to make greater contributions to the world.
Me: Holy... that's a great idea.
Me: Future-noir! Cool! Uh, what is that exactly?
Muse: Dark. Gritty. Futuristic but retro at the same time.
Me: Oh... like Blade Runner... Holy cats, this is awesome.
Muse: You're welcome.
I ran (well, okay, drove) home and wrote the first episode. It was dark, gritty. Lots of low light, shady characters, set in a futuristic LA where the smog pooled at the impoverished feet of the city and the wealthy high-potentials lived above it all in the clean, clear air, taking their life-energy-hits courtesy of the titular Debt Collectors. The fashion was retro-sexy. The feel was future-dystopian. Did I mention it's gritty? And dark?
I send it off to my critique partner...
Me: Well, it is future noir. *acts like I know what I'm talking about*
My Crit Partner: Seriously. I totally see Lirium as a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt! And it totally reads like noir. You know, like Double Indemnity!
Me: Double what? That's not one of those old black-n-white films, is it?
My Crit Partner: All those noir films were black-n-white.
Me: Right! I knew that. (Sure.) Anyway, I think of Lirium more as James McAvoy in a trenchcoat.
My Crit Parnter: I can work with that.
*we both drool on the picture*
Wait, what was I saying?
Right. Future-noir. Gritty retro feel - where the men wear trenchcoats and slick suits and the women wear bright red lipstick and carry a mini-revolver under their skirts - only it's a futuristic story with time-travel (Looper) or berzerker androids (Blade Runner) or life-energy transfers (Debt Collector) that change the landscape. It's raw. It's sexy. It's awesome.
It looks something like this.
Nice Blogger Lady: What genre is that?
NBL: What's future-noir?
Me: It's a science fictiony, mystery type of story. Sort of a mix between urban fantasy and noir, with a thriller twist. There could be romance in there too. Like Blade Runner. Or Looper!
NBL: I'll just call it science fiction.
Me: Works for me. :)
Author Bio - Author Name
Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. Her teachers pretended not to notice and only confiscated her stories a couple times.
Susan left writing behind to pursue a bunch of engineering degrees, but she was drawn back to writing by an irresistible urge to share her stories with her niece, her kids, and all the wonderful friends she’s met along the way.
She doesn’t have to sneak her notes anymore, which is too bad.
Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as a much as she can handle.
One e-copy of Delirium by Susan Kaye Quinn (First Book in the Debt Collector series)
-Ends 14th May 2013
Kindle + Debt Collector volumes 1-3
-Ends 11th May 2013
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