NEW YORK – It's the middle of the 21st century, and the world has been divided in half.
Ever since the Great Meltdown, the most devastating depression humanity has ever seen, the world has united into one people, one goal, one mighty global country: the World Union. Beyond that, lie the "Rogue States."
Here in the Union, there are no capital crimes, no poverty, no pollution – even disease has almost been eradicated. The World Union has ushered in an unprecedented era of self-interest and fulfillment. Prosperity is a science, self-interest is a new religion, sex is entertainment, peace is at hand, and the future has never looked brighter. But does this “perfect world” hide darker secrets?
Phoenix Wallis has just been promoted as Senior Agent of the Global Peace and Security Network, the dominant peace-keeping agency of the World Union. She's grown up inside the Union, and ever since she was a child, she's trusted its sanctums. But when she is assigned a high-profile murder just one week on her new position, she enters an investigation that compels her to question everything she's ever believed. Her grasp on reality is now being tested by some powerful forces – forces who may be manipulating her mind. As she struggles for her sanity and survival, a deeply buried inner strength emerges. While she may not realize, Phoenix possesses the key to the single biggest threat to the Union.
B. Barmanbek's Culpa Innata (October 2012, trade paper and Kindle), the original story behind the cult video game of the same name and the first of a trilogy, is set in a world with haunting similarities to our own. Our protagonist moves among simulated humanoids, mind control weapons, memory-reflecting holograms, and 3-dimensional interactive ads: Everyday technologies of this futuristic vision.
"I've always had this deep urge to figure out the world, as a deeper urge tells me that as humanity we're up to no good," says Barmanbek. "Every major civilization attempts to control and shape the world to its own image. I often ask myself if we could create a system where its ultimate aim is truly humanity's development and not perpetuation of the system itself. In Culpa Innata, I have depicted that world, which I believe we are headed towards full speed. I want the reader to ask if the World Union is what she/he really wants. With this book, I hope to bring in a fresh perspective, and provoke the reader to think and question.”
With adventure and science fiction appeal – as well the protagonist's profound self-discovery – Culpa Innata is a book that will linger in the reader's mind long after the last page is turned.
Author B. BARMANBEK is creator, writer, and producer of Culpa Innata, a video game released in 2007 and hailed as the “adventure game of the decade” by reviewers. He is also the co-founder and chairman of Momentum, the company that developed the game. An electric & electronics engineer and an MBA graduate of Wright State University, Barmanbek is currently working on a sequel book to Culpa Innata, titled Chaos Rising. To learn more, visit culpainnata.com
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. I've always felt this deep desire to understand what makes the world tick. Same reason made me some kind of an information junkie. I sift through the current events, match it up with what I already know and try to complete the puzzle and form a picture. But don't ask me why I feel compelled to share this with others, because I have no clue. Do you believe in instincts?
Q. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A. I come from a background in video game design an production. It's an absolutely amazing experience to be a part of such an endeavor - and so, so, so much work - yet with endless technical, budgetary, and timing restrictions, it can be very limiting. OK, I admit, I wasn't in one of those studios where money poured in like there was no tomorrow and I had to take a lot of steps back from what I originally envisioned. In book writing, your imagination is the limit and I love that.
Q. What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. Putting yourself in the shoes of the reader. You become so much involved in the world you created, you become indifferent to what I call as "blind spots", parts that seem important to you while the reader couldn't care less. If the point of writing something - or anything for that matter - is to share with someone else, you need to be able to find that delicate middle ground between spoon feeding and totally losing the reader.
Q. If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. I make a pretty good video game designer and producer. This is something I can switch back and forth between being an author. On a totally different page, I think I would make a heck of a historical detective, discovering the truth stuck or hidden between the lines in those dusted down books.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. "The path to glorious success!" No, no, no, just kidding. Life is full of surprises, twists and turns and the difference between being the hero or the villain is in which point of time someone takes your snapshot. Passing time can be can be very cruel to some and gentle to others. My story still goes on, and until it reaches the epilogue, it wouldn't be fair to title anyone's life.
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. I would like further clarification: Do you mean my favorite book of all time that my publicist told me to pick, my executive coach, or my mother? And who would truly honestly answer this question in such an interview, anyway? Would I shock my readers if I say that it's the World Almanac 2000 Special Edition? I would? OK, then, I won't.
Q. Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A. I don't read that many novels so that I have a grasp of manyfictional characters to answer this question. My diet is morenon-fiction. It also depends on how I wake up a particular morning. Moreover, I would be very hard for me to answer that question for myself; you better ask those who are close to me. Did I count enough plausible reasons to dodge the question?
Q. What character from all of your book are you most like?
A. See above..
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Now I have no idea how I can avoid a cliche here. No snappy answer comes to my mind, either. How about this? Every new day is my favorite day. It's here due to cosmic realities and I welcome it, cherish it, try to make the most of it. Sadly but understandably, most of us take the morning light for granted (spending several nights in a cave helped me realizing how important it is). For me, every day-and every season or year for that matter-comes with its own unique properties. I have the ability to make that a beautiful day and I try. Right now, fall is my favorite season. Soon it will be winter. Surprised?
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)? Or what is your favorite book cover and why?
A. My heroine and the storyline inspired my book cover. This is how it's supposed to be, right? And it was, no surprising answers there, sorry. One image lingers in my mind when you ask about a favorite book cover and it's Jurassic Park. Simple but superbly elegant and summarizingly descriptive, I feel jealous. That T-Rex so totally steals the entire show.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. Somebody thought that they already sent me these questions and she didn't and this whole misunderstanding was so funny, and now I have to rush these answers to you.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. I am, but I'm not supposed to kiss and tell.
Q. Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. That the mind is meant to be imagining, picturing, and pushing it own boundaries, and that they should never stop reading and discovering their own abilities en route.
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