Monday, October 12, 2015

Alice in No-Man's-Land: Excerpt, guest post & giveaway!!

I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for James Knapp's newest YA novel, ALICE IN NO-MAN'S-LAND! 
ALICE IN NO-MAN'S-LAND is a Young Adult, Alice in Wonderland, Sci-fi re-imagining that is just in time for the 150th Anniversary.
Make sure to click one of the buy links below to grab your copy, and make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

When her escape pod falls to earth, crashing in Ypsilanti Bloc, privileged seventeen-year-old Alice Walshe is dashed from the wonderland of wealth and prosperity into a ruined, walled city overrun with militias, gangs, and even cannibals. On top of this horror, her younger brother’s escape pod is missing.

Alice isn’t naïve – she’s always known blocs like Ypsilanti exist, left behind after a foodborne illness ravished the country decades earlier and left pockets of severe urban decay in its wake. Men like her father - a major player at Cerulean Holdings - renew the devastated blocs and bring stability back into the areas. But, Ypsilanti is even worse than the tales she’s heard, and rumor has it the bloc is faced with the threat of extermination by Cerulean, not renewal.

Trapped within Ypsilanti’s borders and left for dead, Alice teams up with a pair of teen scavengers who tracked the wreck of her pod. Despite their rough exterior and vulgar speech, they’re her only option for navigating the hostile and violent environment of Ypsilanti, finding her brother, and getting out of No-Man’s-Land alive.

Buy Links:


about his inspirations and ideas for the book:

All of the characters in the story are, while heavily fictionalized versions of them, based on the types of people I've met and worked with throughout my life. I've known plenty of folks like Alice, and I've known plenty of people like Basilio and Maya (Basilio in particular is based on a guy I used to wait tables with long, long ago). I like underdogs, and a lot of the people in this story are underdogs if not by nature then by circumstance. That includes Ypsilanti Bloc as well (the area where the majority of the story takes place). For those not from the region, Ypsilanti is a real place (though a much nicer one than appears in the novel) and its appearance here is meant to demonstrate how any town or city, regardless of how developed, is vulnerable to decay. When I was younger, I travelled around New England and the surrounding states a lot and during those travels I saw small towns reduced to shadows of what I assumed they once were - you could readily see signs that these areas had once thrived, but now when you walked down the street it wasn't unusual to see shopfronts boarded up and spray-painted over.

                        When an area becomes depressed, and the local populace becomes too strapped to support businesses like shopping centers, restaurants, etc. then those businesses in turn are eventually forced to pack up and move out, making it that much harder for residents to get by, which makes it less appealing for new businesses to move into the area, etc. Sometimes all it takes is for the one major business or industry that supported a town to either fold or move on to bring the rest of it down with them. In 'Alice in No-Man's-Land' I take this to an extreme, but it's not that far removed from reality. In the novel, a country-wide pandemic contributes to the decay of an abnormal number of areas inside the country. Once you have to deal with a massive breakdown and thousands of dead on top of everything else, it's not hard to imagine how lost certain areas could potentially get. In the novel it gets so bad that when things finally do begin to improve again society is unable to bring everything back to life. Certain areas end up getting 'backburnered', to be dealt with later when time and resources (and the political will) permit. They decide to wall off the remaining pockets of decay, but as often happens, once things improve the plight of those left behind becomes less of a priority and more of an inconvenience.

This is largely what drove me to write this book - at this point in my life I've lived on both sides of 'the wall' or 'the rabbit hole', and so the juxtaposition of it is real to me. I've never been as poor as the people of the bloc in the story, nor have I ever been as wealthy as Alice's family, but you don't have to exist at either extreme to see just how different life is when you have enough money and opportunities to live a life that is at least stable, and when you don't. It's not even really a political thing, it's a money thing - either you have the resources to live comfortably in society or you don't. In either situation, it doesn't take long for people to begin looking at the other side and forming opinions about them and their choices, fair or not. It's so easy to begin demonizing the 'other side', and you can see it playing out in reality even today. In these types of situations, either side will find itself willing to fight (for either change, or the status quo). Alice just happens to straddle both sides as she fights to save her own life, that of her little brother, and, along the way, some people who are a lot more like her than she may have thought before walking a literal mile in their shoes.



