Fast, Funny, Out of This World: The Writing of Adam Rakunas

Adam Rakunas’ 2015 debut novel, Windswept, published by Angry Robot, won the Philip K. Dick Award. In June, he released Like a Boss the sequel to Windswept.

windsweptcoverWindswept:

Labor organizer Padma Mehta is on the edge of space and the edge of burnout. All she wants is to buy out a little rum distillery and retire, but she’s supposed to recruit 500 people to the Union before she can. She’s only thirty-three short. So when a small-time con artist tells her about forty people ready to tumble down the space elevator to break free from her old bosses, she checks it out — against her better judgment. It turns out, of course, it was all lies.

As Padma should know by now, there are no easy shortcuts on her planet. And suddenly retirement seems farther away than ever: she’s just stumbled into a secret corporate mission to stop a plant disease that could wipe out all the industrial sugarcane in Occupied Space. If she ever wants to have another drink of her favorite rum, she’s going to have to fight her way through the city’s warehouses, sewage plants, and up the elevator itself to stop this new plague.

Praise for Windswept:

“This twisty David-and-Goliath tale is clever, fast-paced, and frequently funny, taking plenty of well-deserved potshots at corporate greed.”
Publishers Weekly

Windswept is a classic noir story shot full of space-rum and rocketed into the future. It’s not anything so simple as a thriller with a layer of chrome and some plastic ray guns tacked on; this isn’t a Chandler pastiche in nerd-drag. The future tech is integral to the story, and Rakunas clearly enjoys building out a science fiction world.”
– Paul Constant, The Seattle Review of Books

“Adam Rakunas is one funny SOB, and now everyone’s going to know it. Windswept is a zippy, zany ride, with more fast turns than a Wild Mouse rollercoaster. There’s more witty banter and laughs per page than anything I’ve read in years, making this, my friends, the rarest kind of science-fiction-comedy novel: one that’s actually funny. Buckle the hell up.”
– Daryl Gregory, Award-winning author of Afterparty and We Are All Completely Fine

“This melange of fast-paced action, character study, social study and witty dialogue makes up a thoroughly enjoyable narrative treat.”
SF and F Reviews

“The world building was fantastic and characters so well developed as to be defined by their short comings. Padma is gritty, stubborn and a bit slutty. She drives the novel hard, with constant movement through a world built on the byproducts of sugar cane.  The societal structures that involve Freeborn and “Breaches” and the clashes that ensue with the corporate structures is entertaining in its complexity. The story line begins to become steeped in mystery, deceit and betrayal while being rendered with humor in all the right places.”
Koeur’s Book Reviews

“Seriously, this book is just plain funny. Even so, it manages to present an interesting perspective on politics, consumerism, and unionizations. So if you want to read about Co-Ops, giant crab attacks, sewer chases, and the inadvisability of copying techniques from the movies, Windswept is definitely worth a look.” 4/5 stars.
Bookaneer

Windswept is a fast-paced action thriller that delivers multiple twists and turns and an unrelenting pace. Padma is a tough, no-nonsense heroine, among a cast of interesting and diverse women (which is, sadly, still rare enough to be delightful). It’s a perfect rum-fuelled thrill ride.”
Astounding Yarns

“It’s very rare for a book to grab my attention on the first page, then proceed to drag me through a fast-paced, action packed SF romp. The book is irreverent and zany and I heartily recommend picking it up.”
– Ted Mahsun

“Part action-adventure, part space opera, part farce, Windswept follows Padma, Jilly and the escapees through complicated legal, company-vs-union conflict and violent struggles in a post-diaspora-heading-towards-collapse science fiction universe. Recommended for Star Trek fans who loved stories like ‘The Bell Riots’.”
Dark Matter Zine

Windswept fuses edge of your seat action with thought provoking speculation – a perfect blend for an unforgettable science fiction read.”
The Mutt Cafe

“This grunge world science fiction adventure is one of the best debut SF adventure novels Your Humble Reviewers have read recently.”
Bull Spec’s Exploding Spaceship Reviews

Like a Boss:

likeabosscoverIn this breathless and hilarious followup to Windswept, former labor organiser Padma Mehta’s worst nightmare comes true: she gets yanked out of early retirement.

After buying her favourite rum distillery and settling down, she thought she’d heard the last of her arch nemesis, Evanrute Saarien. But Saarien, fresh out of prison for his misdeeds in Windswept, has just fabricated a new religion, positioning himself as its holy leader. He’s telling his congregation to go on strike, to fight the system. And unfortunately, they’re listening to him.

Now Padma’s summoned by the Union president to help stop this strike from happening. The problem is, she’s out of practice. And, the more she digs, the more she realises this whole strike business is more complicated than the Union president let on…

Praise for Like a Boss:

Like a Boss is one of those rare, perfect novels that somehow packs huge ideas into a story that is simultaneously wildly speculative and completely digestible. Like a Boss lives up to its name. A masterwork of big ideas, perfectly executed.”
– Ted Kosmatka, author of The Flicker Men

“The moment I began reading this, I immediately had to put the book down. I was simply too sick with envy at Adam’s talent.”
– Madeline Ashby, acclaimed author of vN and iD

“Fierce, funny, and fast-paced. This is sci-fi in a world as rich, detailed, and diverse as our own. It’s about fighting for what’s right, about fixing what’s broken, about cheering for the underdog, against all odds. Read it, love it, and then read it again.”
– Ramez Naam, Winner of the Promethues and Philip K. Dick Awards and author of the Nexus series

“The story ramps the stakes up gradually, but never seems to stop doing so – and ties the grander global game with a more personal struggle for Padma in a way which makes for an eminently enjoyable read. A cracking read, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Padma and Rakunas take us next.”
Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews

“The series has everything that makes for a scifi classic – a richly imagined world, a plot that is thrilling and thought provoking while successfully commenting on current issues, a diverse well developed cast of characters, and that touch of magic that comes from an author gifted with eloquence and imagination.”
– Stephanie Sasse of Muttcafe.com

Like A Boss is a laugh-in-your-face rejection of grimdark cynicism and cyberpunk dystopia. It’s a flag-waving, singing-out-loud celebration of people doing the right thing even though it will be hard (and conscious of the cost to themselves), because they know it’s the right thing to do, damn it. It’s a celebration of hope and trust and community. I loved it.”
X + 1

“Fast-paced, funny, and full of action. Once again Rakunas writes a winner. Regarding modern science fiction, there is certainly a new voice that needs to be heard.”
Eyes and Books

Carl Slaughter

Carl has written and interviewed for Tangent Online, Diabolical Plots, SF Signal and File 770.

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