Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I, Kwan by K. Hippolite & author guest post

Before we get started today I'm going to hand things over to K. Hippolyte for a few moments.

Learning to let go

I’ve come to realize over the years that I’m a bit of a perfectionist.

I love when I’ve sculpted every last item of prose into a flawless piece of craftsmanship that shines with all the semantic and grammatical beauty possible in the spoken tongue (at least until I come back a week later and realized I’ve missed entire function words, and my sentences were incomprehensible).

I’m so nutty about this ideal, I seal my novels away for a year before making that final read-through for publication. For “I, Kwan”, I left myself a 4-month publishing window to account for anything to go wrong.

Oh, Murphy’s Law, you fickle master.

I’d ordered toner for my specialized printer back in January to arrive in March, exactly 27 days before I would need it. It arrived late, leaving me 14 days to spare. No problem. Except, it went to my mother, who shares the same last name and city, and who had no idea what to do with a large box of black sand. She returned it.

It’s hard to blame her for this. In fact, it’s rather humourous. I’d do the same thing if a large crate of sand showed up on my doorstep. However, it decimated my chances of shipping all my product on time. And faced with having to push back my release date by six more weeks, I decided to forge on.

The paper and covers arrived, forming a tall pile of boxes that filled my living room. The covers were missing the back cover graphic. A picture I’d spent weeks preparing, chipping away at little polygons for an hour or two a day since Christmas. There was no time to send the covers back to be redone. The few books I shipped (given the toner situation) have no back cover graphic. I’m just going to call it a rare special edition.

I also have a trailer video I sunk a penny on, filmed in chroma key. Now if you’re shooting in green screen, it’s generally a good idea NOT to wear green. Foolishly, I thought this was self-explanatory and neglected to mention it to the cast and crew. The footage I received with days left to press... well, let’s just say there’s no video. Lesson learned. Sometimes you have to be ‘Captain Obvious’ in your discussions.

Despite all the hurdles, I released about a quarter of my first print run, and people seem to love the warped covers. All these things I thought were catastrophic mistakes turned out to be minor stepping stones. I’ve learned to let go of the details, and I haven’t looked back.

-Kenneth Hippolite

PS: At the time of writing, my living room is still a forest of paper and I have yet to acquire the toner.

Title:  I, Kwan
Author:  K. Hippolite
Published:  April 4th 2014 by Petroleum
Length:  371pgs
Format:  ecopy
Genre:  Retrofuturistic DieselPunk
Shelf:  review
Rating:  ★★★


For over a thousand years, a powerful oligarchy known as the Worldwide Order of Lightnings has oppressed us. With the help of the prying eyes of the chronomancers, the Lightnings have torn us from our homes; have forced us to do their bidding; have stripped us of our rights, even our names.

I have spent my life in hiding. Please understand that an unrated telepath like me is a commodity, not a person. If it s not the thought-police come to call on me, it s the Lightnings, or worse, a suitor who won t accept no as an answer.

Peace. Security. Love. They all elude me. When I manage to grasp a little of them in my shaking hands, they are all but snatched away by outside powers beyond my control. My heart groans with black tears from all this folly.


He’s a giant of a man, perhaps just clear of the two-metre mark. He wears leathers and a fur overcoat that gives him a feral, bear-like look. To make matters worse, he wears giant-sized boots. The thick type that he could probably use to stomp through a steel animal trap and emerge unscathed. His horse is bigger than any horse I’ve seen before. Black, with hooves as thick as the rider’s legs. I bet its eyes glow red in the dark to match the clouds of frothy air jetting from its flaring nostrils.

I park and walk ahead of the motorcycle, blocking off the road. This could get ugly, so I unwrap Kwan’s scarf from around my neck. I set my rifle down on the road and remove my helmet.

Minutes until the hunter arrives. Minutes to show life what I’m made of. 

My Review:

This novel is wildly imaginative. It is also very scary in its possibilities. The author had me wondering ‘what if’ throughout. At the same time, I found it difficult to fully immerse myself in the story at the beginning. The author’s writing style is very in your face. It barrels away with the main character, adding a great deal of forward momentum to the story. It took a while to get used to and to align myself with, but once I did that I enjoyed the story.

Because the author writes this in the first person from the perspective of the main character, it’s very personal. You get to know the whys and hows of her story, as well as the story itself. I found myself getting to know her quite well. The vast array of characters and powers/abilities in the supporting cast also made for an intriguing read.

As a whole this was an imaginatively enjoyable read for those who enjoy the genre. Unfortunately I had a bit of trouble getting into the story fully, but once I did it was one of a kind.

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1 comment:

  1. It's a very unsettling narrative for sure. I fought with her initially to go with a more traditional voice, but I think it's pretty evident who won that battle. Glad you could be along this corner of Kwan's journey
    -K. Hippolite