Author: S.C. Jensen
Narrator: Jennifer Blom
Length: 7 hours and 13 minutes
Series: Bubbles In Space, Book 1
Publisher: S.C. Jensen
Genre: Science Fiction; Cyberpunk
Strippers, Drugs, and Headless Corpses… All in a day’s work for Bubbles Marlowe, HoloCity’s only cyborg detective. What do an anti-tech cult, a deadly new street drug, and the corrupt Chief of Police have in common? It’s a question Bubbles can’t afford to ask. Last time she got curious it cost her job, a limb, and almost her life. She vows to stay out of police business. But with a newly minted cybernetic enhancement, a semi-legal P.I. license, and a knack for asking the wrong kind of questions… Vows are made to be broken, right? When a seemingly straightforward contract takes a dark turn, heads literally roll. Unless she wants to take the fall for the murders Bubbles needs to cut town on the double. Too bad she’s flat broke. And now, she’s being hunted. In a world where dreams can be made real for the right kind of dough, nothing is as it seems. One thing is clear, though. The dream is becoming a nightmare. As the body count stacks up, Bubbles realizes she’s made a terrible mistake. Can she figure out who is behind the murders before she loses her head? Warning: Don’t read this book if you hate fun, glitter, sassy robotic pigs, or hard-boiled badassery. Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett are rolling in their graves, but this is all their fault.
S.C. Jensen is a Canadian fiction writer, sci-fi enthusiast, and literary advocate. She lives on the windswept prairies with her husband, three children, and various fuzzy friends. When she’s not writing, she can be found trying to avoid mosquitoes, sunburn, and/or frostbite in the great outdoors. She loves to talk about books almost as much as she loves writing them, and is often chatting away on bookstagram @scjensen.author when she should be working. Shhh. Don’t tell her kids that’s what she does in the office all day. Visit http://www.scjensen.com to see what S.C. Jensen is up to. Sign up to the VIP Reader’s Club to get free books and special deals on new releases!
S.C. Jensen’s Top 5 Film Inspirations for Tropical Punch
- The Fifth Element
- This has always been one of my favourite SF films, and I found myself re-watching it halfway through writing Tropical Punch just to add a bit more glittery pizzazz to my space cruiser settings. You will definitely see some character inspirations popping up, too. Chris Tucker’s gender bending character, Ruby Rhod, was in the back of my mind when I created the fashion magnate Cosmo Régale. He’s a huge personality, and I also loved the way The Fifth Element flipped gender expectations. The (to us) effeminate Ruby Rhod was the epitome of high-fashion masculinity, and I really wanted to play with the idea of gender in this series. Although The Fifth Element is more Space Opera than Cyberpunk, it really helped me visualize a lot of my high-tech settings. The glitz and glamour of the rich and famous was an important dichotomy to represent next to the grit and poverty of life on the streets of HoloCity.
- Blade Runner/Blade Runner 2049
- Blade Runner represents of the of those rare instances where I love the film as much as the book it was based on. In my opinion, this is one of the best book to movie adaptations every made. It is not 100% true to the plot of the book, but I think it does an excellent job of exploring PKD’s themes in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in a way that stays true to the soul of the story. This is another classic in terms of cyberpunk aesthetic, too. The dark nights, neon lights, perpetual rain. It shaped the genre, in film and literature, for generations. The android Rachael is one of my favourite characters of all time and she inspired one of the characters in Tropical Punch (I won’t say who, no spoilers!). She is the ultimate femme fatale. Blade Runner 2049 expands on the success of the first film and is such a cinematic joy to watch. It is beautifully shot and scored, and the dull, throbbing ache to the emotional vibe is so cyberpunk it hurts. They are both must sees as far as I’m concerned!
