DUST BOWL by J.P. Lantern
A science fiction dystopia
With the world ending around him, Ward flounders for purpose and survival. Resources are gone, disease is rampant, and governments have all but dissolved. The only way off the broken planet is with the Order. Obsessed with technology, the Order is a cult that has developed the means for faster-than-light travel. They claim they can populate the galaxy and save humanity. Ward joins the Order, inspired by sudden and irrational love for a mysterious beauty named Kansas who saves his life. But quickly, he finds out Kansas and the Order want him to kill adults and kidnap children from across the country. With impressionable youth filling their starships, the Order hopes for their tenets to be spread to all future generations of humanity. The Order is Ward’s only chance for survival in the wreck the earth has become. Worse than that, those in the Order come to accept him and value his skills for their nightmarish quest across the dystopian landscape of America. But, somewhere inside of him, still, is the strength to strike out on his own and protect whatever good he can find left in the world.
This is a conversation between Ward, the main character, and Kansas, a cult member who has saved his life after he was beaten near-to-death.
“That's right.” Her gaze turned to him. “Do you know who I am with?”
“Why don't you tell me?”
She sat down on the bed, putting her hands in her lap.
“We are the Order.”
Ward nodded. “You worship the stars.”
“We worship nothing. Our goal for humanity is for everyone to live among the stars—or at least, different stars. To spread ourselves out and off this doomed planet, and onto better ones.”
Ward took a long breath. Her nearness was warm and uncertain.
“Ever had surgery before?”
Ward shook his head.
“It must be disorienting,” she said. “No idea where you are, how you got there—“
“You brought me here.”
~Buy DUST BOWL on Amazon.
AN INTERVIEW WITH J.P.
-What book and/or experience made you want to be a writer?
I don’t know that I’ve ever not wanted to be a writer. I had a lot of other ideas over the years about what I would do, but all of them I chose with the caveat of “and that will give me plenty of time to write on the side.” After enough of that, you start to notice a pattern. So, I’ve always been telling stories, and I lied a lot to get out of trouble (and got myself into trouble with lying). I think this started around the same time as I started reading J.R.R. Tolkien, when I was in the 2nd grade—but there wasn’t one big “ah ha!” moment that made it all come together.
-What genre do you write?
I write speculative fiction, or science fiction. I suppose my latest book, Dust Bowl, fits under the sub-genre of dystopian fiction. I have some other books that are sort of dystopian, but they’re on Mars.
-For aspiring writers, any tips?
Write a lot and read a lot, and take the time to do both well. Other than that, I’d pay attention to your posture, and make sure that you get up every half-hour or so to rest your hands and shoulders.
-What’s your favorite book/genre to read?
I don’t know that I have a favorite book to read—there’s way too many I still have to read to go back to one over and over again. But Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun is probably my favorite series of sci-fi books ever.
Science fiction would be, appropriately, my favorite genre to read.
-What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?
Oh wow, I’m not sure! Probably all of Dust Bowl. It’s pretty good. Everybody should read it. I think it has a great central story about redemption and growing up and identity, and I think there’s a lot of interesting ideas it plays with about masculinity and violence and culture and the way we can misinterpret others.
J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed "rugged," though he would also be fine with "roughhewn" because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word. Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.
I’m pretty sure I left my appendix in Massachusetts last time I visited home. Good thing I don’t need it.
And comment for a chance at a prize.
J.P. will be awarding a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and one commenter on each stop will receive a digital download of a backlist book.
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