Thursday, March 16, 2017

PARADISE GARDENS, corporate business dystopia by Susan I. Weinstein published by Pelekinesis

Paradise Gardens to be audiobook by Paul Alves of The Book Guys
 For reading/performance from Paradise Gardens at Dixon Place, October 6th, look on their site
for video of Unimaginable Worlds lounge performance.

July 9th at 6PM, Cornelia St. Cafe, Spoken word readings by me and actress Sara Minisquero
Dystopias and utopias: Corporate business of PARADISE GARDENS, Mermaid oceans of Tales of the Mer Family Onyx.
Vimeo Note, these readings are from New Editions of Paradise Gardens and Tales of the Mer Family Onyx. These books aren't reprints. I rewrote and illustrated to make them best they could be.
So, if you choose to  purchase, get the good ones. On Kindle it's the same price but there's no comparison. Thanks.  

Year 2250, The Earth’s Surface
The Selling of Paradise Gardens

If Madge Chilton wasn’t sure she was alive, it was clear she wasn’t dead. The problem was a matter of per- sonal style and professional necessity. Being pleasant and agreeable
was the stock and trade of public relations. Who cared about the emotional burn-out after decades of calculated pleasantness—her real personality mourned like a memory? Eject self-pity, she thought, crossing the eerily deserted lobby of the crumbling New York Sher- aton. You can’t afford it. Wasn’t it her reputation for equa- nimity that helped her win Paradise Gardens?
Madge reached the peeling brown and gold enam- eled elevator doors and hit the Up button. Where was Security at 9:30 Sunday morning? The conference was at ten. Greenfield was expecting her to deliver his guests in good condition. No easy teleconference for this job, the content was too sensitive. Why they needed outside PR and Greenfield had chosen her when he could have had anyone. “Cracker-jack,” he said. Big agency quality yet small enough for the personal touch. Small is right,she thought, examining herself in a mirror beyond re- silvering. She pressed the elevator button and took a last professional look.
Only 5’3” but she could inspire confidence. Madge’s dark brown pageboy bobbed around her jaw line in a precise curve. Her neat die-cut features were also pre- cise, a theme echoed throughout her thin body encased in a vintage Chanel-like suit. She made a small adjustment to her pageboy wig with scarcely a thought for the once rare, now not all that uncommon allergy that led to hair loss. Otherwise, she was amazingly intact for thirty-five, espe- cially for those working in non-corporate environments in the late 2250’s.
The elevator banged to a sharp halt a foot below the floor line.So much for the twentieth century, she thought, climbing down onto a powdery gray carpet. No longevity to synthetics, she tsk-ed. Madge pressed “Empire Room,” hoping the elevator could find it. Madge checked her purse for her elevator kit, the pocket acetylene torch and nylon cord for impromptu hikes between floors. She also found her contract with the Sheraton, which spelled out their obligation to supply security, digital display listing the meeting, easel signs, projector and screen for power point, pitchers of drinkable water. They also were to receive a box of physical press kits for corporate honchos and Human Resources.

Behind the softly thudding door of The Empire Room, Madge saw folding tables, her box of kits, a few empty pitchers. Well the security and signs were a bust and once again, she’d have to hunt for AV equipment. With the collapse of digital media in the late 2030’s, revival projectors and screens were at a premium. The sudden series of sun flares that collapsed the grid were called the hand of God by vigilantes, who destroyed skeletons of systems that remained. Technology became invisible, private and rudimentary in an unconnected world. With scarce access to materials and suppliers, cities had emergency systems for every day and husbanded energy within guarded compounds. She had paid the Sheraton to insure the risk.
Madge wheezed, spotting dust-laden drapes and, poking out behind them, a projection panel. Her throat tightened. An inhaler was in her purse. Quick puffs took her over dubious rugs to the ladies room. She sat on the floor, sprayed into her mouth and breathed. Eyes closed, she willed the relaxation mecha nism to take over her body. Once again she reviewed her pitch. Imagine Paradise Gardens. If you can’t leave the City, go underground! Discover a business situation where you’re completely the boss, on your own estate. No outside interference at all!

