The Beasts of Electra Drive

The Beasts of Electra Drive

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From Hollywood Hills mansions and Century City towers, to South Central motels and the oceanside refinery, "The Beasts of Electra Drive" by Rohan Quine spans a mythic L.A., following seven spectacular characters (or Beasts) from games designer Jaymi's game-worlds. The intensity of those Beasts' creation cycles leads to their release into real life in seemingly human forms, and to their combative protection of him from destructive rivals at mainstream company Bang Dead Games. Grand spaces of beauty interlock with narrow rooms of terror, both in the real world and in the incorporeal world of cyberspace. A prequel to Quine's existing five tales, "The Beasts of Electra Drive" is a unique explosion of glamour and beauty, horror and enchantment, exploring the mechanisms and magic of creativity itself.

Jaymi is an independent games designer living on Electra Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Opposed to him are his former colleagues at Bang Dead Games. Their mounting competitiveness regarding his own extravagant game-creation reaches a point where they attack him physically with a flying drone.

Bang Dead is preparing the global release of a game called "Ain'tTheyFreaky!", centring on five tabloid-flavoured social-media "Newsfeeds" for the victimisation of certain people by others - the "Gal Score", "Guy Score", "Trivia Score", "Arts Score" and "Cosy Score". Jaymi decides to fight back, for self-protection and to counteract this game's destructive effects.

He takes an irrevocable step: after creating Amber, the most dangerous of the characters (or Beasts, as he calls them) who will populate Jaymi's project "The Platinum Raven", he releases Amber from that game, such that Amber slithers out of Jaymi's computer monitor. Appearing human, this now-incarnated Beast is sent to stalk "Ain'tTheyFreaky!'s" creators in real life - developer Dud Guy, visual designer Kelly, IT boss Ashley and programmer Herb.

While Amber terrorises them, Jaymi creates a second Beast, Evelyn, a woman of ease and freedom, from his project "The Imagination Thief". Incarnated too, she joins Amber in sabotaging a Bang Dead venture in the physical world.

As Jaymi's output spawns three more titles - "The Host in the Attic", "Apricot Eyes" and "Hallucination in Hong Kong" - he jumps into the creation cycles and subsequent incarnations of five more varied and human-seeming Beasts. These are Shigem, Kim, the Platinum Raven, Scorpio, and his own simulacrum the Jaymi Beast.

Targeted by a more lethal drone attack than the first one, he decides that his Beasts' missions must escalate: they will infiltrate the very substance of "Ain'tTheyFreaky!". Evelyn, Shigem and Kim therefore sneak into one of the game's visual environments (a mythically seedy Downtown L.A.), where they try to put an end to some of the casually-programmed cruelty in the game. Shigem shames one Bang Dead programmer into secretly working for Jaymi instead; and Kim persuades another high-ranking Bang Dead employee to join Jaymi likewise.

Five of the Beasts proceed to sabotage "Ain'tTheyFreaky!" at code level, turning its own server farm into a radically different kind of environment from before. Their sabotage takes aim at the game in such a way as to break it down into its constituent glyphs and pixels - then electrifies these, recombining them into brand-new forms of such enchanted love and wickedness and originality that they'd certainly have been forbidden by Bang Dead.

Amid the resultant conflict, a Beast is sent to kill a human; a Beast is arrested, before escaping and wreaking revenge; and another human is lashed to the top of the transmitter tower above the Hollywood Sign, where...

After the ensuing convulsions of destruction and violent creation have run their course, Jaymi's Beasts slip away to their appointed onscreen destinations, one by one; and he is left alone again, just as he was before he brought them into being. As he fires up his newly-completed game "The Imagination Thief" for the first time, however, it is clear that neither he nor the world around him will ever quite be as before.

