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Empyre by Josh Conviser
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Empyre by Josh Conviser
Oct 30, 2007 | ISBN 9780345502186

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  • Oct 30, 2007 | ISBN 9780345502186

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Product Details

Author Q&A


Del Rey was able to sit down with Josh Conviser to discuss his new novel, Empyre.

Del Rey: Give us an Empyre snapshot.

Josh Conviser: Like my first book, Empyre is spy-fi — cyberpunk spiced with Bourne Identity-style intrigue.

Empyre starts where most sci-fi ends. A tyrannical regime has just crumbled. Big Brother is dead. Freedom reigns. But that’s far from “the end” and very far from “happily ever after.”

I wanted to know what would happen the next day. How would humanity react to its newfound freedom? And what would life be like for Ryan Laing, my protagonist and the guy who brought Big Brother down? The answers to those questions drive both Ryan and humanity to the brink.

DR: Empyre throws us back into the near future you created in Echelon. You’ve filled that world with some incredible technology. Where do you get your ideas?

JC: Writing Empyre was a great excuse to hunt down the coolest tech out there and then speculate on how it might evolve in the future. To do that, I ran through hundreds of science journals, blogs and magazines, dug into the latest on DARPA’s list and investigated what’s going on at the universities. All the gear, weapons, structures, and modes of transportation in Empyre are either in development or actually exist right now.

DR: Give us some examples.

JC: Well, my hero, Ryan Laing, is the first true cyborg – a total integration of man and machine. There’s plenty of science fiction dealing with cyborgs, but usually in a far future in which it’s accepted practice. Ryan isn’t there. He’s the test case – the guinea pig – and his transition into a new kind of human is tough going.

As far as the wildest idea I uncovered – how about using matter/anti-matter collisions to annihilate tumors within the human body without even making an incision.

I’m big on architecture as well – on what our world will look like in the near future. One of the wildest ideas I found was an elevated airport nestled in the center of a major city. Could there be a better place to set a chase?

And, of course, the future of weaponry is both terrifying and intense. I have a gun in Empyre that uses stacked projectile technology to fire hundreds of thousands of rounds per minute, effectively obliterating anything it aims at.

Beyond the technology itself, Empyre deals with larger philosophical aspects of progress – with a new conception of reality and what it means to be human.

I’ve put some of the factual basis behind Empyre on my site (, but if I missed anything, feel free to drop me an email. As you can tell, I’m obsessed with how technology will shift society.

DR: But, in Empyre, all that technology creates its own problems.

JC: True enough. It’s far from smooth sailing in Empyre. As I said, the story begins with the destruction of a totalitarian system that constrained the rate of progress. With that restriction gone, progress goes exponential, making it very hard for the population to keep up. So life’s a lot like what we deal with today. Empyre just lies further down our road, in a world teetering on the Singularity’s edge.

DR: Pretty good place to set a spy novel.

JC: I thought so! In Empyre, you’ve got some serious chaos, a hyper-capable – if slightly edged out – hero, and a transnational world spiked with next-gen technology. From that, I put together a thrill-a-minute plot that, I hope, will keep you turning the pages.

So if that’s your kind of “happily ever after,” I think you’ll enjoy Empyre!

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