Reality is under assault. How can we be sure of anything anymore in an age of disinformation, strong and conflicting opinions, and powerful computer algorithms that feed us what keeps us engaged and enraged, but not enlightened?
Skunked is a ground-breaking novel that looks at how an information war can attack and almost destroy a decent, popular toy company. Beartopia is a St. Louis-area teddy bear maker that meets an existential challenge with ransomware attacks, corporate sabotage, and a flurry of fake news and gaslighting. The company eventually realizes that it will have to uncover the truth and reinvent itself to survive.
The hero of the story, Edward (don't call him Teddy) Bayer, has to fight back and save his company, coming up with one of the most ingenious toy designs since Tickle-Me-Elmo. In the process he develops new friends and discovers new enemies. He also grows up fast after the sudden death of his father, who had founded the company, learning the ropes as he goes with the help of his employees and his Chinese mentor and partner, Mr. Xiang.
But this hero's journey has more than one hero. Helping Edward to uncover the truth is his technology wizard, Casey You, a Chinese-American computer programmer who learns about her heritage in a visit to the Chinese teddy bear factory. She is the one who confronts the first attacks on the company and who figures out the depths and scope of the final, almost devastating, attack. Both heroes learn a lot about reality and themselves in the process, while developing a relationship between them.
Philosophy- the study of the nature of existence, asks a basic question- "What can we know?" What's fact and what's opinion? Skunked tells the story of a journey that we all are on- trying to sift through the fire-hose of news and content that assaults us every day while making sense of it all. Edward, Casey and the crew at Beartopia will take you through the looking glass and show you how they came out stronger than ever.
This book is in final edits and looking for a publisher. Editors who have seen it so far think it has great potential. I need an agent, beta readers, feedback, cover designs and layout designs now. If you'd like to be in on the action, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.