Rohan Quine, The Beasts of Electra Drive, literary fiction, magical realism, dark fantasy, horror, gay, Los Angeles, videogame, transgender, Hollywood Hills, L.A., creation, incarnation, game, tabloid, refinery, motel, transmitter, contemporary
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Product details

  • Paperback | 358 pages
  • 140 x 221 x 20.32mm | 453.59g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0992754941
  • 9780992754945

Table of contents

PART I AMBER'S CREATION, BANG DEAD GAMES, AND THE LONE VIOLINIST: 1 The lone violinist in the woodlands at dusk (Ghost, as Hook), 2 The terrace pool at the house on Electra Drive, 3 Here come the Beasts, up the slopes of the canyons, 4 Declaration of war by the Dreary Ones (Inciting Event), 5 "Ain'tTheyFreaky!" by Bang Dead Games, 6 Jaymi conceives his game "The Platinum Raven", 7 Development and basics in the Avenue of the Stars tower, 8 Infrastructure and stress-balls in the Avenue of the Stars tower, 9 Jaymi creates Amber's code, 10 Visuals and laughter in the Sunset Boulevard building, 11 Coding and khaki in the Sunset Boulevard building, 12 Jaymi creates Amber's appearance, 13 Jaymi's games "The Imagination Thief" and "The Host in the Attic", 14 Jaymi incarnates Amber (First Doorway of No Return). PART II "GAL SCORE", EVELYN'S CREATION, AND THE STALKING OF THE DREARY ONES: 15 Amber incarnate in the house on Electra Drive, 16 The Hollywood cafe on Cahuenga Boulevard, 17 The "Gal Score: Babe or Gross?" Newsfeed, 18 Jaymi creates Evelyn's code, 19 The Silver Lake bar on Hyperion Avenue, 20 How very concerning - did you report it?, 21 Herb hacks Evelyn's code, 22 Herb at home in the Westwood Village cottage, 23 Jaymi creates Evelyn's appearance, 24 Amber stalks Ashley through the motel by LAX, 25 Evelyn's appearance comes alive, 26 Kelly smudges Evelyn, 27 Kelly at home in the Factory Place loft, 28 Jaymi creates Evelyn's soundtrack, 29 Ashley at home in the Century Park East apartment, 30 Evelyn's soundtrack comes alive, 31 Amber stalks Dud at work, 32 Jaymi test-drives Evelyn, 33 Kelly tails Amber through the Hollywood Hills, 34 Jaymi incarnates Evelyn, 35 Ashley and Dud attack Evelyn (First Pinch Point). PART III "GUY SCORE" AND "TRIVIA SCORE", SHIGEM'S AND KIM'S CREATIONS, AND THE RIGHTEOUS GUN COCKPIT: 36 The "Guy Score: Hunk or Gross?" Newsfeed, 37 Jaymi creates Shigem's code, 38 Amber with binoculars on Sunset Plaza Drive, 39 Shigem emerges within his code, 40 Herb hacks Shigem's code, 41 The infinity pool at the Blue Jay Way house, 42 Jaymi creates Shigem's appearance, 43 The severed grey tongue-meat swinging round the football, 44 Shigem's appearance comes alive, 45 Kelly smudges Shigem, 46 The "Trivia Score: Wacky or Boring?" Newsfeed, 47 Jaymi creates Kim's code, 48 Herb hacks Kim's code, 49 Evelyn, tiny in the face of the deluge, 50 Jaymi creates Kim's appearance, 51 Kelly smudges Kim, 52 Sun-glare and skinny palms in Westmont, South Central, 53 Jaymi creates Shigem's and Kim's soundtrack, 54 The Righteous Gun Cockpit, from Bang Dead Games, 55 Jaymi test-drives Shigem and Kim, 56 Amber's eyes