My novella Subterran was previously published via the online platform JukePop, which is no more, so I’ve added it to Wattpad. I recently became aware of the term neo-noir, and think it describes Subterran to a T. Psychedelic neo-noir with a shot of paranoia and a frosty metallic crunch. We’re dancing through a subterranean Antarctic commune with Jonah, a bioenhanced technosexual who loves candy-drip nightclubs and doesn’t know what’s about to hit him. Read if you like, let me know what you think. Cheers, – Corin.
I began writing The Rise of Saint Fox and The Independence in December 2013, or so my computer tells me. That I don’t remember. What I do remember is when I got the idea for the book, driving up to Northern California to visit my best and dearest friend from high school. While listening to Bowie’s “Scream Like A Baby” (he is, of course, one of the most excellent among storytelling songwriters), the characters from that song began to take on a life of their own for me. I found myself having to pull over onto the shoulder of Highway 5 to jot down ideas, a scrawled rush of character names and details on the back of a gas station receipt. I hadn’t intended to write this book, but here it was.
I have always been inspired by music and musicians. Though not much of a musician myself, only able to squeal out basic chords on my little Fender Strat, it’s in music, and particularly skilled lyricists, that many of my ideas for writing take shape. When I was driving up that highway five years ago, a sort of narrative began to weave itself among the songs coming through the speakers. Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan” was obviously a war cry, a place to begin. Radiohead’s “You and Whose Army?” showed me what the fictional band’s fan base, my own army, would look like. And throughout it all, the heart of the book, the motif that repeated, was and is this:
What if we could take the passion of music, that universal energy, that gorgeous, glittering feedback loop created between spectator and spectacle in live shows, and channel all that energy into something tangible, into changing the world?
What if fans really became an army? What could that army do? Think of the kind of change we could affect with that sort of universal power that emanates from us, from the speakers, from the squeal of steel strings, the battle cries of a hundred thousand voices as they shout out, “This is what you get, when you mess with us” (a pinnacle moment during “Karma Police” at any Radiohead concert). Generate that energy, that strength, that oneness. Bottle it. Sell it. Change the world.
I have always been partial to performers who do just that—perform, drowning myself in everything glam rock and energetic, bright and illuminating, favoring rock icons of old, your Bowies and Jaggers, over those staring at their sneakers up on stage.
You know, in any of your rock icon archetypes, there is a ready-set revolution leader.
In writing Saint Fox and The Independence, the concept of a rock n’ roll army ended up colliding with a financial revolution.
The way I write, I let the story lead me, so when I started this project years ago, I didn’t know that’s where this was headed, but it was where it was always meant to go. Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was only on the periphery of my knowledge, but somehow it made its way to the forefront in this story as the salvation of a near-future, rainy, glammy England—home of so many of the greatest rock bands, and the story began to really take shape.
So there you have it—a bit of how the book was born, from the stage, the road, from a few scribbles on the side of a highway. The book is set to be released in June by Unsolicited Press, who came to me at just the right time as I turn my gaze now towards future projects, in the midst of working on this book’s sequel, among other things. Here I’ve included a pdf excerpt of the book if you’d like a sneak peek at what’s coming. If you have questions, are interested in reviewing the book, or just want to let me know which rock n’ roll band you find most inspiring, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Oh, and I’ve also been tweeting (into the void) the playlist that helped me write this book, and compiling the songs in a list on YouTube as I share them, since these songs and artists have played such a big part in this creative process.
That’s it for now. Next time, (maybe) the editing process—how to take your gas receipt scribbles and strangle them into something cohesive and intelligible.
Rock on, love on, suffer well, love well.
All hail the beauteous cover art for The Rise of Saint Fox and The Independence, designed by the one and only Erin B. Lillis! We’re talkin’ digital glam rock and it’s everything I wanted. If only I could actually buy this guitar! The book is now available for pre-order on the publisher’s website if you want to check it out. Exciting.
Keep on rockin’ in the “free” world,
I’m proud to announce that my novel The Rise of Saint Fox and The Independence is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press, with a scheduled release date of June 12, 2018. I’m working with a great team to see this project I’ve poured so much of myself into come to light—and, even more so than seeing my first novel published, am excited about putting the ideas presented in this book out into the world, especially now when the social-political climate parallels the near-future I’ve imagined more than ever.
The Rise of Saint Fox and The Independence is about an underground cryptocurrency movement fronted by a London rock band that gains enough followers to spark a revolution.
