I’m pleased to welcome author, N J M Hemfrey and his futuristic novel, ‘My Fatal Futility Shellshock’ to Writers at the Gate.
Read on to find out more...
About the book…
In a neo-Japanese inspired future comes a cyberpunk epic with a razor-sharp time travel edge.
Kage Carnifex never bleeds easily. He's stronger than the slickest cybernetics. And the chip in his brain whispers the value of violence.
Kage is the last product of a dead corporation. When he is scraped off the streets by another megacorp, Kage plunges headlong into an unforgiving world of unbreakable contracts, absolute loyalty, and soulful devotion beyond what he thought possible.
Yet, the psychotic butchers from his shrouded past cannot be escaped forever, nor their malicious masters denied Kage's life. Blood is owed and carnage is coming to carve everything Kage loves apart.
And the secret to surviving may lie within a device Kage can't control; the chrono-disruptor -- a time machine -- but time is a fatal thing...
· Publisher : Independently published (31 Mar. 2021)
· Language : English
· Genre: Science Fiction
· Paperback : 522 pages
· ISBN-13 : 979-8731264396
· Dimensions : 15.24 x 3.33 x 22.86 cm
'My Fatal Futility Shellshock' is available on Amazon HERE
About the author…
N J M Hemfrey is 28 years old, has degrees in Philosophy and Sociology, and Information and Library Studies, and is an admin assistant for the charity Home-Start Falkirk. He lives with his fiancé Kasha, who is the best individual to spend existence with, whether in lockdown, the apocalypse, or more normal things like the cinema, or wandering around old castles. He is an utter movie, book, video game and comic enthusiast, especially for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. One of his greatest frustrations is that there is not enough time in the universe to ever finish the lists of things he wants to do.
N J M Hemfrey on Twitter: @Cloud_Neil
When did you start writing your new book?
I started writing My Fatal Futility Shellshock back in 2017. At that point, the story was called “If It’s the Last Thing I Do” and was only about 30-pages. Neither was the story set in the cyberpunk genre or heavily influenced by my research into Japanese culture and beliefs. The original story had a contemporary setting and was simply about a guy journeying through a fatalistic timeline to try and stop mysterious assassins who are after him for obscure reasons. I’d actually forgotten about the concept/short story until I happened to find it again in a One Drive folder, that I was browsing through one day on the way to work. The job I had at the time was the worst job I’ve ever had, and I’d plunged to a particularly low point when I read this short story of mine again. Something about the idea really ignited my spirit and fuelled the creative drive within me, a drive I was worried had jammed because of the soul-sucking job I was doing. After 4 years more of writing, it became an over 1000-page manuscript that had changed titles to “My Fatalism of Futility” to “My Fatal Futility” and this has now been split into 3 parts: Shellshock, Convulsions, and Reckoning.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
I’ve been really fascinated by the concept of time travel ever since I read the horribly lethal time loop in “All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and the mind-bending bootstrap paradox in “All You Zombies” by Robert A. Heinlein. My fascination has grown with watching movies like “Predestination”, “Looper”, and “Tenet” and so has my annoyance at any time travel story that makes up the rules to be convenient for the plot. My interest has only heightened by reading various science-eey books that confirm how nothing in the laws of physics prevents time travel, we only lack the “exotic” material and “exotic” fuel to make such journeys. Really, though, I think the most interesting aspect of time travel is how it reveals the nature of time which absolutely influences our identities, behaviours, free will, and sense of meaning and place in the universe. The nature of time defines the nature of humanity in a lot of ways. So, this has all fed into me wanting to write a story where the timeline was fatalistic and the plot had to respect the rules, rather than bending them to create easy resolutions. I injected cyberpunk into the world-building due to how I think that genre reveals a lot about the evolution and integration of human beings and technology, and how this affects the political and natural climate of the world. Plus, I’m also a fan of the hyper-violence, high-adrenaline action pieces, and pure neon spectacle of the cyberpunk genre. However, I didn’t want to do cyberpunk that accelerates towards nihilistic oblivion within polluted, criminal-ridden metropolises as can be so common in the genre. I was inspired by my research into the samurai ethics of bushido, Buddhism, and Shinto which led me to become captivated by wider Japanese culture and beliefs, especially the sense of respect and peace inherent in their outlooks. I wanted to create a cyberpunk world that had its razor-sharp edges but was also a world that really conveyed the beauty of nature, the tranquillity of meditation, and the respect even adversaries can give one another. I wanted to create a cyberpunk world that wouldn’t be a bad place to live. So, I like to think of My Fatal Futility Shellshock as cyberpunk with the soul of a samurai, that reflects raw reality.
