Can’t keep a good hacker down, Scott and Sonia are back! Check out the cover reveal for VARIABLE CURRENT by Rose Sinclair & Alexandra Tauber. Variable Current is the second novel of the .Exe duology that started with HELLO WORLD.
Ready to see the newest beauty for this series?!
Variable Current Cover Reveal launch!
You can pre-order today and it will be automatically delivered to you on October 26th, 2021!
The Hello World Discussion Questions are here! GreatAce.Club is our sister book club. It mostly reads asexual books by asexual authors for asexual readers, but has expanded to read really whatever our host Amy wants. Because great books are great books and aces can do whatever they please. April’s book was Hello World, the first in the .Exe series!
Brew up that cup of coffee because it’s discussion time!
Suggested Reading Schedule:
Week One – Prologue through Chapter 4
Week Two – Chapters 5-11
Week Three – Chapters 12-19
Week Four – Chapters 20-26
Week Five: Chapter 27 through Epilogue
Hello World Week One Discussion Questions
Hello World deals a lot with technology, data, and what it means to be a person living with that. What do you think about the world we are currently living in?
What do you think is more important, convenience or privacy? How much privacy should society be willing to give up to feel safe? To have information and necessities at their fingertips?
It’s a common trope in media for a character to be motivated to save a loved one. How do you predict Scott will undertake this going forward?
Like all good techy books, Hello World takes pieces of technology that already exist and create logical extensions from them. What technology can you see existing now or in the near future that we’ve experienced in these first few chapters?
We are already getting a sense of what Scott and Sonia’s relationship will be. What can you pick up on how they will befriend each other, or more? What are your predictions about their relationship?
What sort of qualities do you think UltSyn wants for its HIDs?
Besides college job fairs, where do you think UltSyn looks for candidates?
Hello World Week Two Discussion Questions
Have I mentioned recently that I love Scott? Because I love Scott. Now that we are getting into the thick of things, there is so much more to discuss, especially as we start to see more discussion about Scott’s asexuality. Without further ado, let’s read!
As we begin to see more asexual characters in media (see: FuckYeahAsexual’s Character Database or even the Goodreads List), and as asexuality becomes seen more in the mainstream, creators may begin to think about how to incorporate asexual characters into their work. What do you think about how Scott talks about his sexual attraction? Does it match with your own feelings as being ace?
Sinclair and Tauber have so much deliberate representation in Hello World. How many casual LGBT+ characters can you pick up on? Is this something you think is going to continue in more mainstream books? Out of the characters mentioned in this section, is there anyone you want to learn more about? Anyone you want to see in future books?
HIDs are pieces of technology, but they are also people. This is definitely something that the people fighting against UltSyn have to deal with. Do you think that Scott or Terry or Jesse feel the same way about Sonia? What do you think about the morality of HIDs in general? If UltSyn is using them for nefarious purposes, what is the best way to fight back?
Discuss Scott’s choice to sell Sonia. Did it make sense at the time? What did Jesse get out of it besides money? Do you think Jesse is a double agent, or just in it for whoever pays more?
Scott almost immediately regrets his actions. What does this tell you about his character?
Sinclair and Tauber do a lot to humanize their characters, like Scott “pretending” to get a text. How does this make the book more relatable? When’s a time you’ve done something similar?
How many people in Hello World are “just doing their jobs” despite basically experimenting on other human beings? How is a reflection of the real world?
We finally get our first Sonia chapter! What do we learn about her from her actions in this chapter?
How is their relationship changing? What predictions do you have about them?
In between the fast paced action, Sinclair and Tauber insert moments of humanity, like shopping in Paris. How does that help us associate with the characters more? What can we learn about them in these moments of relative quiet?
What technology in this section have you seen happening in real life? What technology would you like to see?
What predictions do you have about the party? What are you hoping will happen?
Hello World Discussion Questions Week 3
We left off last week with Scott and Sonia preparing to go to the fancy UltSyn party! What do you think they’re going to find there? Let’s read on to find out!
What do you think Scott found in the office?
Do you think all of Scott’s hijinks might spur UltSyn to tighten their security? What could this mean for Scott and Sonia in the future?
Could Scott’s background and experience with UltSyn and HIDs affect how he sees Sonia? Is seeing her as a person first different from how others would see and therefore treat her? Do you think Sonia is different from other HIDs? How could Scott’s treatment help her as well?
In what ways do Sinclair and Tauber use real life security hacks in Hello World? Which things stand out to you as something real people or companies should be concerned about?
After seeing this second HID, does to confirm any belief that Sonia is different? What do you think happened to make her different? What struggles might Scott have if this is how most HIDs behave?
