The people: Paul Jenkins, Pavlina Borisova-Bensen, Daniel M. Bensen
The Menu: Duck on a bed of wheat, hot apple cider, and “The Wrath of Khan”
The purpose: to read through the next chapter of Dan’s new book, and help him see what needs fixing.
In case you don’t know, the World’s Other Side is my completed second novel, a alt-history, sci-fi thriller-romance I’m currently polishing up to show to literary agents and (eventually, hopefully) get published. To do that, though, I needed a way to gain perspective on the story, and see what worked and what didn’t on a big scale. Enter Paul Jenkins, playwright extraordinaire and fellow EFL teacher, who suggested an outloud reading of the book (actually, this is a simplification. Paul originally came up with the idea of reading through The Kingdoms of Evil, and he, Pavlina, and I read through several chapters of Freetrick’s adventures…which it didn’t occur to me to record. Sorry). Anyway, I deeply thank Paul for his idea, and for agreeing to lend his (professionally) trained voice to the recording. I also thank Pavlina, who had already read and commented upon this chapter twice (first when I first wrote it, and then again after I had written the whole book, for which I owe her a picture of a baby Triceratops…it’s a long story).
Neither me nor Pavlina are trained speakers, and none of us has the first clue of what to do with audio recording aside from which end of the microphone to talk into. So I apologize in advance for the quality of this production. It’s not supposed to be an audio- or podio-book as much as it is a teaser for my new book, and a way for interested people to see part of my writing process. Stay tuned at the end for commentary by the Three Scary Voices.
And now for some background in the story. You’re going to listen to Chapter 3, in which the character introductions are mostly done and we set up for the plot. Here’s what you haven’t read yet (unless you’re one of my beta readers. For more information on being a beta reader, see the bottom of this page):
The World’s Other Side is a alt-history romance/techno-thriller that takes place in an alternate-history world in the Age of Exploration turned out very differently. Five hundred years ago, the people of the southern super-continent of Gondwana discovered and colonized the Northern Hemisphere. Now, a tiny community of English-speaking refugees tries to survive in the North American city of Shikaakwa, capital of the Native-run Ilinwa Republic.
George Boatman is the leader of a gang of young men of White-town. Although he once trained to be a priest, George is now the leader of a gang, fighting to protect the White-Towners against the Ilinwa majority.
Bounce Nakmara is a foreign student from the world’s strongest military and economic power, Gondwana. She studied the Ilinwa language, but finds herself living with a host-family of English-speaking barbarians.
Wentama Inoka is a police officer of the Native American Ilinwa majority, who falls in love with a White girl.
Joan is George’s sister and the object of Wentama’s affection. She finds herself straddling two worlds, unwilling to choose one over the other.
In chapter one, the story opened with an act of vengeance. In retaliation for the rape and beating of a woman in his community, George Boatman firebombed the Ilinwa culprit’s house. Upon his arrival home, George discovered that his grandmother agreed to host a foreign student from wealthy and powerful Gondwana.
The student, Bounce Nakmara, was everything George hated about modern global society. She was arrogant and commanding, sexually promiscuous, and scornful of the faith and traditions of his people. Worse, as a wealthy, foreigner she would bring down the scrutiny of the local police.
The police were already interested in George’s community. In chapter two it emerged that the house George burned down had been owned by a member of a powerful local crime syndicate, the Mound-Builders. A scion of the syndicate was killed in the fire, and now the boss demanded vengeance. Wentama, an Ilinwa (Native American) police officer working the White-Town beat, has been charged with finding the culprit and “nailing him to a tree.”
Interested in the story? Want to give your feedback? Want a free dinosaur picture? Become a beta reader and all this wealth and power can be yours. Just let me know in the comments if you’re interested.
Thanks for listening!