Hi everyone! Krishna here. Welcome to Journey with Books. We're featuring Seventeen: Book One by Mark D. Diehl today. You'll get a little sneak peek at what's inside this book and there's also a little author interview so we'll get to know something about the author. Plus, there's a giveaway for all of you. You wouldn't want to miss all the fun so read on!
Corporations control all of the world’s diminishing resources and all of its governments, dividing the world into two types of people: those who unquestioningly obey, and those who die.
Most of the world’s seventeen billion humans are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, naturally growing plants have been declared illegal, and everything from food to housing to medicines must be synthesized from secretions of genetically modified bacteria. Only corporate ambulatory workers can afford patented synthetic food, and non-corporates fight for survival in the city’s sprawling, grotesquely violent ghetto known only as the Zone.
Nineteen year-old waitress Eadie challenges the hierarchy when she assists a bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet, drawing massive social-control machinery into play against her. The Prophet predicts she’s the general who will lead a revolution, and a few desperate souls start listening. How can she and her followers possibly prevail when she’s being hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?
- Do you like to dance?
I have had very little experience with dancing. The few times I have danced have been fun, though.
- Can you describe your dream home?
I had girlfriends in the past who would talk about what kind of house they wanted to live in, what it’d look like, what amenities it would have. I don’t care about that stuff so much. Maybe I've been in too many places.
I've lived for periods of years in hostile and foreign environments where people avoided me when I was alone and actively harassed me when I was walking with a local woman. I've been surrounded by pathetic and condescending yuppies who took ridiculous pride in having successfully sold themselves to the highest bidder. I've slowly suffocated in communities where a culture of fear has made the people bow their heads and hide, abandoning the ability to question and reason.
The building isn't important. My dream home is a community where people respect each other as individuals.
- If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?
I would choose to be Larry Darrell from “The Razor’s Edge,” by W. Somerset Maugham.
Most people would probably perceive little similarity between Larry and me. He comes across as almost Buddha-like, completely detached from material pursuits and perpetually calm. People seem to see me as an aggressive, restless go-getter, more like Howard Roark from “The Fountainhead.”
But to me, the two literary characters have something important in common. They both care only about what’s going on in their heads. Larry is driven by his intense desire to understand, so he is able to drift from one activity to another, studying, learning, and experiencing all he can. Roark, too, is compelled to act on what his own mind dictates, but his head functions differently. Roark is cursed with the need to create, and so he struggles through life much more actively than Larry.
A compulsion to create is a need to change the world, and the world always resists being changed. Larry had it comparatively easy.
- What is the first curse word that comes to mind? How often and why do you use it?
Once in high school, my girlfriend and her best friend decided they were going to fix their boyfriends’ bad habit of swearing, unbeknownst to us. There came a day when for some reason or another I uttered the word “shit.” She turned on me, instantly angry. “Shit, shit, shit! Is that your favorite word?” “No,” I said, bewildered. “’Fuck’ is my favorite word.”
I don’t use it all that often now. I don’t think I did in high school either, really. It’s still my favorite word, though.
“I know what you did, Sett. There is a Federal Angel with me right now. He wants to talk to you. He would like to know why you helped some waitress escape after she killed Matt Ricker. Switch to visual. Now.”
He blinked hard and wiped a palm across his forehead. A sickly gray light seemed smeared along the opposite wall, having filtered through the filthy window at the end of the hallway. The floorboards creaked as he shifted his weight.
“Is it true, Sett?” his mother asked. “Why would you get yourself involved in a debacle like that? Why? When everything was going so well for you?”
He stared down at the stained plywood floor, now spotted with teardrops.
“What were you thinking? A waitress? You know better than to go getting messed up with people like that. They’ll drag you right down with them, every time. You come home right now and explain to this Angel exactly what happened; I’m sure he’ll understand. But I’m not going to lie to you. There will still be fallout. Society does not tolerate wretched, uncivilized behavior. I can’t guarantee you’ll be allowed to remain at Fisher.”
“I wasn’t thinking at all, Mother. I was just doing it, all of a sudden.” He sniffed. “She was hurt, and they started it, not her. Nobody else would help. What was I supposed to do? Just let her die?”
“Oh, Sett.” His mother sighed. “Of course you were.”
About the Author:
Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong.
After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Author’s Website: http://www.markddiehl.com
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