The plot of this novel is not the typical Dystopian "tear the whole thing down" you'd expect and that's a good thing
All about love
Awards: 2017 Compton Crook Finalist for best first science fiction novel!
In Sleep State Interrupt, a giant media corporation has taken over the Internet, created an addictive virtual reality called BetterWorld, and controls nearly all information. Politicians do their bidding and a brainwashed humanity serves a privileged few.
Waylee Freid, an unemployed Baltimore journalist with ever-worsening bipolar disorder, is the only hope for a brighter future. She and her countercultural friends bust a notorious teenage hacker out of jail and sneak into a closed presidential fundraiser at the Smithsonian castle, where they hope to record incriminating admissions that will wake up the world.
Hunted by Homeland Security, Waylee and her friends must reach a sufficient audience by broadcasting their video during the Super Bowl. But to do so, they'll have to break into one of the most secure facilities ever built.
Read the First Four chapters of Sleep State Interrupt, plus a lot more extras, free at sleepstateinterrupt
Imagine an Internet where you could only read blogs affiliated with Verizon, Comcast, or AT&T. Imagine that you could only watch Verizon-owned shows or movies, and this choice was limited. Imagine much steeper fees to access the Internet, send texts, or make phone calls. Imagine political opinions having to be approved by a corporate censor board.
This is what could happen now that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), headed by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, has overturned net neutrality.
What is net neutrality? It’s the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) transmit all data equally, instead of intentionally favoring some websites and content over others. Net neutrality has always been a key principle of the Internet. It preserves our right to communicate freely online. It enables free speech. It is also crucial for small businesses and entrepreneurs (including authors and bloggers), who rely on an open internet to launch their businesses, advertise, and reach customers. Net neutrality promotes innovation, competition, and job growth.
None of this is protected now.
Sleep State Interrupt, the first book of the BetterWorld trilogy, and a Compton Crook finalist for the best speculative fiction novel of 2017, is set in a near-future world where net neutrality has been eliminated. A huge corporation (MediaCorp) works with the U.S. and other governments to upgrade the Internet with ultra-fast fiber optic lines, more efficient switching, and better security. In the process, MediaCorp spreads money to the right people and gains control of the Internet backbone. They use that to prioritize their own data flows or those companies that pay them a premium. Their stock goes through the roof, they crush or buy out their competitors, and MediaCorp gains control of nearly all information. Politicians do their bidding if they want to win elections. Most people are kept in the dark or misled. MediaCorp also creates an addictive virtual reality called BetterWorld, which becomes so popular, it overtakes the physical economy.
In the book, Waylee Freid, an unemployed journalist, decides to challenge this threat. She’s frustrated because no one’s voice can be heard except MediaCorp’s. She’s an idealist who believes in freedom of information. And she bears a grudge against MediaCorp for buying out her paper and firing her. With the help of hackers, she attempts to end MediaCorp’s monopoly by exposing their machinations to the world and bringing down their corrupt political supporters.
In the real world, things haven’t gotten this bad. Yet. But already the concentration of media and the decline of journalism threaten independent, critical thought and democracy. Imagine if there was only one source of news, and that news was sophisticated pro-government propaganda. Then imagine how much worse things would be.
What can you do?
Congress has the power to reverse the FCC’s vote. Urge your lawmakers to use a “resolution of disapproval” to overturn the FCC’s decision. The Senate has done this already and the House must follow. Support state and city laws to protect equal and fair access to the internet. And tell others about this.
Ted Weber has pursued writing and music since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. Trapped at home during the "Snowmageddon" of 2010, he transformed those interests into novel writing, and has completed four novels and a number of short stories since then. By day, Mr. Weber works as an ecologist for a non-profit organization and has had over twenty scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents.