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= Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D. =

A DarkSF Novel by John Argo

Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D. by John Argo is a science fiction novel in the DarkSF series

click for Info Topics ContentsAbout Topics: Lots of Questions to Cover

Blade Runner Years 1719, 2019… By the way, the year 2019 (Blade Runner Year) marks the 300th anniversary since Defoe first published it, and Defoe's shipwreck novel has never gone out of print. Wow, that's really an accomplishment for a guy on the run and in hiding much of his later years, as Defoe was. He also found time to write several other enduring classics. Many an author would be jealous. JTC.

Why All These Notes? Since publishing my SF novel Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D. in 2003, I have been surprised to encounter everything from rave reviews to some sad and pointless reader misunderstandings. I hope to clarify some of that with the information and notes on these pages. There is a vast amount of background, both to my novel and the several subgenres of SF in which it flourishes (DarkSF among them, "The Dark Chocolate of SF"). Even writers who have not thought of tackling a Robinsonade, as this sort of shipwreck story is known, may not have thought about the daunting technical challenges that set this type of story apart from all others.

Let's start with this tidbit: I realized from the start that very few authors ever tackle this type of story. Why? Because there cannot be any dialogue per se—unless our lone shipwreck survivor talks to himself incessantly. There are of course human vs. nature stories of the type that, for example, Jack London wrote, but that's still a major challenge. As writers and readers, we want to see characters walking and talking in our stories. One guy alone…that is a recipe for no fun. I hesitated greatly before tackling this tale, but the impulse was just too strong to resist. I'd been a great fan of the Robinsonade genre since childhood, and seeing the 1964 science fiction movie Robinson Crusoe on Mars opened by eyes to how versatile this trope really is.

One lone character in the whole novel, and nobody to talk or interact with? But wait! Just look how Tom Hanks solved that problem in his very enjoyable 2000 Robinsonade movie Castaway. Tom Hanks played a marooned shipping company employee, the only survivor of a plane crash on a remote island. Amid the cargo, he found a volleyball with the brand-name logo Wilson printed on it. Hanks had found a companion to which he could express his feelings and ideas. Of course, Wilson never talked back or argued…so that's no fun either. I'll get back to the technical and cultural aspects of the project in these pages, for those readers who are interested.

My main purpose is to offer thoughtful, open-minded readers a solid background to understand not only my own novel(s), but the background of such topics as Robinsonades, shipwreck/maroon fiction, and important information on the 1719 novel by Daniel Defoe that launched this genre. We'll learn the difference between a classic and an archetype and much more.

As I can show from historical records, at launch this was a very well received SF novel. It received a very positive review from Library Journal in 2003, with a 'buy' recommendation for large libraries. More info at the Reviews page.

The point ultimately is that, just as the novel found an enthusiastic market of gamers and tekkies upon its release in 2003, and I believe it will reconnect with the next generation of those readers. After a few years' great run at Fictionwise, this novel and much else was swamped (parallel with the demise of Fictionwise in the 2010-2012 years) in the vast ocean of e-books that by now (BRY 2019) has deluged the marketplace.

Ironically, while you'd call a vast oversupply a 'buyer's market,' the growing success of my Galley City venture and the HTML Novel as an alternative publishing form shows that buyers (readers) are looking beyond the ocean of what I call industrially produced, fast-food reading in search of a heartier meal, to complete the metaphor. This is the techno-nerd in me talking and analyzing. Aside from a lifetime of professional writing and editorial experience (including aerospace and computer systems development industries), my education credits span the Liberal Arts, Business, and technical arenas: B.A. in English, University of Connecticut; second Bach in Computer Information Systems, BBA from National University; and finally an M.S. in Business Administration, Boston University). Besides being a lifelong editor and writer, I like to analyze numbers and stats). But let's look at one of the great success stories that really proves my point: Andy Weir.

Proof of Concept: Bestselling, Self-published Shipwreck Story The Martian Let's examine one of the great self-published success stories of our day (from E. L. James to Anna Todd to Christopher Paolini, and many others). I'm talking about The Martian, a planetary SF shipwreck tale of meticulous scientific background. It was written by Andy Weir, a brilliant young California programmer/gamer, who first posted the story online (self-published) for free in 2011. It built up a fan base of (you guessed it, tekkies and gamers), who suggested that Andy publish it as a Kindle e-book. He did, and the rest is history. His book was noticed by a literary agent, and ultimately it wound up being not only a best-selling commercial book (Crown, 2014) but became a top-flight movie directed by (of all people) Ridley Scott (one of my artistic heroes).

The tekkie, gaming oriented reader who loved Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D. is still out there, looking for DarkSF (the next Blade Runner or its type); and the mass market is just around the corner, because I was part of that era of explosive SF adventure with bigger than life heroes as seen in Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwartzenegger, or Sylvester Stallone. I'm talking about big-splash movies like Terminator, Predator, and the like that directly influenced my vision for this novel in its latter half, following a Planet of the Apes moment when Alex and Maryan discover that post-Apocalyptic human clones like themselves are not the only sentient life forms on Earth one million A.D.

I still very much believe in the vision, and want to reach those readers of similar persuasion as I am doing with these Galley City stories more generally.

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click to read free or buy - opens a new windowRead Free at Galley City (Fiction). You can now read the entire text free at my Galley City website, with the option to buy if you wish. For the price of a cup of coffee, you can buy the e-book (no obligation). The coffee is gone in minutes, but the e-book (or p-book) is yours forever, and the author appreciates your kindness. Thank you!

Praise from Library Journal 2003.

Library Journal praised its "novel and fresh approach to a classic theme" in a positive 2003 review, and recommended it "for large libraries."

Browse or Buy at Amazon

The book linked at left is an e-book edition to browse; or buy & download from Amazon for your Kindle reader.
     The middle link is for the corresponding print edition. Most of these are standard 6x9"; a few have added trim sizes available (5x8"). More info at
     Most print editions are also available at Barnes & Noble online; or call/visit your local bookstore to order.

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What is DarkSF? We like to say that DarkSF is the Dark Chocolate of Science Fiction. DarkSF is not about gore or grue but about art and atmosphere. It is literary and poetic. Think of the artful genius of Ridley Scott's 1982 Blade Runner or Alex Proyas' 1998 Dark City or Julien Leclercq's 2007 Chrysalis, just to name three. The best SF is DarkSF because it tends to embrace sweeping themes in a rich broth of art and atmosphere. The list is long, and includes far more of world literature than our Puritanical society is allowed to think. Elements occur in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Dante's Divine Comedy, Defoe's 1719 Robinson Crusoe, and tales by many modern masters. We'll be publishing a special DarkSF website soon to celebrate.

intellectual property warning