"Get back," Basilio said, stepping between us and pointing the barrel of his rifle up toward the man's face. Maya raised hers too, covering our rear as more and more of the people began to stir. Some climbed to their feet, while others lay trussed on their bedrolls, wrists bound with rope tied behind their backs. Their legs had been tied, too, and each of them had their lips clamped around a red, rubber ball gag. Each of their eyes had been covered with bandanas, tied tight across the back of their heads.
At a quick count, I thought there were maybe twenty-two of them, not including the little boy. Eleven were on their feet now, or close to it. The rest rocked on their beddings, squirming in what looked like agony. The man in front of Basilio began to reach for him.
“You move, I shoot you dead,” Basilio warned.
The man stopped with his hand still out. The skin there had been stained black, and he was missing the tip of his middle finger.
“What you doing here?” the man asked again.
“Shut up.”
The man lowered his hand and reached into his filthy jacket.
“I said don't move!" Basilio shouted. "Nobody move!"
The man pulled something out from inside his coat, but it wasn’t a gun. I realized it was a grenade just a second before he fumbled the pin out, and held it up where we could see.
"You no be here," the man croaked. His other hand seemed partially lame, barely holding down the grenade's flipper as he moved closer to us and Basilio backed into me, almost knocking me down.
"What the fuck?" Maya said. She moved the barrel of her rifle from side to side, not sure who she should aim at.
"You no be here!" the man shouted, flecks of spit spraying through the nest of his scraggly beard. He held the grenade out, almost dropping it.
“Whoa”, Maya hissed. "You'll die too you crazy p-head!"
"So will you," the man said.
“You drop that shit you’ll die too!”
“So will you!”
Yagas, I thought. The first time I heard the term was when Alex Ackerman became the first reality star to die on In the Zone. When it happened ratings had gone through the roof, and I hated to admit now that the time he’d spent missing had been more compelling than the show itself. When they finally found the cannibal wearing his clothes, his DNA all over it, the term had gone mainstream.
In the Zone got renewed for two more seasons, but I’d stopped watching. The yaga had scared me. Suddenly the whole thing stopped being fun, and it sure wasn’t fun now. With the lights on I could see that the cooking pots contained water, along with smaller bones. Two more empty cages had been set up down there as well, near the one with the boy in it. Suddenly all I could think about was how my friend Ellen and I had dressed as yagas one year for Halloween…


About James Knapp:
James Knapp was born in New Hampshire in 1970, and has lived in the New England area since that time. He developed a love of reading and writing early on, participating in young author competitions as early as grade school, but the later discovery of works by Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov turned that love to an obsession.

He wrote continuously through high school, college and beyond, eventually breaking into the field with the publication of the Revivors trilogy (State of Decay, The Silent Army, and Element Zero). State of Decay was a Philip K. Dick award nominee, and won the 2010 Compton Crook Award. Ember, The Burn Zone, and Fallout were all written under the name James K. Decker.

He now lives in MA with his wife Kim.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chat From No Man's Land With Author James Knapp:
When: Tuesday, Nov. 24th 7:00p.m. - 7:30p.m.
What: Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Alice In Wonderland with James Knapp, author of science fiction reimagining, Alice In No Mans Land. Leave your teacups at home, No Mans Land is a near future, post-apocalyptic world where the white rabbit is a tablet app, the Mad Hatter is a smart-mouthed rebel teen, and the Queen of Hearts--well, he's a militia leader with a fondness for chopping off heads. This Alice is more Katniss than sugar and spice, and you won't find her in a white pinafore. Come chat with James about his book and enter to win a signed paperback of Alice In No Mans Land! More about the book here:



October 5th:
Book Bite Reviews - Book Spotlight/Excerpt
Opinionated Cupcakes - Book Spotlight/Excerpt
Coffee Books & Art - Book Spotlight/Excerpt
A B Keuser - Guest Post

October 6th:
Deal Sharing Aunt - Interview
Book Lover's Life - Book Spotlight/Excerpt

October 7th:
ZombieePee's Blog - Book Spotlight/Excerpt
Mythical Books - Guest Post/Excerpt
Teatime and Books - Book Spotlight

October 8th:
The Best Books Ever - Book Spotlight/Excerpt/Guest Post
Have Words Will Scribble - Excerpt/Interview/Review

October 9th:
Mary's Cup of Tea - Book Spotlight

October 10th:
Evermore Books - Book Spotlight/Excerpt
Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps - Book Spotlight/Excerpt

October 11th:
Bookworm for Kids - Excerpt
Dark Novella - Book Spotlight
2 Girls Who Love Books - Book Spotlight/Excerpt

October 12th:
A Thousand Books - Guest Post/Excerpt
My Bookish Ways - Book Spotlight/Excerpt
Zach's YA Reviews - Book Spotlight/Excerpt/Guest Post/Review



  1. Thank you so much for taking part in the blog tour! We were so happy to have you participate in the fun!

    1. I loved to! I agree, it was so much fun :-)
      Thanks for commenting!