A free novel for the apocalypse
Bird Box author Josh Malerman surprised fans a couple weeks ago by announcing he’d be releasing his next novel, in serial format, on his website.
“I’d been gearing up to sit down and write Carpenter’s Farm, an idea for a novel I’ve had for a minute now,” Malerman tells Book and Film Globe. “Then I took all these factors into account: The world is locked down. I’m locked down. Readers are locked down. I’d love to give readers something free…I’ll write it “live” in that I’ll do a chapter, check it, (webmaster Todd Jackson) will post it…Del Rey was into it. My agent and manager were into it. And I was like, okay then, here we go.”
Carpenter’s Farm will become available in small doses, with Malerman writing and uploading new content every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. As of this writing, the first seven chapters of the novel are available for readers.
Malerman offers the following synopsis:
“Seven friends travel cross country to the middle of Michigan to check on a friend they’re concerned about. Oliver Carpenter had to leave New York; he was out of money, completely crestfallen from the failure of a terrible relationship, he had no leads. Except… his grandfather died, leaving Oliver his farm and farmhouse in Michigan…The problem is, the friends begin to worry that Oliver is doing… too well…They discover that the fields Oliver Carpenter has inherited grow a lot more than what they should.”
Malerman wrote a short story prequel to the novel a few years back (for the anthology Shadows Over Main Street). He offers some background on the title: “As a child of the 80s, some of the greatest horror movies of the day had a title that included John Carpenter’s name. He presented his movies as John Carpenter’s The Thing, John Carpenter’s Christine. So the title Carpenter’s Farm is absolutely a nod to that possessive Carpenter’s, no doubt.”
Fans of the serial novel are already contributing to the mythology of Carpenter’s Farm via social media, with readers posting eerie music accompaniment, artwork, and poetry. Malerman’s enjoyed the community response to the project.
”I hope more people send paintings, videos, stories, songs, book teasers, whatever. We’re all experiencing this frightening lockdown together. And while I’m currently camped on the optimistic side of the line here, it sure as hell doesn’t hurt to find a reason to write, paint, draw, sing, film.”
Malerman, like many authors caught in the net of the coronavirus outbreak, may need to find creative ways to promote and “tour” his upcoming sequel to the bestselling Bird Box. Currently due to be released on July 21, 2020, Malorie will attract a lot of attention because of the popularity of its prequel (both the novel and the hit Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock), but signing tours and appearances will have to wait.
At least for now.
Meanwhile, fans and readers looking for a good thriller to pass the time can enjoy Carpenter’s Farm from the social-distanced quarantine of their own homes.
“I’m writing the book either way,” Malerman says. “If I can gift some readers a small thing to be excited about every couple days, if I can add the literary equivalent to an episodic television series to their quarantine? Outstanding.”
To read Carpenter’s Farm, click here.