It is easy to see that in universe, HIDs are not considered entirely human. Does this track with how real life humans act about each other? How might incorporating people and technology change society’s view of them?
What have we learned about both Scott and Sonia so far, using the humanizing sections of the book? How has this changed from the beginning of the book?
How does what UltSyn does match up with real world for-profit health care companies?
What do we learn about Scott’s motivations in this section?
Is Scott and Sonia’s relationship fair? Why or why not?
What might Sonia find in her search for her family?
We are ending on quite the cliffhanger! What predictions do you have about what will happen in Denmark?
Hello World Discussion Questions Week 4
Ready to pick up in Denmark? Who has time for an intro when there’s cliffhangers to get through!
How does Scott use his understanding of Sonia to track her? How does this compare to real life tracking and how could UltSyn also use this knowledge?
Do you think UltSyn sends people after Sonia who have knowledge of her life before being an HID? Would that help them or hinder them?
What are some possible meanings of Sonia’s tattoo?
Does one person ever have an obligation or right to withhold information about another from that person? Would you want to know bad information about your past or prefer to leave it there?
Is Sonia/Lydia’s reaction to losing her family appropriate? How might someone dealing with grief react to the promise of losing their memories?
What implications does Sonia’s background raise about HIDs? About UltSyn?
”Sometimes, one act of kindness can change everything.” How does this quote really describe Scott?
At this point and after having several Sonia chapters, how is she different from other HIDs? What might this do to Scott’s expectations about his sister?
What were your thoughts and emotions as the scene with Victoria played out? Should Scott or Sonia have seen this coming? What could they have done to prevent it?
How does almost losing someone we love bring out our feelings? How do we see that in Sonia taking care of Scott?
How much of what Scott is going through is related to his physical wound, shock, and the mental toll of Victoria? What do you think will help him the most?
What do we learn about Sonia with her actions while Scott is hurt? Is what she did brave, foolish, or some combination?
What do you think would help get Scott out of his despair? Is it possible that even knowing it would be hard, he didn’t realize how hard it would be? Is he too close to this situation?
What do we learn about the HID program and UltSyn from Sonia and Victoria talking?
Could the first step of HID deprogramming be developing sarcasm? 2/2 HIDs say yes!
We get an opportunity to see more of Scott’s asexuality. How do you relate to this?
We are leaving this section off in one of the humanizing areas. What are we learning about Scott and Sonia? Where could their relationship be going?
What predictions do you have for the end of the book? What role will Victoria and Sonia play in working against UltSyn? Scott got his sister back; now what?
Hello World Discussion Questions Week 5
Amy here again, I’ve fully learned how to hijack the publisher’s accounts after reading Hello World! 😉 You know the posts that are like “when everything is wrapped up but there’s still a lot of pages left”? Am I the only one feeling that way about Hello World? If we stop here, they can all just live happily ever after, right? Just kidding! Let’s read on to see how Scott’s motivations might change and how Victoria will play a part in that!
Scott throughout the book very much claims to work on his own and to be in it for himself; but is he really? If his actions cause consequences that expose UltSyn, does that mean he did something selfless, even if he didn’t mean to? How much of his actions are actually selfish?
How does having Victoria back change him? How does it change Sonia?
We get to learn more about Terry and his crew in the last part of the book. Who are you hoping to see again in the sequel? What benefits are there in having a secure home base? How can it also be a liability?
How many people in UltSyn do you think know about the system? How could the people of UltSyn be exploiting the system for their own advancement? How do people in real life do that?
How does needing to take down a computer system change the narrative of taking UltSyn down? How does this change the central conflict of the series?
Scott finally tells someone he’s asexual in this final section. How does this confirm the behavior and thoughts we’ve already seen? How does his description match or not match with your experiences?
What does Sonia’s reaction say about her?
What are some benefits of Scott being part of a group now? What might be some drawbacks?
How is the system different than what they expected?
Do Scott and Victoria get a happily ever after? What does coming home mean to both of them? To their parents?
How could UltSyn exploit this? How motivated do you think they are to do so?
Share your favorite parts of the book; what did you love the most? What do you hope to see in the sequel? Do you have any favorite quotes or characters? We’d love to see them here or in the #GreatAceClub tag!
Did you see any overarching themes or tones you found while reading?
What does the teaser chapter hint at in the next book? What could this mean for Scott and Sonia?
Can we peer pressure Art Over Chaos Publishing (wait a second…) to release the next book sooner? (Warning: Amy’s peer pressure is coming from inside the house!!!) Be sure to sign up for the newsletter at GreatAce.Club to be the first to see what May’s read is!
