Featured Author: Ronald Valle

Let’s get back to some great books you should be checking out in the Inkshares / Geek & Sundry contest. Today, Ron Valle‘s We Clocked the T-RexIt looks to be like the end-game speculation of Jurassic Park; fascinating, creepy, and not your standard hard sci-fi.

wcttr_coverAbout We Clocked the T-Rex:

It’s the near-future and the dark forces of secret science and big money are preparing to engineer the world’s First De-Extinction Event. With her life’s work, countless species, and modern civilization on the line, Vee Whelan aims to stop them – but what’s so evil about a scientific miracle?

We Clocked the T-Rex is a paranoid speculative adventure that takes the scientific gene editing and cloning techniques at our disposal today and asks, can’t we use these to make right all that we’ve made wrong about the natural world?

Q: What part of your novel’s world excites you most?

A: For this novel I am trying to create an image of an Earth 30-50 years down the line where global climate change has largely gone un-responded to. I am mostly taking the warnings of today’s climatologists and oceanographers and making them the reality of this fictional future, hopefully in such a way that readers will stop and dwell on whether or not they are comfortable with that becoming a nonfictional future. But more important to me is investing this warmer, wetter, less-wild world with a mythic quality, something like how Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness made the Congo more than a geographic location on a map by turning it into something that invaded the psyche, something that as a consequence of its existence altered what it meant to be human in it. Today, human beings make up roughly a third of all terrestrial vertebrate biomass on the Earth. Our livestock – pigs, cows, etc. – make up almost the entire remaining two thirds. All the wild vertebrates, from the alligators to the rabbits, make up less than 5%. In the world of my novel, that fact has a deep impact on how people think, feel, perceive, and act. I think we’re feeling the impact of it now, though we can still choose to pretend it isn’t there.

Q: Why did you choose to fund with Inkshares?

A: This is the first novel I’ve ever set out to write so I’m pretty new to the game (I’ve mostly been a short story writer since receiving my BFA in Creative Writing). I have yet to attempt peddling anything through the traditional means of agents and big/small publishers and can’t speak to the pros/cons of that system. The Geek and Sundry contest is what exposed me to Inkshares and what really got me to commit was the idea of gaining any kind of readership. Writing is lonely as all shit, and I’m always wracked with doubt over whether or not any one will even read, let alone empathize with, the things I’m putting so much thought and effort into. I figured, at the very least, Inkshares will help me answer that question. And it has in a very self-affirming way! Knowing that people are eating what you’re serving and asking for seconds puts a lot of juice back in the ol’ creative batteries, and reinvests me in being the best writer I can be. And receiving feedback from so many different people during the creative process whittles the story into the best story it can be.

Q: What are some novels that are similar to yours?

A: Paul Kingsnorth recently (in the last few years) put out a novel called The Wake (which was also, encouragingly, crowdfunded) that has been a real inspiration for this project. The main character of We Clocked the T-Rex, Vee, is struggling with the same anger, fear of change, and self-doubt that the protagonist of that novel was.

When writing I think that I am most influenced by the tones of other novels. Even though this book is founded on these ethical questions about our relationship with/responsibility for other living things I still want it to be a goddamn ripping yarn. I mean, it’s still about making dinosaurs. I love novels about high-seas adventure, like the Horatio Hornblower novels or anything about the Polar explorers, so there’s a peril-on-the-open-sea element as Vee and her research vessel the Pangolin journey into the center of the Pacific Trash Vortex. I really love the manic, paranoid, treacherous plot-knots of Thomas Pynchon’s novels, like his most recent Bleeding Edge, so my story features a dark plot called the First De-Extinction Event that drives characters mad in their pursuit of unraveling it. This novel is filled with dueling spies, out-of-their-depth heroes, far-flung locales, impending doom, young lovers, sea monsters, and a dinosaur or two. Basically everything I ever thought made a book worth opening.

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