Explosive Decompression: A Novel Book Tour – Excerpt

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screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-15-05-24 Isaac Asimov meets Charles Dickens with a dash of Jonathan Swift…

In a world that is a science experiment gone horrifyingly wrong, scientist Audrey Novak awakes from a centuries-long sleep to discover that her work has been used to create an appalling world. Aided by commoners, bots, and another refugee from 20th century America, Audrey takes on the power elites on Earth and on the Moon in a novel that is equal parts adventure, science gone haywire, and rollicking humor. ?

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An Excerpt from Explosive Decompression

“I’ve lost track of how many versions have existed of my mother. By my count, there are four. Two of those women are dead, one was never alive and the other one is probably going to call me later on today wondering aloud whether or not I’ll be on time for Sunday supper.

“Your father will be upset if you don’t make it over,” she’ll tell me. “You know how sensitive he can be.” She says this as if his sensitivity is a character flaw that we have to forgive him.

My mother wrote the book you have in your hands over 29 years ago now,

when the world was a much different place. For instance, Canada was, at the time, a royalist empire spanning the entire Western hemisphere, Australia, parts of Africa, and almost the entirety of Europe. There was no world government back then either. And the town I grew up in, Googay City, was a sleepy little immigrant community in Central Asia, and not a booming metropolis of some four million sentients working for the most part in the technology industry.

We are a mere two centuries into the new modern era, barely removed from the poorly documented series of catastrophes known as “the Great Collapse.”

Some historians argue that the Great Collapse took 50 years, and others claim that the Great Collapse only took a decade. What we do know about that time is that petrochemicals ran out, the banking system went kaput, a series of superstorms buffeted the planet, massive earthquakes destroyed the Pacific Rim countries, the polar ice caps melted and the great coastal cities of the world flooded, an asteroid hit Moscow, India and Pakistan declared war on each other and launched nuclear weapons higgledy-piggledy, and a massive solar flare destroyed much of the technology remaining on the surface of the earth.

The great nations of the old modern world all fell, leaving only Canada as a semi-functioning society. Canada took in millions of Britons in the decades following the Great Collapse. Nostalgia for Imperial Britain swept Canada, leading the country into their disastrous escapades.

Canagmon, an agro-genetics corporation, gave Canadians a way to ensure

that their nation would not repeat the mistakes that caused the collapse of the old world order. They offered to genetically modify leaders using genes from the most successful people from the old world, thus ensuring that only the best and brightest would lead the new superpower. Which brings us back to my mother, Audrey Novak, and the many versions of her.

In the old way of counting years, Audrey Novak was born on 15 July 1965 CE in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States of America. So she was born, by some estimates, nearly 140 years before the Great Collapse.

Fairfax County, Virginia was on the east coast of the United States of America, near the capital, Washington City, District of Columbia, United States of America, which is now underwater off the coast of the Shenandoah province of lower Canada.

The United States of America was a nation at its peak during my mother’s time. When she was born, they were involved in a conflict with a nation in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. They were also involved in a Quasi-War with a nation called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which occupied most of the northern half of the eastern hemisphere. Both nations stockpiled and tested nuclear weapons, and almost went to war several times during their brief histories.

The original version of my mother actively engaged in the Quasi-War

between United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and as an officer in the United States of America Navy, achieving the rank of admiral. She was in charge of the laboratories for that Navy until an alien invasion occurred.

What? You’ve never heard of an alien invasion? That’s because it never happened. My mother tells me that this original Audrey Novak figured out, using alien technology, how to send her mind

backwards in time. She used the same device to send her ex-husband, a United States of America Navy captain named Robert “Bat” McCrae, back in time as well.

She has tried to explain the process to me many times throughout the years, and then she gives up. “You’re just like your father,” she says, rolling her eyes.

Which is as close as she lets herself come to calling me a dope.”

A sampling of acclaim for John L. Sheppard
“Sheppard’s characters pretend not to be funny, to not be emotional, to not need each other, when of course, they are and they do. There’s a clarity to the chaos, the restraint, the vulnerability Sheppard creates, something so human and essential you can’t help but turn the page.”
–Entropy magazine
“…an easy affection for his characters and a sense of natural, unforced humor.”
–Booklist
“…You have a good time seeing someone have a bad time. It’s fun…”
–Padgett Powell
“…raw feeling and taut smart prose.”
–Sam Lipsyte
“The author grips you from the beginning, I couldn’t have put it down if I wanted.”
–Amazon reviewer
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John L. Sheppard wrote the novels After the Jump, No Brass, No Ammo and Small Town Punk.

 

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