I thought it might be interesting for readers of Strictly Analog to get a sense of some of the locales that show up in the novel. Since I haven’t figured out how to travel into the future yet, all I can offer are current and past visions of Los Angeles and a bit of commentary to help set the scene for the future to come…at least the future as it’s envisioned in Strictly Analog.
For those who haven’t read the book yet, here’s a quick set-up: In Strictly Analog, readers are introduced to the Los Angeles of the near future, a future where California has seceded from the economically collapsed United States and is run by a corporate government called Cal-Corp. It’s a future in which the Golden State isn’t quite so golden, where the privileged maintain power in the bright, sexy urban centers and the less privileged are content to journey in from the suburbs to get a check for mopping the floors–anything to get away from the gangs and porn cartels that run the outlying areas. And it’s a future where a down-on-his-luck, one-eyed private detective can scrape by, making a living by skirting the new California’s ubiquitous technology and solving cases the old-fashioned way–by getting dirty when he needs to and letting instinct and guts get the job done rather than relying on internet searches and facial recognition software. At least that’s the way it’s been for Ted Lomax for the last eighteen years. But when his daughter Amy is accused of murdering her Secret Police agent boyfriend, Ted has no choice but to tear himself loose from the fringes of society and embrace the new technology if he’s going to save his daughter.
1. Ted lives in a storage unit in Hollywood, just off of Sunset Boulevard. When writing these scenes, I wasn’t picturing this version of Sunset Boulevard–the Beverly Hills Sunset with the palm trees and beautiful people:
But rather this sort of Sunset Boulevard, the kind of place you’d find at the eastern edge of Hollywood:
In the future of Strictly Analog, it’s the kind of Hollywood where one is more likely to have to fight off a street gang rather than a gaggle of paparazzi.
2. Because he’s locked out of the new California’s techno culture due to his war injury, Ted has to rely on his friend Philly, a high-end hacker who uses an old Hollywood movie palace as her front. The theater has been converted into an indoor skate park. Today there are still a lot of beautiful relics of LA’s movie-house glory days on Hollywood Boulevard and on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Several of these old theaters have been re-purposed, so it’s not too hard to imagine one of them being turned into a skate park in the future.
3. After getting the information he needs from Philly, Ted sets out for the Roosevelt Hotel, a Hollywood landmark that’s been around since the 1920s and isn’t much different in the California of tomorrow–with the exception of an Arabic sushi restaurant on the premises where patrons can listen to a jumping Morraccabilly band.
4. Once he gets deeply involved in solving his daughter’s case, Ted finds he needs more traditional information than can be found in all the technology the new California offers, so he heads to what’s left of the main branch of the Los Angeles library. Here’s how it looked in the past and not much different today:
In the future of Strictly Analog, the library serves as a storage facility for all the old books that no one has bothered to digitize. It’s also a place where the homeless and itinerant congregate for shelter and relief from the summer heat.
5. Armed with information, Ted sets out for adventures beyond Los Angeles, taking him both physically and mentally out of his comfort zone. When he comes back, he’s a changed man in a variety of ways and meets up with Philly once more at her apartment, a swanky building located at the corner of Central and Olympic, just to the east of downtown Los Angeles. Today, the corner is a parking lot in the produce district with a few businesses and a Burger King. For a short time back in the 1980s, I lived in the building that used to be on this corner and so imagined a futuristic reclaiming of the property as something completely opposite what it was and what it now is.
From there, Ted heads out once more, traveling physically and virtually to distant and dangerous places. I won’t give more away or even say where the final scenes take place. I hope, though, that this has given readers, especially those not familiar with Los Angeles, a sense of where the book takes place. And if you haven’t read it, maybe I’ve piqued your curiosity just enough to get you to check it out. The book is available from Amazon in e-book and paperback formats, and if you head over to the Amazon page, you can read a sample for free.