Her throat was open, she was breathing easier now, the pitch ran smoothly through her brain. An initial investment and monthly fee are a small outlay for a uniquely stable environment. What you leave behind: Madge paused to spray more medicine. Now came the visuals. New York City at rush hour. Close-up on boarded- up subway tollbooths and sealed Metro-card swipers. A long line of employees give a transit policeman corporate tokens. He deposits them in a locked box guarded by another transit employee. Tension, as each passenger is allowed through the gate.
Another close shot of the policeman’s rifle. Close to the barrel, a ragged derelict raves about putting “Public” back into transportation. The policeman looks at him indul- gently, relaxing a microsecond. The derelict blows up the sta- tion and takes the box. Close on the derelict’s arm sans rags. Revealed are undisguised tattoos, ritual scars distinguishing a gang-man.
Then recognizable images with impact, Madge thought. People blanked–out, transit blow–ups, a gang takeover of the subway,a carpool abduction. Though corporate Human resources departments encouraged the use of helmets, a means of processing such trauma, the effect was not complete. Subliminally, many people knew what as going on. And the higher echelons, the corpo- rate planners and strategists Nate Greenfield had invited, probably didn’t use the device. The reminder would be powerful.
Madge got up from the floor. She felt well and con- fident about her pitch for PARADISE GARDENS. As long as the equipment works, her last affirmation, before exiting the bathroom to return to the lobby and meet Nate. She found lobby lights and behind the reception desk some old cardboard. From her purse, she took a cherished old-stock felt-tip and lettered “Empire Room,” when she realized someone was behind her, Nate creepily smiling away. His sense of humor, she thought with irritation. Someday, maybe never, she would tell this client he smiled like an ecstasy cultist.
“New York’s an open sewer,” he greeted her......

review of PARADISE GARDENS New Edition
Fiction Bookshelf
Midwest Book Review

Synopsis: Something that could easily have been ripped from today's newspaper headlines in this our second Golden Age of Robber Barron capitalism as evidence by President Donald Trump turning his administration over to corporate executives and millionaires, and appointing to be heads of various governmental agencies men and women hostile to them in line with Steve Bannon's aspiration to 'deconstruct' the government."Paradise Gardens" by Susan I. Weinstein is a truly Orwellian novel of speculative fiction that is set in an all too believable near future world, where the Federal government has dissolved amid ecological breakdown.
"Paradise Gardens" becomes the home of the United Business Estates (U.B.E). Capitalism has devolved into the corporate feudalism of the U.B.E., where employees are conceived as Superior or Average to fit the needs of business. It is a vision at once strange and familiar. The recognition it brings is a dark pleasure.

Critique: Part of the attraction of "Paradise Gardens" is that it is all too believable given the political climate today where corporate money clearly dominates all three branches of the federal government (even to the point of running well funded television commercials promoting the appointment of a member of the United States Supreme Court), and the top 1% of the population control 80% of the country's wealth. Deftly written, "Paradise Gardens" follows in literary tradition of dystopian novels and his very highly recommended for both community and academic library Literary Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Paradise Gardens" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).

The Book Guys have announced a radio serial of PARADISE GARDENS. Stay tuned. First episode in July.
This is the Book Guys fun piece with me on dystopias, utopias, enlightened corporate business estates, life.

So glad to see Paradise Gardens join The Anarchist's Girlfriend in a special edition. The early 70's, 80's in NYC was a time of ideology, art and politics. Anarchist who believed in organic food, crazy socialists,a nihiist artist, and The Anarchist's Girlfriend, a mystic designer of clothes of the future and go-go dancer. It is a lighter book. Reagan era was a darker time, when I began Paradise Gardens. It's a dystopia where our brands are feudal lords, on corporate business estates. A bit close to the bone for 2017? But resistance is the message at end. 

I appreciate support of these new editions. and if a person would like to buy these books, please consider buying directly from the publisher The Amazon brand takes 60% of any sale. Small presses, like microbreweries, make books with care.

