by Jason Werbeloff
Jason Werbeloff’s short stories have been downloaded over 20,000 times. Obsidian Worlds brings together his 11 best-selling sci-fi shorts into a mind-bending philosophical anthology.
In Your Averaged Joe, a man’s headache is large enough to hold the multiverse. Q46F is an obsessive-compulsive android who finds love in a zombie-embroiled apocalypse. The end of the world isn’t all that bad – The Experience Machine will fulfil your every desire (and some you hadn’t considered). A sex bot dares to dream of freedom in Dinner with Flexi. But mind what you eat, because The Photons in the Cheese Are Lost. Don’t fret though: The Cryo Killer guarantees that your death will be painless, or your money back when you’re thawed. Unless, that is, you’re The Man with Two Legs.
Plug into Obsidian Worlds for these and other immersive stories, including the hilarious Time-Traveling Chicken Sexer. Your brain will never be the same again.
Excerpt from Your Averaged Joe:
“Sorry, this is a bit overwhelming. Let me introduce myself.” Then all three men spoke in unison, extending their hands, “I’m Thursday.” They each chewed a piece of gum, their masticating movements simultaneous.
Joe eyed the identical hands. Long, frosty fingers. Whitest skin. He shook hands with each. Their grips were firm. All three.
Thursday continued, “This is the Chamber.” He waved his arm around the room proudly. Joe considered the space. The rows of beds seemed to stretch forever. He couldn’t see the end of the room. And no pillars. Nothing to support the pink ceiling that extended in all directions. Joe scrunched his feet at the enormity of the Chamber, and the floor squeezed between his toes. But the floor wasn’t smooth – it was … hairy? He glanced down, and yup, fine dark hairs covered its surface. It was like standing on a forearm. Goose bumps erupted along his arms, down his legs, Joe shifted his weight to his heels, trying to avoid the hairs from scratching between his toes. And as the goose bumps spread across his back, down his chest, the ground beneath his feet changed. Between the silky black hairs, the fleshy floor lumped in places. Lumps the size of fists. Bumps, goose bumps. On the ground. He shivered.
Trying not to think about it, and resisting the urge to jump, to get his feet anywhere but on the fleshy floor, he stared at the beds. Each held a single occupant, each with brown hair, each wearing the same pale blue nightgown he was wearing. Joe looked to the bed beside his, and his heart stopped.
The man in the bed was him.
~Download all of Werbeloff’s fiction from Amazon
AN INTERVIEW WITH JASON
-What inspired you to become a writer?
Maybe it’s because I write science fiction, but I see writing as a deliciously indulgent way of constructing thought experiments. “What would the world be like if …” is how all my stories develop. In my short story anthology, Obsidian Worlds, I’ve constructed 11 thought experiments. What would it be like to live from the perspective of a bottle of silicone lube (Bleed Me Silicone)? Or, what would it be like to live in a world where all raw materials are constructed from human parts (Falling for Q46F)? What inspires me to construct thought experiments? Does that even need an answer? Isn’t it just so COOL to think about these things?
I consider myself incredibly lucky to live a lifestyle that allows me to think about these things every day. And write about them. And have people read them!
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
One of the anthology’s stories, The Experience Machine, revolves around a hyper-realistic machine that will give you any experience you like, in a perfectly realistic simulation of how it would really feel. Plug into the Experience Machine, and you can have that perfect holiday, that gorgeous spouse, fame, fortune, etc. What experience would I want from the machine? A pure hedonistic binge – you can probably imagine what that involves.
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
While researching one of the short stories, Dinner with Flexi, I came across a half-truth – that every fig contains a dead female wasp. It’s only a half truth because certain species of fig have been created that no longer require wasps for pollination. But just think … that delicious, honeyed fig you’re sucking on right now, may have the remnants of dead wasp inside.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks and/or pizza with?
I thoroughly enjoyed writing Barker, the undercover killer for hire in The Cryo Killer. He’s got an earthiness to him that I enjoy being around. He’s simple, hard-working, earnest and a little devious – all the ingredients of a great friend.
-If you could go back in time and give your pre-published self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t hold back.
When I first started writing, I was terrified to really express myself. My ideas often don’t coincide with what the general public finds socially acceptable – I like to write blasphemous, sexy, gory, subversive stories. Now, two years later, I know that the reason I have a loyal following is that my readers enjoy this unconventional style. Something I’ve learned is that no matter what type of writing you enjoy giving the world, if you put every cell of your being into it, the world will receive it gladly.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
Writing a feel-good romantic comedy would probably make me vomit. Numerous times. I just can’t do it. I’ve tried. But at least one of the characters always ends up dying.
Jason Werbeloff is a novelist and philosopher. He loves chocolate and his Labrador, Sunny. He's interested in the nature of social groups, personal identity, freedom, and the nature of the mind. His passion is translating philosophical debate around these topics into works of science fiction, while gorging himself on chocolate.
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