Friday, August 17, 2018

Stephen Zimmer: Why Did I Use Dystopia in Dream of the Navigator?

It's always lovely to have Mr. Zimmer grace my page. He's a dynamo at fan conventions and his word processor. He's back with his newest book, Dream of the Navigator, and invited me to ask him the question of my choice. I've been a fan of dystopian stories since my days as a strange little girl who read science fiction, and have never quite understood why they appealed to me. It seemed perfect, then, to ask why he chose to set this novel in a dystopian world. Below is his reply.

Why Dystopia?

The sciences of today focus almost entirely on the question of whether we can create and start using a given technology rather than whether we should create and use a given technology. New technologies are integrated, and new policies are enacted all the time in our world without a lot of thought for the potential consequences of those decisions.

In my view, dystopian literature is a genre that is well-suited for exploring consequences. Obviously, dystopian settings are already well-immersed within the consequences of earlier decisions, some made ages before the time in which a story takes place.

Consider the Capital in The Hunger Games series. Its authoritarian rule was an end result that likely a great many did not foresee when it was in its formative phases. Likewise, it is pretty reasonable to say that not everyone in earlier times could foresee the imposition of Big Brother and the totalitarian atmosphere in place that is portrayed in the novel 1984.

These worlds did not come into being overnight. They were the result of a progression over a long period time, step by step, leading to the nightmarish dystopias that we read about in the pages of those books.

The environment where the main characters in Dream of the Navigator live is most certainly an authoritarian/totalitarian one. The system is solidly in place, but readers will get a sense of the path that led to it by the time they are finished with the book.

The control of the populace involves the use of both dystopian and utopian ones, in terms of negative and positive reinforcement.

On the dystopian side of things, the pervasive surveillance system exacts immediate penalties for various infractions committed by citizens. It also sweeps up any who are expressing dissent to others or speaking out against the system, taking transgressors to indoctrination centers or even prisons, depending on the level of the dissent displayed.

As far as utopian elements used to maintain control, the system’s primary tool is escapism. Virtual Reality is the most popular form of escapism, but other forms of entertainment are prominent, such as spectator sports and live music (though it should be noted that many “attend” sporting events and live music through the VR technology rather than physically being present).

Even though surveillance is everywhere, an underground of substance abuse is still present in society, which serves as a clue that it is something tacitly allowed by the system.

While being addicted to virtual worlds, entertainment, or substances are not good for any individual, they are all pleasurable things, and as such fall into a more utopian classification when it comes to elements.

The combination of pleasurable, utopian elements with heavy-handed dystopian ones is a powerful one when it comes to subduing a society and keeping it under control. Yet the iron fist that the system wields is always present, which is why the entirety of the technate-based system in Dream of the Navigator lands it comfortably within the realm of dystopian literature.

Dream of the Navigator is an exploration of choices and the consequences that these choices have many years later, even decades later. The dystopian genre gives me fertile ground as a writer to illustrate in a vivid way the dangers of some choices, to the extent that a story like this can serve as a kind of warning of what can happen if we are not careful.

This is why I found dystopia the best atmosphere for the telling of the story contained within the pages of the Faraway Saga.

Thank you, Mr. Zimmer! - Sarah

Dream of the Navigator Blog Tour

August 15-22, 2018

"1984 and Brave New World meets Narnia" in this exciting new young adult release from award-wining author Stephen Zimmer. Four main characters begin their journeys in the Faraway Saga, a tale that invites readers to explore infinite horizons! We are celebrating this new release with a full blog tour featuring reviews, interviews, video contents, guest posts and top ten lists! About the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels and novellas(Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), the Ragnar Stormbringer Tales (Sword and Sorcery), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre). Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot. Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Book Synopsis for Dream of the Navigator: "1984 and Brave New World meets Narnia" Cities have been replaced by technates. It is a world of soaring apartments, hundreds of stories high, where technology measures, monitors and rations to meet the needs of the greater populace. It is a world of drones, in the air and on the ground, and advanced robotic beings who carry out much of the harder labor, security, and even pleasure assignments. Those discontent, or who resist, are taken to Rehabilitation Centers, established after the embrace of the Greater Good Doctrine. For most, virtual realms, substances, and entertainment provide escapes, but for Haven, Cayden, Jaelynn, and Salvador, growing up in Technate 6 is a restless existence. A hunger for something more gnaws inside each of them. Discoveries await that open the gates to transcend time and space, and even new planes of existence. Nothing in their universe, or others, is impossible to explore. What was once reality, now seems like an illusion in a deepening experience. Begin the journey to Faraway, in Dream of the Navigator, the first book of the Faraway Saga!

