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A novel about one woman's fear of dying and her relentless pursuit of eternal life

At some stage in your life you’ve probably considered the possibility of living forever. But can you imagine the impact a cure for aging would have on the population? What would we really do if we discovered the secret to eternal life? These questions run throughout Ghosts in the Machine, – speculative fiction that spans the genres of sci-fi and human interest.

Ghosts in the Machine is the story of Angela, a successful businesswoman who has an overwhelming fear of death. Her anxiety is so strong that it drives her towards a ruthless career in the pharmaceutical industry, where as the CEO of a global organisation she diverts much of the company’s research budget towards finding a cure for aging.

Angela discovers that she has terminal cancer, which forces her to consider her legacy. To leave her mark on history she creates a Nobel-style prize fund in her name and also donates some of her healthy eggs to a couple who are unable to conceive, leaving behind a video diary and her fortune to any offspring they produce.

Her daughter Marie continues Angela's life work until she is forced to face the reality of a world increasingly crowded by an aging population. Marie uncovers a shocking plot by the world’s elite to reduce the global population and puts her life on the line to fight them. In turn, they will stop at nothing to find an aging cure and secure their eternal playground.

Meanwhile, the decay of the human race continues, in a dystopian landscape that Angela has helped to create. The immortal remnants of humanity, who are mad from having lived too long, must attempt to stop the aging cure from ever being found.

Ghosts in the Machine explores the human conditions of death and aging, and in doing so responds to a terrifying thought – what happens if we actually find a way of living forever?

John is a graduate of Brunel University, where he received a First Class Honours Degree in English with Creative writing. He formed a successful copywriting agency soon after, which he sold before the tender age of thirty. He very recently formed a crowdfunding agency called TribeFirst, which is the world’s first crowdfunding agency dedicated to supporting both equity and rewards campaigns in the arts, entertainment, sports, technology and business.

As a crowdfunding consultant John has written campaigns that have achieved global acclaim, such as Project Brabham, a new concept in motorsport that was endorsed by a number of Formula 1 legends.

Ghosts in the Machine is John’s second book, his first being a university project that he turned into a full manuscript and published independently. John is a big believer in crowdfunding and sees it as the future of the publishing industry, so as soon as he heard about Unbound he jumped at the chance to crowdfund his second book on the platform.

A light flickered, which was the only warning that anything was amiss. Angela surveyed the backs of the heads of the other four people in the lift. They were eclectic to say the least: a middle-aged, Asian woman; a young, attractive couple; a black woman in her late twenties or early thirties with blue hair and a nose ring. Hospitals had a way of bringing diverse groups of people together. She had private medical cover, of course, but her GP had still referred her to the Royal Berkshire for tests. She did sometimes wonder what difference the extra money made.

The lift lurched, startling her. The young redhead, one half of the couple, gasped then looked immediately embarrassed. The lift started moving again and the brief moment of anxiety passed. Angela checked her phone. She hated confined spaces, especially ones that put her out of the reach of a mobile signal.

The lift stopped at the next floor and the middle-aged woman stepped off. Angela briefly considered leaving the lift and walking the rest of the way, but dismissed it as an overreaction. Before she had the chance to take action, a young male nurse wheeled a jaundiced-looking elderly gentleman into the space vacated by the woman. Angela stepped back to allow them some room and the lift doors closed.

The lift suddenly lurched again, coming to a complete stop this time. The young woman let out a small yelp and the elderly gentleman in the wheelchair groaned. The young woman’s boyfriend laughed lightly but nervously. The lights flickered and then went off completely, to be replaced with an ominous red emergency light.

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Second draft submitted

Sunday, 19 March 2017

I've been incredibly remiss with these updates lately, so thanks for bearing with me. It's been a hard slog balancing redrafts with the day job, and whilst there's been a slight delay in submitting my second draft, it's only because I wanted the manuscript to shine as much as I thought it could. It's looking great now, so I promise the wait was worth it!

Only a few months ago I was assigned by…

We're getting published!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Wow! Amazing news - Ghosts in the Machine is going to be a proper book and everything! A massive thanks to Serkan from Boa Branding who got me across the line in spectacular fashion by pledging at the highest level.

So what does this mean? I imagine it means that while most of you are enjoying the summer sunshine, I'll be slaving away in this shed, working to tight deadlines and acting on my new…

Nearly at the finish line, and my inspiration behind writing the book

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Last week Ghosts in the Machine passed the 70% mark, which means we’re on the final stretch towards getting funded! Thanks so much to everyone who has helped me get this far.

We’re moving into the final weeks of the campaign and a hard push is needed to get us across the line. You’ve already done so much by pledging or following my campaign, but there’s still more you can do.

For example, it…

(Eternal) life imitating art

Saturday, 7 May 2016

A story appeared in the news this month of a biotech CEO who performed gene therapy on herself. This is frighteningly similar to the plot of Ghosts in the Machine, where Angela, the CEO of a pharmaceutical company is developing an anti-aging cure.

The drug in Ghost in the Machine? Bioauxanein. The name of the biotech? BioViva.

In real life, Elizabeth Parrish has apparently used a revolutionary…

Themes: overpopulation and increased longevity

Saturday, 2 April 2016

I thought it would make sense to share some more information about themes, since lots of people I connect with on Twitter are particularly interested about the subject of increased longevity and what it might mean for us.

Overpopulation is a very current issue, and we're all seeing the effects of the aging population. Public resources are increasingly stretched and the age at which most of us are…

Jamie Mann
Jamie Mann asked:

When you think about the not-too-distant future, are you hopeful and optimistic, or fearful and pessimistic when considering how advancements in science, technology and healthcare will impact on society and the human race in general?

John Auckland
John Auckland replied:

Hi Jamie, thanks for your question. My answer is that I'm both hopeful and fearful. Think of it like 1984 - the technology Orwell predicted has indeed permeated out lives, and many of his political and social premonitions have also come true. However, his dystopia hasn't been fully realised because, I believe at least, Orwell's book showed people the dark side, so we didn't allow ourselves to become so severely subjugated. I attempt the same thing in Ghosts in the Machine, to show the worst that can happen from following our current trajectory, and hope it will lead to society exercising more caution.

Catherine Breslin
Catherine Breslin asked:

Hi John,
What do you make of the 'other end' of the dilemma - voluntary euthanasia? Perhaps not as (allegedly satirically) proposed by Martin Amis, several years ago: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/jan/24/martin-amis-euthanasia-booths-alzheimers
But why should what he's saying be considered anymore offensive than Angela's mission?
Looking forward to the novel!
Catherine

John Auckland
John Auckland replied:

Hi Catherine. That's a very good question, and a topic with deeply divisive views that, I must admit, I'm conflicted about. I think it should be allowed on the basis that it should be an individual's right to choose to end their pain, but it's such a difficult area because it's open to exploitation. Framing it in the background of my book, I think voluntary euthanasia will become a necessity in the future as we live longer and find more ways of extending life. People will always endure hurt and suffering no matter how far medical science advances, and all medicine/technology will do is extend the pain. However you look at it, we need to find a resolution to that problem.

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