by Jason Werbeloff
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Today only (Jan 8) Hedon is FREE! Pick up your copy 🙂
GENRE: Dystopian Science Fiction
What if happiness were compulsory?
What if your thoughts were not your own?
Plunge into HEDON for soul-twisting sci-fi.
In 2051, the Bhutanese Empire rules post-apocalyptic Shangri with iron-fisted Buddhist compassion. Happiness is compulsory, but making everyone happy isn’t easy in an overpopulated world. Breeders are ghettoed, homosexuality is mandatory, and Shangrians’ happiness levels are strictly monitored by hedometers implanted in their heads. Become depressed, or feel too happy without helping others feel the same, and The Tax Man will get angry. Very angry.
Gemini and Cyan, winners of the pregnancy lottery, are on the run. Cyan can’t fall pregnant, and Gemini is addicted to the Experience Machine. Will they evade The Tax Man, and find a way to end the brutal pleasures of Shangri?
The lovechild of Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale, HEDON is gritty satire on a dystopia drunk with bigotry and positive thinking.
“A one of a kind dystopian novel.”
“As politically depraved as anyone could desire.”
“This is storytelling at its best”.
– ReadersFavorite.com 5 star review of HEDON
Gemini slunk to the door, and scanned about him. Nobody else was in the alleyway. He rapped his knuckles on the cold steel. Waited. Knocked louder.
Then he saw the buzzer. The door opened almost immediately, and swung shut behind him with a deep clanggg.
“What’ll it be?” A man caked with mascara and base asked from behind a counter.
Gemini didn’t know what to say. “Uh, what have you got?”
Mascara pulled out a brochure. Gemini accepted the glossy paper thrust into his hand.
“You’ll see we have a special on our nostalgia Experiences,” Mascara said, pointing to the topmost items. “50% off college frat parties and Independence Day celebrations.”
Gemini didn’t know what was happening.
“A tough sell, I see,” Mascara said. “Maybe you’d prefer this week’s orgy Experience. We even have one with,” Mascara dropped to a whisper, “women, for men of your persuasion.” Mascara winked.
“Hmmm, a challenge. Yes, a man of your refined tastes probably wouldn’t want a preconfigured Experience anyway. For clients like you we have the DIY option. Tell us what you want, and we’ll make it up for you. No Experience the Machine can’t give you.”
“Have you seen my wife?” Gemini asked.
“A marriage fetish! Ha! I’m sure we could cook something up for you. You’re a naughty boy, aren’t you?”
Gemini decided it was best not to listen to Mascara. Nothing emanating from his lips made any sense at all. “Her name is Cyan,” Gemini persisted. “Black hair, pale skin.” He removed a holo-image from his pocket.
“You want the Machine to give you an Experience of her? Make you believe she’s your wife?” Mascara asked, delighted. “Of course!” Mascara slapped him across the back. “Follow me, please.”
Mascara led him down a dim passage, opening up into a room with black walls and ultraviolet fluorescents bathing its inhabitants. They passed a wall of cubicles, each occupied by a man wearing a skullcap of electrodes and sensors. Most had their eyes rolled back in their heads, drool running down their chins.
“How long?” Mascara asked, gesturing for Gemini to sit in the empty chair.
“Uh, my wife. Have you seen her?” Gemini asked, staring at the empty booth. “Where is she?”
“Persistent guy, aren’t you.” Mascara nudged Gemini to sit in the chair. “We’ll start you off on the hour-package. You look like you need a good dose.”
Mascara grabbed the holo-image from Gemini’s hand, and fed it into a scanner on the side of the booth. “Where d’ya want to see her?”
“You know where she is?” Gemini almost sprung to his feet, but was pushed down.
“Relax, man. You’ll be with her in a moment.” Gemini scanned the cubicle, lost, as Mascara fiddled with the dials on The Machine. The last thing Gemini heard was Mascara mumble something about the Swiss Alps.
Human. Male. From an obscure planet in the Milky Way Galaxy. Sci-fi novelist with a PhD in philosophy. Likes chocolates, Labradors, and zombies (not necessarily in that order). Werbeloff spends his days constructing thought experiments, while trying to muster enough guilt to go to the gym.
He’s written two novels, Hedon and The Solace Pill, and the short story anthology, Obsidian Worlds. His books will make your brain hurt. And you’ll come back for more.
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Jason will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.