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Tuesday, 15 December 2020

☀ The Rage Room - Lisa de Nikolits

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for The Rage Room, a Dystopian Sci-fi by (, Inanna Publications, 300 pages).

Don't miss our review of The Rage Room, coming on 18 December! Many apologies but I have been delayed and am at 53% and so far it is a page-turner - most imaginative and topical! 

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis and the excerpt below.

A word of warning: in my opinion the synopsis below gives away too many spoilers which do not begin to take place until about 37% into the book!

Author Lisa de Nikolits will be awarding a $15 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.   Please do take part: comment on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read other excerpts (☀) and reviews (✍).

|| Synopsis || Excerpt || Review || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


“Leave it to the wild imagination of Lisa De Nikolits to bring us the dystopian future of The Rage Room, an extraordinarily inventive speculative fiction thriller with a decidedly feminist bent. Fast-paced, funny, bold, and completely engrossing, The Rage Room is an allegory, a cautionary tale, and a rollicking good read that will stay with you long after the last page has been turned.” —Amy Jones, author of We’re All in This Together and Every Little Piece of Me.

The perfect father kills his family on Christmas Eve, and tries to undo his actions by jumping back in time. The result is murder and mayhem in dystopia. Set in 2055, the world is run by robots and virtual data, while the weather is controlled by satellite dishes. Arts and culture are no more than distant memories. People are angry, placated by prescribed visits to rage rooms to vent their boredom, fury, and discontent. Beneath the sunny skies and behind the garbage-free suburban McMansions live deeply disturbed, materialistic families.

During his time travels and increasingly desperate attempts to reserve his colossal mistake, Sharps Barkley meets the leader of the Eden Collective, a feminist army determined to save the Earth by removing all artificial intelligence and letting the Earth restore itself—if necessary, at the expense of mankind. The Eden Collective uses data gathered from the rage rooms to analyze and predict the potential and actions needed for the Earth to reset and they need to prove that time travel is an effective tool. If Sharps can go back and save his children, then there is hope for the future. Sharps is the 49th experiment and his success is pivotal. Can love prevail over anger?

The Rage Room has a multi-layered plot that is fueled by a feminist-driven courage to take charge and save the world as it exposes the effects of an increasingly digital age on our lives and, ultimately, our humanity.


3. Glory Days

A pay-to-play lottery. Our first project. Targeted Shoppers, or TC’s, had to rack up WinCreds by joining a points program which would score them a golden ticket to try out for the next golden ticket. If they won the round, they were promoted to a higher grade. There was a thirteen- level maze of lottery wins and points acquisitions and TC’s had to shop their way through all of them. Finally, with the odds at one in three million, they got to be one of a dozen Contestants on 123BlikiWin, the hottest reality TV program out there. Jazz and I created it. Correction, Jazz did. He invented the whole thing and it was gold.

“We were a great team. We are a great team,” I insisted. “And even more genius was us sitting on for years, milking it. Did you score more vintage games while I was gone?”

He shook his head. “Nah. Minnie’s cracked down even harder.”

Great. Going back to work wasn’t only going to be super stressful, we didn’t even have games to pass the time.

“Hey,” I said, “maybe we can do a rerun of ClothesKissezThugs?”

ClothesKissezThugs was Jazza’s follow-up idea to the Lottery 123BlikiWin. He said it was inspired by the religious baptismal trucks that rolled out after Minnie the Great’s Supreme World Leader inauguration but instead mimicking her Come-to-Jesus marathon, we marketed Come-to-Style. We paced our pitches, riding the 123BlikiWin as long as we could before offering up the couture trucks of ClothesKissezThugs.

I loved Jazza’s way of thinking and at first we had fun, hanging out at work, gaming and eating crap and feeling like we owned the world but then Mother kicked me out. She said I had to get my own apartment. She said it was time for her to do something meaningful for her life and that she was cutting the umbilical cord. I asked her what that meaningful thing was because perhaps I could do it with her but she just looked cagey and said I wouldn’t understand.

And I got tired of cleaning up Jazza’s mess at work. It was like the guy couldn’t be in a room for ten seconds without making it look like Hoarders met The Trashman from Outer Space. About two days into our partnership, he looked over at me.

“Clean the shit up,” he said. “If you need to. But don’t expect me to do any of it and don’t expect me to change.”

Relieved that he understood me, I bagged his crap, wiped his sticky fingerprints off the surfaces and Lysoled the world endlessly. Cleaning brought me peace. Jazza said I was OCD and that there was a pill for that and I said who cared, there were clean wipes and BleachKing, I didn’t need pills or his psychoanalysis, thank you very much.

But, after career success, what was next? I began to feel empty. Bored. Lonely. I hit the rage rooms even harder.

The rage rooms were Minnie’s idea. Three years after her ascent, an outbreak of violence spread throughout the world and people smashed up cities, rampaging with baseball bats, hammers and wrenches. Minnie had outlawed firearms so at least no one got shot but the damage was nonetheless widespread and extensive. Rioters tore down parks and buildings, smashed cars and looted malls. Minnie called in an alarmingly large secret AI army. She teargassed the unruly and got things back under control. Who knew she had an army? We fell in line pronto. We thought Minnie would be furious and punitive in the aftermath but instead, she was sorrowful.