20 Minutes Into The Future trope has us looking at technology and what it can hold for our futures.
It’s not super often I get to you write you to in first person about myself. But when it comes to our debut novel I feel as if it’s a most. Hello World was originally released just under four years ago. The original idea for this post was going to be about how futuristic technology that Scott used to run around menacing corporate tech giants in the book was now being sold mass market.
And in some ways that is true. Most notably is Amazon’s Echo Loop. Their design is exactly how I pictured Scott’s ace smart ring. And what is his own AI, Hallie, if not a private non-commercial version of Alexa that helps you do crime?
But the nature of the 20 minutes into the future trope isn’t about catching up. As Mystery Science Theater’s Tom Servo says, “Fifty years from now it’ll be three years from now”. Unlike other types of science fiction that predicted flying cards in the year 2000. Stories set 20 minutes into the future don’t predict. They tell you something that is already happening, or easily could be behind the scenes.
Turns out Hello World is as relevant as ever. A story about the interplay between technology and identity.
Now days, ‘being yourself’ is even more commercialized. You are your brand. If possible a corporations would kill off the idea of anonymous. And more often than not, it’s not some evil company directly enforcing that change. It’s us. It’s our digital interactions, self policing. Behavior adjustments we make in order to get more likes, just so we can be connected with others.
People like to think of that all being run by an algorithm. But it’s all from people in one way, shape, or form. The human element is the very thing that companies are unable to fully remove.
Hello World is a story about the actions of individuals. And together what changes the world.
A recent example of ‘internet culture’ banding together to change global markets is Wall Street Bets reddit’s interest in Game Stop stock. Their power was in the camaraderie within those memes that allowed them to group together. Without the digital connection among individuals outnumbering the normal rules of the game they’d be less hedge funds going bankrupt today.
If anything Hello World is even more important today than it had been yeas ago, because every day our digital shadow grows. Our lexicon of internet culture grows and just becomes culture. Especially during covid times where we are using technology to safety stay part, and safely connect, and hopefully continue to subvert those withholding freedom.
HELLO WORLD came out yesterday, and now I can type “Hello World” into amazon and find something I poured my heart and soul into. It’s so far getting glowing reviews for the exact things I tried so hard to get right. I have a paperback copy I can hold in my hands like portable magic.
Late last week I asked the ace and twitter community to send me questions about the book, and as promised here are those answers. Thank you to everyone who took an interest in this book baby of ours.
Anon Asked: What is your fav part of your novel?
I can’t think of a favorite scene, but I think my favorite part of the novel has been insistently Scott’s sass. His sarcasm and dry wit always made me smile even if scene wise there is chaos and destruction everywhere. I think being able to joke about things, even if it’s just gallows humor at times is really something that keeps everyone going.
Dawn Asked: What was the easiest/hardest parts of Hello World to write?
The easiest part was the general flow of the action. Scott has a singular focus in this book that question of “okay, where do we go next?” never had to be asked. Made writer’s block non-existent which was miracle like.
The hardest part, by far, was the sex scene. It never was right. It always felt like it assumed a lot about Scott that made me personally uncomfortable on his behalf. I rewrote it at least 4 minutes times trying to get it just write and it was hard because most people didn’t understand my concerns with it when I asked for feedback. In the end, I think it says something important, I just hope it comes off that way in the end and isn’t just glossed over as another pointless sex scene.
Osayi asked: How do you get better with writing? I mean I know it’s about practicing, so I suppose a better question is how to convince yourself to practice and actually practice properly? If, say, you only read horror stories and you were really good at writing them how hard would you think it’d be to write maybe a happy romance?
I think the one thing they never tell you is how hard writing can be. It’s a very slow process and if you don’t absolutely love what you are writing it hardly seems worth it. Find a plot or a message that you simply most tell, or maybe just a character who you absolutely want to follow where they go. That makes the world of difference when it comes to motivation.
As for the second half. I think that absolutely depends. I personally have an incredibly hard time writing happy cute things. I think that’s mostly because I always wrote as an escape from bad so I’d process daily or worldly struggles in fiction. I don’t think changing genre is the hardest thing, but if your heart is set to horror mode, and your head says no write happy romance your best chance might be combining them somehow. That juxtaposition might create something that only you could write.
Ace Apples asked: What would be your favorite characterization to see in an ace character? Like, what kinda personality traits would you love to see them with, or what kinda character archetype would you just adore seeing paired with an ace character?
Hmm, there is relativity so few aces in media and so many ways one can be ace that all I really want to see for ace characters is to be written by non-aphobes and with on page labels. I personally like the sarcastic, take no shit, aces. But mostly because if we were to go down as a single archetype I’d love for that stereotype to be ‘dont fuck with us or the community.”
Anon asked: How do you think Scott being part of a marginalized and invisible orientation like asexuality influences his resilience as an activist (hacktivist!)? Looking forward to having this book in my hands and supporting you!
Bless you, sweet thing. By complete accident, Scott in ways became a metaphor for my own activism. I don’t want to make too close of a comparison because Scott runs around committing crimes every page, but I do think you hit on something important. Marginalized and invisible groups take so many more metaphorical hits than someone who is not. Sometimes I feel so worn down and literally feel like my face is all bloodied even if all my fights were digital that day. I think there’s a reason why the LGBTQIA/MOGIA communities’ greatest leaders are often people of color, trans women, and sometimes trans women of color. I wouldn’t dare compare myself or Scott to them, but I absolutely believe the most resilient people are from similar groups. I also think it’s why it hurts so much when you see them hurt.
Ben asked: What challenges did you face depicting asexuality on the page, given that it’s the *absence* of something?
It’s really hard and I think that was the driving factor that made me put a label on things. The more aware of things I become the harder it is for me to see that start line of explaining things. There’s a learning curve for readers and you gotta decide where you want to be on it. Straights who don’t understand the community as a whole need more things spelled out for them. Community members need less, and then as I writer, I see aces who are like hell yeah give me a strip club owning sex worker who is ace. I think it comes down to what audience do you want to speak to, readers will be from a range of backgrounds, but you gotta think who is this for. Is it for you? Is this to educate cis straight people? Is it for your own community? It’s definitely a big challenge in writing something that isn’t known by everyone.
Rachel asked: How would you describe your relationship to your characters?
They are definitely my children. I feel like if fan fiction was ever written I’d have to leave a note for the sitter that said make sure they are in bed by nine, here’s a list of their allergies, and an emergency contact number.
Ben asked: What’s computer tech like in Hello World? Is it close to established/probable stuff, or is it really out there?
I’ve always viewed the story as 20 minutes into the future. Everything bit of tech you see is based on existing tech. Even the creepy stuff. However, there is plenty of liberties taken with things that are only proven in theory that in the story are months away from being for the mass market consumer.
Marsianomo: I’m a teen asexual, what do you want me to get bout of this story?
I hope you have something I didn’t. I feel like calling him a hero is bragging, but at least someone who tries their heart out and is open about the struggles in that. That way when you fight, for whatever your own heart decides, you go into without Hollywood romanticism. I also hope you can see that ace lives are complexed and worth telling even if, or maybe when, jerks try to tell you otherwise.
The #WattpadBlockParty is finally here! I’m so excited to be a part of it and to have Hello World’s first chapter debut this Friday. There are sooo many authors joining and countless giveaways so instead of posting a giant list of names I’m going to recap the party’s juicy details every Monday!
December 12th, 2012 That’s when I first wrote anything for Scott. And from the moment I named Hello World I was in love and from the second Scott had dialogue I was in love with him. So without burying the lead, let me tell you more about Hello World.
Scott’s skills as a surveillance expert come in pretty handy when he’s breaking down firewalls. But hacktivism isn’t enough; he’s going after the holy grail—UltSyn’s Human Information Drives. While plenty of hackers are trying to save the world these days, all Scott wants is to find his sister.
His obsession with finding her leads him halfway around the world. But as Scott digs deeper into restricted databases, he discovers that those who enlist with UltSyn get far more than they bargained for. Plunged into a world of human trafficking and corporate espionage, Scott is determined to find his sister, no matter the cost. But when the information reveals the people closest to him have been working for UltSyn all along, he has to find her—before UltSyn finds him.
I didn’t want to write this post until this moment. And now I’m sitting in the moment and all I can think is wow. Getting a book deal is kind-of like telling news on twitter, or waiting for your keurig to heat up the water. It’s an act that involves you, but is out of your control. And while with a much smaller waiting period you don’t know exactly when that little “Ready” message will display or that tweet will be liked.
I guess in a rambling way I’m saying submitting your book for publication is about hope. You hope you get creamer to coffee mix right, you hope everyone is excited at your news, you hope that everyone loves this creation as much as you do. None of those things are directly in your control, but you hope.
More exactly, it’s about collecting those pieces of hope like stringing popcorn. Each action adds to the wish. Every song, every tweet, every line of text you touch.
I love Hello World, and I hope you end up loving it too.