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Thursday, 7 January 2016

NBTM TOUR & #GIVEAWAY - Obsidian Worlds by Jason Werbeloff





Jason Werbeloff’s short stories have been downloaded over 20,000 times. Obsidian Worlds brings together his 11 best-selling sci-fi shorts into a mind-bending philosophical anthology.

In Your Averaged Joe, a man’s headache is large enough to hold the multiverse. Q46F is an obsessive-compulsive android who finds love in a zombie-embroiled apocalypse. The end of the world isn’t all that bad – The Experience Machine will fulfil your every desire (and some you hadn’t considered). A sex bot dares to dream of freedom in Dinner with Flexi. But mind what you eat, because The Photons in the Cheese Are Lost. Don’t fret though: The Cryo Killer guarantees that your death will be painless, or your money back when you’re thawed. Unless, that is, you’re The Man with Two Legs.

Plug into Obsidian Worlds for these and other immersive stories, including the hilarious Time-Traveling Chicken Sexer. Your brain will never be the same again.


(from Bleed Me Silicone):

My first memory is of the inside of a cardboard box. The material is gray and slightly rough to the touch. It smells of fluorescent light and ancient canyon floors.

I savor the feeling of being lifted from the shelf – rubbed and jostled against the almost-smooth interior of the box, as I’m carried through the aisles. My new owner places me on the till. The other products and I have talked about this day. Wondered when our time would come. The time to be purchased.

“Would you like a packet for that, ma’am?” the teller asks. I recognize his voice. He does stock-take on Sundays.

“Umm … yes,” says a nervous voice. Nervous, but forgiving. I like her already.

The crinkle-swoosh of plastic competes with the sound of a radio. Sunlight perforates the miniscule holes in the edges of the cardboard that encloses me. I feel warmth for the first time. She drives me home.

The roof of the box opens, and I’m out. In the world. Her face is just as I’d imagined. Elfin and freckled. No frown lines. Her eyes are intense as they follow my instructions.

I tingle at the touch of her fingers. Delicate, careful. Fleshy and warm. Her lips curl into a smile, before she places me at the back of a dark shelf. The other lubes at the store told me this would happen. Life’s not all action for us. But when our owners take us for a night out of the closet, the world comes alive. Or that’s what the other lubes say.

There aren’t many voices in her apartment. I wait patiently at the back of the closet, as the weeks and months pass. Just when I think she’s forgotten me, one warm evening the door of the apartment opens. A man sits on the creaky springs of the bed.

“Are you ready?” His voice is young. Excited.

“Yes,” she says. I know she’s trying not to sound nervous, like she did that day at the store when she purchased me.

And then it begins.

Profanity in Science Fiction

“Gratuitous and sleazy … disgusting, vulgar. There was a ridiculous amount of profanity … I think we all know/remember that kid from middle school that would swear all the time as they thought it made them more mature, but it was mostly just awkward. That's how I felt with these books.” – H. Locke, Amazon Reviewer of Obsidian Worlds
I recently launched Obsidian Worlds, an anthology of eleven science fiction short stories. As a whole, my readers seem to like the book. I’ve received glowing reviews, with an average of 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon. But every now and then, I receive a review like the one above, horrified at the profanity in my stories.
And it’s gotten me thinking. Is it permissible in fiction to include a ‘fuck’ here or a ‘shit’ there? Do these inclusions render it bad fiction? Should I remove them? Or, might they make the fiction better?
Some readers think that there’s no good reason to corrupt the lips of a character with an expletive. It’s a poor use of language, they say. It suggests a limited vocabulary, and a lack of diversity in expression. There are so many better ways of expressing anger or aggression or irritation, than “‘Fuck’, he thought.” One might rather describe the clouds that cluster over the speaker’s brow. Or the way his foot taps persistently on the tiles.
Question: is the goal of a book to be as eloquent, as beautifully written, as diversely expressive, as possible? Well, that might be the goal of the author, in which case, including a curse could be detrimental. For those literary authors who ascribe to the heights of perfect English expression, ‘fuck’ isn’t the way to go. But what if that’s not the kind of book one’s trying to write?

