Thank goodness, it's Friday. Welcome to my blog! Today I have Michael D. Smith visiting with his book, CommWealth. Let's check it out!
I used some of my amateur theatrical background in CommWealth, which focuses on a theatrical group called Forensic Squad as its stages antihero Allan Larson’s mediocre plays and in fact explodes into bitter accusations of marital infidelity and political espionage during a rehearsal. As an actor, my major talent was my ability to memorize my lines, reflected in Allan’s snotty dismissal of the supermodel Erica: “She just sorta memorizes her lines and delivers ’em. That’s not acting.”
In any case I was exposed to both mediocre actors and directors, and talented ones with large but fragile egos, and I suppose my ego was also on the line since I was acting as the War Correspondent in a comedy I wrote about high school romances called Total Annihilation: Camouflage! By the third performance my fellow Rice University student actors had grown bored and set out to sabotage my play with numerous absurd onstage antics. At the beginning of the third act, as the lights came up, the War Correspondent was to kneel with a handkerchief and mop up a small quantity of stage blood, show the gore to the audience, and declaim in traumatized tones about the apocalyptic quality of young love. “This … this is all that’s left ...” However, as the lights came up on the parquet floor on Night Three, the War Correspondent was confronted with an entire bottle of ketchup poured into a twelve-inch puddle. Gamely he knelt and sought to mop up the mess with his tiny handkerchief; his hands became soaked with dripping ketchup and he struggled to suppress his righteous authorial anger even as he fought not to laugh. Somehow he managed to deliver his memorized lines.
I think that reliving this episode was what made writing the silly theater scenes in CommWealth so rewarding.
The CommWealth system, has created a society in which there is no legal claim to any kind of private property. Any object from your house to the clothes you’re wearing can be demanded by anyone, to be enjoyed for thirty days before someone else can request it. As actors in the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe attempt to adapt to this chaos, their breaking of the Four Rules sustaining the system, as several members navigate betrayals, double agents, and murder to find themselves leading a suicidal revolution.
Rule One - You are free to enjoy the chosen object for thirty days. During this period no other person may request it.
Rule Two - The requestor is untouchable for thirty days by the person asked. Attempts at retaliation, such as demanding unusually large quantities from the original requestor after the thirty-day period, carry stiff penalties.
Rule Three - Once you ask somebody for something, you can never ask him or her for anything else again.
Rule Four - You can never ask for the same thing back from the person who got it from you, not even after his or her thirty days of enjoyment.
Allan shivered at the reflection of his black overcoat and his striding legs on the wet sidewalk. Up ahead someone with a DreamPiston Electronics bag opened a shiny red
Porsche glistening with thousands of water beads.
“Okay,” Allan said, “I’ll take your car.”
The mustached little twerp looked up. “Ahhh, crap...”
“C’mon, don’t give me any trouble. Gimme the key.”
“Look, it’s raining. And I just got these MP3 players and the new Fappy tablet—”
“Not my problem. Fork the key over.”
“Look, my umbrella’s in the car—can I just get my umbrella so my stuff—”
“Forget it. The umbrella’s part of the car as far as I’m concerned. Anything in the car. Besides, I just lost my umbrella a couple blocks back. I’m soaked.”
“C’mon, I just got this car the other day!”
“Don’t hand me that. The sticker on the plate says you got it a month and a half ago. You’re overdue, buddy. Now hand me the key.”
“Got trouble there?” A bright blue City of Linstar police car idled in the rain. “Got a Hoarder there?” a huge officer grinned.
“Uh, no... not at all...” said the twerp. “I just—I just can’t find the key—”
“Yeah, right—you just unlocked the damn car with it,” Allan said, turning to the policeman. “He is giving me a lot of crap about it.”
“C’mon, sir, you know better than that.” The officer’s name tag read BARCLAY.
The twerp snarled. He separated the Porsche key off his key ring, thrust it at Allan, then spun around and fastened on a man coming down the sidewalk. “Give me that umbrella! Right now!”
The man grunted, surrendering his umbrella to the twerp, who grabbed it and hoisted it above his DreamPiston bag.
“We really got the Christmas spirit here, don’t we?” Barclay said.
“Really,” Allan said. “Some people...” He examined the Porsche key in the rain. “Thanks for your help, officer.”
“Oh, I’m sure it wasn’t really necessary. People are basically good, you know. Give ’em time to adjust and all, that’s what I say.”
The twerp leapt into traffic with his new umbrella and his bag, waving his free arm. A little green car skidded to a halt. The twerp ran to the window and pounded on it. “Give me this car! Right now!”
Barclay was out of his patrol car in a second, hand on his hand on his holster. “Sir, that’s not the right way to go about it. We need to be respectful. That’s the CommWealth way.”
CommWealth is available at:
Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/dystopian/commwealth-6022015-08-14-23-29-50-detail?Itemid=0
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/commwealth-michael-d-smith/1122537291?ean=2940152097313
What an interesting excerpt and story behind the book!
Let's check out and see who Michael D. Smith is....
Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, before moving to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist. In addition to exhibiting and selling paintings and drawings, he’s completed fifteen novels.
Smith’s writing in both mainstream and science fiction genres uses humor to investigate psychological themes. On his blog, he explores art and writing processes, and his web site contains further examples of his writing and art. He is currently Technology Librarian for McKinney Public Library in McKinney, Texas.
CommWealth is his first novel published by Class Act Books.
Find out more about Michael at:
Website: , www.sortmind.com,
Blog: www. http://blog.sortmind.com/wordpress/
Thank you, Michael, for stopping by and sharing your story with us. I hope you have great success with the book.
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