The Agony and the Ecstasy

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Rick Kleffel of the Agony Column was kind enough to post this review of HAMMERJACK on his website today. His comments are pretty interesting, and not just because he liked my book (although that angle did cross my mind–we writers are a shameless breed). Calling my book a “post-911 cyberpunk novel,” Kleffel is the only reviewer thus far to draw parallels between events in the story and the current War On Terror.

Admittedly, the battle between my techno-terrorists and their corporate enemies can easily be taken as an allegory of the clash between civilizations that we now face. Substitute the Inru for al Qaeda and the Collective for the Coalition, the wars actually have a lot in common. On one side, a fanatical cult fights to topple the modern world and summon their own twisted vision of the future; on the other, progressive forces keep pushing mankind forward on the heels of unstoppable technology. Good vs. evil. East vs. West. Mac vs. PC. The truth inside the fiction, right?

Well, maybe. Although the events of 9/11 certainly had a profound impact on me personally, I drew up the story for HAMMERJACK during the summer of 2000–well over a year before the terrorist attacks on that fateful day. Still, those echoes probably infused themselves into the novel as I wrote it, even if I was unaware at the time. Most of the subtext that appears in my stuff tends to be accidental in any case. It’s only later, when I view the novel as a whole, that I slap my head and realize that something else found its way in there, like that special ingredient in McDonald’s secret sauce.

Anyway, take it for what it’s worth. As for Rick–the first round is on me, my friend! Drop me a line the next time you’re in Tampa.

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