Can you describe your route to publication from concept to completed novel?
The writing itself is the most important, laborious, and time-consuming process. I developed my writing habit and routine while writing my first novel “Haxfuri”, where I learned if I really wanted to be an author or not. I ensured I woke up at eye-bleeding early hours in the morning, did an hour or so of writing before work, did writing on a notepad at work while others weren’t looking, and did more at night (often on my phone while my partner lay asleep next to me). I learned that no matter how tired I was, I never regretted doing writing. In fact, I now become anxious if I don’t write. So, I have a great writing routine engrained in me now, of getting up early and writing whenever there’s a moment free, and this has really helped writing the 1000-page manuscript for the trilogy, then writing five more drafts of the first book, “My Fatal Futility Shellshock”. My partner, who I am forever indebted to, helped me do multiple edits and she also drew my “ramhorn-tiger” logo that features in my marketing and in the book itself. While the editing progressed, I commissioned Damonza to get my professional cover done, based on a concept drawing and colour scheme I did, which their artist then turned into something I would never be able pull off in my wildest dreams. Next, I did the ebook formatting by following the Smashwords guide, which always takes far longer than I anticipate. In the spare moments between doing all this prep stuff, I also created marketing material. I’d find copyright-free images from websites like Unsplash and Pixabay, researched free picture editors and found the brilliant Paint.net that I then used in conjunction with PowerPoint to edit images with a bespoke “branded” feel. My partner and I also created a unique 24 track soundtrack, using the GroovyLoops apps. The music-making part was surprisingly more fun and addictive than I expected. Once the book was ready in its print and ebook formats, the cover was finalised, the logo was done, and the soundtrack was uploaded to YouTube, my last step was updating my website to hopefully make it appear more appealing. WordPress can certainly be sanity-straining and yet fun at the same time, even though hours spent trying to master it can result in nothing. Finally, when all these different elements were ready like different members of a ragtag team, I knew I was ready to tackle the platforms I wanted it uploaded onto, including Amazon and Smashwords, Kobo, Applebooks, Barnes and Noble, and Scribd.
What ideas do you have for any future books?
I’m quite lucky in that I never feel out of ideas. I only ever feel there won’t be enough time before I die to write them all. I’ve currently got about 20 folders, each with a story outline between 10 and 20 pages that detail a full story chapter by chapter. After I publish the second and third books in the My Fatal Futility trilogy, I’ll be returning to a horror story I wrote. It’s set in the Scottish Highlands and switches between two perspectives. The first perspective is from a documentary team interviewing people in a remote fictional town about a strange massacre that occurred. The second perspective is from a woman who lived in the very community the massacre occurred in, seeing what she sees on the night of the massacre. It’s got Lovecraftian cosmic horror vibes as the mystery unfolds and the accounts of the two perspectives conflict. After that, I’ve got another story I’ll be returning to. This one is a science-fiction survival novel, set on a refugee's vessel in space when riots kick-off and the ship AI goes rogue. The perspective is from ship workers who run the vessel’s radio show, who hear and see things develop from the isolation of their small studio. Eventually, they’re forced to make decisions to leave the safety of their room. In essence, the story explores what ethics really matter when oxygen, food, and water are limited, and I initially got the idea while working in customer service and serving very unpleasant individuals. From there on, the list goes on of standalone books and series I want––no, NEED to write to final fruition.
Submit Your Book
If you would like your book showcased - See the Submit Your Book page for full details.