Below are links to access / download various assets for Micah Joel and his works. If you need something that is not listed below, please contact Micah.
Micah Joel’s books combine geeky characters with cutting-edge technology, whether modern or ancient. Micah works as a professional geek in Silicon Valley. If you use the internet, chances are, you’ve run some of the code Micah’s written. Micah graduated the Viable Paradise writing workshop; an intense week on Martha’s Vineyard with John Scalzi, Steven Gould, and Elizabeth Bear, among others. He maintains a free and low-volume reading list at http://micahjoel.info/geeks
Official hashtag: #BrokenTablet
Official emoji: 💥📱
Why are readers delighted with Broken Tablet?
- It’s based on Mark Twain’s classic story A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, but with a much needed 21st century perspective.
- It includes a detailed map of the Ancient Near East circa 2000 BCE and gorgeous cuneiform typography.
- It provides an immersive, empathetic deep-dive into a long-forgotten culture, that of the Sumerians. (They’re not just for plot points on Buffy anymore!)
- It features a fictionalized version of the first poet known by name to history. And she doesn’t let the boys boss her around.
- It’s got a linguistic geek-out going on. See writeup on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog
- The book has a strong set of initial reviews. People love it and are calling for more. (The criticism that ‘it was too short’ is just about the nicest thing you can say about an author’s work)
Please see the Acknowledgements section of the book for a large, and still incomplete, list of the many folks who have helped make this possible.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
Believe it or not, Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash sparked the initial idea for this book. One of the side topics in Neal’s book was the “me” or Sumerian rules that defined the basis of their culture. What would it look like if these were physical objects taken at face value?
Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
I’m fascinated with the way that tablets have come full circle, being both one of the original pieces of technology (writing) as well as the latest modern gadget. So the cover captures this duality by depicting a clay tablet breaking away revealing a modern tablet underneath. This duality is runs throughout the book.
Who is your inspiration for Shiloh, the modern-day protagonist?
Shiloh’s not modeled after any particular individual, but combines aspects of a number of Silicon Valley folks from real life, including myself. For example, he’s an animal lover to the point of keeping a service dog on a volunteer basis. He’s also frustrated by the technological marvels he’s been a key part of creating. Nearly every person I talk to in the valley can identify with this!
What draws you to the time travel genre?
I’ve been a huge fan of time travel since 2199. In that genre, I’ve noticed that Euro-Western settings come pretty standard. I wanted to explore a distinctly non-European culture, in this case early asian/middle-eastern dawn of civilization, combining aspects of both sci-fi and fantasy. Nobody else was writing this, so I had to. 🙂
So you are working on more books in the series?
Yes, and later books skewer Silicon Valley culture more fiercely via the fictional company Ixion. Prominent figures who are highly revered are not always that great at being role models. The female protagonist in the next book has an ambition to pick up things where Nikola Tesla left off, which has been great fun to write.
Why should readers give this series a try?
It’s written for geeks, by a geek. It includes a sympathetic main character, as fed up with technology as any of us. Then it throws this character into a situation unlike anything you’re likely to have read about before. In the end, this is a celebration of geek culture, and all the amazing things that people can accomplish. Enjoy!