Here at A Place to Hang Your Cape, we love hearing about interesting and unusual projects. Recently we were lucky enough to have a chat with Bob Collopy, a man on a mission to bring his unique take on dystopian fiction to an audience via Kickstarter. He sat with down with us to tell us all about The Phoenix Cycle and to explain exactly why famous philosophers are donning the metaphorical superhero’s cape in this action packed tale…
A Place to Hang Your Cape: To start us off, can you tell us a little about the story of The Phoenix Cycle?
Bob Collopy: The Phoenix Cycle is a YA, Sci-Fi, dystopian series that takes place in New San Francisco. New San Francisco stands alone on a now dead and ash filled planet. The city is structured in the same way Plato suggested in the Plato Republic. The farmers live with farmers, the business men with business men, the soldiers with soldiers and the elitist inner circle with fellow elites. The city also follows many of Plato’s suggested customs. Plato said this would make the most virtuous of cities, but in this case, it has spawned only vice.
The city is ruled by a powerful general who has somehow kept the American dream alive which is as he puts it, “To rise higher than you have ever stood before.” To achieve this dream, New San Francisco’s citizens will do anything to get ahead. They will steal, they will back stab, they will kill.
But not everyone is willing to live in a society such as this. Now a revolution brews within the ghettos. The revolution is headed by the forgotten inmates of Alcatraz, who are actually powerful philosophers such as Aristotle, Camus and Nietzsche. Together they will take on The General (who is actually a dark philosopher) and a populace that struggles to care about anything other than themselves.
AP2HYC:The story you’re telling sounds very dynamic and action-packed – not words one often associates with philosophy! How do these things gel together in your project and what made you choose philosophers as your ‘heroes’?
Bob: I think the best way to clarify how the philosophy and action blend is to compare my Phoenix Cycle series to the movie The Dark Knight. Remember The Joker? The Joker, believe it or not, was actually a philosopher.
That philosophy The Joker was touting was not really his own, it was actually Nihilism (a branch of philosophy). See, what made him so powerful was because towards the end of the movie you start to actually kind of agree with his beliefs! I think that’s a big part of the reason why the joker left such a big impression on people. So in a way, The Joker’s philosophy and his ability to convey it was truly his greatest power, because it moved people.
Expect the same from my book.
AP2HYC: What has been the most fun part of the process? How about the most difficult?
Bob: I’d say the most fun part was also the hardest. Keeping this story interesting while maintaining the quality of the philosophers arguments is no small task! I have read book after book on powerful philosophers. I have annotated and highlighted page upon page. It is not easy to fully grasp essays like “The Myth of Sisyphus,” let alone convey it in a way that is interesting and easy to understand for someone who has never even heard of philosophies like Absurdism!
AP2HYC: The characters in your book don’t exactly have standard superpowers – if you could have an unusual power what would you pick?
Bob: Haha. I actually know exactly what power I would want. I want the power to be able to live in a zombie apocalypse whenever I want, and whenever things get too hairy I can snap back to the real world and everything would be okay. That would be so cool!
AP2HYC: What made you decide to hold a Kickstarter campaign? Do you feel that Kickstarter, and similar concepts, are the way forward for independent artists and writers?
Bob: I launched a Kickstarter to get some much needed funding and to create awareness about my project. Nearly half of all books published now are published by the authors themselves. These authors need all the help they can get! And new authors need it especially because they get virtually no support from anyone. I encourage anyone who loves to read to support new authors who have shown they are truly passionate about their book and have put in the work to make their stories come to light!
AP2HYC: Lastly, what’s next for you? How do you hope to take the project forward from here?
Bob: Right now I only have a prelude out for my series. So the focus is to really get the first book in the series finished and out there!