R.W.W. Green is joining us today to talk about his novel, Mercury Rising. Here’s the publisher’s description:
Alternative history with aliens, an immortal misanthrope and SF tropes aplenty
The year is 1975 – Robert Oppenheimer has invented the Atomic Engine, the first human has walked on the moon, and Jet Carson and the Eagle Seven have sacrificed their lives to stop alien invaders.
Brooklyn, however, just wants to keep his head down, pay his mother’s rent, earn a little scratch of his own, and maybe get laid sometime. Simple pleasures! But life is about to get real complicated when a killer with a baseball bat and a mysterious box of 8-track tapes sets him up for murder.
So, his choices are limited – rot away in prison or sign up to defend the planet from the assholes who dropped a meteorite on Cleveland. Brooklyn crosses his fingers and picks the Earth Orbital Forces, believing that after a few years in the trenches – assuming he survives – he can get his life back. Unfortunately, the universe has other plans.
Brooklyn is launched into a quest to save humanity, find his true family, and grow as a person – while simultaneously coping with high-stakes space battles, mystery science experiments and the realisation that the true enemies perhaps aren’t the tentacled monsters on the recruitment poster… Or are they?
What’s R.W.W. Greene’s favorite bit?
I recently made a ‘joke’ on Twitter that I expect any day to see a streaming series called “Coulda Shoulda.” It’ll be a clip-show kind of thing wherein B-List celebrities and comics offer commentary on the Top 100 times over the last several decades when we could have acted to head off climate change, white nationalism, the income chasm, pandemics, and any number of similar messes.
There were a lot of those moments in the Seventies, a lot of times where we almost got something good going. April 22, 1970, for example, was the first Earth Day. We knew then where all this was heading and for a brief shining moment thought we might do something about it. We got the Clean Air Act in 1970, too, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Water Act came along in a couple of years, then the Endangered Species Act.
Richard Nixon, man! … a turd in a punchbowl if there ever was one, but he played a positive role in a lot of that stuff. He even had a plan for universal basic income and federal health insurance for all. The Equal Rights Amendment made it through the U.S House and Senate. The Congressional Black Caucus was formed. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan gave the keynote at the Democratic National Convention, and President Jimmy Carter appointed Andrew Young as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, the American Psychiatric Association took homosexuality off its list of mental illnesses, and two years after that the American Psychological Association agreed that gay was okay and, furthermore, said mental-health workers should take point in getting rid of the stigma.
“Our Bodies Ourselves” came out, and “The Joy of Sex.” Roe v. Wade was decided correctly. There was music and fashion and pop culture and art, “The Rockford Files” and the Ferrari 308 GTB.
My personal memories of the decade are as fragmented and faded as a collection of color photos from the time. My Favorite Bit of writing “Mercury Rising” was shuffling through them and, while doing the research to fill the gaps, realizing there were a lot of things we nearly got right.
But that’s what fantasy is for. What would have happened if, instead of spending years and dollars and lives fighting a Cold War, the Soviet Union and the U.S. had rallied the rest of the world into a common cause? If the Brothers Kennedy hadn’t died? If, instead of nuclear weapons, the superpowers built colonies on the Moon and Mars? If Nixon’s universal-basic-income plan had come to fruition? If Eisenhower had welcomed gay people into the military and weekly mental-health counseling became mandatory for members of the armed forces? If Jessie Jackson had been elected VP in 1976?
A better world, right? And if we owe it all to a fleet of malevolent, multi-armed, meteor-tossing extraterrestrials who have already destroyed four cities and want to wipe out the entire human race?
Quick, turn the pages and find out!
R.W.W. Greene is a New Hampshire USA writer with an MA in Fine Arts, which he exorcises in dive bars and coffee shops. He is a frequent panelist at the Boskone Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Boston, and his work has been in Stupefying Stories, Daily Science Fiction, New Myths, and Jersey Devil Press, among others. Greene is a past board member of the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. He keeps bees, collects typewriters, and lives with writer/artist spouse Brenda and two cats. He has published three books: The Light Years, Twenty-Five to Life, and Mercury Rising, all with Angry Robot Books