A Biopunk, Dystopian Vision
Two interwoven tales that shine a light on the oddity and cosmic mystery of the universe. Neith, a Sicarii Knight, is part of an alien race that specializes in hunting prey at the behest of his overlord – The Hierarch. Ceres is a speculative sci-fi novel that offers a glimpse into a possible future of mankind, and the repercussions of its past decisions.
A Developed Lore
The human race is no longer known as such. After most of the atmosphere of Earth eroded, the survivors of this apocalyptic reckoning commandeered the Galator company’s “startrucks” and “starliners” to venture out into the universe – a last hope for survival. A new planet in a new system not far away was discovered, and dubbed “Taylor”. The humans, after many years, began to evolve to suit the climate of this planet, and became known to their alien neighbors as Syn-Ket – a term in the Astral Tongue meaning Free-folk.
With their past quickly forgotten, these Syn-Ket rapidly spread across the surface of Taylor, erecting cities and palaces. A pseudo-medieval societal structure was developed – dictated the best form to adopt during society’s rebuilding.
It was not long after their arrival that the Syn-Ket were introduced to the life-forms inhabiting their new system: there were Terratomes – housefly-looking creatures swathed in robes to conceal their bodies; and Sicarii – humanoid creatures grown in incubators below the surface of an ancient stone planet. The latter did not hesitate to communicate their place in the workings of things; they were living machines, made to kill, without emotion, a need for sleep and food, or any other biological inhibitors. Their overlord was The Hierarch, a living corpse older than time, with an intelligence far greater than that of any other .
In the ensuing years, the Syn-Ket branched out into the galaxy, exploring new planets and colonizing some. BIOS was incorporated – a company specializing in genetic modification and everything to do with bio-mechanics. Those possessed of a self-conscious disposition became BIOS’ regular patrons, modifying their bodies to the extent of their imaginations… becoming something other than Syn-Ket. The Master of Kaylis, magnate of the Scavenging Guild and main provider of material “dilution” to the galaxy’s populace, would often take a soak in the genetic baths, increasing the size of his brain to handle the task of running his guild on his own. All the while, the Hierarch would send his Sicarii Knights into the universe now and again with an assignment to carry out – an execution, or something more benign – burning their image into the eyes who glimpsed them, and sealing their reputation as killers and freaks.
Themes and Details
Why Biopunk? For those who don’t know, the sci-fi subgenre “Biopunk” classifies stories with strong themes of bio-manipulation and totalitarian control of nature. When I started writing the book, I wasn’t aware of this subgenre, but the story actually slots in perfectly.
Ergo, you can expect to see themes such as: tampering with nature and genetics; corrupt political systems and the rebirth of societal structure; technology melding with biology; as well as less abstract themes, such as the struggle with identity and belonging, loneliness, and emotional control.
I hope to make you think about the situations you are reading from a different, potentially uncomfortable, perspective. Neith, in the context of the story, is bred to kill – an assassin created in a primordial biological process. The way he analyzes his environment is entirely different than how a normal person might – but that’s the whole point of the story. You watch that break down as he starts to question himself.
Creating a Cover
This novel is the first for which I’ve used a professional artist as a cover designer. I wanted the face of Ceres to reflect the effort I put into writing it, and so I needed to employ the talents of someone special.
Ilya Kapitelman is an artist from Beer Shiva, Israel, and I stumbled across his work browsing through Instagram. I messaged him to see if he was open to commissions, and we talked details. He is beyond kind and understanding, and delivers above expectations.
He took the image I had in my mind, using pretty vague specifications given by myself, and made it real. Both the front and back covers are stunning and perfectly suited for the tone of this novel.
I’m incredibly happy with Ceres – it’s a project that’s been long in the making, and to have it finally released feels fantastic.
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