Sometime in high school, I awoke in my bed from unsettling dreams. Catching hold of a label on the back of my shirt, I pulled, exposing a portal to a Guatemalan factory where women and children worked long hours for low pay. Shaken, I realized my suburban world was not at all what it seemed.
Vigorous action was required of me, but I was not yet clear what sort.
I thought after that perhaps I could settle down to enjoy reading Game of Thrones while drinking some chamomile tea. But in dreams, various shades, ghosts of my peoples' oppressions, appeared to me. My prayers to the God of Abraham did little to focus my mind back on books and cooking. I was forced to join the Occupy encampment in the wintertime for several nights at a time--an exceedingly bad place for reading.
After the camps were cleared, I could not return to tech work. Instead, I started the Food and Faith Network at the Quixote Center, building grassroots alternative food economies in faith institutions that give low-income families the ability to purchase inexpensive shares of produce subsidized by higher-income ones. In an effort to scale the model nationally, I built an online store that simplifies the administrative elements of produce purchasing.
Again I felt my work was done. Perhaps a move to another country, like Ecuador, would be just the thing. Rainforests, hammocks, fresh-pressed maracuya juice, and books on Kindle! Or perhaps I could write a work of escapist science fiction? But alas, my final proposition was in error. For I found no comfort in deconstructing myself to assemble a novel, piece-by-piece.
My completed 84K sci-fi dystopia novel is about a young man in an unequal society controlled by a vast artificial intelligence that harnesses the human dreamspace for consciousness. Conceived of in the dark Bush years, it is a work that explores the power of reading to combat totalitarianism, and the necessity of abandoning privilege to awaken the true self.
I am currently mostly employed as a developer building websites for socially-conscious organizations while snatching time on the side for my burgeoning science fiction career.
My wife, Charity Ryerson, is a human rights attorney who sues multinational corporations for crimes against humanity and keeps me honest. We live in Chicago, raising our two small children, and attend a Mennonite church.