Published January 30, 2021
Now available in audio!
More than Five Hundred 5 Star Reviews on Goodreads!
A future where offline privacy is illegal. A lethal plot permanently deleting people in power. One determined genius caught in an assassin’s sights.
2037. Dr. Cole Westbay is proud of having helped eliminate crime. Groomed to take over the company that makes the surveillance chip everyone is required by law to have, he’s alarmed by a series of suspicious deaths the hardware caused. And after launching an investigation, the brilliant scientist panics when he awakes with his mandatory neural link ripped out and his recently recorded memories erased…
Arrested for the federal crime of failing to have his life fully documented, Cole struggles to get back online and clear his name. And as his paranoia grows while the bodies continue to pile up, he fears government enforcers, friends, and even his fiancée may be in on the scheme to set him up for a deadly fall.
Can the embattled scientist crack the conspiracy before his enemies hit CTRL+ALT+DEL on his life?
Effacement is a gripping standalone science fiction technothriller. If you like gifted but flawed heroes, deep-state intrigue, and relentless villains, then you’ll love Hieronymus Hawkes’s dystopian vision.
Read Effacement for a hard reboot today!
Author Guest Post
BIG IDEA – Effacement – By Hieronymus Hawkes
I read several blogs semiregularly, Whatever being one I never miss, but another is Charlie Stross’s blog, Charlie’s Diary. The dude is supragenius, and even the people that comment on his blog are way smart. It intimidates me to even think about posting a response to something, so I just read his stuff. Anyway, he gave the keynote address to the USENIX 2011 conference in Boston, giving a talk about what the future is going to look like up through the next 500 years.
“Lifelogging today is in its infancy, but it’s going to be a major disruptive technology within two decades.” – Charles Stross
I’m sure you’re saying to yourself, “What the heck is lifelogging?” A lifelog is when a person records their daily life and activities, comprehensively, through the use of wearable tech or smart phone usage or something that can record stuff. The interesting part is that the data can be mineable. People have been doing this since the turn of the century. The first ones right around 2002. People today talk about “digital biographies.” Call it what you like but the idea is the same. Obviously, the technology to record stuff keeps getting better and better, and Stross’s point was that we actually have the band width right now to pretty much capture everything we
do, and even stream it live.
I thought that sounded interesting, as social media eats up a chunk of our lives even now for a lot of us, good or bad. But how would it work? And even more importantly, what would the ramifications be if it became mandatory? Would you be able to get insurance without one? Or have a bank account? Or hold a job? AND THEN, what would happen if you lost it? Or more
specifically, had it taken away.
Guess when my novel takes place? That’s right. About twenty years from now. Writer’s get asked all the time where ideas come from, but this clearly seemed like a great kernel for a story. But an idea does not a novel make.
So, what would be the impetus to spur that disruptive technology? I decided to make it a neurochip, imbedded in the brain at the top of the spinal cord, that could connect to person to the web and combined with an ocular implant would allow you to record every aspect of your life. Then you have to decide who is going to tell the story. A writer friend of mine had a shortcut for making protagonists be the absolutely worst person for the idea to happen to. It’s a great idea because you have built in drama.
From there it was an iterative process. I built an outline for the story based on the 7-point story structure and then started writing, and rewriting, and editing, and having people read it and revamping it again. I used the core of this story for my graduation thesis for my MFA, but it is barely recognizable from the original now, but the Big Idea remained.
Hieronymus retired in 2018 after flying jets for the Air Force. He has a B.S. in Economics from the US Air Force Academy, and in 2015, he completed an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, which inspired him to publish his debut novel, a sci-fi thriller that explores futuristic technology and nuanced personal relationships. Hawkes has broken the sound barrier, won poker tournaments, and owns several guitars that he can’t play. Now he instructs young pilots in the art of flying, writes fiction and poetry, and sings badly in his car.