Phew, it's been a while! I just finished editing a really amazing debut novel, Phreak, as part of the House of Zolo team. I recently caught up with JE Solo in Second Life to chat about speculative literature, the promise of VR and online spaces, and the launch of their debut novel! JE also reads the entirety of Chapter 1 (starting at 14:17).
As House of Zolo we’re collaborating with the Odyssey Contemporary Art and Performance Simulator on a series of live readings for virtual space. We’ve created a new virtual HOZ studio and reading area in the online world of Second Life, with designs in the works for new HOZ environments on AltSpace VR and NEOS VR. From there we will continue to explore other virtual worlds as we bring speculative literature to audiences around the globe via VR and the internet.
Phreak is now available in digital formats on Amazon and directly from the publisher!
In an alternate, near-future world where corrupt government and corporate interests rule the smallest details of Island life, an unusually sensitive child is born. Navigating a landscape of ecological devastation and botched genetic modification experiments, the child’s survival depends upon their heightened senses and the skills they learn at the knee of their life-hacking father. Will it be enough? As they cross the threshold of adulthood the collapse of Island society draws close and they must act in order to protect what they love.
A richly detailed and compelling first novel, Solo deftly layers satire and social commentary to create a powerful story of resilience and survival.
What Readers Are Saying
“From mind experiments and radio-signal hacking to illegal fishweed trading and radical plant-based activism, Phreak is a poignant and captivating snapshot of our not-so-distant future. Beautiful in its devastation, a whimsical story of injustice, hope, and the fight for connection in a disconnected world. An important and timely novel. JE Solo is a visionary.”
--Tracey Waddleton, Author of Send More Tourists, the Last Ones Were Delicious
“This book hacked my mind and modified the way I see my city. A sweeping, crusty feat of biting, Nostradamic wisdom. An imaginative force. A dirty mirror held up with tough love. A warning.”
--Terry Doyle, Author of Dig
"Phreak often worked against my narrative expectations with its fragmented, time-jumping, and vignette-style approach, and in the process delivered a singular character whose clear and deeply felt recollections warn us how close we are to delivering a similarly bleak future to the next generation. You’ll want to get your hands on this novel as soon as possible."
--Richard Leis, Author
“Phreak is an urgent, evocative novel. It’s a treatise on the dangers of our capitalist, resource-driven economy and a warning of what our future could be if we don’t take action. Phreak is a call to resistance and a reminder that individuals can fight against corrupt systems. The world in this book is imagined but shockingly familiar. St. John’s and Newfoundland are like a second protagonist, with a voice and character that shines through the pages. JE Solo has sent us a warning in this novel, but has done it with humour and heart. This book is a quick witted, word-playing journey that gives us what we all need right now: hope.”
--Susie Taylor, author or Even Weirder Than Before
“Phreak is a masterfully written post-dystopian tale — a “what if,” multi-lessoned story that, once injected under the reader’s skin, stays in one’s system long after the book has ended. A brilliantly crafted first novel by Fresh Fish finalist JE Solo.”
--Poet, E.B. Reid
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