Welcome to R2, a hostile planet where the deserts are at least a third sulphur and sodium nitrate, the ingredients of Gunpowder. It is home to thirty genetically altered boys and their mother. All the boys, except for Charley, have a Talent for changing the world so it can provide food for worlds. It is what they’re created for, so what happens when they have ideas of their own, or the military want them to create a weapons supply planet because of a pending war?
This is the first of four stories that one day will become one story!
Author(s): Joe Hill
First release: 2008
Shorts collection: No
The book/story is published with these cover(s):
(Click image to see full cover)
S/L Hardcover slipcase
Information about edition(s):
· There are #500 trade hardcovers, #300 signed by Joe Hill and #200 signed by Joe and Vincent Chong in a slipcase.
The story starts as follows:
Because he didn’t have The Talent – because of his random, pointless, terrible, irrevocable difference – Charley’s brothers could be brutal to him, if they could get him alone. Even Jake could be cruel, could be talked into cruelty, if it was presented properly. Or no, that wasn’t right. No one could talk Jake into anything. He was serenely above the persuasive force of social pressure. And yet it was Jake’s weakness, that he could talk himself into doing terrible things, if he felt some greater, probably illusory, good might be served.
So it happened one day when she went with Jake and Niles and Charley to service the core, which wasn’t its good old self these days. Every few months it would get stuck, just when it was shifting into an automated maintenance cycle, so that it couldn’t restore software or optimize the system… or shut down the rods to dump heat. Which meant the cycle had to be completed manually.
“What happens if the rods overheat?” Jake asked Elaine once.
“About a third of the planet would go up in a flash of light bright enough to blind God,” she told him.
From Joe’s Tumblr in 2013, juli 14:
Adonisus asks: Will there be an ebook version of Gunpowder? Or will only be in a future collection?
I get asked this a lot.
Gunpowder is a standalone novella about a gang of loving but brutal boys, who live and work on a cold and dusty planet as psychic teraformers… dreaming the world around them into existence. It was published by PS in 2007 as a limited edition, briskly sold out, and has never returned to print. A lot of people seem to like it and have asked for more and I have always said there would be more and, barring catastrophe, there will be.
I’m at work on some new projects now (a comic book, a novel, a TV thing). But at some point in 2014, I hope to write the rest of the story, which I conceive as continuing across three more connected novellas, beginning with Slave Girls of Gunpowder.
Each of these novellas will be published as limiteds by PS Publishing. And as the novellas are released, the novella before it will be published as an eBook. The last novella will, hopefully, come out the same time as a mass market hardcover releasing the whole thing all together. This will give readers a chance to discover the book in a variety of flavors, with a variety of features.
But for now, Gunpowder remains on hold. I’m excited to get to it, but also excited about the other stories I’m working on right now; I think it will wait.