“I get it,” she said with that chocolatey voice, direct to our flashviews via our cps. “Life is tough. Even when it’s good, it’s tough. Everyone has anger issues. You just need a place to express your true emotions. I didn’t realize, when I banned the Internet, that it was a drug you were hooked to. It was a place you could vent your opinions and feel like you had been heard.” She didn’t say that we were all idiots, addicted to expressing idiotic opinions but it was clear enough from her tone

“But,” she said, and her voice turned stern. “You misused the tools. I mean, my goodness, exchanging pictures of your genitals and having sexual relations willy nilly!

Encrypting messages so child pornography could thrive? You lost your way. And, by God and through God, it is my Divine Destiny to help guide you back to the path of Light. God handpicked me for this job, me, with Mama at my side and we will help you!

“I thusly decree that rage rooms shall be constructed, places where you can express your most basic hatred and fears. Because I realize now that much of life is fueled by hatred, rage and fear. That is just the way man is. You are fundamentally flawed. But, flawed though you are, you were created in God’s image, and it is my Divine Task to help you shed the wages of sin and find your way back to that image, back to the perfect human beings that you were before you ate the apple and were lured by the snake.”

And, by Minnie’s side, her mother, Mama, leaned in and whispered something into Minnie’s ear and Minnie nodded.

“Before the Advent of Minnie, the world was depressed, obese and morbid. You spent your lives staring at screens and arguing with strangers with your ignorant opinions or pretending to love each other with likes or haha or sad faces. Emoticons! Banning emoticons was one of my greatest triumphs. Learn to talk to each other, don’t gesticulate like uneducated children flashing reader cards with a stupid face.”

A wild look had come into Minnie’s eyes and Mama laid a reassuring hand on her shoulder. Mama whispered something else and Minnie nodded again.

“But all is not lost. Every step is a step forward. So we are going to give you fun! We are going to make you happy! I thought sunshine every day would make you happy but no! I gave you solid Vitamin D, not a cloud in the sky! Then you complained, why are there no clouds you asked? You people are so hard to please! Why are you so hard to please? So I got you clouds.”

She shut her eyes and Mama patted her again. “Right. There shall be rage rooms where you can express yourselves to your heart’s content.”

In addition to the rage rooms, Minnie poured money into streaming new shows. Robots invented new dances and we became preoccupied, adult and child alike, trying to learn new moves and share clips of ourselves thus engaged. Once again, we found ourselves staring at screens, our viewing monitored by Minnie the Belle.

Minnie also gave us comfort centres. I tried them out but I’ve got restless leg syndrome and can’t lie still for any amount of time without feeling like I’m going to go nuts, the ants under my skin want to eat me alive.

“Nope, we ran ClothesKissezThugs dry.” Jazza grinned, bringing me back into the moment. “Ha but we did good with CrystalMeBooty. Knocked it out the park, yeah? Think about the good times, buddy. That was you as much as me.”

I laughed. Despite the circumstances, it was good to be talking to Jazza again, reliving our glory days.

The follow-up to ClothesKissezThugs was CrystalMeBooty. Towering crystal-sided transport trucks rolled out with strobe lights and disco mirror balls and the music became urgent, angry and hateful which only increased its appeal. Not everyone could place a purchase, TC’s had to earn points to be a Big Spender, accruing a certain level of debt before being given access to the arenas of superior consumerism. And oh, the shame if you weren’t that level. For some reason, the Big Spender and CrystalMeBooty made even more money than 123BlikiWin. Pretty soon, the whole world was in hock, just to be on the so-called right playing field.

Meanwhile, my life became increasingly, utterly meaningless. I don’t know what I would have done if Celeste hadn’t come along. She and Bax changed everything. I finally knew my purpose. Family. My family was the only thing that mattered, the only thing that gave any kind of meaning to this sham plastic world. All I wanted was to be a stand-up guy. I wanted my boy to be able to say that’s my Dad! with a mixture of choked-up pride and overwhelming love. I wanted Celeste to look over at me, there’s my man, he’s the guy, don’t you know!

But the minute I had Bax, my worries increased a thousandfold. How would I keep up in this fiercely competitive world? And, increasingly, I couldn’t afford Celeste. Of course, Celeste was a great fan of CrystalMeBooty and Daddy’s money was, as he himself often reminded me, limited when it came to keeping Celeste in the style to which the world had told her she needed to remain accustomed.

And what about when Bax grew up? How could I make sure he had what he needed, to be part of the respected world of The Haves? How could I make sure he didn’t get into drugs? There were rumours of strange sex clubs popping up like fungi in a forest, which was a bit rich coming from me, given my predilections but I didn’t want Bax to end up an anxiety-ridden, anger-driven worrier like me.

What if you made the worst mistake of your life and got the chance to fix it? Only you made it so much worse?

The Rage Room
Available NOW!

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About the Author

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits is an award-winning author whose work has appeared on recommended reading lists for both Open Book Toronto and the 49th Shelf, as well as being chosen as a Chatelaine Editor’s Pick and a Canadian Living Magazine Must Read.

She has published nine novels that most recently include: No Fury Like That (published in Italian under the title Una furia dell’altro mondo); Rotten Peaches, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, and The Nearly Girl.

Lisa lives and writes in Toronto and is a member of the Sisters in Crime, Toronto Chapter; Sisters in Crime; Mesdames of Mayhem; and The International Thriller Writers.

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Giveaway and Tour Stops

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1 comment:

Lisa de Nikolits said...

So glad you're enjoying it so far!
Thank you and I really hope you'll enjoy the rest of the book!