Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for Up The Tower by J.P. Lantern

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Book Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for Up The Tower by J.P. Lantern.  Please leave a comment or question for J.P. to let him know you stopped by.  You can enter his tour wide giveaway, for a $25 Amazon GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  J.P. will also be giving away an ebook copy of a book from his backlist at every stop on the tour so please be sure to leave a comment.  You can follow the rest of his tour here, the more stops you visit, the better your odds of winning.

Setting Is Character by J.P. Lantern

There’s this old author’s rule—I forget who said it, probably someone smart and successful—who said that to write about a place, you have to either spend two weeks or two years in that place. The idea is that you’re able to pretty successfully write about a given location after spending two weeks there, and that your ability to write about it won’t improve dramatically until after you’ve spent two years in that place. So, like with a lot of writing advice, it’s something to be taken with a grain of salt, but after living in St. Louis for about six years now, I feel like I can write about it pretty successfully.

There are a lot of great, fun, uplifting, good parts of St. Louis that exist and regularly reinforce themselves. My book, UP THE TOWER, does not focus so much on those. My book takes a gander at the underbelly of St. Louis and puts a spotlight on it; as probably a lot of you have seen in the news lately with all the uproar in Ferguson (which is a part of the greater metropolitan St. Louis area), it’s a city inherently divided by race and (therefore, unfortunately) class. What this means is that there is a huge gap of income and power, and most of the momentum is on the side of widening that gap, which is true throughout the country and the world right now. So, there’s a lot to point to, from living in this city, that I can identify as little microcosms of this vast inequality that exists all over the world.

As a science fiction author, what I’m most interested in is how these sorts of conditions might evolve as we move forward as a species. What I envisioned was the poorer portions of St. Louis expanding and expanding until the well-to-do folks (who, in St. Louis, pretty much all live in West County, which is appropriate West of the city itself) erect a giant wall around the place. If you live in St. Louis, you already know that wall already informally exists—it’s called Highway 270. The resulting slum, in my book, is called Junktown.

In the book, I also show a world in which the corporatization of the world continues, and that cities become like holdings for these corporations, with all of St. Louis being a corporate town, sort of like old mining towns belonged to singular companies. And, because human beings don’t really learn lessons very well, all the poor people in Junktown start to ape the corpocracy they’re a part of: the gang bosses are CEOs, the gangs are called “corps,” that sort of thing. This happens now—most of what you would call gangster rap, which is lambasted as being all about owning property and women, can be argued as these artists identifying what the people on the top of the class system have and wanting it for themselves.

So, the characters that arise from this—gangsters and copbots and boy geniuses and white folks with a misunderstanding of their privilege—they’re all direct results of this stylized sort of St. Louis, which is a direct result of me living in it.

Up The Tower
By J.P. Lantern

Publisher:  Brainstorm Publishing
Release Date: August 22, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction/Adventure
Length: 247 Pages
ISBN:  978-1499617672


About the book:  

Disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker—these folks couldn't be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go...UP THE TOWER.

“This kid comes in, okay? Starts doing all this stuff with Wallop's tech fists. Powering them up and such. You know, they can bend steel, they can punch a man so far a distance, all of that. At first, I think the kid's pretty young, but then I see his eyes—they're old enough. I seen his eyes, they're about my age, those eyes. And it’s important, okay, how old he is. Because this kid? He looks a hell of a lot like me.”

“So what? Lots of kids look like you.”

“Yeah. So do Georgeson. So do Jonesboy. So do Figueroa.”

“What are you saying?”

“I'm saying…” he palmed the side of his head. “I’m saying, it ain’t no secret that you got yourself a certain type of person that you pick up. A type of boy. I sort of thought I knew why. Last night I found out for certain.”

Konnor was right. Ore was angry.

“The hell are you saying to me? Just say it.”

“You said you had a brother. His name was Samson. He was good with tech, you said. Well this kid? The one tailoring Wallop's new fists? Samson. That's what Wallop called him. ‘Samson, touch here.’ ‘Samson, look at that, is that right.’”

Ore didn't say anything.

“He's alive. Your brother. In The Tower. He’s maybe been alive this whole time.”

Silence, then. Even the eyebots outside seemed to get quiet.

That goddamn Wallop. Her job, her Haulers, and her eye. Now he had her brother, or near enough.  Everything. Would he take everything from her?

Konnor stood up and headed to the door. The shack squeaked beneath him.

“If it was any other sort of job…if it was a job that maybe wouldn’t have gone against the Faces…”

“Shut up, Konnor. It’s all against the Faces. It’s under ‘em or it’s with ‘em. You know that.”

“All right. All right.” He opened the door. An argument had started down the street; someone lit a fire in a barrel on the balcony above her shack; an eyebot stopped, scanned the two, and then zipped away. “It’s a hell of a plan, though, Ore. A hell of a plan. And maybe I won’t get around to telling Wallop what’s what for a little while.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
 J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed "rugged," though he would also be fine with "roughhewn" because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word. 

Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.

Blog/website: http://jplantern.com

twitter: @jplantern


  1. Thank you for the feature!

    What's everyone's favorite sci-fi setting?

  2. The excerpt's interesting

  3. I don't know that I have a favorite sci-fi setting. Settings certainty need to fit the story.