Neon Fever Dream by Eliot Peper was outstanding. But you can’t read it yet as it’s still in draft form.
Eliot’s last book Cumulus was published a few weeks ago and has gotten awesome reviews. He’s turned into a writing machine and already had a draft of Neon Fever Dream ready to go when Cumulus was finalized.
I first met Eliot several years ago when he emailed me a few chapters of the first book he was working on about a fictional tech startup in Boulder. With it he was pioneering a genre that I referred to as “startup fiction” – kind of on the edge of Cyberpunk and near-term science fiction that I love dearly, but set in the immediate present. Uncommon Stock was the first book that FG Press published and I spent plenty of time with Eliot as chief cheerleader and mediocre editor and, when the book was finished, loved it.
Eliot went on to write a trilogy starting Mara Winkel. While a fictional character, I became good friends with Mara and would have invested in her if I could have.
When Eliot wrote Cumulus, he moved away from Mara but retrenched in his home town of Oakland. This time he wandered a little further into the future and wrote a great dystopian thriller that fits clearly in my near-term science fiction category and puts him in the same zone as one of my other favorite contemporary writers, William Hertling.
And then came Neon Fever Dream. You’ll have to wait a little while for it, but this time, instead of Oakland, Eliot takes us to Burning Man and spend 90% of the book there over the course of a week. His writing has matured with each book and he totally nails it at all levels. I love that his protagonists continue to be these incredibly powerful female characters who are simultaneously introspective and totally kickass heroic leaders. The pacing is great – I read the entire book in one evening on day two of my vacation last week. I noticed Mara in the background in one scene early on and paid attention for a few more easter eggs, but didn’t find any. But I loved it nonetheless.
Eliot – I’m deeply proud of you. Thirty years from now I get to point at these blog posts and say “I knew him way back at the beginning …”