My goal is to write fiction that represents real life, or rather, represents the most difficult, dangerous, exciting elements of life, without transforming them into something more palatable. If your life includes nobody who swears, then you’re in the minority. New research suggests that the average Briton swears between 4 and 14 times per day. And swearing is on the rise. Profanity on primetime TV in the US has increased 69% from 2005 to 2010; and Google Ngram shows a steady increase in the frequency of profanity in books published over the last 50 years.
So I take it that swearing is a common occurrence in everyday life. Writing everyday life should therefore include it. But, the conservatives may argue, writing about this part of life adds nothing to experience. It’s much like writing about defecation or nose-blowing. Writing about these sorts of activities is mundane, unremarkable, and perhaps even rude. Writing about profanity involves much the same problem.
The difficulty with this sort of argument is that it ignores the fact that swearing isn’t mundane. It isn’t seen as just something we do. The fact that certain readers pick up on the objectionable nature of profanity demonstrates this – if swearing were so mundane, they wouldn’t see fit to comment on it. In addition, as a writer, I use profanity in very conscious, targeted ways.
One of these ways is to round out a character. In, F**king Through the Apocalypse, one of the stories in Obsidian Worlds, the protagonist is an octogenarian who litters his speech with profanities. Writing an elderly protagonist is challenging, because our youth-obsessed culture tends to portray the elderly as uninteresting, static, and stale. Having a foul-mouthed eighty-six year-old immediately suggests something unusual about the character. It piques the reader’s interest. Pushes her to want to find out more.
Another way that profanity is useful, is as a device to illustrate anti-establishmentarianism or anti-traditionalism. By writing characters who swear, it immediately shows them as the sort of characters who rub against the grain of the society they inhabit. And this is critical for my work, for each of my stories is set in a bizarre, usually unjust, dystopian world. Having a character who rails against the traditions of their worlds helps the reader establish immediate sympathy with the character. By their very language, the character is protesting the conventions of an unjust world along with the reader.
Finally, I’ve noticed something curious about those readers who see fit to dismiss a book because of its dirty language. I’ve found that many of them both finish the book, and come back for more of my work! Why continue to read an author whose work offends you, and who, insofar as your reviews states, writes poorly? Here might lie the lesson in all of this: those who despise profanity seem to enjoy being challenged by reading it. And what greater compliment could an author receive, than to know that he has challenged his reader to reconsider her fundamental beliefs?

So, will I continue to use profanity in my writing? Fuck, yes.

Jason will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

Jason Werbeloff is a novelist and philosopher. He loves chocolate and his Labrador, Sunny.

He's interested in the nature of social groups, personal identity, freedom, and the nature of the mind. His passion is translating philosophical debate around these topics into works of science fiction, while gorging himself on chocolate.

Amazon Author Page – download all of Werbeloff's fiction from Amazon.

Newsletter – subscribe to get 'The Solace Pill' free, as well as VIP access to Werbeloff's latest fiction.

Goodreads – read reviews of Werbeloff’s fiction.

Facebook and Twitter – follow Werbeloff for release date information on upcoming shorts and novels.

Website - read about the author, and the philosophy behind his fiction.

Tour Organised By: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. Thank you for featuring my book and my discussion of profanity. Readers, are you for/against/neutral about profanity in your literature?

    1. Our pleasure - good luck with the rest of your tour.

      As for your question, I don't mind it so long as it's not 'too' much :D

  2. What's the longest you've gone without sleep (and why)?

    1. I love your questions, Mai!

      The longest was 72 hours. When I was younger, I had bedridden for 6 months with an illness that, unfortunately, didn't let me sleep much. By the third day, it felt like I was at war with my pillow.

  3. thank you for the chance to win :)

  4. Fascinating excerpt. I really enjoyed your comments.

  5. Enjoyed the excerpt.
    Jennifer Rote

  6. This sounds like a great book-I can't wait to read it! Awesome cover!

  7. I enjoyed the post, thank you. The book sounds great.

  8. Thank you, Rita. Hope you enjoy the book.

  9. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. No problem, Patrick. Hope you enjoy the book.

  10. Enjoyed the excerpt and the guest post, sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing!

  11. Really great excerpt!! I'm definitely looking forward to reading Obsidian Worlds :). Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thank you, Victoria! Hope you enjoy the book.

  12. Thanks for the giveaway!