“What is Wage Slave Rebellion?”
Wage Slave Rebellion is the first full-length novel written by yours truly, Stephen W. “Stilts” Gee. Since I first joined Random Curiosity, it has been my dream to write fantasy novels, and today I finally have one to share with you. A full description is available on the book’s Amazon listing and on its dedicated page on my website. Here’s the short, elevator speech-style synopsis I’ve been using:
It’s called Wage Slave Rebellion, and it’s an urban fantasy-adventure set in a sword & sorcery world. It’s about three friends who hate their crappy jobs, so they decide to become monster-slaying adventurers instead. It’s kind of like Terry Pratchett spliced with a badass action anime.
This book is the first in the Firesign series. In fact, I’ve already written a couple of short stories, and one is available now. It’s called Action Politics, and it’s available for FREE, though tips are appreciated. It’s a direct sequel to Wage Slave Rebellion, so if you’re interested, make sure to read the book first.
“Tell me more.”
Wage Slave Rebellion is the fruit of years of labor. My dream is to tell stories and write them down for a living, and I’ve been chasing that dream for nearly a decade now. Probably half of that time has been spent working on Wage Slave Rebellion or its precursors. From graduating university to slaving away at a full-time job, I’ve worked on this book in fits and starts, pouring all my effort into getting better so I could do justice to the story in my head. I poured blood, sweat, and tears—or at least the latter two, along with time, time, and more time—into this book, and I’ve spent my money as well, paying to get it professionally edited (multiple times), professionally formatted, and professionally illustrated. I’ve done a lot of work so I can present this book to you today, the first in the Firesign series, with more already on the way.
Here’s the synopsis: Wage Slave Rebellion follows three friends in their mid-twenties. Though they live in a world full of magick, monsters, and gods—and can all use magick themselves, to one degree or another—they’re stuck in crappy, dead-end jobs. Mazik Kil’Raeus (on the cover: middle) is a salesman, peddling weapons door-to-door; Gavi Ven’Kalil (right) is a combination waiter/bouncer at a local bar; and Raedren Ian’Moro (left) is an apprentice healer, using his magick to help people regenerate limbs, recover from burns, and heal debilitating injuries. With a mixture of frustration, stark boredom, and outright contempt, the three friends are not happy with their lives, but they don’t know what to do. How are they supposed to know what will make them happy?
If you can’t relate to their struggle, you’re a luckier person than I. This is a story about what happens when three friends decide to drag themselves out of their rut and finally start doing something with their lives, instead of just getting by as cogs in society. But where others would take it slow, these three don’t do things halfway. It’s an adventurer’s life for them, full of fighting monsters, rescuing the weak, and traveling around the world as they please! No two days will ever be the same again!
Or that’s the plan, but it won’t be that easy. With a consortium of powerful guilds determined to keep them out—along with anyone else; these three aren’t special—Mazik and his friends have to do something impressive to break into the biz. That’s when they set their eyes on a difficult quest: tracking down and putting a stop to a group of kidnappers who have been terrorizing their city for months. But the kidnappers are more dangerous than anyone anticipated, and it’s going to be a mighty struggle for the three friends to come out on top, much less survive!
That’s a struggle they relish. Watch as these three friends—Mazik, the outgoing showboat with a penchant for explosions; Gavi, the scrappy pragmatist who’s deadly with a sword; and Raedren, the introverted nice guy whose protection magicks are all that’s keeping them alive—pour all of their strength, intelligence, and willpower into joining a profession that promises only financial insecurity, constant danger, and absolutely no assurances that they’ll find success, much less survive. But if they make it, nobody will be able to tell them what to do anymore, and they’ll be wage slaves no longer. Wage Slave Rebellion is an explosive adventure full of pulse-pounding magickal action that never forgets that adventures should always be fun!
“Will I like it?”
Anime and manga have been huge influences on my writing. Many of the things that are absent in Western commercial fiction—a lightness of tone, adventure, badass explosive action, and the occasional bout of hijinks and hilarity—are present in my book because that’s what I love in anime. The book has even been called “cinematic,” so the anime influence is clear. But I was careful to avoid many of anime’s worst pitfalls as well. If you’re tired of angsty high school students with improbable harems starring in shallow light novel plots, rest assured—there’s none of that here. This is an adult story about career anxiety, entrepreneurship, and daring to do the work that you love, all wrapped up in a fantasy-adventure that’s simply fun to read. It also starts in a bar, as all good adventures should.
If I were to describe Wage Slave Rebellion in (mostly) anime terms, I would say:
Those are influences and stylistic similarities, not direct references to the plot, so don’t go expecting flying sci-fi battleships, world-exploding lolis, or MMORPG epics. But if you see a couple of stories in that list you enjoy, keep reading. If not … well, I’d like you to keep reading anyway, but this book may not be for you.
I’m ridiculously proud of the story I’ve told with Wage Slave Rebellion. It has a good plot with characters I hope you’ll fall in love with, a detailed hard fantasy world (with a soft fantasy twist) to ground the action, and at its root it’s just a fun, entertaining story. If any of this sounds good to you, it’s available as a DRM-free ebook for $3.99 right now (Regions: US, UK, CA, FR, DE, IT, NL, ES, AU, BR, IN, JP, MX, paperback).