Author Links: Website:
Twitter: @sgzimmer
Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Tour Schedule and Activities
8/15 Sheila's Guests and Reviews Guest Post
8/15 Jorie Loves A Story Review
8/16  MyLifeMyBooksMyEcape Author Interview
8/17 Ravenous for Reads Author Interview
8/17 Will Read For Booze
8/17 The Sinister Scribblings of Sarah E. Glenn Guest Post 
8/18 The Book Lover's Boudoir Review
8/19 Jazzy Book Reviews VLog
8/19 Robin's Book Spot Review
8/20 Soul Meets Books Review
8/21 Sapphyria's Books Guest Post
8/22 Literature Approved Review
8/22 Jorie Loves A Story Video Interview 

Amazon Links for Dream of the Navigator

Print Version Kindle Version
Barnes and Noble Link for Dream of the Navigator


Tuesday, August 07, 2018


From Bullsugar.
Action must be taken to stop the poisonous discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. The red tide that kills fish and causes lung problems for people near the ocean has become an overwhelming summer problem in Florida. Elected state officials, including our governor, assign blame to the federal government. Elected officials in the federal government assign blame to Florida’s elected officials; the floodwaters from Lake O must go somewhere, or endanger the area around the lake. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

For years, there’s been a proposed Agricultural Area Reservoir to assist the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which would direct more water south into the Everglades and Florida Bay, and rid the water of pollutants as well. The plans for this reservoir have been batted back and forth for at least a decade, but the Florida legislature has dragged its heels on actually building the thing. Acres keep getting removed from the plan and nothing’s being done.

Well, that’s not 100% correct. Florida has a ‘business-friendly’ government—the sort that has reduced the lunch ‘hour’ to 30 minutes and has made temp work a way of life. It also posts warnings to individual citizens about not using fertilizer, while allowing agribusiness to dump ‘nutrients’ (i.e. runoff) into Lake O. One rule for citizens, another rule for donors. The wildlife in the ocean doesn’t matter to some business owners nearly as much as the bottom line, and the same goes for the rivers and the people who live next to it. It’s a shame, but campaigns cost money.
From the Florida Phoenix.
Then, there’s our ‘business-friendly’ federal government, which has spent the last couple of decades gutting the Clean Water Act. No teeth at the federal level, permissiveness at the local level. We know that the fish don’t matter. The manatees don’t matter. And a few lawsuits from wheezing citizens aren’t going to hurt the bottom line of political donors by much. So, the ‘nutrients’ pour into the lake, making it toxic. And when the rainy season comes, that water needs to go into the ocean. It’s deep and will eventually break up the pollutants, right?

But how business-friendly is it when dead fish litter the shore and the algae blooms are so toxic that it creates lung problems for the citizens – and, more importantly to our state officials, the tourists and retirees who buy those million-dollar condos? Hotels are losing customers, and real estate deals are falling through. Who wants to live near a stinky shore that makes you cough?

We’re coming up on election time, though. Our Esteemed Governor, running for the U.S. Senate, declares now that he has asked the government to ‘expedite’ the development of the reservoir. Lip service is being paid to the sad situation on both coasts by the Florida Legislature. These are often the same officials taking donations from Big Sugar and the same people that didn’t want to use the money from 2014’s Amendment 1 for its earmarked purpose – conservation.

It’s far past time to buy the land and clean the lake. It’s far past time to identify and support lawmakers that want to resolve this crisis (of all parties), and replace the ones that helped create it (Rick Scott is not a friend to the ocean). That’s what’s business-friendly.