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Notes from the Shadows

Previous Posts:

November 15, 2012
[Jerry Dunn's Stepwise Motion]

October 1, 2012
[The Underpass, the Sucess, and the Failings]

September 1, 2012
[George, the Not-Strictly-Legal Live-In Markless Butler]

July 15, 2012
The First Markless Orchestra]

June 5, 2012
Profiling the Markless]

May 1, 2012

Jerry Dunn's Stepwise Motion

American Union’s West Coast is a baffling, lawless place. I made my way out here recently after hearing the rumors that DOME’s hold in Sierra wasn’t as strong as it is out East, and so far, the city hasn’t let me down.

It’s the tech capital of the world; that’s first off. What Beacon has in economics and New Chicago has in manufacturing, Sierra undoubtedly has in technology. And it makes sense. Even beyond DOME’s diminished presence, there isn’t nearly the same level of oversight and restrictions out here—fewer prying eyes, more space to experiment . . . not to mention a healthy community of entrepreneurs and tech start-ups that traces back to pre-Unity.

Sierra City has fostered a certain amount of, let’s just say, “outside the box” creative success over the years, but to my mind, nothing better encapsulates this than the story of Jerry Dunn.

Read on...

The Underpass, the Success, and the Failings

In New Chicago is an underpass, out by the water at the Ruins’s edge. It’s where the sidewalk is still walkable, and the houses nearby aren’t completely destroyed.

I was there recently. Swung by on my way out from Spokie in search of more answers for Sneak. I’d heard Logan had been there at some point while running from DOME after his successful escape from the Pledge. I’d heard that he’d stayed with a huddle in that underpass. That he’d been helped by a Markless named Bridget, along with Bridget’s friend, Andrew, and a handful of others.

I’d just drafted the first few chapters of Sneak, and I wanted to know if I’d gotten things right, if it was accurate. So I went out to see for myself.

Read on...

George, the Not-Strictly-Legal Live-In Markless Butler

Anyone who’s read my book SWIPE might remember Dane Harold’s not-strictly- legal live-in Markless butler, George. But what do we really know about this man? Where is he coming from? And what makes him tick?

During a brief visit to Spokie recently, I was fortunate enough to find out first-hand.

I’d been hoping to research more deeply into the family lives and childhoods of Logan Langly, Hailey Phoenix, and Dane Harold in preparation for SWIPE’s upcoming sequel, SNEAK, which launches this September. Much of what I’d written about Spokie in SWIPE was pieced together from stories I’d heard and rumors I’d gathered, but I knew going into SNEAK that if I was serious about continuing my biography of these teenagers, I needed to see their hometown firsthand.

So the first chance I got, I train-hopped my way all the way out to that little New Chicago suburb, wide-eyed and eager, notebook in hand, ready for interviews, new sights, new smells, new whatever-it’d-be that might fly my way...

Only to find that all I was really in for was a rude awakening.

Read on...

The First Markless Orchestra

I’d heard rumors about the Markless orchestra playing in basements out in Beacon’s suburbs, but I never believed them. I can understand the stray minstrel here and there, roaming the streets with his guitar, singing songs for scraps or fun, and keeping one or two steps ahead of the Department of Marked Emergencies. But an orchestra? How does a group like that get its Unmarked hands on so many working instruments? Then there’s the set-up to worry about, the rehearsals, the noise it would make, the rest of it . . . an orchestra like that sounds to me like just one big bulls-eye for DOME to hit.

So yeah, I’d heard the rumors. But I never believed them.

Read on...

Profiling the Markless

We live in a society of haves and have-nots. There are those of us with jobs, and wealth, and influence...and there are those of us without.

It isn’t a rigid structure. Not by design, at least. But it is a structure that exists. And it is one that too easily defines us. As people. As individuals.

In my novel Swipe, I’ve written about this system in the context of the American Union, where passing judgment is easier than ever before; where you are either a person with rights and opportunities, treated with basic fairness and respect, or you are not; and where it all comes down to a simple Mark of citizenship that is either earned--or not.

In a culture that too eagerly idolizes the richest and most powerful among us, it has become easy to ignore those of us have-nots on the other end of the scale--to trivialize and marginalize their status, to label them failures in terms defined by people least able to walk in their shoes, and to generalize their hardship so that we may forget about them. By stripping these people of their individuality, we relieve ourselves of the burden to help, or even of the obligation to care.

But to paraphrase what Leo Tolstoy said in his banned pre-Unity era classic Anna Karenina: Marked people are all alike; every Unmarked person is Unmarked in his own way.

In this column, I’d like to profile a series of Markless individuals living in the American Union. Because their stories are extraordinary. And because we’d do well, as a nation, not to forget them.

Read on...


Dear Reader,

This blog is my S.O.S. I am on the run. But whenever possible, I will send these notes to you from my hiding spots in the shadows.

Read them with the screen dimmed, and with one hand ready to close this browser window at any time. Do not be seen with these notes. For my safety. . . and yours

More to come . . .


"Apocalyptic dystopian fiction at its best. Angler's sharp wit and dexterity with political themes are matched only by
the thrilling suspense on every page." -
Lis Wiehl, New York Times bestselling author and FOX News correspondent

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