Prologue


HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION

By Jay Banksman

If I suck I’m sorry; writing is not my strong suit. Nor is it how I wanted to spend my summer vacation, but you asked for it. You contributed to the all-mighty hubbub surrounding my story. You wanted a novel, now here it is.

A little walkback. First: Stuff happened. You know the Stuff of which I speak. The Stuff you’ve read a million times already. Reported in the New York Times, then in Scientific American, and then finally in the longest Wired article ever. The Stuff that made the late-night circuit news, appearing on Colbert Report, parodied on South Park, expanding onward and outward, warping beyond reality into pop culture phenomenon.

I didn’t write that Stuff. I was interviewed dozens of times and though it was all my story, it was not telling my version of my story. But when it became obvious that the abundant coverage didn’t satiate the public, that there was still hunger for the exploits of Jay Banksman, despite the story having been told a bajillion times, a book deal was inevitable. So here we are.

Before writing this, the longest thing I’d ever written was a book report for Mr. Yale’s Advanced Literature class. It was on Snowcrasher, and padded with as many adverbs, clauses and ‘henceforths’ as I could muster and it still only squeaked by at nine and half pages. So when Nerdist.com offered me a book deal, my first response was “Hell no!” It sounded impossible, and a terrible use of my summer vacation. The last thing I wanted was to be chained indoors on my first summer of real freedom.

But then they offered me money. Fame. Sex. Well, not exactly sex, but admission into Stanford. Which, if the rumors about the Stanford parties are true, is basically the same thing. So, being only human, I quickly changed my answer to a resounding “Sure, why not.”

But why a book that’s ten times longer? What else is there to say that the Wired article didn’t already say? That article did a great job capturing the spirit of my spring and summer. It’s the perfect summary. If you’re looking for the Reader’s Digest version, Google it. It’s free. It’s just 5,000 measly words, just a little longer than my terrible Snowcrasher essay. It does a fantastic job detailing the events of my summer. It contextualizes it all and imbues it with Grand Somber Importance. It heralds a new era of artificial intelligence. It documents a pivotal moment in mankind’s history. It even conveys a little of the humor of it all.

But what the article fails to do is describe Liz Knight’s smile. Or the events behind Todd Haynes’ disappearance. Nor does it explain how Colin and I were not only equipped to survive the ordeal, but actually kick a little ass. So if you’re a sucker for those kind of details, this book’s for you. If you’re not: go read the damned Wired article again.

Next Chapter: Behind The Falls