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Moxyland becomes first ebook with a soundtrack

Cape Town-based author Lauren Beukes’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Moxyland, a speculative urban thriller set in South Africa, has been released as an ebook by Electric Book Works – and in the process has become the first ebook to contain an embedded music soundtrack. The soundtrack was compiled by African Dope Records to suit the mood and feel of the book …

Electric Book Works has released the ebook edition of Moxyland, the first ebook to contain an embedded music soundtrack.

In the tradition of William Gibson’s cyberpunk science fiction but set in the age of social media, Moxyland follows the adventures of an eclectic set of characters: an art-school dropout called Kendra who brands herself for a nanotech marketing program: Lerato, an ambitious Aidsbaby, who plots to defect from her corporate employers: Tendeka, a hot-headed activist, who is becoming increasingly rabid: and a rogueish blogger, Toby, who discovers that the video games he plays for cash are much more.

The narrators of Moxyland, we are told, are on a collision course that will rewire their lives and the future of Cape Town. Moxyland connects a ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cellphones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art.

‚A frighteningly persuasive high-tech fable for South Africa,‚ say the publishers. And now the ebook takes it a step further.

“To be worth buying and reading, an ebook should offer something that the print book can’t offer, says Arthur Attwell, Publishing Director of Electric Book Works. ‚Ebooks offer many possibilities, including sound, links, colour, interactivity, and an almost unlimited number of pages. It’s important to take advantage of these.””

Consequently, the book includes a soundtrack compiled by African Dope Records to suit the mood and feel of the book’s storyline.

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) has announced that the US trade retail ebook sales to August are 53% up on last year, YTD. Internationally, leading publishers including HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan and Random House are investing heavily in the growing ebook market. At the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest and most important book fair in the world, digital media accounted for 30% of the products displayed at the fair.

And in South Africa, publishers are starting to put ebook strategies in place to meet the growing demand. Electric Book Works is already developing ebooks for several South African publishers.

While ebooks can be easily purchased and read on a computer, dedicated devices called ebook readers are quickly becoming more popular and affordable. The two most popular ebook readers, Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader are the size of a slim paperback, and can store thousands of ebooks, newspapers, magazines, and other electronic documents. These devices use E-Ink technology, which provides a crisp display that is as easy to read as paper, and is even clear and readable in sunlight. It only uses power when turning pages, ensuring a battery life that is measured in days, not hours.

About the author (as supplied by the author!)

Lauren Beukes is a recovering journalist who is now ridiculously privileged to write TV shows and books for a living.

Her debut novel, Moxyland (Jacana 2008), a speculative urban thriller, has been drawing critical acclaim. It’s been described as ‚courageous, cool, and refreshingly unsentimental‚ and ‚funny, gritty, imaginative and deeply disturbing‚ by reviewers she may have bribed with cupcakes.

Before Moxyland she published Maverick: Extraordinary Women From South Africa’s Past (Oshun 2005), a rollicking non-fiction about renegades and raconteurs, such as serial poisoner Daisy de Melker, Africa’s first black movie star Dolly Rathebe, poet-suicide Ingrid Jonker, and the contentious ‚Madonna of the townships‚ , Brenda Fassie. It was nominated for the Sunday Times Alan Paton non-fiction award.

Her short stories have been published in various anthologies including Open, FAB, African Road: New Writing from Southern Africa, 180 Degrees and Urban 03, Litnet, Donga and Laugh It Off Annual 02.

In her day job as head writer at Clockwork Zoo Animation, she oversees the script team writing URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, a smart sci-fi series for kids, now going into its second season. South Africa’s Mail & Guardian called URBO ‚engaging and delightfully subversive‚ , heady words of praise she claims she’s going to have tattooed on her chest – or, alternatively, a t-shirt.

She’s also involved in developing new shows, including the scathing adult comedy, Deadbeats, about four slacker zombie housemates, Lucy & The Nightmares, a cute and creepy cartoon for kids, and Banna Banana, about the lunatic adventures of a self-styled fruitastic crimefighter.

She has her MA in Creative Writing (under the supervision of André Brink) from UCT, where she occasionally has a walk-in role as guest-lecturer. But, really, she got her education in ten years of freelance journalism, which gave her the best possible excuse to meet interesting people and indulge in extraordinary experiences.

On assignment for the likes of The Sunday Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Nature Medicine, Colors, Marie Claire, and Dazed & Confused, she’s picked up really useful life skills like pole dancing and brewing traditional sorghum beer. For the sake of a story, she’s jumped out of planes and into shark-infested waters and got to hang out with AIDS activists and township vigilantes, Botswanan high court judges, electricity thieves in denial, homeless sex workers, racist nudists, reluctant base jumpers and teen vampires, among other interesting folk.

She lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa, with her director/producer husband.

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