Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit. Her most recent book, Socialpunk, is the first in the Socialpunk trilogy, and I recently got a chance to preview the book.
Socialpunk begins by placing you in the middle of the unfamiliar world of a vision of Chicago in the future, contained with "The Dome" which protects its citizens from the effects of the Scorched Years, and ultimately cuts off the citizens from the rest of the world. The plot centres around Ima or "E", a teenage girl who's in love with her best friend Dash with whom she has a complicated relationship, and who longs to escape the violence of her abusive father and the limitations of her life in The Dome. Ima gets her chance in an unexpected way after she and Dash sneak out to attend a concert and end up in the midst of a life changing event that shakes her very knowledge of the world to the core and forces her to go on the run. Throughout the course of the novel, Ima changes names, her appearance and her attitude, and ends up growing out of her shy shell over the course of the novel, and changes her
Overall, I really enjoyed this dystopic cyber-punky story and was pretty much glued to my Kobo reading it to find out what happens, and there are some amazing ideas and depictions of the future city that make it a compelling read. However, I did feel that some of the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more in terms of what makes them tick. The whole plot line involving Ima's feelings for Dash was a little bit hard to relate to, just in that we aren't told a lot about him and why Ima cares for him and is willing to risk so much for him, other than that he's been a fixture in her life for as long as she can remember. The ending was also a bit abrupt, but I was still left wanting to read more!
Here's an excerpt from Socialpunk:
After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.He looked at his last and final creation sitting in the chair across from him—his own son, not awakened yet. The law forbade him to have any children of his own, so this boy would substitute.But he had done the unthinkable with this creation—he had bestowed on it his own thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. He’d given the boy his own mind, his own physical characteristics, his own wants and desires.He had never done so with any of the others because of the dangers of investing too heavily in any one of his subjects. But who could he kid? He had not stayed objective thus far, watching some of his subjects more closely than others, wishing for the happiness of some at the expense of others. He had become an abomination, a monster of his own doing, who had created subjects only to watch them suffer.He couldn’t forgive himself; not now, not ever. His eyes lingered on the vial that sat next to his breakfast smoothie, that he’d stowed away for the day when they destroyed all his work, his entire world. He would save it, tuck it away for now, for as long as he could protect them. When things spun out of his control, he would drink it and end himself the way he had ended them.In the ancient stories, gods frequently gave their sons as gifts. Now, he would give his son as a gift to her, number 3281. So she could be happy in her last months on earth, before they destroyed her with the rest of them.
If you enjoyed this excerpt, the book is available to purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and you can also download the first 10 chapters to get you started using the links below!
- Socialpunk Preview for Kindle .mobi file
- Socialpunk Preview for Nook/iPad .ePub file
- Socialpunk Preview PDF file
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