in the photo of the motel by the vacant lot, 57 Jaymi incarnates Shigem and Kim, 58 Ashley and Dud attack Shigem, 59 Evelyn's eyes in the photo of the motel by the liquor store, 60 Ashley and Dud attack Kim, 61 Kim on the canyon by Hercules Drive, 62 Dud shocked in the motel by the liquor store, 63 Dud shocked in the motel by the vacant lot, 64 Dud's ghastly photo opportunity, 65 Jaymi refines Shigem, 66 Lethal attack, understanding and despair (Midpoint). PART IV "ARTS SCORE", THE PLATINUM RAVEN'S CREATION, AND ELEVATING DOWNTOWN L.A.: 67 The "Arts Score: Simple-Smiley or Complex-Frowny?" Newsfeed, 68 Jaymi creates the Platinum Raven's code, 69 Herb hacks the Platinum Raven's code, 70 Three Beasts sneak into Herb's computer, 71 Jaymi creates the Platinum Raven's appearance, 72 KitKat and Krispy Kreme dramas in Downtown, 73 The Platinum Raven's appearance comes alive, 74 Kelly smudges the Platinum Raven, 75 This Downtown L.A. is a more peculiar one than most, 76 Jaymi creates the Platinum Raven's soundtrack, 77 The street queens of Violet Street, 78 The Platinum Raven's soundtrack comes alive, 79 Hatred across the L.A. River: a cruel and stupid world, 80 Jaymi test-drives the Platinum Raven, 81 Shigem shames Herb, 82 Jaymi incarnates the Platinum Raven, 83 A unicorn's-horn of invention by Herb, 84 The Platinum Raven's mission to Blue Jay Way, 85 Ashley and Dud attack the Platinum Raven (Second Pinch Point). PART V "COSY SCORE", SCORPIO'S CREATION, AND THE BEASTS GO REPURPOSING: 86 The underground server farm beyond LAX, 87 The Platinum Raven in the house on Zeus Drive, 88 The "Cosy Score: Normal-Comfy or Strange-Scary?" Newsfeed, 89 Jaymi creates Scorpio's code, 90 Kim shames Ashley, 91 Scorpio emerges within his code, 92 Feint of a hack into Scorpio's code, 93 Jaymi proposes the repurposing to Herb, 94 Jaymi creates Scorpio's appearance, 95 Scorpio's appearance comes alive, 96 Talking of meat, 97 Kelly smudges Scorpio, 98 Jaymi creates Scorpio's soundtrack, 99 Jaymi test-drives Scorpio, 100 Jaymi instructs the Beasts for the repurposing, 101 Jaymi incarnates Scorpio, 102 Amber's mission in the El Segundo refinery, 103 The Platinum Raven's mission on Avion Drive, LAX, 104 The Beasts converge on Sandpiper Street, 105 The club night in the server farm, 106 Amber heading east on a mission to murder, 107 Victory and disaster (Second Doorway of No Return). PART VI THE JAYMI BEAST'S CREATION, BATTLE AND TRANSCENDENCE: 108 Dud's bad morning, 109 Police romance and the apex predator, 110 Feint of a co-attack on Scorpio, 111 Scorpio as succubus in the house on Jupiter Drive, 112 The weak tan figure and the vast tornado, 113 Jaymi's games "Apricot Eyes" and "Hallucination in Hong Kong", 114 Jaymi creates the Jaymi Beast's code and appearance, 115 Jaymi incarnates the Jaymi Beast, 116 From Mulholland Highway to the Hollywood Sign, 117 Transcendence, vengeance and fierce beauty: the private screening (Climax), 118 Torment on Mount Lee (Climax), 119 One apart (Climax), 120 Bridge to "The Imagination Thief" (Resolution).
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Review quote

