This blog post is probably one of the hardest things I've had to write in recent memory. More difficult than my Master's thesis, or the more charged editorials I wrote as sports editor at a small newspaper, or even the emotional and complicated topics of my weekly radio show.
But I think I've finally figured it out. It's because I'm writing about myself.
It's hard to make an introduction of yourself when you were such a painfully introverted and awkward kid growing up. Now for those who know me as the laid-back and friendly university lab instructor, or energetic hockey play-by-play announcer, or comforting journalist standing outside the team locker room, or any of the other hundred hats I've worn throughout my short stint on this spinning ball we call Earth, that may be hard to square.
But trust me, this is hard. All those other times, the focus was elsewhere, I had a job to do, a topic to point to, something to take the gaze off of me. Now, though, I'm the subject, and it's hard to deal with.
With that, let's get on topic.
This moment is huge for me. It has been a life long dream to become a published author, and with Turnstone that dream is becoming a reality. I would love to extend my most sincere thanks to the Turnstone team for giving me this opportunity.
Specifically I would like to thank Melissa, who has been my editor throughout revisions of the novel, and has helped not only guide me through the publishing process, but helped develop Bounty into something even better than what it was when the first draft was completed.
Bounty: A foray into Cli-Fi
Let me be the first to tell you, the publishing process is long, and complicated, but your editor is your best friend.
What initially began as a traditional cyberpunk work, has quickly evolved into a piece of Cli-Fi literature that I will be the first to admit is leagues better than what it was. Many things have changed, but the change in genre is the most significant, and I'm extremely happy with the result. Huge shoutout to Melissa for pointing me in this direction and letting me run free.
So what is this novel.
Bounty is the first in a planned trilogy of novels that explore the impacts of climate change on Winnipeg, and the broader world. More specifically, it tells the story of Nikos Wulf, a bounty hunter working in the sublevels of metro Winnipeg, as he unravels the mystery around an emerging eco-terror cell in the city he loves.
The world of Bounty is something I've never seen in modern cyberpunk or climate fiction. It is not a drab and dreary future, where the world has been irreparably scarred. Things have changed, the world as we know it is gone, but humanity persevered, adapted, and has met this challenge head on. Nations sank beneath rising tides, or buried beneath spreading deserts, and cities demolished by massive storms, but we survived.
I always wanted to bring a uniquely Canadian perspective to science fiction, letting our voices shine on a bigger stage. This was why I settled on making Bounty a Winnipeg story, exploring where I could see the city being in the future, and pushing the novel into the Cli-Fi genre was a good avenue to explore how climate change will impact out little prairie world.
Bounty explores the implications of putting the fate of Earth's ecological future in the hands of corporations, how humanity will adapt to the coming challenges, and the social, structural, political, and personal implications of climate change on the world we live in. How climate change will impact transportation, agriculture, city construction, labor, health, safety, laws, politics, and the lives of everyday people.
In the world of Bounty this means cities expanded underground, leaving land for solar farms, wind turbines, and massive agriculture projects. Governments handed control of vital resources and services to massive corporations. And finally, to save money, policing budgets across the world were slashed in favor of a state-run "officer-for-hire" bounty hunting system, putting justice back in the hands of the people.
This is where we find Nikos. The best bounty hunter on the streets of Winnipeg, working for the Bounty Commission Eco-Terror Taskforce, now grappling with a new threat. One that threatens to change everything he knows about bounty hunting, and probably not for the better.
Your debut is always important, and knowing where the story will go, I'm incredibly excited to share it with you.
To follow updates on Bounty you can follow me on Twitter at @JasonPchajek, on Instagram at @JasonPchajek, and follow along with this blog. Here I'll be posting news, essays, reviews, and many more things.
Until next time, take care!