Oddly enough, there really is not much of a backstory to this book. It sort of came out of nowhere. I'd been considering a post-apocalyptic novel - one which incorporates certain real-world realities. Climate Change was one of the ideas I'd incorporate into it, but it's pretty universally accepted that although it will be devastating (especially, as depicted in the book, a "worst case" scenario), it probably won't cause man's extinction. So, I came up with a "disease" caused by climate change which will cause mankind's extinction.
Prions are explained in the book (or you can look them up), and that's what they call the Shades, and why the book is so named. I was originally going to focus on the gal in the image, whose name is "Quiptie", but as I wrote it, it focused more on the guy in the book - James Kranz. The working title was "Quiptie", in fact, and that got changed for reasons anyone reading the book might understand.
Coincidentally, while I was writing this book, the World Health Organization came out with a new thing to be aware of - something they called "Disease X". Disease X isn't something anyone knows about at the moment. It's a designation for a illness that MIGHT happen, and probably will, given how diseases mutate and evolve. One of the things that's out there, which isn't a "disease", are prions. Most folks know them as Mad Cow Disease, but they can, and do, attack Humans. I thought it was rather odd that the WHO would put this out in the middle of my writing, and I incorporated that into the book as well.
Everything in the book is actually based on real-life technology. Even to the AI's and the integration of carbon-based technology with biology. Much of it is still in the experimental stages right now, but research seems to indicate that everything in the book can or will become a viable piece of hardware/software/tech in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, even the Prion disease - the Shades - is a real-life potential threat that's already out there. The only thing I put in the book that isn't potentially real is the cure. Not enough research is involved in that to say whether or not the method in the book will work in real life. At the moment, there's no known cure for prion diseases, and thus far, no therapies have been developed that successfully treat it.
So, I ended up with a horror story, along with a post-apocalyptic novel. Two things I've never done before.
In that respect, this is a major departure from the kinds of things I've written about in the past. It DOES tend to follow where I've been going with my writing for the last year or so - more reality-based science fiction. This one is very close to the Empathy Epidemic, but even MORE rooted in reality.
Welcome to the 24th century, where the world's population is less than two million, civilization is gone, the seas have risen, technology is all but dead and everyone is dead of the Shades by thirty five - except in one place where one young man discovers something that is decidedly odd...
Available at: Amazon soon!
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