THE UNCOMMON SERIES gets a new look

My first novel came out four years ago and quickly grew into a trilogy. The Uncommon Series is a fast-paced, deeply-researched near-future thriller that follows the irrepressible Mara Winkel as she leads her brand new tech startup from garage to IPO and gets caught up in an international conspiracy along the way. The series remains the #1 top-rate financial thriller on Amazon and wrestles with the challenges of entrepreneurship and the social implications of technology. A few months back, I talked to the original cover designer about updating the visual identity of the series. The results blew me away and we "stealth" launched them last week.

Check out the gorgeous new editions and let me know what you think. The design is based on a flow snake fractal and the "static" type was originally the product of an error in the design software that we immediately fell in love with. You can see more details about the art direction and side-by-sides with the original covers here. If you haven't read Mara's story yet, now's the time.

The Mental Gymnastics of Space Travel

In the latest Incoming Transmission over at Scout, I talk to novelist Meg Howrey about the inner lives of astronauts. Read the interview right here.

Meg shares many thought-provoking insights into the human experience of astronauts, the psychology of peak performance, and the cultural power of the final frontier. Her novel, The Wanderers, is a deep, awe-inspiring, and thoughtful story about three astronauts preparing to go to Mars (I featured it in my reading recommendation newsletter). As her protagonists struggle through a brutal seventeen month training exercise that simulates every aspect of the impending journey, Howrey illuminates the hearts and minds of these extraordinary people with clarity and precision. In doing so, she shows that our dreams of exploring space reveal as much about human nature as they do about the cosmos.

You can find more Incoming Transmissions from visionary authors like Malka Older, Cory Doctorow, and Kim Stanley Robinson here.

BANDWIDTH is now available for preorder

My new novel, Bandwidth, is now available for preorder. Bandwidth is a science fiction thriller about hackers and spies grappling over the geopolitics of tech and climate change. Imagine Mr. Robot meets The Americans, with techno utopian activists hijacking the global feed to influence the psychology of world leaders. Bandwidth comes out May 1.

I put my heart and soul into this book, synthesizing everything I've learned about the social implications of accelerating technological change, the hidden systems that shape our world, and why history's movers and shakers do what they do.

My dearest hope is that the result is a compelling adventure that will suck you in, challenge your assumptions, and stick with you long after you finish it. But don't take my word for it. The Verge ran an exclusive excerpt and two of my very favorite authors have said some nice things about Bandwidth already (which gives me serious fanboy jitters):

“A smart techno-thriller that plays out the near future of data immersion, the digital divide, and climate change with mind-expanding effectiveness.” -Malka Older, author of Infomocracy

“An all-too-plausible thriller of power, morality, and global consequences. What would you do to wield influence? How far would you go to wield it for good? Bandwidth’s answers may disturb you.” -Ramez Naam, author of Nexus

Preorder Bandwidth right here. I can't wait to hear what you think of the story when it comes out in May. In the meantime, I'm hard at work drafting the sequel.

(If you're a reviewer/media and want to read an advance review copy of Bandwidth, email me.)

There is no better gift than a good book

Books contain the distilled wisdom of humanity's greatest thinkers. Books challenge us to expand our horizons and reevaluate our most deeply held assumptions. Books invite us to explore distant galaxies, face our fears, find meaning in our lives, unlock our imaginations, and slip inside someone else's skin.

When you give someone a book, you're offering them an entire world.

Season Finale of Cumulus is Live on Bound

Two years ago, I received a cold email from a guy named Matt Hannus. Matt was a voracious reader and veteran of the gaming industry. He was starting a company called Bound to develop a new format for reading fiction on the internet. He asked whether I'd be open to seeing one of my novels adapted.

Matt's project fascinated me. On the internet, we overwhelming read nonfiction: blog posts, news articles, essays, etc. But we buy and read many more novels than nonfiction books. Why is there such a dramatic gap in our reading habits? Everyone has a pet explanation, but I was curious to see whether Bound could create a format that could empower internet fiction. So we arranged for them to adapt my science fiction thriller, Cumulus.

Cumulus explores a near future San Francisco Bay Area ravaged by economic inequality and persistent surveillance. Popular Science calls it, "An intriguing, fast-paced thriller that looks closely at the most pressing issues facing the nation: a growing wealth gap, corrupt governments and an ever-increasing surveillance apparatus that threatens the country's very character. Cumulus holds up a mirror to ourselves, and shows just how scary the world could be right around the corner."

Matt and his team spent two years working nonstop on their app and Bound officially launched this past summer. Cumulus was a part of their launch slate alongside series from science fiction legend Neal Stephenson, award-winning game writer Matt Entin, former Pixar and Telltale Games creative Stephan Bugaj, and linguist Nick Farmer, creator of the Belter conlang for SyFy's The Expanse. Bound breaks up long stories into short serialized episodes, almost like a TV show, and pairs them with art and extras that enrich the reading experience.

Bound's adaptation of Cumulus deepens the world of the story with extensive sourcebook material and brings it to life with captivating art. Bound readers have many things at their fingertips that no other format offers: never-before-seen biographical details of the protagonists, investigative reports on the future history of economic inequality, press coverage that illuminates how Cumulus became the dominant tech monopoly, interludes that give a glimpse into the hearts and minds of secondary characters, and transcripts of clandestine conversations. If you loved the book, this is a perfect complement.

Bound has been releasing episodes of Cumulus over the past few months and today marks the official season finale. I've had a blast following the series and I'd love to hear what you think.

You can download the iOS Bound app for free right here and check it out.

The At-Home Gene Editing Revolution Starts Now

In the new Scout Incoming Transmission, I talk to bestselling author Daniel Suarez about the future of synthetic biology. Read the interview right here.

We discuss the scientific, economic, and political implications of CRISPR and how science fiction can illuminate the social impacts of tech. Daniel shares details on how he goes about rigorously researching his novels to make them "science fiction for scientists." And he explains how he maps out different scenarios for the near future, exploring the second and third order effects of innovation. I recently featured Daniel's latest technothriller, Change Agent, in my reading recommendation newsletter.

If you want to make sense of how biotech will change the world, you'll find his ideas provocative, compelling, and counterintuitive.

You can find more Incoming Transmissions from visionary authors like Malka Older, Cory Doctorow, Alexander Weinstein, and Kim Stanley Robinson here.

Three Pieces of Advice for Building a Writing Career

Want to build a writing career? Do these three things.

WRITE. Many people say they want to be writers, but rarely actually write, finish, or publish anything. Don’t fall into that silly trap. If you want to be a writer, write. Write stories, articles, books, whatever you want. Fight through the fear of what other people might think. Write, finish, and publish your work to the world. There’s no other way to learn.

READ. Can you imagine someone saying they want to be a rockstar but that they “don’t have time to listen to music”? You’d be amazed how many “aspiring writers” don’t read. Reading is a superpower. It gives you access to the best ideas of humanity’s greatest thinkers. Read whatever you want, follow your enthusiasm.

MAKE YOUR OWN WAY. There are mountains and mountains of writing advice out there that cover the creative process and the business side. You can easily paralyze yourself by trying to internalize all of it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned writing and meeting other writers, it’s that there is no one path to building a writing career. So don’t waste your time trying to replicate others’ success. The only jobs you want are the ones you have to make up.