The Book Launch

By Mark Alpert


I’m too busy this week to write a long post, but here’s a photograph of the launch party for my latest Young Adult novel, The Siege. This book is the sequel to The Six, my YA novel about six dying teenagers who give up their failing bodies and download their minds into U.S. Army robots.

The big challenge of this series is to portray these six human-machine Pioneers as ordinary teenagers trying to adjust to their new steel-and-silicon bodies (and all the extraordinary powers that come with them). We’re accustomed to matching our identities with our flesh-and-blood bodies, so it’s interesting to imagine living outside them. If you replicated all the brain’s connections in silicon circuits, preserving all its memories and emotions and personality traits, would the intelligence inside the machine be the same as the one inside the skull? Or would it be a soulless copy? The robotic characters in The Six and The Siege still think of themselves as human, but most of the flesh-and-blood characters in the books are appalled and terrified by the transformation of the teenagers.

It’s particularly difficult to imagine boyfriend/girlfriend relationships among the robotic teenagers, and yet the Pioneers still form those kinds of attachments. Intimacy is possible even among robots, because the seat of love is really in the mind.

Is this a vision of the future? Will the human race eventually cast aside its fragile biological framework in favor of something more durable, and possibly immortal? I don’t know. But it’s fun to think about it.

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About Mark Alpert

Contributing editor at Scientific American and author of science thrillers: Final Theory (2008), The Omega Theory (2011), Extinction (2013), The Furies (2014), The Six (2015), The Orion Plan (2016), The Siege (2016), and The Silence (2017). His latest thriller, The Coming Storm (St. Martin's Press, 2019), is a cautionary tale about climate change, genetic engineering, and Donald Trump. His website:

9 thoughts on “The Book Launch

  1. Hey Mark; Congratulations on the new release. Always an emotional surge in celebration. In looking at the photo of your launch party, you might want to reevaluate your target audience. There is not one YA to be seen in that crowd. I’m particularly sensitive to that issue as I’m trying to find my perfect reader. It is the most important and (for me) the hardest task in writing fiction.

    Best of luck with SIEGE.

    • My 14-year-old daughter is in the photo. And there were a few more teens at the back of the room who aren’t in the picture. But you’re right, it can be a real challenge to engage teens and get them excited about reading novels.

  2. Mark, congrats on your new book launch. Every face in the Launch Party audience looks 100% engaged – good job. I recently read The Six and was thoroughly entertained. I think the story would make a good movie.

    • Thanks so much! My agent is working on selling the movie rights to the series!

  3. Congratulations! A photo is worth a thousand words, or something like that.
    My teen and I went to the local bookstore to get your books but they were sold out. That store is going out of business so we will order your books on line.. We got a copy of The Fault in Our Stars. I’m lucky that my son loves to read.

    • Thanks so much, Augustina! It’s particularly great when kids enjoy a wide variety of books. It’s like encouraging them to try different foods when they were younger. Life is more delicious when you have many favorites.

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