Tuesday, December 19, 2017

CrossTown by Loren Cooper

Loren W Cooper

Genre: Fantasy/SF

Publisher: Red Hen Books

Date of Publication: Nov 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1939096029

Number of pages: 340
Word Count: 95000

Cover Artist: Red Hen Staff Artist

Tagline: CrossTown is the crossroads of possibility.

Book Description:

Zethus is a sorcerer―a self-described spiritual thug for hire. He makes his living in CrossTown, a place where the manyworld hypothesis of modern physics manifests itself, where possibilities and probabilities overlap.

Caught up in a web of intrigue as he investigates the death of his master, Corvinus, and pursued by agents that want to erase all knowledge of Corvinus’ work, Zethus discovers that the key to his master’s murder lies in the last project he had pursued before his death. The roots of this project lie deep in the past, at the origin of CrossTown’s fractured reality.

Once he understands the stakes, Zethus must make the dangerous journey to the cradle of history. The price he must pay to find the answers he seeks will threaten everything he holds dear―including his own humanity.

“Beware the road outside your front door, for it is all at once old friend and passing stranger.” –CrossTown

“A sorcerer explores the frontier of theoretical physics.” Publisher’s Weekly

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Roads and
streets run like veins and arteries through the beating heart of CrossTown.  Each runs through all manner of distant and
not-so-distant possibilities. 
            There's a theory in modern physics
that posits a universe for every decision we make.  Each time we choose, right or left, high or
low, vanilla or chocolate, we split into separate universes.  A vanilla me here, a chocolate me there, a
rocky road with pistachio me somewhere else, and some poor lactose intolerant
me further down the line.  The dominant
me is my subjective reality.  In
CrossTown, the probable mes collapse into the dominant wave, but all those
wandering Ways continually wash other alternate lives, lives meant to be lived
in CrossTown, up on its jagged shores.
The names of
roads are choices; the turning and branching of roads are choices; roads are physical
manifestations of their builders’ decisions…
every place and every time where man or something like him has lived, roads run
into one another, branch, disappear here and reappear over there as if they
were quantum tunneling.  They run, meet, part,
cross again, and form a bewildering Mandelbrot set of linked probabilities.
            Beware the road outside your front
door, for it is both old friend and passing stranger.
            All those choices, all hooked
together, comprise a vast sea of possibility.
A knowledgeable traveler can ride the currents in that sea to unimagined

            CrossTown is the crossroads of

About the Author:

Loren W Cooper is the author of four novels, one short story collection and one nonfiction work. He has won the NESFA in 1998 and the EPPIE for Best Anthology in 2001. He is married with two daughters. He currently lives in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Favorite authors include Zelazny, Hammet, Steakley, and Catton. Loren Currently works for Hewlett-Packard.

Interview with Loren Cooper
Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
Other stories. I think Twain said good writers borrow, great writers steal. Truth be told, stories are all around us. I've always been fascinated by myth, so I often draw on myths or mythic characters. For example, Zethus (the main character of CrossTown) is a throwaway character in Greek myth. Zethus is the brother of Amphion, who was a great musician. His music was so great, that when Zethus and he competed to build the walls of Thebes, Amphion played and the stones daned into place, whereas Zethus had to move the heavy stones by hand. Mphion wins, and Zethus vanishes from myth. But what might have happened to Zethus after that? Might he not have been inspired to seek out a magic of his own? And where might that search have taken him? And so the inspiration for the main character of CrossTown came about.

How did you do research for your book?
Write what you know. That is to say, I'm a voracious reader, so when I write and I need historical detail (like for the Tri-State Tornado, which is the inspiration for the episode of the Gold in the book) I dive deeper into hooks I already have in mind from references I may have come across in a book, or a documentary, or in a story I hear. I then go back and read more books specific to the topic to get as much detail as I can. Detail is the key to verisimilitude. Detail is key to keeping the reader interested. A great deal of writing is drawing on a building repository of experience. When I travel, I like to explore the history, the food, the culture of the places I travel. I always put that information for later use. I listen to as many different people as possible, trying to soak up different perspectives and experiences. I never know when that may be useful later. Everyone has a story to tell. In addition I try to draw on as much direct experience as possible. For example, I've studied martial arts for years—so I use that knowledge in conflicts in the books I write, even though Zethus is no traditional martial artist. As a sorcerer, his conflicts are more purely spiritual.

Do you have another profession besides writing?
I do. I am a Global Systems Engineering Manager for HP Inc. I have a team that collectively maintains and develops large scale software infrastructure for HP Inc.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
That's a time and place questions—when and where. There are so many possibilities. And I don't know that I'm currently prepared (the past is a dangerous and complex place). But with preparation, I'd love to go to Alexandria before Julius Caesar arrived. The Lighthouse of Pharos and the Library would both still be intact. Imagine with a little training in Greek the manuscripts one could discover that no longer exist. Imagine climbing the lighthouse and watching night fall over the Mediterranean. Imagine traveling a short distance outside Alexandria to look at stars undimmed by atmospheric or light pollution.

What is your next project?

I have a couple of things going on... I am in the process of submitting a finished novel based on the end of days drawing heavily on Norse myth, but crossing through historical characters, times and places, as well as impinging on the present day. I'm also working on a semi-sequel to CrossTown centered on a character who finds his way onto the WanderWays with no knowledge or experience. There's a loose tie to Gilgamesh framing up around the main character, and the discoveries he has to make of his own hidden nature, as well as the discoveries he makes once he sets foot on the wild roads of probability.

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