Still not sure if you’ll like it? Here’s the prologue from the book. Click the spoiler tags below to read the first scene of the book. It’s pretty representative of my writing style and the tone of the book, so if you’re on the fence, this will help you decide.
I Need Your Help
I’ve told you about my dream. I’ve told you how long I’ve been writing, how long I’ve been working on this particular book, and all the sweat, tears, and time I’ve poured into it. What I haven’t told you is how much I appreciate all the help you’ve given me along the way. You all probably didn’t know this, but blogging at Random Curiosity has been invaluable in helping me finish this book. During the times I doubted, when I was unsure, when I was so swamped with my full-time job or life, or I didn’t think I would ever be able to do this story justice, writing here helped me keep going. It reminded me that I could write, and I could do it well—or at least better—as long as I stuck with it and kept writing. For that, and for the kind words you’ve given me along the way, thank you.
Now I’m asking for your help again. My immediate goal is to be able to afford to keep writing, and hopefully write more of the time. To do that I need people to read my book. Please consider picking up a copy. If you read it, please leave me a review on Amazon—reviews help future readers decide if they’ll enjoy it, which is a huge help. Of course, I hope for favorable reviews, but if you read it and don’t like it, writing a review about who would not enjoy it is useful as well.
If you end up enjoying Wage Slave Rebellion, remember that there’s a short story that takes place one month after the events of the books. It’s called Action Politics, and it’s available on my website now. It can be downloaded for free, unless you want to give me a tip (more details here).
But most of all, if you read everything and enjoy it, please help me spread the word. Talk about it, do social media things about it, tell your friends, family, and anyone else who might enjoy it. Whatever you can do to help me get the word out would be enormously helpful.
The Bottom Line
Wage Slave Rebellion is an entertaining, exciting, and downright fun fantasy-adventure. It’s an adult story without being too serious, with explosive action, funny banter, and characters I think you’re going to love. Please check it out, consider buying it, and tell your friends.
My older brother once told me that you only need one or two people to give you a chance before you control your own destiny. I’m an idiot, so I’m asking for more. It’s my dream to tell stories that make people’s lives just a little bit happier, but I can’t do it without you. Help me achieve my dream, and I promise I’ll keep writing entertaining stories for you for as long as I can. It’s all up to you whether I’ll be able to keep doing this, or if I’ll have to continue the path of a wage slave myself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What will this mean for your blogging at Random Curiosity?
- A: In the short-term, nothing. I still love blogging, so I have no plans to stop writing for RandomC in the near future. However, I may not be able to continue forever. Between my full-time job, blogging, writing fiction, and occasionally having a social/dating life (not so much lately), something is eventually going to have to give. I would prefer it to be my full-time job, but that’s up to you. The best thing to do is to pick up a book and tell a few friends. That way, when I eventually do retire from RandomC, I’ll still be able to write for you all.
Q: You’re the ecchi blogger. Does this book have a lot of fanservice?
- A: I-I’m not the ecchi blogger! Or if I am, I’m certainly not the ecchi author, because Wage Slave Rebellion has little fanservice of the flashing-panties-and-accidental-boob-grab variety. That’s fun and all, but I respect my characters too much to exploit them like that. I prefer strong female characters who are people in their own right, and once you start thinking of them as more than outlets for male fantasies, it’s hard to slap bunny ears on them without feeling like a slimeball. There is some fanservice—both male and female characters, so ladies, you haven’t been left out!—but it always has a purpose beyond titillation.
Q: Who’s your publisher?
- A: I don’t have one. This book is independently published, or what you might call self-published. I never even submitted it to any publishers, because I don’t think they’re necessary. I have this thing about control and creative compromise, and I didn’t want a publisher standing between me and my readers. But if you’re worried about quality, don’t be—this book has been professionally edited (by multiple editors), professionally formatted, and professionally illustrated.
Q: How come this book is so cheap?
- A: That’s one of the benefits of independent publishing—because a bunch of executives in New York aren’t taking 50+% of my profits, I can price my book how I want. I picked $3.99 for the ebook so you can get an entertaining story for less than a fancy coffee or a pint of expensive beer. Plus I don’t have to print off copies or ship them to you, so why shouldn’t it be priced fairly? Then there’s the sequel short story, which is available for as much as you want to pay for it, including free. Isn’t the future cool?
Q: I found a mistake! What do I do?
- A: If you find a mistake, feel free to email me at stephenwgee(at)gmail(dot).com, and I’ll get it fixed and updated across all platforms.
Q: Amazon is an evil corporation! Where else can I buy your book?
- A: I’m working on making it available on Smashwords as well, which will also distribute the book to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other ebook retailers around the world. I still encourage you to buy from Amazon, though. Whatever your feelings about the company, it treats independent authors very well (Ex: Amazon pays authors monthly, while other companies pay quarterly). Buying through Amazon is the best way to support me. For updates on when Wage Slave Rebellion is available on Smashwords and other ebook retailers, sign up for my newsletter. I’ll also edit this post at that time.
