Posted by: GravatarWon'tDeleteMyAccount | January 29, 2009

Cheeseburger Brown: The Bikes of New York

Note: This was supposed to go up last week, but somehow it never made it up while I was away. Sorry about that. 😛

Over the Christmas holidays I have to admit, I’ve been slacking off. I read Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy instead of reading something cc-licensed, like I should have been. Now, of course, I’m kicking myself for not having read this earlier. I’m also falling asleep in a weird retro boarding gate (D6-K) at Schiphol after a sleepless crowded and noisy flight from Toronto to Amsterdam. I’m trying to get to the UK.

But in all seriousness, it is rare to find a piece of science fiction writing this impressive.

It’s not long. Coming in at under 25,000 words, it wouldn’t even qualify as a NaNoWriMo novel — but I’d wager a great deal of money (if, that is, I had any) that he says more in these 25,000 words than I could say in a book equal in length to Shogun, or The Count of Monte Cristo. Maybe The Stand. In terms of quality I would honestly put this up with Ender’s Game. Just shorter. And not about a boy fighting a war. Yeah.

Taking place in a world where a global economic collapse has left America struggling to generate enough power to sustain itself, city-dwellers have turned to piezoelectric pavements and fleets of bicycles turning great flywheels beneath the streets. The struggle to survive for the poor in such a world is tough, and the reader experiences it firsthand through the struggles of the protagonist.

Things you will find in this book that you won’t find many places else:

  • The independent country of Quebec.
  • A well-written brief introspective speculation on the future of energy use in our society.
  • A great deal of second-person writing not in the form of a choose-your-own-adventure.
  • People singing La Marseilleuse while riding stationary bikes.
  • Other things I’m too jet-lagged to remeber.

With Mr. Brown’s (Mr. Cheeseburger’s?) permission, I’ve made a bare bones .pdf of the book, which I’ll send to you if you e-mail me at blackhatcadillac at gmail dot com. You can also find it in html form at his website here. As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, he’s planning on making the switch to Creative Commons licenses for his work soon enough, but until then, make sure you ask him nicely when you do strange things like posting his stuff up on your blog. Just to be nice. 🙂

And also, READ THIS BOOK. It’s short; it’s sweet; it’s amazingly well written, and it’s the most original thing I’ll probably read all year. Yeah. It’s January. Way to ruin the rest of the year for me, Cheeseburger. ^__^

Oh, and keep reading, and keep writing.



p.s. — I promise to start posting more often again. Really.


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