Only the New Edition of Paradise Gardens is updated  with 11 illustrations, the perspective of a preface, a Reader's Guide. And the layout is lovely, easier to read. So the Pelekinesis New Edition simply better.



Greenwich village of 2250s, reconstructed for professionals of the United Business Estates in PARADISE GARDENS.

Excerpt from Paradise Gardens:

“We have no control over city governments and the
Old Fed, whether the government’s garrisoned themselves
or not,” said Nate from his seat, eliciting some

“Abdicated their authority,” said the man. “Why
should my company have to pay off your local drug warlords?”

“A living situation you control is not an idle slogan,”
said Madge soothingly. “We’re talking about business as
government. That’s what you purchase. Our engineers have more than a vision. You can see the

Now the man looked enthusiastic. “My country is
working on a bubble over our islands. Isn’t this similar?”

“The United Business Estates is a Federation of Corporate
Businesses. Our motto is, ‘If you can’t leave the city behind, go underground.’ Each business is its own

country. But we govern together.”
Today, we have a guest post from novelist, Susan I. Weinstein, whose dystopian novel, PARADISE GARDENS, will be published in a new edition from Pelekinesis Publishing Group. This new edition contains wonderful illustrations by the author. You can read my review of on Goodreads, here. This novel is one of several new editions of Weinstein's work-- I interviewed her about THE ANARCHIST'S GIRLFRIEND on this blog (read the interview here.)

I'll let Susan take it from here.
Déjà vu our strange times.  In Nixon's 1969 America, a stranger leaped out of a car, took photos of me and my high school boyfriend and sped away. Afterward, I was called into the principal's office, and accused of being  a "ringleader" of a drug  ring.  My choice: give names or be expelled.  I gave facts.  My high school was conservative, mostly working class. Beer was the drug of choice and students  enlisted for Vietnam. Ten went to college.  One was me.  Fact: The drug ring never existed.

1969-70, I became an antiwar activist.  1980s, I began PARADISE GARDENS while working for a Wall Street publication for investors.  In that time, Reagan's religious right extolled corporate interests for the "elect.” Their destiny was to be rich.   In Manhattan, where I lived, this meant sky-high rents and asking prices. Rent-controlled apartments were preventing this preordained "destiny."  

SHE lowered her blinds, but it was too late. He had seen her.
2017 is again a time of deception and alarm.  Paranoia is a rational response to an insane society (to paraphrase Freud). In paranoid fiction, such as Philip Dick's 1968 "Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep," logic is non-linear.  Facades fall apart, and  truth is revealed in the chaos. 
PARADISE GARDENS begins in 2250, after government has dissolved amid environmental breakdown.  A real estate project underground  is sold  to the surviving corporate elite. Rather than Big Brother, a database runs this world and controls human destiny for the benefit of corporate planning-- even producing employees.  

Like most paranoid fiction, there’s a kind of clairvoyance in retrospect. Some elements that I wrote about, before there was an Internet, like  "Information Pirates" have already happened. But there is light and hope in PARADISE GARDENS.  I believe cautionary tales like this can bring us through our worst fears to a better  place.  We can sleep and imagine a more utopian future.

About Paradise Gardens

    “From the infinitely imaginative mind of Susan Weinstein, PARADISE GARDENS spins a fabulous web. Clever, funny, serious, and prescient, this novel takes us on a breathtaking journey. Lovers of Aldous Huxley’s and Margaret Atwood’s dystopias are in for a satisfying treat.”

    —Sonia Taitz, award-winning author of The Watchmaker’s Daughter and Great With Child.

    “One of the most disturbing yet oddly funny science fiction/dystopian sagas I’ve ever read. When corporations have wrung every drop out of nature and mankind has no other option but to build entire communities underground, how do you spin it to make it seem like a dream destination? You call it Paradise Gardens of course and you sell it like everything else. When we have no natural water, no natural food, and even the wind and the sunlight has been poisoned you will still have hucksters selling whatever is left for top of the line prices. A thought provoking story well conceived and brilliantly executed.”

    —Patrick King, author of the Shane Cullaine detective series