Data Runner Featured as a Nook First!

July 1, 2013 in Books, Data Runner, Parkour, Writing

I’m pleased to announce that Data Runner has been selected as a Nook First: Compelling Reads From Emerging Authors. The book itself can be found here at Barnes & Noble.

With all that, I’d just like to take a minute to welcome all my Nook readers who may have found their way here through their eReaders/tablets. And to all my readers who have found their way here through whatever means, I thought I’d take a moment to tell you a bit about the book and why I wanted to write it.

If you want to know how I first envisioned the idea for Data Runner, you need look no further than the prologue. The vision of a young courier being chased across rooftops with an army of private security on his tail was the seed for what would eventually become this book. I’ve always loved corporate espionage, particularly when it’s blended with sci-fi, and that was one area I felt had yet to be explored as a modern Young Adult story. I’ve always loved the early cyberpunk novels of William Gibson, and there is no question of his influence in my story (sneakernet, megacorporations, etc.). What I really wanted to do was bring back that particular genre of sci-fi and modernize it for the current YA audience.

One of the ways I wanted to modernize it was by using the modern form of running known as parkour. But unlike other books that simply describe the action of parkour, I wanted to get underneath it to the core philosophy behind the Art of Movement. That’s what makes this story different. Just as it is in real life, the parkour in my book isn’t just a series of movements executed by the characters, it is a way of life that requires as much discipline and dedication as any martial art.

Data Runner is a fast-paced, action-packed, thrill ride. If you’re a fan of classic cyberpunk, it’s certainly not a book to be missed. Even if you’re not a fan of classic cyberpunk, or if you’ve never even heard of cyberpunk, the one comment I’ve been seeing over and over again is how unique this book is. And in this day and age, when everything is a copy of a copy of a copy, anything unique is not to be missed.

Enjoy!

sam

Casino Royale Parkour Chase

June 10, 2013 in Data Runner, Media, Parkour, Television and Movies

It occurred to me after my last entry that I couldn’t post any more Parkour videos without first posting the kick-ass Parkour chase from Casino Royale. This sequence features the great Sébastien Foucan, one of the founders of Parkour (of course, people have been doing Parkour since people have been around, but Foucan was one of the originators of modern Parkour as a structured form).

If you haven’t seen this clip, you’re in for a treat. Watching Sébastien Foucan trace is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball or Serena Williams play tennis. It truly is a thing of beauty.

Let’s even make a little game of it. How many of Jack’s moves from DATA RUNNER can you spot in this sequence?

More Parkour Videos

June 2, 2013 in Data Runner, Media, Parkour, Sports

Hi Everyone.

First, I just want to say thanks to all the early reviewers who have taken the time to review/blog about DATA RUNNER.

I did read something in one recent review by Ms. Nose in a Book that really caught my eye.

Something I found really interesting about this book was the weaving of Parkour into the story. Before reading this book I didn’t know what Parkour was and I am really intrigued by it. The book does explain Parkour throughout the story but I feel like it’s given to us through a more personal perspective through Jack’s narrative so I ended up Googling it to get more examples and even Youtube videos of Parkour. I feel like after doing that I have a deeper sense of what it is. I just love that it’s not just something that’s thrown in the book as a mention it was worked in really well and just adds another piece of depth to not only the story but to the character of Jack as well.

I’m so glad that this story was her entry point into the world of parkour, and in the spirit of her newfound interest in the sport, I thought it might be a good opportunity to post a few parkour videos for you guys. This one is a great compilation that’s been getting a lot of hits lately.

And this clip “Parkour Girls Lahijan 2013” was forwarded to me by the marketing and publicity manager at Diversion Books, who thought the idea of young Iranian girls tracing as a form of self-expression was right on point with the story…

That’s all for now, but be sure to check back soon for more. And thanks again to Ms. Nose in a Book and all the others for your honest reviews.

sam

How to Shoot the Parkour in Data Runner

May 19, 2013 in Data Runner, Filmmaking, Parkour, Television and Movies

When most authors start thinking about movie versions of their books, they go straight to casting. I’m a little different. I happen to love the craft of filmmaking, and for that reason I’ve thought often about how to shoot the parkour in Data Runner, and this has led to an interesting dilemma of form vs. function.

The conventional wisdom would be to shoot all the parkour action with a handheld (i.e. shaky cam). The idea here is to put the audience in the shoes of a runner, giving them the visceral experience of running on the heels of Jack, Dexter, and Red Tail. You see this kind of camerawork a lot in television and feature films.

Here’s my issue with that. I’m of the opinion that handhelds are used way too often and unsparingly. Occasionally, a constantly shaking camera can be immersive (Bourne Ultimatum), but most of the time it gets annoyingly distracting (Hunger Games). Nevertheless, handhelds do give you a tightness and intimacy that is often lost when you have to mount the camera to a large gimbal. Steadicams do deliver a smoothness and fluidity that handhelds can’t, but generally have to sacrifice maneuverability in order to get it. So it becomes a question of form vs. function.

Enter the MoVI M10 by Freefly Systems. When I saw this video, and the quality of footage the filmmakers were able to capture with this 3-axis gimbal, I knew that this was the perfect rig to capture the action of the book. This mount allows fast-paced shots to be composed in-camera, preserving the intimacy of a handheld while simultaneously delivering a fluid motion that can showcase all the beauty and elegance of parkour. Watching this video, it isn’t hard to mentally replace the content of each camera movement with material from the book. It isn’t just a perfect melding of form and function, it is the perfect rig to shoot the parkour action of Data Runner.

Check it out, and please comment to let the rest of us know what you think…

New Parkour Gym for Wannabe Secret Agents… and Data Runners???

May 1, 2013 in Data Runner, Parkour

This is awesome! There’s a brand new parkour gym in Bushwick called the Brooklyn Beast that teaches the art of movement to people who secretly yearn to be secret agents and the like. Hopefully there’s be more gyms like this popping up all over the country. I can just envision a whole bunch of kids reading DATA RUNNER and then (literally) running right over to sign up for lessons.

Click here for NY Post article

Seeing Obstacles As Opportunities – Parkour Way Of Life: Ali Kadhim at TEDx Parramatta

April 18, 2013 in Parkour