Tomorrow and Tomorrow
By Thomas Sweterlitsch
Hardcover, July 10, 2014
John Dominic Blaxton is a survivor of the terrorist’s blast that leveled Pittsburgh, by virtue of the fact that he was out-of-town at the time. These days, he spends his time visiting a VR version of the city, researching survivors’ claims for an insurance company; as well as to visit his previous life which included a wife. Things get complicated when one of his cases reveals that the victim may have been actually murdered before the blast and; on another assignment, he discovers the extent to which some will go to bury the past. This takes place in the near-future with lots of recognizable landmarks both geographically and culturally and; the technology isn’t too “far out” to be incredible either, so the story’s settings are native and accessible. The world-building is very good even if the writing is a bit more workman-like than fluid or poetic. Recommended for those who like mystery-thrillers; as well as those who like technology, but not necessarily science fiction.
07/01/2014 – I wrote the review above; but I admit that it’s pretty flat. I’ve read others’ reviews for inspiration; but from them, I’m seeing a lot of confusion between the various realities and; a different summary of the book. I wonder if I got a later draft than others did because I had no issue tracking what was happening and; there were two distinct plot lines that only later converged. Anyway, the book has some great themes about letting go, the past and the present, identity, technological saturation, and the double-edged sword that is the right of privacy (Right to Be Remembered vs Right to Be Forgotten.) Despite my less-than inspiring review, I urge people to read it now before Hollywood gets its hands on it!
OTHER: I received an Uncorrected Proof of Tomorrow and Tomorrow (by Thomas Sweterlitsch) through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.
On 07/16/2014, Thomas Sweterlitsch participated in a reddit/r/books/AMA (Ask Me Anything):
“I am scifi / cyberpunk author Thomas Sweterlitsch of TOMORROW AND TOMORROW, AMA!”
* I loved Tomorrow and Tomorrow (print) and have been recommending it to my friends who are readers of SF (natch,) of mystery, of thrillers, of lit-fic (for the struggling hero,) and for people who say they don’t like SF… Did you have any say as to how your novel would be categorized? Did you have any idea when you wrote the book what “kind” of book you were writing?
* There seemed to be at least three kinds of reality in the book: The hero’s present reality in WDC; the virtual reality in Pittsburgh; and his drug-induced reality. For all the heroin he seemed to be consuming, it didn’t seem to color his world to the extent that a reader might expect. So my question is, why choose “brown sugar” as opposed to speed/meth or acid?
* When the audiobook was cast, did you have someone in mind from the LOC [Library of Congress] audiobook crowd [Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped] originally? Did you have author approval over the narrator?
LetterSwitch/Author Tom Sweterlitsch:
Thank you–and thank you very much for spreading the word. i deeply appreciate that.
I did have author approval somewhat–or at least I was consulted. Here’s how it worked: the Penguin audio department did auditions, and one morning I opened my email and found three audio clips of actors reading a few minutes of text. I was so impressed by the reader Adam Paul and wrote not one but two emails strongly recommending he get the job…and, he did! Other people definitely had their opinions in the mix, though. If you’re an audio book fan, I highly recommend checking out his reading.
As for “brown sugar”–a friend of mine just asked about the origin of “brown sugar” and I was telling him that I wanted a drug that would have specific effects, etc., and he said he was hoping it was actual “brown sugar,” not unlike Burgess’s use of Milk in A Clockwork Orange. So–I’m stealing his answer. it’s totally just brown sugar. Brown Sugar Double Plus.
The different layers of reality was important to me–I do a similar thing in the book I’m writing now, though not w/drug use. I’m interested in Freud’s thinking about the “Uncanny” and try to play with that in my fiction quite a lot.
As for how to categorize the novel–you’re right, it can go several ways. I did not have any say over how the book would be categorized. My publisher is pitching it as broadly as possible…but I’m definitely happy it’s landing in the SF section at several stores.
I’m laughing at myself right now “Brown sugar” is just brown sugar! That certainly explains a lot! 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to do an AMA here on reddit and answering my questions!