From SCI FI Wire:
12:00 AM, 18-JANUARY-08
SF author Jon Armstrong, whose novel Grey is a finalist for this year's Philip K. Dick Award, told SCI FI Wire that the book was written--and rewritten--over the course of nearly 25 years.
"Grey started as a short story in a writing class at Pitt in the early '80s," Armstrong said in an interview. "As I remember, it was more a futurological mafia story then. When I returned from my junior year in Japan--where I was first exposed to a world of noise and neon and a store that sold nothing but black, white and gray men's clothes--I turned Grey into a novella about fashionable young men in a Japanese-influenced future."
The book--set in a world where corporations use nothing but glitz, glamor and celebrity to sell--is about Michael Rivers, heir to the giant River Group Security fortune and the world's biggest superstar. "Having attempted to retreat from the endless exposure, he is dragged back into the company business when his father arranges a marriage-merger with the daughter of a rival firm," Armstrong said.
For Michael, it is all too familiar, until he finds that his intended bride, Nora, is his ideal soul mate. "At a premarital publicity event, though, Michael is attacked by would be assassins," Armstrong said. "The shock of this security breach ends both the merger and the wedding. ... On his journey to get back to Nora and the love always denied him, [Michael] encounters the shocking lost part of his family, the amoral workings of his father's corporate world and the true depth of his father's evil."
A big part of Grey is Michael River's rebellion against his dad and mom, Armstrong said. "Michael is a teenager, and his dad, especially, is a loathsome, manipulative and avaricious man," he said. "As a teen I was quiet, shy, and my own parents were just too cool to rebel against. The world of Grey was a place where I could vicariously experience the rage, hurt and self-righteousness of being a teen. It was fun--probably more so in fiction [than in reality]."
Armstrong's current project is Yarn, a prequel to Grey, which charts a rags-to-riches story of Mr. Cedar, the tailor from Grey. --John Joseph Adams