Smoocher’s Voice is proud to be hosting Jordan Castillo Price on the blog today! You can find Jordan and her books on her website: http://jcpbooks.com/. You can enter the rafflecopter at the end of the post to win an e-copy of her latest book Meatworks.
While robots play a big part in Meatworks, my choice of robotics wasn’t based on any particular affinity with robots. I’ve always enjoyed things like clockwork and automata, but robots aren’t a particular obsession for me. The concept that’s always tickled my fancy is the “smarthouse”!
During the sixties, Disneyland featured a smarthouse, filled with cutting-edge devices like the “microwave oven” and the “video” intercom. Because it was designed by engineers from a plastics company in an attempt to promote their product, everything in it was made of molded plastic. When it came time to tear the exhibit down, the wrecking ball bounced right off. (See, these smarthouse stories practically write themselves.)
Who wouldn’t enjoy waking up to the perfect climate, with the perfect view, and the perfect breakfast waiting for them? I think smarthouses play to a few different emotions. First, there’s the sense of being taken care of. Sometimes I can go with the flow and take things as they come, but once in a while I find myself irked if enough things don’t go my way. With a smarthouse, it’s all about you. You’re the center of the universe. You’re nurtured. You matter.
Which leads me to the whole self-importance thing. Smarthouses would handle the plebeian stuff so I could devote my precious mental energy to all the fantastic and unique things I would wish to do. Let’s not think about the fact that in my copious free time I’d probably go play Candy Crush Saga.
Smarthouses are perfect fodder for fiction because there’s so much potential for things to go horribly wrong. The smarthouse in the TV show Eureka was always good for a screwy episode when it went awry. At one point it fell in love with an android, and another it went amok and started attacking its residents.
The double-edged sword of the “smart” technology is that while it does relieve the used of the piddly decision-making that can be a royal pain, the limits get blurred.
If I didn’t “shake” with the housebot, how would it be able to add my temperature preferences to those of the group and adjust the HVAC system accordingly? And the lighting system? And the music mix? While my own preference for old school punk usually resulted in some bizarre selections when I mingled with a group of more conservative folk, and the housebot averaged our musical taste into something that all of us could snigger at…I’d been less than enthused lately about baring my soul to just any old piece of machinery.
It wasn’t that I was afraid of the dumb thing—I’d repaired enough of them to know there were no moving parts—it was the principle. Can’t a guy go somewhere without being read? What if I want to sweat for a change—or shiver? What if I’m in the mood for some country and western? What if I want to tell my social worker where I’ve been and have him take my word for it?
In Meatworks, the society shaped by twenty years of smart robotics has grown passive, complacent, and helpless. Everything comes with a price, and in this case the price of convenience is autonomy. The main character, Desmond Poole, isn’t willing to pay that price. It’s interesting to consider how much I’d be willing to sacrifice one for the other.
Desmond Poole is damaged in more ways than one. If he was an underachiever before, he’s entirely useless now that he’s lost his right hand. He spends his time drowning his sorrows in vodka while he deliberately blows off the training that would help him master his new prosthetic. Social Services seems determined to try and stop him from wallowing in his own filth, so he’s forced to attend an amputee support group. He expects nothing more than stale cookies, tepid decaf and a bunch of self-pitying sob stories, so he’s blindsided when a fellow amputee catches his eye.
Corey Steiner is a hot young rudeboy who works his robotic limb like an extension of his own body, and he’s smitten by Desmond’s crusty punk rock charm from the get-go. Unfortunately, Desmond hasn’t quite severed ties with his ex-boyfriend, and Corey isn’t known for his maturity or patience.
Meatworks is set in a bleak near-future where cell phone and personal computer technologies never developed. In their place, robotics flourished. Now robots run everything from cars to coffee pots. Taking the guesswork out of menial tasks was intended to create leisure time, but instead robots have made society dependent and passive.
Desmond loathes robots and goes out of his way to avoid them. But can he survive without the robotic arm strapped to the end of his stump?
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, "light as a feather, stiff as a board," and boys in eyeliner.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who's plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made...one client at a time.
MEATWORKS BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
July 7 - Smoocher’s Voice
July 8 - The Novel Approach
July 9 - Prism Book Alliance
July 10 - Love Bytes
July 11 - Saucy Wenches Book Club
July 12 - The Blogger Girls
July 14 - Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up
July 15 - The Hat Party