Next Tuesday is the book launch for my sci-fi adventure novel The Lead Cloak and we’ll be celebrating at Kings Books at 7:00!
Across town, the author Hanna Rosin will be speaking at UWT … at 7:00.
Argh! This is really frustrating! Because if I weren’t launching my own book, I would probably be seeing her … especially considering that she inspired a lot of the world of The Lead Cloak!
A few months before beginning work on The Lead Cloak, I read Hanna Rosin’s Atlantic article “The End of Men.” It’s an excellent article and well worth your time. (I have not read the book of the same title she wrote after it).
Rosin looks through all the different ways that in the present and the near future women are outpacing men: education, jobs, wages, and more. She’s not dismissive of the salary gap by any means, but she backs up her headline. Men are getting left behind.
In that formative time as I was piecing together what exactly my novel would be about, I decided to take her thesis and extend it further into the future … to about 2081.
By 2081, the book’s main character Byron Shaw is so unconscious of the new gender roles that he barely notices them anymore. The military, of which Shaw is a part of, is still largely men, but women are on top pretty much everywhere else. In fact, the gender disparity has to be pointed out to him by a young man from Niger, who comes from a masculine-dominated culture and can’t help but notice the inversion.
We eventually do meet someone who might be considered a proponent of “men’s rights.” He feels that his masculinity makes him unemployable and that he is no longer free to be a “man,” something Rosin discusses is happening today. This is probably as good a time as any to state that this is not some sort of “men’s rights” novel, just because one of the characters believes it. (Side note: The character was jailed for playing football. By 2081, the U.S. is uber-vigilant about head injuries and football has been declared illegal.)
Of course, the book is primarily about one thing: the Lattice. A new technology that has erased privacy and leaves everyone’s pasts and private thoughts open for the world to see. That kind of technology would affect men and women very different and the book explores many of them.
All of this is to say … if you’re going to Hanna Rosin’s lecture instead of my book launch, I totally understand. But if you’d like, I’ll probably be at Kings Books by 6:30, so you should drop by on your way and get your copy!