Gary Morgenstein is a journalist, public relations expert and author with a passion for the sport of baseball as well as science fiction. A New York native, Morgenstein not only grew up loving the Yankees, but Star Trek as well and took those two influences to write his latest novel, A Mound Over Hell. A book about a dystopian future where the United States loses World War III and the last bastion of American society has out lived its relevance. Basically, the national past-time has lived well past its time.
We caught up with Morgenstein about his book and here is what he had to say about the first book in this trilogy.
FanboyNation (FBN) – Can you tell us about A Mound Over Hell? My science fiction novel A Mound Over Hell is set in 2098, twenty-five years after America has been defeated by the Islamic Caliphate. We’re now surrounded, but still an independent nation. Under the leadership of the elderly Grandma and The Cousins, a new society called The Family has been established based on love, ethics, and honesty. What a notion, right?
Gary Morgenstein (GM) – All acts of patriotism, from flying the flag to singing the National Anthem, are illegal. Social media has been banned under the Anti-Narcissism Act, so we couldn’t do this interview. Religion is illegal. Teachers, police, and doctors are the most trusted professions, while the entertainment industry, lawyers, psychologists and banks are outlawed by the Anti-Parasite Laws I and II. Robots with faces are also outlawed.
As the book opens, baseball begins its final season. The sport is now synonymous with terrorism and treason. Holograms run the bases for out-of-shape players. The only ballpark left is Amazon, the once-famous Yankee Stadium. Led by baseball historian Puppy Nedick and a band of former greats, baseball regains its popularity only to become a pawn between those who want peace, and those eager for another war.
(FBN) – What inspired you to write this science fiction baseball novel?
(GM) – These are two of my great loves, along with politics and history. Combining baseball and science fiction is very rare, although some sci-fi peeps have pointed out there was an episode on “Deep Space Nine.” I don’t want to claim my novel is the first, but it certainly re-imagines the genre. Since baseball is so old-fashioned and, to some with slow minds, slow, science fiction writers don’t think it’ll make it into the future. I wanted to turn things upside, making baseball represent what America once was – for which it is reviled.
(FBN) – How much do you root the novel in the present?
(GM) – The beauty of writing speculative fiction is you build upon existing events and take them to that next terrifying, thought-proving level, like George Orwell’s 1984 or Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, along with a healthy dose of Philip K. Dick. I’m a huge fan of The Man In the High Castle. The greatness of science fiction is asking “What if?”. So what if America actually lost World War Three to an ISIS-clone? And what does that say about an America in decline which could lose a major war? That’s where my eclectic characters take over, almost all of whom are diverse because this is the United States in the 22nd Century.
(FBN) – What’s the message of A Mound Over Hell?
(GM) – Since the book is now in the hands of the readers to interpret, that’s for them to decide. But if you pointed a phaser at my head, I’d say it’s that hate begets hate and sooner or later, the cycle must be broken.
(FBN) – Where can readers find your book and find you?
And they can follow me at @writergary or garymorgensteinauthor.com.
The first book in The Dark Depths series. A Mount Over Hell is Gary Morgenstein’s fifth novel. His previous novels were Jesse’s Girl; Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman; Take Me Out to the Ballgame and The Man Who Wanted to Play Center Field for the New York Yankees. A playwright as well, Morgenstein wrote the critically acclaimed off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Anthem, as well as the sci-fi musical Mad Mel Saves the World. His stage dramas include A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx, Right on Target, Ponzi Man and Saving Stan. A former editor-writer for Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Morgenstein is developing a wrestling-sci fi graphic novel series The Last Wrestler with legendary journalist Bill Apter and writer-artist Ian Anselmo.