GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Excerpt: Shellshock (My Fatal Futility Book 1) by N J M Hemfrey + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Excerpt: Shellshock (My Fatal Futility Book 1) by N J M Hemfrey + giveaway

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always wanted to write a cyberpunk and time travel story. I thought there was nothing better than combining the two to give a very rich and blood-pumping experience. Cyberpunk is an important genre for deconstructing the evolution and integration of society and technology, and exploring how this affects ethics, politics, and the very shape of nature. Inspired by my research into the ways of bushido, Buddhism, and Shinto led me to become captivated by wider Japanese culture and beliefs, especially the often overlooked and simple ideas of respect and peace. So, I knew I didn’t want to do cyberpunk that accelerated towards nihilistic oblivion within polluted, criminal-ridden metropolises. I wanted the hyper-violence, high-adrenaline action pieces, and pure neon spectacle, but set within a world that really conveyed the beauty of nature, the tranquillity of meditation, and the respect even adversaries can share.

The time travel aspect of the story is fully born out of my own fascination about the concept. I loved reading the horribly lethal time loop in“All You Need Is Kill” by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and the mind-bending bootstrap paradox in“All You Zombies”by Robert A. Heinlein. However, what truly penetrates my soul is not the tech of time travel but the implications of its existence. Time travel reveals the nature of time which absolutely influences our identities, behaviours, free will, and sense of meaning and purpose. The nature of time is the nature of reality which our humanity depends on. Respecting my fatalistic time travel rules became essential and never bending them to create easy resolutions became crucial, as respecting time is respecting reality. Moreover, a story is nothing without unfair circumstances, consequence, and sacrifice.

Ultimately, aside from all these lofty concepts, the story developed out of raw and rending emotion. I experienced a significant loss in love and it was something I have replayed in my head an infinite number of times. With each replay, I tried to understand what I was feeling and why the universe enabled such a feeling. This led me to time travel, because who hasn’t pondered the possibility of a “do-over” and I really needed to know if one could even be possible. The story I wrote is cathartic in many ways and has improved my understanding of myself and others and this thing we call reality.

It’s important to realise that even we lose, we still deserve to live.

What can we expect from you in the future?
At least one book a year. I have what I call my “conveyor belt of stories”. This comprises three already written first drafts and over thirty 8-10 page outlines that are all ready to be developed one by one.

From now until Q3 2023, I’ll be working on the final book in the cyberpunk/time travel trilogy. In 2024, I will be working on the 3rd draft of a modern-day horror story set in the Scottish Highlands. The book is split between 2 perspectives. The first perspective is from a documentary crew investigating a strange massacre in a remote community, while the second perspective is from a character present during the time of the massacre. It’s Lovecraft inspired with focus on keeping readers imbalanced as the stories and accounts of survivors/onlookers conflict with what others experienced. In 2024, I’ll be working on the 3rd draft of a science-fiction survival novel, set on a refugee vessel in space when riots kick off and the ship AI goes rogue. The perspective is from ship workers who run the vessel’s radio show, who hear and see things develop from the isolation of their small studio. Eventually, they’re forced to make decisions to leave the safety of their room. In essence, the story explores what ethics really matter when oxygen, food, and water are limited, and I initially got the idea while working in customer service and serving very unpleasant individuals. In 2025, I’ll be working on the 2nd draft of a science-fiction survival horror novel, inspired by the video game series “Dead Space”, the movie “Event Horizon”, and the book “Hostage to the Devil”, but it is very much its own thing too.

How did you come up with the title of the book?
The series name “My Fatal Futility” went through three iterations. Originally, the short story was called “If it’s the Last Thing I do”. I called it this because I wanted a name that wasn’t clearly about time travel, that hit upon a familiar phrase, and also possessed a deeper meaning for a narrative set within a fatalistic timeline. In fatalistic terms, the first and last thing you do could actually be a cause/effect of one another.

When the story grew, it became “My Fatalism of Futility”. I started to lean very deeply into the time travel aspect, researching the nature of time in a fatalistic universe and how this affected humanity, psychology, spirituality and so on. This time I really wanted to emphasize a conclusion that the character would feel summing up his life after the time travel journey he’d been on. The title sums up an experience of reality.

It became “My Fatal Futility” as this simply was concise and catchier. Ultimately, it is the title I love.

Who designed your book covers? and their skilled artists designed my book cover and they are undoubtedly worth every copper, silver, and gold coin to my name. I always give them a sketched mockup of an idea I’m going for along with, usually, movie posters that have inspired me. I always want my covers to have a cinematic feel. The artists at Damonza are ceaselessly accommodating and always deliver a far cooler version of the idea I have. They do things spot on and I am never endingly grateful for their designs that will last a lifetime, that will solidify my legacy.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I’m a big fan of South Korean cinema and tv shows. I think the quality of the acting, the display of emotion, and delivery of lines is truly unique, authentic, and satisfying in the South Korean productions. I would be very humbled if any of these actors could play Kage Carnifex; Lee Byung-Hun, Ju-Ji Hoon, or Kim Seong-gyoo.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you so much from the core of my soul in sacrificing time to read my works. Time is the most valuable commodity in the universe and we all get set amounts so I do not underestimate the importance of devoting time to support me. I try to live life by four principles: kindness, patience, humility, and perseverance. I believe you all exemplify these principles when engaging with my stories (while also hopefully having fun – that’s overall goal we should have that goes without saying).

Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
I don’t try to “ride the wave” of expectation for a genre. I write what I think needs to be explored about the world and our delusions. I go gut-deep and do not care about my reader’s feelings if there is something philosophically, emotionally, or spiritually valuable in writing a scene as it should be written. So, if you’re searching for high-octane action akin to The Raid, John Wick, The Night Comes for Us, or Carter (you can tell I’m a sucker for anything where fists fly, blades slash, and bullets puncture), philosophical punch where you’ll have your perceptions challenged, and fantastical worlds/technology/tool that make your brain twist then my books will eat you up.

Shellshock (My Fatal Futility Book 1)
by N J M Hemfrey
Genre: Cyberpunk, Time Travel
In a neo-Japanese inspired future, comes a cyberpunk epic with a razor-sharp time travel edge.

Kage Carnifex never bleeds easily. He's stronger than the slickest cybernetics. And the chip in his brain whispers the value of violence.

Kage is the last product of a dead corporation. When he is scraped off the streets by another megacorp, Kage plunges headlong into an unforgiving world of unbreakable contracts, absolute loyalty, and soulful devotion beyond what he thought possible.

Yet, the psychotic butchers from his shrouded past cannot be escaped forever, nor their malicious masters denied Kage's life. Blood is owed and carnage is coming to carve everything Kage loves apart.

And the secret to surviving may lie within a device Kage can't control; the chrono-disruptor -- a time machine -- but time is a fatal thing...

Life is fucking unfair. The steely voice of the Shirei-Kan brain chip reverberated in my mind. So, you best grin and bear it. Dying is not an option.

That malfunctioning piece of hardware had been chattering randomly in my head since I could remember, since I was seven. She never responded to my verbal commands. She never listened to my thoughts trying to motivate it to shut up or needing it––

When I feel alone.

The brain chip never filled in any of my missing memory. No, for the past two years, Shirei-Kan had only invaded my thoughts sporadically. She usually spoke about the value of violence.

At first, I’d thought that made sense. I could be good at violence, at breaking things, at wounding people. My body displayed “atypical durability against foreign objects”, so I could hurt without getting hurt much back.

Nobody wanted me to be violent in here. The Abertay Orphanage was not the place for “irate boys with irrational tendencies”. The Abertay Corporation was the place I apparently owed my loyalty and livelihood towards.

Not that I remember being given a choice.

Not that they’ve fixed my memory.

None of my living arrangements or routine had been decided by me, even though my adherence to corporate code of conduct was apparently always “up to me”. Apparently, every action and reaction I had, or my “carers” performed, that developed symptoms of rage in my emotional core, was something that I controlled. They enjoyed telling me that whenever I possessed consciousness, I had to take ultimate responsibility for the consequences of my behaviour.

Not that long words are a good source of calm.

The white, bouncy-foam walls of my room were finally allowed some colour when I did start cooperating, when I finally learned how to pretend and resist lashing out from the frustration boiling my veins. They even stopped wrapping me in that creepy crawly cyber-leech jacket and feeding me with icy tubes down my gullet. I hands-down preferred the utility-crab scuttling across my bouncy floor, from its shell-shaped vent, and delivering my meal plates to me. I’d been told that utility-crabs didn’t enjoy playing games, but my bot could sort of play “catch”. Little utility-crab’s springy steps, where I thought its blue bionic legs might trip over one another, and its perky bleeps got me laughing, at least. I didn’t know any actual person that could do that.

Not that you let me see…


There were other children at Abertay Orphanage, but I’d been labelled an SDF––a socially disruptive figure––and I still carried the label. Even though most children, as my doctor informed me, didn’t stay in Abertay for more than two months, the staff clearly didn’t want to risk any other children being exposed to my “atypical durability”. I often thought about the first time I’d lashed out. I remembered the hyper feeling that came with impaling my fist through the radiator-shaped head of a bouncer bot. I’d really felt life burning through me as I’d pulverised the piston-clad limbs of those two-metre machines, and crushed their white tessellated plating. I’d gone toe to toe with five of them and had thrown them around easily. Part of me, if I thought hard enough, could sometimes still taste the powdery puffs of shards bursting from the walls and floors that I’d dented their robotic frames into. I’d really loved the fizzling sound of the sparks sputtering from their crushed circuitry.

Convulsions (
My Fatal Futility Book 2)
Return to the high-octane, ultra-violent world of the 25th century: where cybernetics, bionetics, and bionics blur the lines between people, robots, and beasts; where a secret sinister syndicate play the strings of apocalypse; and where the river of time runs with a fatalistic flow.

Honour-bound, tough as titanium, Kage Carnifex follows two paths that twist his head and heart. One turns him towards the past for love and strife in the climate-ravaged steppe of Norvono. The other fires him into the future under a new captain and a new strategy to devastate Psychosisium.

But seeing the truth of his destiny and origin is barbed with manipulation and betrayal. The hologram ghost of an archenemy promises answers to avoid armageddon. While the malfunctioning chip inside Kage's head seeks greater control of his body.

Facing off against temporal assassins, teleporters, and butcher-bots has never been deadlier. Fortified by samurai-instincts and bulletproof flesh, Kage plunges into the depths of this neon nightmare -- where good deeds make devils and the worst make gods.

About the Author

N J M Hemfrey has degrees in Philosophy and Sociology, and Information and Library Studies, and is an administrator for a charity. He lives with his fiancé Kasha, who is the best individual to spend existence with, whether in lockdown, the apocalypse, or more normal things like the cinema, or wandering around old castles. He is an utter movie, book, video game and comic enthusiast, especially for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. One of his greatest frustrations is that there is not enough time in the universe to ever finish the lists of things he wants to do.

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