July 22, 2012

Vitamin F

I'm delighted today to be hosting Len Berry on his blog tour for his new book, Vitamin F.


For the longest time, I was going to treat Vitamin F as a trunk novel, setting it aside until I needed to release a book. I was more interested in trying to release something more action-oriented that would reflect my typical tastes. Explosions, biotechnology, action, intrigue, and explosions, that’s what I usually write.

Vitamin F isn’t like that at all. Instead, this dystopian science fiction focuses more on the subtle differences that separate it from our modern world. Yes, there are explosions and intrigue. I’ve got a few bits of combat, but it’s not a major feature of the story. I have biotechnology, but in a more practical, plausible form. Instead of trying to have heroes and villains, Vitamin F uses normal people as the core characters.

Which brings up the question, why am I releasing Vitamin F now?
In recent months, the modern world has gone through some distinct cultural changes. We’ve had a major political party try to make a policy war on women’s health, while trying to cut back on financial aid to the poor and students, and attempts to regulate voting and marriage well beyond any necessary levels. We hear the words all the time.

War on Women. War on Gay Rights. War on the Poor. War on Students. War on Latinos.

This is the kind of thing that predominates the news and the political discourse of the United States currently. I am a firm believer that when someone is bullied on end for a long period of time, eventually, they will fight back. In the course of history, the victors in such a conflict, especially when its between ethnic groups or nations, tend to oppress the losing side, maybe even for generations. I do not want to see this point reached with the current political state.

One of the main functions of Vitamin F is to provide a glimpse of a future where homosexual women are the most common and heterosexual men are exceptionally rare. I wanted to explore the nature of tolerance and intolerance. I wanted to examine the conflict of the sexes, as well as the conflict between sexual orientations. To achieve this, I needed to represent all sides of this battle. On one extreme, I have Oriane, a fearsome woman who is devoted to her wife and would prefer that “a male’s purpose is to be naked, quiet, and secrete reproductive fluids.” Her opposite is Adam John, a violent man who feels the old “barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen” line is too liberal.

These characters are quite literally at war with each other. They don’t want to negotiate, they only want to violently eradicate the other from the face of the Earth.

Now look at today. Our leaders don’t talk with the leaders of the opposing Party. Instead, they yell and make accusations, half of which are false, just to make the other guy look bad.

New ideas of liberty and health come about every day. Those who proclaim they want to help get Americans back to work spend all their time trying to make abortion unavailable, even to those who need it most. I saw that a lot of lawmakers were trying to turn the United States into a business driven version of Gilead from The Handmaid’s Tale and decided I was tired of it.

I didn’t feel like going into politics myself and I couldn’t stay quiet on the subject any more. I felt I had to say something, I had to do something to let others know that we were going too far. As a writer trying to build a library of stories available to the public, there was only one thing I could do.

I had to release Vitamin F.

Now, I can say that I wanted to use it as a way to get noticed by an agent or editor, which would be nice. My real reason for releasing this book now is to show the world what happens if people are oppressed for too long, what happens when the state tries to control the simplest things about life, and what happens when innocent people are caught in the conflict.


Len Berry, a lifelong resident of Missouri, studied biology before turning his imagination toward writing. In his spare time, Len enjoys drawing, watching anime, and playing an occasional video game. He is the author of the dystopian e-book Vitamin F, now available for Nook and Kindle. Since Len is an active blogger, you can find out more about him and his projects at http://lentberry.wordpress.com.

On Nook: http://t.co/rLLiVugT

On Kindle: http://t.co/VMurredi