On the 20th of May, my newest story landed: Platypus: An Orwellian Tale.
Actually, it’s not a new story. I first wrote it in 1999. It was, in fact, the thesis project for my Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University.
Not quite so long ago (February of 2017? It was really that long ago?!), I wrote a brief post about the emerging comparisons between 1984 and Donald Trump as President. So now that Platypus has finally seen the light of day (after a little tweaking by the author, 19 years wiser), I figured I’d post this and let you all know that.
You can click here to find Platypus at your favorite ebook retailers. (Paperback out soon, though it’ll be more like a chapbook–it’s a novelette/longer story, not a novel.) Meanwhile, if you want to read a little blurb of the story of the story, read on here…
A Primitive But Interesting Species
My first degree was a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
Really! I was one of those people!
Well, I didn’t start out as one of those people. I considered a lot of majors when I was seventeen and eighteen years old, generally among the hard and soft sciences. But after taking an interest survey for “undecided” college students, I turned away from them and embraced my creative side instead.
My mom would ask me what I was going to do with a degree in writing.
And I’d answer, “I don’t know, I’ll find something. I’m not worried about it.”
What I ended up doing with it was enlisting in the Navy, even though people were saying, “Shouldn’t you be an officer if you have a degree?”
The recruiter said that, no, I could go officer after boot camp.
And he should know, right? I mean, military recruiters would never lie to young, impressionable morons just to meet their monthly quotas, right?
Obviously, I was idealistic and stupid.
Well, stupid in hindsight. Just a young, naive dreamer at the time, like most of us at that age.
And if you, Dear Reader, are considering a college career in writing or a similarly idealistic path, please let me extend a bit of advice:
If you’re going to go to college and accumulate decades of debt, you need to get a degree in something that pays. Major in a paycheck (that you will still enjoy), and minor in what you really love (that probably doesn’t pay squat).
I know that’s not what you want to hear, that I sound like your mom.
But guess what?
I’ve been there. And twenty years later, I’ve learned something: Mom was right.
Anyway, where was I going with this rant?
“Platypus” was my college thesis project. It was by far the longest story written by anyone in my writing program cohort. (Though not the longest story I’d ever written—there was another I wish I still had, something Shakespearean in nature, about a king who thought himself immortal. Damn, I forgot about that until just now!) It was probably also the only genre piece of the bunch, too. We were taught that genre work was crap and that all serious artists wrote cryptic slice-of-life vignettes where nothing remotely exciting or interesting ever happened.
I do think that I came away with a little more of a literary approach to my swashbuckling, warp drive adventures, which I’m proud of. And this story is obviously an ode to that masterpiece of lit and genre, George Orwell’s 1984. (Which, by the way, has had a resurgence in popularity lately due to the strikingly similar politics of our current President…)
Anyway, this twenty-year-old story, this “primitive but interesting species,” has finally arrived for your entertainment. I hope it does both things for you. That it entertains, yes, but also that it carries a little of that literary weight and warning about what could be, if we are blindly compliant, intentionally ignorant, and allow it happen…
Hmmm… that didn’t really say much about the story itself, did it?
Here’s the blurb/teaser about the book too:
In the dystopian future, there is no poverty or war. Nor is there hope or mercy.
In Risen Cleveland, life is regimented and devoid of color. Literacy is obsolete and God is dead. Nothing ever changes. And it’s better that way. Easier. Safer.
Until one man dares to ask the forbidden question: Why?
An ode to George Orwell’s shocking warning and timeless novel, 1984.
Have a good Memorial Day weekend.
And thank you, my fellow veterans, for your service to our country!