The wait is finally over, my friends. Book Five of the Vinestead Anthology, Hybrid Mechanics, is now available for purchase at Amazon or by PayPal-ing me $400. Why $400? Well, because in addition to the book, you get a signed 8×10 glossy of yours truly, one of my socks, a handwritten note about your beauty, a USB drive containing MIDI music from 1998, and a copy of The Bhagavad Gita, marked up with my own personal notes and corrections.
I’m very excited for the release of Hybrid Mechanics because it was my first opportunity to feature Austin, Texas as it actually existed in 2017. Austin was a major part of Xronixle, but it was an alternate version, a 1999 with Matrix-like virtual reality. By adding the idea of a simulation within the Vinestead Universe, I was able to use the real world inside one of my books, and that was a lot of fun.
The main characters in the book are all Austinites, and they do a lot of Austinite things before escaping the simulation. More than that, they have no knowledge of the Vinestead Universe, so they get to learn about it the same way a new reader would when exposed to this new technology of biochips and synthetic humans.
And honestly, 2017 did feel like a simulation gone off the rails, didn’t it?
What’s the Book About?
A reader recently asked, “Did I miss some kind of war?” And the answer is yes. There is a massive war between humans and synthetics that I’m jumping around with my novels. Hybrid Mechanics takes place at the tail end of the war, when most of humanity has been wiped out. The last remaining humans are all holed up in bunkers, and Jake Six is trying to hunt them down.
Meanwhile, a handful of people are living in a simulated Austin and start to see cracks in their reality (Trump getting elected, Nazis in government, daily mass-murders, that kind of thing). They wake up in a bunker underground and have to figure out where they are, when they are, and WHO they are.
Can they do it before Jake finds them?
What’s the Book Really About?
If anything, this book is really about authenticity as a person. Living your best life… stuff like that. Trinity had a line to Neo along the lines of “the Matrix cannot tell you who you are.” Recently, I’ve been fascinated by what drives us to behave and think the way we do. Why do we hate Bruno Mars? Why do we like girls and not boys?
If you add the idea of living in a simulation to that, you have to then question, what if I’m someone else outside the simulation? What if I’m not Daniel? Or Hispanic? Or a male? Or an earthling?
It’s the classic question of nature versus nurture taken to an extreme. It was a lot of fun working out the experiences for these characters.
In many ways, it’s about the idea of connecting to the world and people around us, which is impossible to do without being ourselves. Otherwise, it’s just a connection between an adopted persona and the world. The characters in Hybrid Mechanics have to embrace their true selves if they want to have any chance at survival.
What do I need to know before reading?
Since this book deals with synthetic humans, knowing the plot of Perion Synthetics would be ideal. If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a summary: James Perion tries to build the perfect synthetic human by copying human minds into machine bodies. Now, in the future, those same machines have turned on humanity.
Everything else is just filling in backstory. This book pairs nicely with Perion Synthetics and to some extent, Por Vida.