And Now For Something Completely Different

7th Son: Descent

I realize that this has very little to do with my normal blog content, but I hope that you will indulge me for a moment and check out this post.

As many of you probably know, I work 3rd shift, which can get pretty lonely at times. In order to keep myself from going insane listening to nothing but the air conditioning, I lean pretty heavily on my iPod to provide some entertainment. There's a pretty decent sized music library on there, but I usually get tired of listening to music all night, so at least 50% of the time I listen to podcasts.

One of my favorite podcast genres is serialized fiction; it kind of reminds me of the old-timey radio shows. When I first stumbled upon podcasting, the very first fiction podcast I discovered back in 2006 was 7th Son by author J.C. Hutchins. 7th Son is a lightning-fast, kick-ass, potboiler of a techno-thriller, delivered free of charge as a podcast novel. I can't give you a better synopsis than the official web page, so I'll defer to it:

The president of the United States is dead. He was murdered in the morning sunlight by a four-year-old boy…

So begins 7th Son: Descent, the technothriller novel by J.C. Hutchins. Originally released as a free audiobook podcast, Descent will be in bookstores in late October. 7th Son has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time.com, Wired.com UK, and on the cover of Blogger & Podcaster magazine.

As America reels from the bizarre presidential assassination committed by a child, seven men are abducted from their normal lives and delivered to a secret government facility. Each man has his own career, his own specialty. All are identical in appearance. The seven strangers were not born, but grown — unwitting human clones — as part of a project called 7th Son.

The government now wants something from these “John Michael Smiths.” They share the flesh as well as the implanted memories of the psychopath responsible for the president’s murder. The killer has bigger plans, and only these seven have the unique qualifications to track and stop him. But when their progenitor makes the battle personal, it becomes clear John Alpha may know the seven better than they know themselves…

Although the techno-geekery is a guilty pleasure, the characters are not relegated to the back burner. In fact, I think that Hutchins has done a wonderful job creating fully fleshed-out, three dimensional characters that you really connect with (and a few that you despise). I'm no professional literature reviewer, but I can tell you that entire story was immensely enjoyable. Listen to the audio promo to get a taste of it for yourself.

7th Son: Descent Promo

7th Son is composed of three acts: Descent, Deceit, and Destruction. J.C. Hutchins managed to leverage his dedicated podcast following (tens of thousands of listeners if I remember correctly) into a print book deal for the first act, Descent. The other two books are contingent on the success of the first. Besides the enjoyment of the story, I greatly admire the way that Hutchins was able to use the "DIY ethic" to do an end-run around the traditional gatekeepers of book publishing and snag his first major book deal. To give you some idea of the creative ways in which he is promoting his book and blurring the lines between fiction and reality, he has also released a 6-song EP from a character in the story! I believe that's what the kids call a "transmedia" experience.

You can preorder the book from Amazon.com, or if you're still undecided you can go to J.C.'s site to download serialized PDF files of the story and subscribe to the all-new reboot of the podcast; all for free.

You might wonder why I'm posting this promo on my ham radio blog?

  • As you can tell, I really enjoyed the story and personally vouch for it.
  • J.C.'s DIY ethic is something that is closely related to the way in which we also do things in the homebrewer world.
  • In a former life, I was a hardcore game geek, and I know that's something we have in common.
  • J.C. is an all-around cool dude for working his butt off to provide a ton of great, free content. I feel like I owe him one for all of the hours of enjoyment he has provided to help get me through the tedium of work.

So if you made it this far, it just might intrigue you a bit. Get yerself over to the 7th Son website and start reading or listening. If you enjoy the story, tell your friends and consider buying the book so you can help out someone working hard to put the "DIY ethic" to great use.

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