Date: For Immediate Use
New Novel Explores Dark Future Of Social Media
In the near-future, ruthless corporations run Britain, daily life is dictated by algorithms and survival depends on social media popularity. That’s the chilling yet plausible scenario created by author Stephen Oram in his new book Fluence, which is published on June 26th.
The novel has been described as a mash-up between the dark vision of TV’s Black Mirror and the speculative fiction of Neil Gaiman, Iain Banks and Margaret Atwood.
But the key influence is the author’s own colourful roots. From a childhood spent in the quiet market town of Kettering, the arrival of punk in the 70s acted as a release for Stephen’s inner rebel, resulting in stints as a punk rocker, member of a religious cult, anarchist, converted hippie and squatter.
“I think the experience of living an alternative kind of life, taking the opportunity to ‘drop-out’ for a short while and being a squatter in the mid-80s has had a forceful impact on my writing,” Stephen explained.
“I’ve always thrived on contradictions in my own life – giving the status quo a shake-up to see what happens. And that’s what I now do through my books – I push dysfunctional aspects of today’s society a little bit further and ask – what if?”
Stephen says his novel is not merely an exercise in speculation – it is also driven by interesting characters, their relationships and how they react to the extreme version of society they live in.
Fluence is Stephen’s second book – his first, called Quantum Confessions, also plays with skewed ideas about technology and politics. And he believes he has found a unique voice writing dystopian works with a dark, satirical edge:
“I write because I want to create something entertaining, thinking I’ve got something to say and needing something to keep me out of mischief. One thing is for sure though, I’d love to set off some small firecrackers of thought to light the world slightly differently inside the reader’s head!”
The book will be available online in paperback and as an e-book from major retailers or from the publisher Silverwood Books. Signed copies are available on request. Fluence will be officially launched in London at 7pm on 21 July at Primrose Hill Community Library, London NW1 8YN, in conjunction with Primrose Hill Books.
* How much Fluence have you got? Society is changing and your social standing could soon be calculated by algorithms. Take a special ‘influence’ quiz online to discover your future now! http://stephenoram.net/fluence/#quiz.