Q: I don’t like ebooks. When will a print copy be available?
- A: Get with the times man, ebooks are the future! But in all seriousness, a print-on-demand version through Amazon’s CreateSpace is on the way. My hope is to have it done within the month, mid-January at the latest. For updates on when Wage Slave Rebellion is available in print, sign up for my newsletter. I’ll also edit this post at that time. (Note: All short stories will be available in ebook only until a compilation volume is created. More information here.)
Q: Can I share this ebook with my friends?
- A: Go ahead. All my ebooks are DRM-free, because DRM is bullshit. I would, of course, prefer if you don’t create a torrent and share it with the whole world (though I doubt you’d get many downloads right now), but sharing it between your friends and family is perfectly fine.
Q: I don’t want to deal with exchange rates. Can I buy this in my own currency?
- A: Probably. Amazon publishes the book across multiple versions of the Amazon site worldwide, and you can buy it on many of them. Regions include Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, & Mexico.
Q: My country isn’t there. What do I do?
- If you can’t make a purchase from one of the Amazon sites above, that may be because Amazon doesn’t sell ebooks there, due to local laws and/or restrictions (ex: China, the Middle East). You can get around this in two ways. One, you can switch the country your kindle account is tied to in order to make a purchase, though if your address and credit card are still in your country of residence, you may be blocked. Two, you can buy the book from me directly with this link.
Q: Will this be available in language other than English? How about as an audiobook?
- A: Not at this time. Translations, along with audiobooks, are hurdles I’ve yet to tackle. If I get some measure of success then I’ll look into that, but I need to focus on the English versions for now.
Q: Why are there only four chapters?
- A: As my favorite author Terry Pratchett once said: “life does not happen in regular chapters, nor do movies, and Homer did not write in chapters.” I find them to be unnecessary stopping points that get in the way of the story, when my readers are perfectly capable of deciding when to take a break themselves. The divisions I do use, which I call Adventures (Adv for short), are more like episodes or acts in a play. I decided to use those primarily so my short stories can use the same numbering scheme (Ex: Adventure 5: Action Politics), to avoid confusion in the series chronology.
Q: This isn’t about anime. Why are you posting about this on an anime site?
- A: I’ve been working on this book for a long time, and because I wanted to tell all of you first, Divine was gracious enough to let me make this post. I promise I won’t try to turn Random Curiosity into my personal marketing platform or anything. I will not be making special posts for any future short stories or novels. If you want to keep up with my work, sign up for my newsletter, go to my website stephenwgee.com, or follow my personal twitter @stephenwgee. I’m also on Goodreads, though I don’t totally know what to do with it yet.
Q: How do you pronounce your name?
- A: Stephen as in Stephen King or Stephen Hawking, and Gee as in McGee without the Mc, or the same as a karate gi. And yes, that’s my real name. You can keep calling me Stilts though, because my friends call me that in person too.
Q: I saw your picture at the end of the book. I can see why you’re nicknamed Stilts now. How tall are you?
- A: 6’7″, or 200cm. I used to be even skinnier too. I … forget to stop writing and eat sometimes.
Q: Anything else you’d like to say?
- A: It was my birthday last Monday (Dec 8th), and my anniversary with RandomC is coming up on January 1st. Will you consider buying a book as a combination birthday/anniversary gift? Please? Pretty please? All right, I’ll stop.
Q: Where can I learn more about your work?
- A: Other than the Amazon page and my website, I just did an interview over at the book blog Little Red Reviewer, whose owner I met through RandomC reader and commenter, Mike (Hi, Mike!). Also, you have the author right here, so ask away. Though please avoid posting spoilers, for the benefit of other readers. Since it’s utterly impossible for me to be spoiled, I’ll be patrolling the comments pretty heavily to keep those locked down.
Q: What’s next for Firesign?
- A: I have more short stories planned for the immediate future. After that, I’ll pull all those short stories into a compilation volume, and it will be time for the next full-length novel!
Q: What if this one doesn’t sell well? Will you keep writing?
- A: There are two types of writers: those who would like to write books, and those who can’t not. I’m in the latter category. I’m too stubborn to stop, so if I’m at all able, I will finish this series, and it will have an end, though I’ve got a lot planned for it first. In three years at RandomC I’ve only ever dropped one series, so you know I don’t give up easily. But there may come a time when a deafening lack of success might wear me down too much, so if you enjoy this book, help me get the word out. That will help me keep writing more.
Q: Do you have other stories planned?
- A: Oh my, yes. One thing at a time, though.
Q: Is there any other way I can help?
- A: Tell your friends, family, coworkers, classmates, acquaintances, enemies, and any strangers who look like they might enjoy it. Amazon reviews are really helpful, and I would be thrilled to get them. Sign up for my newsletter, RSS to my website, become my fan on Goodreads, and/or follow my personal twitter to keep up on new releases. Keep being awesome. Thank you.
Thank you to Divine and the other writers for letting me make this post, and for letting me keep it stickied until the season preview comes out. You rock!