Guest Post: Colin F Barnes

Before I hand over today’s post to Colin, I would just like to say: I read this book; I love this book; go buy this book!! (details below)

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Genre Blending in Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist

Let’s start with what is a genre? Essentially it’s a category: a way of both grouping a book, and marketing it. We’re all familiar with the main categories such as: Science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, romance, historical etc, and when you buy a book, you usually have a good idea of what kind of book it is—because of the genre.

Mixing together genres however is pretty common. Most writers blur the lines somewhere in their stories. Whether it’s having a supernatural/fantastical element to a science fiction story, or having a science fiction element to a crime story. Some of these categories naturally go well together, but publishers, in the main, like to keep books in tighter categories as to make the marketing easier, and for readers to know what they’re buying.

There’s nothing specifically wrong with that; however, I do personally believe that having such strict niches not only restricts a story in where it can go, but it also trains readers into expecting similar stories. If you look at the current popular genres such as: urban fantasy and paranormal romance, there is a great deal of similarity between many (but not all) of these books. There’s little originality.

What I wanted to achieve with Artificial Evil was a story that wasn’t bound by these niches. A narrative that was free to go wherever it seemed right. I didn’t want to have to dilute the ideas I had for this book in order for it to fit neatly into a box. This presents a few problems, and a few benefits.

When blurring genres, you’re free to go wherever you want, but going too far, or too wildly across the genre spectrum can leave you with a story that is fragmented and difficult to identify with. You still need a convincing world with logic that works. You still need characters with viable motivations and a proper arc. So the challenge I had with Artificial Evil was: how to achieve a multi-genre story and keep it cohesive.

I did this by selecting related genres, or elements of genres that naturally blend well together. Thrillers tend to work very well for hi-tech stories such as Artificial Evil. In fact, the ‘techno thriller’ genre is well stocked for stories and provided a vibrant backdrop to my various ideas. Once I had that category locked in for the foundation of this story, I peppered it with sprinklings of horror and suspense. These act like explosions of flavor—like chili peppers in a soup, or pickled onions in a salad.

Essentially, Artificial Evil is a technological based thriller, but without the hyper-technical detail of hard science fiction. It reads like an adventure, with plenty of suspenseful and horrific moments (among happy and joyous occasions) to get the pulse racing. I’ve cherry picked the best of science fiction, thriller and horror to produce a cyber-punky adventure story with a dark and daring edge to it.

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In the tradition of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, and Richard Morgan, British writer Colin F. Barnes delivers a cyberpunk tech thriller for the modern age.

2153. Post-cataclysm. The last city exists beneath a dome where the mysterious benefactors ‘The Family’ tightly control the population with a death lottery and a semi-autonomous network.

All is well until the day family man Gerry Cardle, head of the death lottery, inexplicably finds himself the no.1 target of a malicious Artificial Intelligence. Gerry’s numbers are up, and he has just 7 days to save himself,  find the source of the AI, and keep the last stronghold of humanity safe.

Gerry finds help in the shadows of the city from two rogue hackers: Petal – a teenage girl with a penchant for violence, hacking systems and general anarchy, and: Gabriel – a burnt-out programmer-turned-priest with highly augmented cybernetics.

With his new team, Gerry discovers there is more beyond the dome than The Family had let on, and his journey to find the source of the AI leads him through a world of violence, danger, and startling revelations.

Everything is not as it seems.

Gerry is not who he thinks he is.

Evil can be coded…. can Gerry and his friends stop it before it destroys humanity?

Artificial Evil is book 1 of 3 of The Techxorcist series. The larger-than-life offspring of Blade Runner, Mad Max, and The Exorcist.

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“Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist sees the revival of everything we used to love about cyber punk, repackaged with new twists in this tech thriller. This is a brilliant tale that combines fantastic characters, great tech and a little bit of good old fashioned possession” – Adele Wearing, Un:Bound

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Artificial Evil: Book 1 of The Techxorcist is available as a paperback and ebook from:

Print:                                                  eBook:

Anachron Press                                  Anachron Press

Amazon US                                        Amazon US

Amazon UK                                        Amazon UK

CreateSpace                                       Kobo

Lulu

Print book $10.99 (6.99)

Ebook $4.99 (£3.20)

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Colin F. Barnes is a writer of dark and daring fiction. He takes his influence from everyday life, and the weird happenings that go on in the shadowy locales of Essex in the UK.

Growing up, Colin was always obsessed with story and often wrote short stories based on various dubious 80s and 90s TV shows. Despite taking a detour in school into the arts and graphic design, he always maintained his love of fiction and general geekery. Now, as a slightly weathered adult, Colin draws on his experiences to blend genres and create edgy, but entertaining stories.

He is currently working on a Cyberpunk/Techno thriller serial ‘The Techxorcist.’ which combines elements of Sci-Fi, Thriller, and Horror.

Like many writers, he has an insatiable appetite for reading, with his favourite authors being: Stephen King, William Gibson, Ray Bradbury, James Herbert, Albert Camus,  H.P Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith,  and a vast array of unknown authors who he has had the privilege of beta reading for.

Website: www.colinfbarnes.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ColinFBarnes

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4 comments

  1. A great intro to the book, Colin, and your reasons and approach to writing it. The premise, story, and characters all have what it takes to grip a reader. This has the potential to be something special. I hope it gets the readership it deserves.

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