Friday, April 27, 2012

That Cyberpunk Feel

I’m Alanna Blackett, and my cyberpunk romance novella Unsecure Connection is out today. A little about myself: I live in a funky neighborhood in downtown New Orleans. I’m into video games, science fiction/fantasy, British costume dramas, and basketball. I know, I know, that’s a hell of a list of things to be into, but there we are!
When I think of cyberpunk, I think of William Gibson and Richard K Morgan. I think of gritty cities that have a darker side to them, and characters that aren’t all squeaky clean. I’ve read a few science fiction/science fiction romance books that had Perfect Geek characters. What I mean is they’re beautiful people, dressed in beautiful leather catsuits. Well, nothing drops me out of a story quicker than a computer expert who looks and acts like a model.

See, I love people who are geeks. I don’t define a geek as someone with no social skills. Geeks are passionate about the things they’re into, and they’re a bit obsessive about getting the details of those things right. They don’t always have time to look perfect, because they have to get this one line of code to work and they don’t care how many hours it takes. (For the record, I am a gamer who’s dabbled in modding. I’ve also dabbled in code and built my own computer, although I would definitely say I’m more of a casual geek than a professional when it comes to these things.)

So when I started to envision my characters, it occurred to me that they would probably be people to whom online appearance matters more than what they look like in real life. If you’re a gamer, you know what I’m talking about: people who spend hours painstakingly arranging the furniture and decorations in their Sim people’s house while in real life they’re at a desk covered with old cardboard boxes and used coffee mugs. And then I imagined how much crazier it might get if we had virtual reality instead of just computers. And if the city outside was kind of abandoned and post-apocalyptic-looking and not that nice.

So yeah, those grungy single-minded geeks? Those are my hero and heroine, CJ and Riley.

I have to say I had a lot of fun with the idea of bringing together two people who are gorgeous and sexy in virtual reality but unused to a relationship between actual bodies in actual life. They have some trust issues. Of course, in Riley’s case, she’s perfectly right to have them because CJ is a cyber-bounty hunter who’s supposed to be tracking her down and turning her in to the corporation he works for. They both have really messy apartments too. I’m not saying that part’s from personal experience… I’m just saying.

Here’s the blurb for Unsecure Connection:

Riley is one of the best hackers around. She’s always kept her online identity separate from her real life… mostly because she doesn’t have much of a real life. But someone is stalking her through the network. Someone who knows about the big job she just pulled off and won’t stop till he finds out who she is.
Two years ago, CJ was a hacker at the top of his game, until he got caught. Now the prisoner of a ruthless corporation, he is forced to hunt down his former friends and colleagues. He finds himself irresistibly drawn to the woman he knows only by her alias, Samantha, as he traces her from virtual nightclubs to the dark streets of the Manhattan sprawl.
But when Riley and CJ’s relationship crosses over into real life, things get dangerous.

So now you know the hackers in my novella aren’t super glamorous, although I hope they’re super fun! If you’re interested in finding out more about me and my writing, come follow me on Twitter at @AlannaBlackett or check out my website.

Random commenter receives a copy of Unsecure Connection. Boom. Go!


Barbara Elsborg said...

Cool cover. I have to admit - I never heard of cyper punk - now I have. Thank you!! Congrats on your release!

Sarah (Clear Eyes, Full Shelves) said...

I love that your main characters aren't super glamorous--single-minded geeks shouldn't be! The idea of separate online and "real life" identities is really interesting--I know this is cyberpunk and futuristic, but that sounds pretty relavent to "right now."

Laura said...

I totally agree with Sarah (as usual). Almost everyone cultivates an online persona that's separate from who they are in real life these days. So anyone, even if they don't usually gravitate towards cyberpunk, will be able to relate to that.
I can't wait to read this! :)

bn100 said...

The book and characters sound interesting.