Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bookshelf Wednesday: Raft, River, Robot

Normally on Bookshelf Wednesday, I share a favorite treasure sitting on my shelf. I'm cheating a bit this week, since I don't have this one yet - but I know this will one I'll WANT on my shelf.

Some of you will remember that I've done some book tours with other Christian fantasy authors. One of the wonderful writers I was privileged to get to know on a west coast tour was L. B. Graham. Here's some info about his new release.

“The Raft, The River, and The Robot”

Travel for two young groundlings is dangerous. Hunters from the hives patrol the skies and sadistic packs roam the cities and the roads. But Jim, compelled by his father’s mysterious dying words to go to the Caretaker and find Florence sets out anyway, taking with him HF, his friend and companion since childhood. Their hope lies on the river, and the raft that will carry them through the long nights ahead and toward their destiny.

While ‘The Raft, The River, and The Robot’ pays homage to Twain's immortal classic, ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,’ it is original and compelling in its own right. So come along, the future awaits.

Hi, L.B.! It's fun to catch up with you. Thanks for visiting my blog today.
 You’ve referred to R3 (“The Raft, The River, and The Robot”) elsewhere as a ‘futuristic Huck Finn story,’ and yet Huck Finn seems so rooted in our past – where did you get the idea for this?

I always find questions about where ideas come from really hard. Creativity can be such a difficult thing to explain. Somewhere, somehow, I got the image of a boy and a robot on a raft stuck in my head. So, I went in search of a story to explain that image, and R3 is what I found.

The description of R3 makes the future sound pretty frightening, would it be fair to call this book dystopian?

Literally, no, but kind of. A typical dystopian book envisions a bleak world for most, while some are usually living large at their expense (see for instance, “The Hunger Games.”) In R3, the future is actually pretty good for the vast majority of people who live in cities that stretch ‘up’ into the sky called Hives, rather than ‘out’ across the landscape. Those who live outside the Hives, called groundlings – well, they can face some pretty terrifying circumstances.

That doesn’t sound a whole lot like Huck Finn. Is the raft/river motif the only connection?

Not at all. I’m a huge fan of Twain’s story, and there are names, characters, plot events, even images, lines and word choices that draw upon the original. I’ve taken great pains to connect the stories in ways that are distinct and creative. I think any reader familiar with “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” will be able to see the connections and appreciate them, while also appreciating that R3 is very much its own story.

What would you say the story is about – other than a raft and a river and a robot?

At the most basic level of plot, the story is a quest to fulfill a dying father’s last request. On a thematic level, I would say it is about friendship and identity, much like the original that inspired it. One of the really beautiful things about Huck Finn is the friendship forged between Huck and Jim on the river, and I’d say that definitely influenced me as I conceived of R3. And also like the original, my main character goes on both a literal journey and a journey of discovery to figure out who he is.

Where can interested readers get the book?

Paperback and Kindle at Amazon

Thanks so much for visiting, L.B. and blessings on your new release!

Sharon Hinck

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