October’s been an incredible month for one of my favorite authors, Maxwell Cynn. 10-22-11 was the official release date of his novel, The Collective, which I reviewed and loved, and he’s been all over the place promoting his book. Additionally, he celebrated a milestone birthday (5o), and he looks more handsome now than ever, damn!
I’m honored to have Max as my guest blogger for his birthday month. Please read more about this fascinating man, and don’t miss the free stuff he’s giving away!
Eden does a great series of author profiles called Inside The Author’s Mind.
I had the pleasure of being interviewed for that series awhile back. When she invited me to guest post as promotion for my latest novel THE COLLECTIVE I was thrilled. The story involves a computer virus that uses flashes of light on the monitor to brainwash users. In keeping with the theme of Inside The Author’s Mind I thought I would explore what was in my mind and the psychology behind THE COLLECTIVE.
I was born in October of 1961, the year C.G. Jung died. His writings, in the Collected Works, have influenced me immeasurably, along with other great visionaries such as C.S. Lewis and author/philosopher Richard Bach. In Jung’s essay THE UNDISCOVERED SELF, written shortly before his death, he warned of the oppressive nature of collectivism on individuality, which he considered essential to the healthy expression of the human spirit. Throughout his writings he spoke of Individuation as the path to wholeness. The essay is as timely and important today as it was then.
In THE COLLECTIVE I took as my premise that battle between collectivism and individuality — between tyranny and freedom. In Jung’s day, Nationalism, Communism, and a host of other political ideologies were the enemies of Individuation. Today we face peer-pressure, political correctness, and the growing socialization of the internet. We are being brainwashed into the ideal of collective thought, group think, which is anathema to individual thought and free expression. We stand at a crossroads, as Jung warned over fifty years ago, between sociological collectivism and individualism.
Social networks are, of course, all the rage today. I’m connected to more networks than I care to count. The idea of the internet bringing us together, pooling our resources, our knowledge, our insight, is the bright and shining future — or is it? Jung warned that, as part of the group, “…the individual is nothing but a unit which repeats itself ad infinitum and could just as well be designated with a letter of the alphabet.” The internet has worked to connect us, but it also serves to reduce us to statistical norms — usernames and profiles. In the amorphous “Cloud” we become less real, less individual.
Countless authors have explored this idea — Orwell in 1984, Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451, among many other greats. Their dark heroes had as their redeeming quality the simple act of maintaining their individuality in a world which accepted only homogenous drones. In their dark worlds, political correctness was defined by the state and enforced with an iron fist. In our modern world the drive toward collective thought and statistical norms are defined by the “mob” and enforced through sociological peer-pressure. Individualism is counterpoised to the ideals of modern progressive thought.
In THE COLLECTIVE I posit a group who use the internet, and a computer virus known as Nemesis, to brainwash the masses into collective thought. The goal is an homogenous, peaceful society, but the outcome is the suppression of individuality. The champions of individuality are not often the most respected individuals in our modern society — hackers, criminals, punks, anarchists — but they are individuals. My protagonist, Dr. John Peterson, is a decidedly Freudian criminal psychologist who reluctantly becomes the voice of Jungian Individuation.
Romance is a strong element in the story, as it is in everything I write. The two female leads represent what Jung would call the protagonist’s Anima — the one demure, compliant, and safe, representing the need to belong and to enjoy peace and normality while the other is strong, rebellious, and dangerous, representing the souls need to assert individuality. Throughout, John is torn between these opposites, stumbling forward toward his own Individuation. He and ArchAngel (the program designed to battle Nemesis) represent the singular Man, while The Collective and Nemesis represent the plural Man or societal group.
I hope you enjoy THE COLLECTIVE, and I hope it gives occasion for thought and debate over the future of our social development. I strongly recommend reading Jung’s Collected Works, and at the very least THE UNDISCOVERED SELF. As a free society we have the choice of nurturing individuality or accepting a Borg-like collective unity. It will not be governments who subjugate us, we bring the chains of oppression willingly on ourselves in order to fit-in. To paraphrase Franklin, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”
The Collective Blurb:
Imagine… You have a virus on your computer. It’s tracking everything you do and sending that information to the Collective. It can’t be detected by any virus scan or blocked by any firewall. If you have a microphone, they are listening. If you have a webcam, they are watching you. But they aren’t just watching. Flashes of light from your monitor are communicating with your subconscious. You are being brainwashed.
Dr. John Peterson discovers the virus and embarks on a mind altering search for the origins of the infection driving his patients mad. He discovers the Collective, and they discover him. A battle rages between the Nemesis virus and the ArchAngel network with the fate of mankind in the balance. Will man succumb to Nemesis and become drones of the Collective or rise as billions of individual archangels to light the world with freedom? One man, one woman, and a network of hackers hold the key.
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Thanks again, Eden, for allowing me to mount my soapbox on your blog. And thank you, readers, for your interest in my work — and hopefully buying my books. You can find me on social networks everywhere through links on my website, I would love to connect with you.
FREEBIES from Max!
Keep reading to find out more….
I also encourage you to post your comments below. If you include an email address I’ll send you a little eSwag I developed for the release of THE COLLECTIVE. Specify if you want the Windows7 version or non-windows7. And if you would like a FREE copy of my previously released cyber-erotic novel CybrGrrl you can download it at Smashwords FREE during October.
Use coupon code ER56K at the checkout.
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Thank you so much for the giveaways, Max, and congratulations on all the well-deserved success of THE COLLECTIVE!
Maxwell Cynn is a novelist, freelance writer, amateur coder, webmaster, and Indie publisher who writes deliciously romantic speculative fiction and blogs book reviews on a wide range of genres. His website, with links to all of his social media connections, can be found at: MaxwellCynn.com
BUY LINKS for The Collective: