Happy pub day to Chuck Wendig, whose new book Wanderers is out today! An epic pre-apocalyptic thriller/road novel, it follows the titular group of inexplicably unwakeable sleepwalkers as they make their way to an unknown destination, protected only by loved ones acting as their “shepherds.”
From the publisher synopsis:
As the sleepwalking phenomenon awakens terror and violence in America, the real danger may not be the epidemic but the fear of it. With society collapsing all around them—and an ultraviolent militia threatening to exterminate them—the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart—or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
Now, before you smash that “buy” button, you can head over to io9 for an exclusive excerpt.
Taking place during chapter three, the excerpt opens with a news clipping about a mysterious “murder-suicide” that appears to be linked, somehow, to the sleepwalking epidemic:
. . . Utah County Sheriff Peter Niebouer said the victims were identified as Brandon Sharpe, 31; his mother, Johnette Sharpe, 63; and father, Daniel Sharpe, 64. The three bodies were discovered Tuesday morning in the living room of the house owned by Daniel Sharpe. All three had gunshot wounds and police recovered a handgun, owned by Brandon Sharpe, at the scene. What has puzzled investigators are the messages written on the wall in the mother’s blood: “Get out of my computer” and “White Mask is coming.” Investigators also discovered an external hard drive containing child pornography. The hard drive was owned by Brandon Sharpe . . .
From there, it jumps to “disgraced scientist” Dr. Benjamin Ray, a “disgraced scientist” as he’s recruited by the team behind a catastrophe-predicting artificial intelligence called Black Swan to investigate the epidemic:
He froze, the mug to his lips. Silence stretching out between them like a widening chasm. “All right.”
Black Swan . . .
“You’re familiar, then.”
“And yet you seem a bit dubious.”
“I am dubious. More than a bit. I am wary of our growing fascination with replacing human work with artificial intelligence. If some computer wants to recommend products for me to buy at Amazon or a video to watch on YouTube, so be it. But this . . . this job requires a human touch.”
“And it gets the human touch. Humans evaluate the predictions, Benji, surely you know that.”
On her face, that indefatigable smile wavered. Her face tightened visibly; she was suddenly, inexplicably, on the defense. Benji’s distrust of Black Swan and its predictions was not something she merely disagreed with; it cut her.
He wondered why.
What was her investment here? Her involvement?
Read the full excerpt on io9!