Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crime Fiction to Science Fiction

James O'Neal

Hey Guys,

This is a quick, more personal note to the loyal readers of Naked Authors. As most of you know I had a book come out this week. It’s The Human Disguise under the pen name of James O’Neal, which is my middle name.

It’s a crime story set twenty years in the future so I had to extrapolate police procedure and social issues that might arise in twenty years. When I see a crime fiction fan roll their eyes at the idea of a science fiction, it’s hard not to explain to them that most crime fiction that they read is more outlandish than science fiction. But they watch Law and order so they're freaking experts. Sorry, I digress.

Back to The Human Disguise.

Here’s a better summary of the plot than I could write. This is from Publisher’s Weekly:

(Starred Review) The Human Disguise James O'Neal. Tor, $15.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2014-8
This near-future page-turner debut amalgamates apocalyptic science fiction, police procedural and thematic dashes of alien invasion and vampire mythos. Fighting wars in Syria, Iraq and the Balkans, the U.S. is on the precipice of anarchy. Manhattan is a radioactive wasteland, sprawling plague quarantine zones are commonplace and lawlessness is rampant. When Tom Wilner, a detective with Florida's underfunded Unified Police Force, witnesses a bloody shootout at a roadhouse, he becomes entangled in a vast conspiracy involving his estranged wife and her crime lord lover, a terrorist plot to detonate a dirty bomb in Florida and speculation about a race of godlike hominids and a looming alien invasion. O'Neal provides the postapocalyptic genre with few innovations, but his self-assured, hard-edged writing style, solid characters and wildly entertaining thriller plot will keep readers enthralled. (June)

I enjoyed writing the book and its sequel, The Double Human, and like the people at TOR very much. There is no downside. I’m getting paid to do something I love with people who a decent and fun.

My crime fiction buddy, Victor Gischler, talked to me one night about my interest in science fiction and suggested I follow my interest. He also ventured into the science fiction world this year with the outstanding Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse.

Now I’m trying to meet some of the science fiction people. The few I’ve met like Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, Ben Bova and Jay Lake have been top notch and extremely supportive. Now I’m hoping to meet more. I’m hoping this blog gets picked up by a science fiction site so they can see those of us over in the crime fiction arena have the same issues with publishers, distributors, critics and publicity as they do.

Feel free to drop me a line at or visit my website, .

Finally, for the last of my self-involved, pointless post, take a look at a newscast from my area two days ago:

If that doesn't work use this link:

I sent it around to a few buddies last night and one wrote back that the bad news is that the camera adds twenty pounds to you. The worse news is that, No, it doesn't.

Thanks for reading. I know a few of you are hooked into the science fiction scene. I'd appreciate it if you passed this post onto any of the SF fans or sites you know.
Feel free to contact me through or at my e-mail

I promise I'll go back to mindless dribble next week.



  1. William I. Tanner5/28/2009 5:14 AM

    Good luck with the new project. It is as entertaining as your cops books with a great twist.

    Bill Tanner

  2. James O. Born5/28/2009 5:41 AM

    Thank you for the kind wishes. It really is just a crime story at heart.

  3. Jim ordered our copy yesterday. Best of luck with the book.

  4. Any other familiar names in the book? Huh? Huh?

    Out to buy THD.

  5. from Jacqueline

    Best of luck with the book, Jim.

    You know, about twenty-three years ago, there was a TV series in the UK called "Space Cops" - a crime series set in the future, and it was really good! It wasn't all Star Trekky, with everyone in space suits - it was just about a team of cops who specialized in solving crimes in outer space - space stations, etc - and I never missed it!

    So, I am sure your book will be a hit - just the right combo!

  6. from Jacqueline

    I was wrong - it was called "Star Cops" and only about nine episodes were filmed, not because it wasn't successful, but because of studio industrial action. It has received more critical acclaim in recent years.

    If you're interested, there's a Wikipedia entry, and also various websites, including:

    Just a thought ....

  7. Jim....Nora Roberts writes her science fiction cop series under the name of J.D. Robb. It takes place in 2060. I don't much like her romance novels, but these are pretty good....I like the whole concept of future cops. Can't wait to read your new one!

  8. Jim,
    I like your "mindless drivel". It makes me laugh. So do your books.


  9. You owe me a beer.

    Victor Gischler

  10. James O. Born5/28/2009 2:35 PM

    Few people realize that Gischler and I are graduates of the same school. Not not FSU. I recieved my MS from Southern Miss and Victor graduated with a PHd from the wrting program. That's why he's so quiet and bookish.

  11. David Scholes5/28/2009 4:42 PM

    I like the sound of "The Human Disguise"

    I like the relatively near future time frame and will be interested in what sort of extrapolations you arrive at for a 20 year period.

    A couple of my own short science fiction stories such as "Grey Power" have also been set in the relatively near future.

    The link to my author page on the publishers web site is:

    Cheers and all the best

  12. Based on your success, I am giving a character the name of "Oprah Winfrey."

  13. Hi,

    We have just added your latest post "Crime Fiction to Science Fiction" to our Directory of Science . You can check the inclusion of the post here . We are delighted to invite you to submit all your future posts to the directory and get a huge base of visitors to your website.

    Warm Regards Team

  14. Lots of SF fans love crime fiction as well. It seems to be a natural fit. To my mind, many thrillers are also SF. There is often a new gee-whiz gadget that will change the world and the hero has to keep it out of the wrong hands. "The Boys from Brazil" and "Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow" spring to mind. There must be a zillion others.