What I’m Writing: AW: The Taste Makers

A while back I wrote what I consider my first story about the end of the world. I’m a comic fan, and while talking to other comic fans, the subject of Christian mythology came up. I wanted to write a sort of buddy cop story set in the old city of Jerusalem, which I’ve always felt a special connection to, although I haven’t visited there recently. The result was a short work titled The Politics of the Apocalypse and it was published in HDWP Books’ Theme-Thology: Real World Unreal. It was a ton of work, and a ton of fun to write.

Then I was pointed toward a much bigger, far more ambitious project: a shared world where each contributor could wreck the world in his own fashion. I was hooked.

I’m a New Yorker. I was born here, I live here, and I’m probably going to die here. I take that reality very seriously. I complain—all New Yorkers do—loudly and frequently about the air, the heat, the cars, cabs, trains and subways, OMG the mayor, because that’s what we do.

But what got me thinking about the end of everything was the food.

Think about it. Americans are obsessed with food. Eat more? Eat less? Organic or non-organic? Vegetarian or vegan? GMO or non-GMO? Real sugar? Sugar substitutes? Canola oil or coconut oil? Only in New York City can a diner enter a restaurant and demand to know if the salmon on the menu is Atlantic or Pacific, without a hint of irony. Only in a foodie’s paradise like Manhattan can one find a dish to tweak any conceivable taste.

Bottom line: some eat to live, others live to eat.

But what if the food were the trap? What if we were so obsessed with the process of eating–who prepares it, how it’s prepared, where do the ingredients come from–that it literally killed us?

AW: The Taste Makers is what I’m writing to find out.

The book isn’t finished–it’s close, but not just yet–and it’s gone through several major revisions so far. I can’t even tell you if “The Taste Makers” will be the final title. But I can show you the pitch I wrote that got the publisher’s attention:

Wall Street crashes for the last time as a Food Network entrepreneur and his crew struggle to survive the unraveling horror of his latest venture.

A rash of murder-suicides ravage daily life as food preparation becomes a devastating weapon that knows no borders or boundaries, under the influence of forces beyond science.

As cursed novelty knives turn foodies into homicidal maniacs and a unknown blight destroys crops, the emerging elite horde supplies as cities become death traps and the countryside starves.

The Wolf of Wall Street meets Friday the 13th as financial sharks deal with demonic slashers, backstabbing greedheads, and a sea of their past victims in a bloody conflict where only the ruthless can survive.

The action swaps between the financial district and the upper east side, from the upper reaches of the Freedom Tower to Central Park and Chinatown while a NYPD detective comes to terms with what he’s seen done to his beloved city in the name of profit, and whether he can help stop it.

A ton of work to finish, and a ton of fun to write.

About Jon Frater

A gaming industry stalwart dating back to the 1980s, Jonathan Frater is the co-author of roleplaying game books Robotech: Return of the Masters, and Robotech Adventures: Lancer's Rockers, both for Palladium Books. Jonathan also wrote a column on writing and game design called The Tome in Gateways magazine. He's currently a librarian at Metropolitan College of New York. Article 9, the first in his ambitious Blockade Trilogy, is Jonathan's first full-length novel.

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