In a near-future London, eccentric revolutionary Jenson Jeeves is the leader of the anarcho-capitalist group the Arcane Society. When he recruits a charismatic drifter named Sam to headline a band that serves as a front for the Society, the group’s soaring popularity draws supporters by the thousands.
With the youth of the nation on his side and a biotech weapon that will revolutionize commerce, Jeeves will at last see his plan fulfilled: To reset a corrupt financial system and eliminate the wealth gap—without violence. Or so he believes.
Puppeteered by Jeeves, Sam is more than willing to champion the cause as Saint Fox—the honey-voiced, incendiary idol of the revolution. But before he knows it he’s a wanted criminal, with millions of devoted followers looking to him for their next move.
No war is without casualties.
Over the next few months I’ll be posting more often with updates on the book’s release. My publisher has also recommended requesting readers by offering 50% off the print book upon release in exchange for a book review, so if you’d be interested please feel free to reach out. If you’d like to get in touch for any promotional inquiries or otherwise, please feel free to contact me directly at reyburnfiction [at] gmail.com.
That’s it for now, thanks! Your support means a lot.
P.S. My social media-averse self has bitten the bullet for the sake of promoting this book and is now on Twitter! Follow me at @corinreyburn like the cool kids do. I’ll be tweeting my sweet sweet The Rise of Saint Fox and The Independence playlist among other things.
Today’s blog-only flash fic. Part of a collection called The Art of Physics, for the sort of discerning individual who might take an entomology course to avoid taking physics.
Matter – Atoms – Molecules
Kenso stands on the bank of the sea where the water has no color. He has stood on the bank of every sea on earth, and here is the only spot where all colors are absent. On the Southern tip of Africa the seas were a summer green. Off the coasts of the Mediterranean isles, a teal mirror. In the biting lands of the Arctic the waters were grey.
He has travelled many years to find this exact spot. He crouches down, cups his hands in the water, lifts. As always, the water comes out clear. Wherever the water is green, where it is blue, where it is red—it never matters, for whenever he touches it, the color leaves.
But here, here the water does not lie, does not pretend to be something it is not. Here not only does the water have no color, but the drape of the sky and the distant bodies pinned against it do not appear, do not hint at something he can see but never reach. The expanse above where the sky might hang is not even black, it is not any other non-color—it is simply not there.
Kenso wonders if there is oxygen on the bank of this shore. The absence of sky must mean the absence of atmosphere. He does not feel the ebb and flow of his own breath, but he does not suffocate.
For a moment he tries to remember the faces of ones once important to him. He sees the faces, can pull out distinct features—a plump lip, thick eyebrow, all painted in colors like the sea and sky. He lets the images float through his mind as though watching a passing sailboat.
The water in the sea changes shape. A sphere, a star, now a bird—a phoenix, symbol of fire and rebirth. The water phoenix spins in a circular motion, then dissolves back into the sea.
The sea is clear, his hands before his eyes are clear. Hands as formless as the water. His body is bright light. Light with no color.
The sea dances into a river, takes him along with it. Past many wavering shorelines, through thick forests, above the highest mountains. Color, color everywhere. Bright bright light and blackest dark. His lungs expand as he drinks it all in waves.
Before his eyes now, a colorless fire. He breathes.
And the fire catches the water.
The latest episode of SubverCity Transmit, the podcasting brainchild of myself and co-conspirator Erin B. Lillis, features a short story of mine called Berlin Ben’s Big Night Out, previously published by The Subtopian. This episode is hopefully timely as we welcome individuals of all colors, genders, etc., to join us down in the SubverCity Station.
Whoever you are, whatever you are, and wherever you are in space-time, come on down and enjoy this tale of a gender-bending mad scientist getting his night in the moon. A one-off short story set in the cold, neon-lit world of Subterran.
UPDATE: JukePop appears to be no more, so any links here to Subterran are darker than its clubs on a lo-power cold-day shutdown. My plan for this bad boy is to most likely republish it via Wattpad. Stay tuned.
The aforementioned SUBTERRAN has been included in the Top 25 for JukePop’s Summer Writing Project this year. JukePop is partnering with cultural arts promoters and publishers 1888 to select one of these 25 novellas based on July’s reader analytics (retention + reading time) for publication. Head on over to JukePop to get your hallucinatory, bio-enhanced fix and show some support. Votes, comments, and time spent reading will increase the odds of getting published and are greatly appreciated.
1888 is also conducting a series of podcast interviews from those involved in the Summer Writing Project. You can check out mine here, where I talk with 1888’s Dean Moses about the writing process and why I love science fiction in an episode of their podcast The How The Why.