Read an exclusive excerpt from BORDERLESS

VICE's Terraform just ran an exclusive excerpt from my forthcoming novel, Borderless:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xw99gw/analog

The excerpt takes place in the off-grid social club the series is named for, a notorious refuge that plays a major role in the story and highlights the ubiquity of this future's global feed. Read it and take a peek into tomorrow.

Complement with Cory Doctorow on the power of networks and networks of powerThe New York Times Book Review on Bandwidth, and how feeds shape our lives and politics.

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Appearing at New York Comic Con October 4-6

I'll be participating in two panels at New York Comic Con this year:

http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/en/Contributors/6609056/Eliot-Peper

The first one explores the politics of modern speculative fiction and the second one grapples with how science fiction tackles the challenges of climate change when politicians don't. We'll be doing a joint signing at each panel so come say hi, get your books autographed, and ask us tough questions!

Complement with my Future in Review talk about how science fiction accelerates R&D, my Google talk on inequality and Cumulus, and this interview about the power of social science fiction.

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Who will own the future?

In my latest column for Scout, I talk to Annalee Newitz about the life and death implications of IP law, the roles that journalism and science fiction play in society, and who will own the future:

https://scout.ai/story/how-capitalism-and-private-property-are-impeding-innovation?shared=849.HyDV094Fm

I previously recommended Newitz's debut novel, Autonomous, in this edition of my monthly reading recommendation newsletter.

Complement with how digital feeds are shaping geopoliticsOmar El Akkad on avoiding American ruin, and Cory Doctorow on dystopia as a state of mind.

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To get perspective, cultivate connection

In my latest column for Harvard Business Review, I explore how isolation can blind us to the bigger picture and what a Renaissance master can teach us about the psychological perils of leadership:

https://hbr.org/2018/09/why-seclusion-is-the-enemy-of-creativity

Complement with storytelling for startups, do what matters, and why business leaders need to read more science fiction.

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Education, career, and the "search" for meaning

Don't expect higher education to give your life meaning. Instead, make meaning for yourself and use college, grad school, apprenticeships, jobs, books, YouTube, direct experimentation, or whatever works for you to learn, explore, and level up your skills and thinking.

Likewise, don't expect your job to give your life meaning. I'm not on a career path. I'm on an adventure where I never know what's around the next bend, which can be harrowing and exhilarating. The best jobs are the ones you invent for yourself.

Purpose isn't something we find. It's something we create.

Complement with choose your own destiny, do what matters, and life lessons from a CIA agent turned NYT bestselling author.

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We Are What We Pay Attention To

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The America I believe in

I saw something beautiful on the streets of Oakland.

People of every age and color fashioned benches out of plastic crates and wooden boards and transformed the empty sidewalk in front of an old industrial facility into a communal feast.

That's the America I believe in.

Complement with Omar El Akkad's recipe for avoiding American ruin and my Google Talk about economic inequality and the future extrapolated in Cumulus.

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What My Secret Agent Grandmother Taught Me

In my latest column for Medium, I share what I learned from my oma about stories worth dying for:

https://medium.com/s/greatescape/how-stories-help-us-escape-491f24b233c8

Complement with a brief anatomy of story and how to kill a dragon.

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‘Bandwidth’ Examines How Our Feeds Create Our Reality

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A brief anatomy of story

Every story is about getting lost in a dark forest and trying to find your way to the other side.

Who you are (character) shapes what you do (plot) which defines the lessons you learn (theme) which changes who you are (transformation) at which point you stumble into sunlight.

Complement with these three quick writing tips for novelistshow to figure out what happens next, and this podcast interview on why reading fiction is like visiting a foreign country.

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A Recipe For Avoiding American Ruin

In my latest column for Scout's Incoming Transmission, I interview Omar El Akkad about the price of power, the psychology of extremism, and charting a new course for America:

https://scout.ai/story/a-recipe-for-avoiding-american-ruin?shared=772.H1yxHqx77

I previously recommended El Akkad's critically-acclaimed debut novel, American War, in this edition of my reading recommendation newsletter.

Complement the interview with Cory Doctorow on the true meaning of dystopia and Alexander Weinstein on how technology is changing what it means to be human.

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BANDWIDTH

After two years in the works, my new novel Bandwidth is now available. Bandwidth is a science fiction thriller featuring hackers and spies grappling over the geopolitics of climate change, with a group of techno-utopian activists hijacking the global feed to manipulate world leaders. Fast-paced, lush, and philosophical, it will suck you in and stick with you long after you reach the end. Brad Feld calls it "spectacular near-term science fiction" and Ramez Naam describes it as "an all-too-plausible thriller of power, morality, and global consequences."