"Technologically intelligent, socially clever, and supernaturally chilling - a trippy sci-fi tale. [...] There is a strong artistic element woven into this act of creation, allowing us to see how and why Jaymi creates each of his Beasts, giving them purpose and personality as well as form. [...] This is a book that would have been entirely serviceable with just the hacking and virtual reality interfaces, but what makes it really compelling is the ability for Jaymi's Beasts to step out into meat-space (I love that term) and take on corporeal form. These characters grow, learn, and even challenge their programming - they are somewhat childish in their willful independence, to the point of being sociopaths, although they demonstrate real emotion. There is some wonderful genderfluidity to some of the Beasts, with Shigem never feeling `quite like a boy, being half a gender to the left' and Scorpio whose `nature flowers with so transgender a beauty,' as well as a gay love affair between two Beasts who were created for one another. Lest you forget that this is a revenge fantasy, however, Amber is modeled after Rutger Hauer's character in The Hitcher, while Scorpio's defining moment is the fantasy of dominating an entire prison as the most dangerous boy in a skirt. [...] What really impressed me, however, is the flair for language, with some really beautiful - and beautifully chilling - passages that had me dog-earing pages along the way." - Sally Bend in Bending the Bookshelf "Quine describes [the Beasts'] release like a beautiful dance instead of a strategic infiltration. [...] The novel is a creative mashing together of Hollywood novel, science fiction, eroticism, and dystopia, with a premise that seems at once foreboding and prescient. While the book takes obvious science fictional liberties with technology, there is a real-world parable about superficiality versus authenticity. As the world becomes more digitally mechanized - and we are as much a product of our digital personae as our real-life personae - the book has an important message to tell about what it is to be truly human. [...] Quine obviously has a lot of affection for his Beasts, which has the same effect on the reader. He also injects humor throughout into what is at times a fairly dark storyline, replete with violence and seamy sexuality. In all, Quine has created a wholly unique look that will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. Most readers will empathize with the main character and his suboptimal working situation, and the steps he takes to get out from underneath a tyrannical and uninspiring boss. On a science fictional level, the novel works exceptionally well for its creative use of tech, mixed in with a group of highly imaginative characters. A prequel to five other works, The Beasts of Electra Drive will have readers seeking out Rohan Quine's other books in the series." - SPR "This novel is essentially near-future cyberpunk subtly blended with elements of LA noir and dystopic fiction to create a darkly stylish and, at times, visionary glimpse into humankind's future. [...] Richly described, the beasts are androgynous characters with full backstories, personalities, and idiosyncrasies. Unleashed upon the world, they allow Jaymi to achieve vengeance in ingenious ways. This is an intriguing premise, but the story's true power comes from its underlying theme: Humans can choose to live in the superficial, and underlying falseness, of tabloid reality (as gamers do when engaging in the novel's online game), or embrace the `complexity, unconventionality, beauty and subtlety of truth' of the world around them. Ultimately Jaymi's journey of self-discovery mirrors our own: We all seek happiness in the short time that we inhabit the `meat space' of this world." - BlueInk Review "Quine's narrative challenges the arbitrariness of commercial gate-keepers and the randomness of success - and has a lot of fun in the process. It's an odd mixture of dark - verging on horror - with more than a bit of kitsch. [...] It's a very visual novel too. Quine gives his narrative voice (and sometimes his characters), the eye of a camera mounted on a drone, able to fly across a valley and zoom in on details miles in the distance - like a tiny reflection in the pupil of someone's eye. [...] Reading this book is a little like watching a particularly unsettling art house movie. You will be, in turn, disoriented, enchanted and repelled. For all the technology involved, this is more magic realism than science fiction. It deliberately pushes the boundaries of the outrageous and challenges you to go along for the ride." - Catriona Troth in Bookmuse "Quine's novel centers more on an interesting cast than fascinating sci-fi traits. Some characters are computer code in bodily form but still have depth. For example, Jaymi created Kim, in part, to be Shigem's lover. (A nice touch: both Beasts are male.) There's likewise a rather sublime religious theme. Though one Beast kneels in prayer in front of `his creator,' Jaymi, there's an understated notion of free will. Jaymi assigns missions to Beasts (e.g., wreak havoc on Bang Dead) but often leaves them `to [their] own devices.' The author's lyrical prose is profound and sometimes surreal, especially in character descriptions. `Inside Kim,' Quine writes, `there is a lonely savage from the caves, bent on pure