Diehl, Mark D.: XVII, Seventeen: Book One
by Mark D. Diehl
Most of the world’s seventeen billion people are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, and corporations control all of the world’s resources and governments. A bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet predicts nineteen year-old waitress Eadie will lead a revolution, but how can she prevail when hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?
The man’s mouth hung open as he stared at her face. His long, ashen hair had shifted, revealing a smudge of grease or dirt that made an almost perfect circle on his forehead.
“Sir? Are you all right?
His eyes widened. “It is you,” he said. “At last. I have been looking forward to meeting you for such a long, long time.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry it took me so long to get to your table, sir. I just clocked in.”
He blinked slowly, pondering her response. “Ah,” he said. “You are a waitress, still. Well, then, General, I would have a cup of Vibrantia, if it pleases you.” The man’s expression never altered and his lips remained mostly still as he spoke, making it seem as though his voice was coming from somewhere or someone else.
Eadie clenched her teeth, trying not to laugh, though his words made her feel as though she was being tickled with a feather along her spine. “I’m sorry, sir. This is a corporate restaurant owned by McGuillian Corporation, so we synthesize only McGuillian patents. We have Synapsate but not Vibrantia. Would that be all right?”
“Of course, General. That would be lovely, if it pleases you.”
“Okay, sir. And my name is Eadie, by the way.”
“Thank you, General Eadie. And, if you like, you may address me as many have lately come to do. I am the Prophet.”
GUEST POST by Mark D. Diehl:
What would I tell a new author?
I never set out to be an author. For a long time, I didn’t understand why anyone would choose to labor for years on projects that in all probability would never result in tangible rewards.
I planned to have a job, to do “real” work for real pay and come home to my family, but I found it wasn’t that simple. I kept getting ideas at all hours that refused to let me move on with my life until I had worked them out on paper. Maybe I was at the law firm, working on some huge case, maybe I had been sound asleep at home in the middle of the night, or driving on the highway or taking a shower. It didn’t matter. I found it impossible to function until the idea had been fully explored and mapped out, and, usually, connected to other ideas that had similarly forced their way to the front of my consciousness.
I don’t write so I can have my picture on the back cover or travel around signing books. I do it because I feel an absolute compulsion to share these thoughts with other people, to connect with anyone and everyone who might understand. I write because I cannot stop.
My advice to a new author, then, is that there’s really only one good reason to write: because the compulsion to share ideas is simply too powerful to let you live any other way. Only if you are absolutely driven to do it – regardless of the personal cost or the potential benefits to the normal life you have to abandon as you spend hour after hour locked away at your desk – should you attempt to put out a novel. It isn’t a wise thing to choose as a hobby; the effort and anguish are likely to outweigh the rewards, and without serious dedication, you are likely to wind up with a mediocre product. If you can do something else, do that instead. Get out and enjoy life, spend time with friends and family, see the world. Communicate with others in real time, instead of pouring yourself into a book that you hope to share with an ever-shrinking population of readers.
Mark D. Diehl writes novels about power dynamics and the way people and organizations influence each other. He believes that obedience and conformity are becoming humanity’s most important survival skills, and that we are thus evolving into a corporate species.
Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong.
After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
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