The rough draft grew in fits and starts. This was a turbulent time in the United States, and it was impossible to escape the chaos and outrage of the presidential election. Technology played a disturbing and divisive role in that election, defying the starry-eyed pronouncements all too common in Silicon Valley. Judging by the current news cycle, there is still ample material for investigative journalists to dig their teeth into.

But great novels offer something different from great reporting. Fiction shines when it entertains and challenges us at the same time. It transports us. It offers an opportunity to move beyond intellectual debate and play out ideas in the gritty, intimate, messy context of people’s actual lives. It forces us to put things in perspective and to ask hard questions even if we don’t have ready answers.

If we are the stories we tell ourselves, what happens when someone else controls the narrative? If every detail of your life was algorithmically engineered, would you even be able to trust yourself? What does it take for a cynic to rediscover authenticity? How is technology changing the structure and exercise of power? When absolute data corrupts absolutely, what price would you pay to change the world?

These were some of the recurring questions that surfaced again and again as I worked my way through Bandwidth chapter by chapter, scene by scene, word by word. They are questions I am forced to consider every day when I succumb to the distraction of social media, find myself ignoring injustice because it all just seems to be too much, or contemplate just how out of touch our social institutions are from a world of accelerating innovation.

These are dark thoughts, and there is a dark vein running through Bandwidth. But whenever I struggle, I try to channel the protagonist's passion for history. I’d rather live in 2018 than in 1918. Or 1818. Or 1718. Or any other time.

By historical standards, most people alive today enjoy miracles that the emperors of old could only dream of (and likely didn’t). We are a lucky and privileged few, and whatever corruption and injustice we seek to overcome isn’t new or unique. And that leads us to a challenging conclusion.

The world is what we make it.

If we throw up our hands when the going gets tough, we get what we deserve. So take a deep breath, do some gentle stretching, and make the world a better place. Do a favor for a stranger. Be kind when instinct calls for harshness. Question your assumptions. Make good art. Tell your loved ones how grateful you are to have them in your life. Lend a hand to those in need. Take real risks to do the right thing.

And, of course, read Bandwidth! Books live and die based on word-of-mouth. You are the best readers that any writer could hope for and Bandwidth's future is in your capable hands.

Selected praise for Bandwidth:

"Real and urgent... a thoughtful meditation on the ethics of power among those who broker it. Peper manages a great deal of complexity without sacrificing clarity or pace, and I read it all in a single fascinated sitting." -The New York Times Book Review

"Eliot Peper’s Bandwidth is a riveting novel exploring the dark side of feeds and geopolitics... an engaging, electric read that forces us to confront the state of the world today." -TechCrunch

“A thrilling and all-too-realistic future in which the ubiquitous ‘feed’ — an immersive algorithm used by millions — becomes a tool for high-stakes blackmail, with climate change hanging in the balance.” -Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor

"The techno-thriller novel that we need right now, Bandwidth explores a terrifying world where we are all consumed by 'the feed.'" -Ars Technica

"Peper does a fabulous job depicting power and its trappings... [Bandwidth] is science fiction that grapples with consent, manipulation, equity, duty and friendship, where no one is entirely irredeemable and even the heroes need redemption." -Cory Doctorow, author of Walkaway and Little Brother

"Captivating near-term science fiction." -Farnam Street

“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

"Technology, not only social media but also the news feeds we consume, changes the ways we look at everything. Good and bad actors manipulate us via that technology in ways that we're only now beginning to appreciate. Bandwidth tells a really good story and illustrates exactly how that happens." -Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

“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

“A very credibly rendered near future… Peper guides his story with a sure hand, lacing its narrative with issues and references that resonate powerfully in the age of net neutrality, algorithms, and social media hacks.” -Publisher's Weekly

"Bandwidth is science fiction perfectly timed for the crazy world we live in these days. Highly recommended, even if parts feel like they hit a little too close to home." -Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt

"What. A. Ride. A perfect near-future world that feels chillingly real. Bandwidth will make my top books of the year without blinking an eye." -Brian's Book Blog

"Eliot Peper's Bandwidth is an exciting, unpredictable, high-tech espionage thriller." -Templeton Gate

"All too plausible... [Bandwidth] asks big questions about trust, technology, power, and who really controls narratives." -East Bay Express

"Avoids taking the easy 'outs' and subverts expectations. Bandwidth moves to center stage real world issues that we’re all living through right now: global warming, climate refugees, the subversion of democracy." -Open Buddha

Read Bandwidth today.

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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. The designer also published a wonderfully granular essay detailing every step of the cover redesign process here.

If you haven't read Mara's story yet, now's the time.

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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.

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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.)

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