“So, You Want To Be Human?” is the promotional event and blog tour in association with Simon and Schuster Canada.
I was invited by Simon and Schuster Canada to champion one of their Young Adult SF-F novels being released this Fall and to be part of their blog tour. You best believe your boy got dibs on promoting Simon Curtis’ Boy Robot.
To start off this week of nerdy fun, I bring you two prompts asked by S&S Canada: (1) why did I agree to champion Boy Robot; and, (2) what does it mean to be human?
Why did you agree to champion your book?
I’ll be frank with you:
a year ago… half a year ago…a few months ago, I didn’t even know who Simon Curtis was (edit: actually, I still don’t really know who he is but that’s besides the point). This is what is so rad about experiencing new voices behind any medium of art. Be it the written word or audible orgasms, anything that gets your senses going is magical. Like wizardry magical. Ish.
And Simon Curtis may very well be a wizard, but that’s neither here or there. Instead, I’ll give you five reasons as to why I think you should considering adding Boy Robot to your to-be-read pile:
1. It’s Diverse AF.
Boy Robot is arguably the most intersectionally diverse book I’ve read in 2016. That’s it. That’s my first point (and really the only point that you should really run with).
2. Explosions and shit (re: action galore)
This book is effortlessly paced and just goes by super quick. Sure, I’ll add the caveat that there’s this one chapter that’s hella long (I had words with Simon about this…) but even so, the story is tautly written to keep the momentum going with its cat-and-mouse narrative.
There is also one scene that feels like you’re tripping on drugs or something. Not that I’d know what that felt like; a vicarious experience, if you will.
At it’s core, Boy Robot is about identity, empathy, and the human connection. But it’s not all a joy ride. See: the caveat to this point is that there’s a wealth of tragedy that underscores the thematic relevance in the message that may be taken away. That being said, this sort of narrative is definitely not for everyone. There will be readers who may not be able to live through another “it gets better…but x must happen first” story. Which is fine. I should just say that this book can be triggering but it’s a certainly a perspective that cannot be dismissed.
4. Multi-POV Galore
Perhaps this an unpopular opinion but Boy Robot alternates from historical vignettes of past Robot lives with the main protagonist Issak. The backstory and characters we meet in these short story-ish tales were some of the most powerful aspects in this book. (Full disclosure: The Mute might very well be my favourite chapter in this book. Make note of it.)
5. Simon Curtis as an Artist
You know how I said I didn’t know who he was [at all] until after I read this book? Well I went to listen to his music and there’s a sense of overlap with his musical commentary with the story that’s being presented. It’s probably a moot point, but if you enjoy the message in his music, you will surely enjoy the themes presented in this novel.
But I might be biased because all I [mostly] listen to is the beeps and boops of robots having sex (see: EDM music).
What do you think it means to be human?
I’m not really sure…how…I even ??? what-is-this-question?!
The short answer to this question is that being human reminds — and validates — my belief that I am the only human in existence and all you readers are non-playable characters in this weird MMORPG that is my life. Or this is all a dream. Either or.
The other short answer is that being human, to me, is having or having had the capacity to create, disseminate, mold, and be-part-of a collective story with or without active effort. But the problem with this definition is that I don’t want to invalidate someone’s humanity by saying they’re lesser for not being able to do the above. It’s a tough one…but let’s just go with that for now. (This answer could totally be different tomorrow).
That’s all I have for today’s installment into Robot Week; which again, is my own week-long themed blogging event fit into Simon and Schuster’s blog tour.
For more details on all the shenanigans, here’s the blog tour schedule!