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Featured Author: Tal M. Klein

Readers, it is once again time to feature a group of great books on the blog. Inkshares is running a new contest, this time with Geek & Sundry, searching for the next great works of hard science fiction. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of hard sci-fi, I boil it down to this: hard sci-fi is fiction that builds upon the known rules of plausible science, emphasizing and explaining the science as an integral part of the world and/or plot. That definition might not capture hard sci-fi for diehard fans, but it’ll suffice for us. So, let’s dig into our first featured author, Tal M. Klein, and his book, The Punch Escrow.

Cover Tal M KleinAbout The Punch Escrow:
It’s summer in New York, 2471. Teleportation is the elite mode of transportation. Air pollution isn’t a problem anymore. Advanced nanotechnology has made everlasting life possible. Artificially intelligent things make daily chores a cinch. And yet for some reason, everybody seems to want Joel Byram dead.

Trouble is, Joel doesn’t seem to want to die.

Disavowed and hunted, he must reluctantly fight against the laws of both man and science to survive. Armed only with his wits and an encyclopedic knowledge of trivia, Joel isn’t giving up on reclaiming his life (and his wife).

Don’t blame the mosquitoes though, they’re only helping.


Q: What’s your favorite thing about your world?
A: I guess my favorite things about my version of Earth in the 25th century is that it’s not particularly dystopian, or at least not much more dystopian than Earth today. Sure, since much of commerce and social discourse is tethered to internet connected cranial implants, Big Brother is technically “bigger,” but humanity has compensated for it in creative ways. Some people choose to disconnect sometimes, some “cut the cord” all together. Also, I really enjoyed coming up with the ways in which humanity overcame climate change and pollution, like mosquitoes that are genetically modified to “eat” carbon gases, exhale air, and excrete water. Having four centuries between me and the protagonist is a very comfortable buffer with which to evolve society and technology.

Q: Why did you choose to fund with Inkshares?
A: I chose Inkshares because I wanted to connect directly with readers. I really love my book. Writing it has been an amazing experience. When you’re not a “professional” author, it means juggling writing between work, family, friends. I didn’t want to put control of these characters and this world I’d created in my precious “stolen” time in anybody else’s hands. The Inkshares community and staff were incredibly welcoming. My good friend Peter Birdsall recently got his book funded on Inkshares and his experience was great. I considered others like Unbound and Reedsy, but Inkshares had the best platform for what I was trying to do.

Q: What books out there are similar to yours?
A: First and foremost, I really feel an immense amount of debt to Andy Weir, Ernest Cline, and Scott Meyer for inventing the “hard science fiction and also fart jokes” genre. They really paved the path for my protagonist’s voice. Second, since teleportation is front and center in the plot, I wanted to ensure I really studied and understood the science behind what would make it possible, how it might become a pragmatic form of transportation. Other than Ned Beauman’s “The Teleportation Accident,” I haven’t really been impressed by the way most novels have handled teleportation. The best treatment I’ve ever seen of teleportation is in the short film “The Un-Gone” by Simon Bovey.


Stay tuned for more featured authors over the next few weeks, and be sure to check out the contest at Inkshares.

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