- The Ghost in the Shell
- I know a lot of people didn’t like this movie. As I wasn’t familiar with the original, I didn’t really have any expectations going into it. I really enjoyed the visuals and the story and felt like it brought what I loved about Blade Runner and The Matrix, into the present day. The use of holograms in this film inspired some of the scenes in Tropical Punch. I liked the gritty use of back alley cybernetic enhancement, too. You will see a lot of parallels between this movie and my Bubbles in Space series, though Bubbles doesn’t take herself quite as seriously as Major!
- Cowboy Bebop
- Okay, it’s not a film. But this TV series is fantastic! My husband and I have been binge watching the whole thing. It’s also got a lot of Space Opera elements, but I love the way it blends in Cyberpunk themes and aesthetics. It showed me that I could mash up my favourite sci-fi genres and gave me a lot of ideas on how I might expand the Bubbles in Space series into a more traditional Space Opera. The storytelling in this series is absolutely phenomenal, and I really feel like each episode could have been expanded into a full length movie. But because they haven’t been, my imagination has been able to run wild with ideas!
- Alita: Battle Angel
- Technically I can’t call this an inspiration for Tropical Punch because I didn’t watch it until after the first book was written. However, I really love the combination of post-apocalyptic and cyberpunk settings in this movie! There are so many cool themes and ideas being explored in this film, I hope they’ll make more. Cyborg gladiators, the floating city, bounty hunters. Alita brings the high-tech, low-life vibe of cyberpunk into an even starker contrast and really pushes some of the boundaries we’ve come to expect. Here, cyberpunk loses it’s “retro” feel and steps into the future. For me, Alita really represents an evolution in the genre and I’m very excited to see what other new works it will inspire.
Q&A with Narrator S.C. Jensen
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
- Not really. I knew if the book did well enough it was a possibility for the future, and I knew I had fans who really wanted an audiobook version… but it wasn’t something I actively thought about while writing. It will be as I move forward with the series, though! There are definitely things I can do to make Jennifer Blom’s narration job easier.
- How did you select your narrator?
- Jennifer Blom was recommended to me by my producer at Audiobook Empire when I explained what I needed—husky voice, noir style, and a great sense of humour! As soon as I listened to the sample I knew she’d do a great job. It was a very easy process and I’m thrilled with the result!
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
- I wrote up a document with character personalities and details about the dynamics between particular characters, sometimes with references to well-known films to illustrate. I do feel that the audiobook is its own medium, though, and I really wanted Jennifer to get into the roles and make them her own.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
- The biggest real life inspiration is from my own battle with alcohol abuse and recovery, which is something the main character, Bubbles Marlowe is also struggling with. I have a great love of classic noir detective novels, and they are full of cigar-chomping, whiskey-swilling hard boys, and I wanted Bubbles to turn these tropes on their heads. She’s tough, but she’s driven by a need to prove her worth after recovering from addiction, and this makes her very vulnerable.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
- I have three kids aged 6-8, my husband is a long haul truck driver so I’m often solo-parenting, and we had to homeschool for the last year and a half. Maintaining a work/life balance has been challenging! I often wake up at 4am to get a few hours of writing in before the rest of the house wakes up. Fortunately, my enthusiasm for writing is always there. It’s my enthusiasm for laundry and housekeeping that suffers the most.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- I don’t have the opportunity to listen to a lot of audiobooks these days, as my kids are always with me and my tastes run a little on the dark side… I love the horror podcast PseudoPod, though, which I can listen to in bite sized chunks during those blissful moments of alone time!
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
- I can see that listening is a different skill from reading, but I don’t understand how one is inferior to another. Any way to enjoy a story is valid. I love plays, movies and graphic novels, too. They’re all different and they’re all great.
- How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
- I sent it off to my editor and got cracking on the next book! No rest for the wicked.
- What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
- I don’t have writing slumps unless there is a problem with the story I need to solve in order to move on, or if I’m just generally exhausted. Plotting helps one and rest helps the other! Reading slumps are trickier. Usually I will grab something fun and easy and read guilty pleasures until I get over it. Or watch movies instead.
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.