first-degree survival, blown by chance and the primal drives of instinct and emotion, alone and uncertain on a dart from birth to death.' [...] Unhurried but engrossing novel in which characters are more enticing than otherworldly technology." - Kirkus Reviews "[Protagonist Jaymi] discovers that he can bring his incarnations of excessive freedom, sexuality, intellectual seriousness, cool ambiguity, and dark vulnerability to life, unleashing them on `meat space.' They become his beasts, extensions of his own personality, and through them, he interacts with the executives behind Ain't They Freaky! As various elements of Bang Dead's software are released, Jaymi works to help his former coworkers recognize the shallow depravity of their game through unnerving visits to their homes. Sometimes, Jaymi's goal seems to be retribution rather than persuasion, especially when his beasts leave increasingly gory and gruesome messages behind. [...] This is a powerful book that advocates letting people be themselves, despite how far outside the bell curve of `normal' they are. Pulsing with sexuality, the story will appeal to readers who enjoy artistic works rich in vocabulary, symbolism, and graphic imagery." - The Book Review Directory "Part cyberpunk meditation and part erotic thriller, BEASTS is a stylish narrative romp around a fictional Los Angeles landscape that appeals to the heart first and the head second. [...] THE BEASTS OF ELECTRA DRIVE sounds like a cyberpunk thriller, and it sort of is. It also has an erotic undertone that grows throughout the narrative as the Beasts themselves crawl out of Jaymi's computer screen and gain independence. It's also a postmodern-ish meditation on creativity. Part of Jaymi goes into the creation of each of his Beasts - perhaps something author Rohan Quine can relate to - and as a whole the group is as a kind of kaleidoscope view of its creator. Additionally, part of Jaymi's mission in siccing the Beasts on Bang Dead Games is a retaliation against Ain'tTheyFreaky!, an in-universe alternate reality game that embodies empty mass appeal over genuine artistry. [...] the writing grows increasingly smoother, culminating in a hauntingly pretty passage about man's inhumanity to man and ending up with intense backstories for the Beasts. THE BEASTS OF ELECTRA DRIVE is, as its cover suggests, perhaps more about style than substance. Readers are told not to judge books by their covers - but this is the future. Maybe that's the point." - Indie Reader "Jaymi's pursuits are a revenge fantasy taken to the next level, with moral and ethical quandaries wound in. Magical realism meets old school noir in Rohan Quine's technological thriller The Beasts of Electra Drive, which poses philosophical questions around reality, humanity, and where to draw the line with tech-infusion. [...] Distinct writing is filled with lyrical prose and vivid sensory descriptions [...] Jaymi's pursuits are a revenge fantasy taken to the next level. At times, he appears to have moral quandaries about his drastic actions against a rival company. His cyber-creations also lead him to question the nature of existence and his role as a creator - can he ethically order his creations to do his bidding in the real world? [...] The characters that Jaymi creates are refreshing in their diversity of race, gender, and sexuality. The two distinctly male beasts conform to the spectrum of masculinity, with one, Amber, being excessively violent, athletic, and handsome, and the other, Kim, being introverted but boundlessly intelligent and philosophical. These two men are in relationships with Shigem and Scorpio, who are more fluid in their gender and sexual identities. Shigem and Scorpio, along with Evelyn, are of varying nonwhite ethnicities. The scope of variety among the beasts is a nice change of pace. The Beasts of Electra Drive is a techno-thriller that focuses more on its beautiful prose than on nurturing its thrills. Although sometimes repetitive in format, the vitality of the characters is pleasant and engaging." - Foreword Clarion Reviews "A fully-wrought origin story like no other." - The Bookbag
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About Rohan Quine

Rohan Quine is an author of literary fiction with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. He grew up in South London, spent a couple of years in L.A. and then a decade in New York, where he ran around excitably, saying a few well-chosen words in various feature films and TV shows, such as "Zoolander", "Election", "Oz", "Third Watch", "100 Centre Street", "The Last Days of Disco", "The Basketball Diaries", "Spin City" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (see

He's now living back in East London, as an Imagination Thief. In addition to its paperback format, his novel THE IMAGINATION THIEF is available as an ebook that contains links to film and audio and photographic content in conjunction with the text. See for some nice reviews in "The Guardian", "Bookmuse", "indieBerlin" and elsewhere. It's about a web of secrets triggered by the stealing and copying of people's imaginations and memories, the magic that can be conjured by images of people, the split between beauty and happiness, and the allure of power.

Four novellas - THE PLATINUM RAVEN, THE HOST IN THE ATTIC, APRICOT EYES and HALLUCINATION IN HONG KONG - are published as separate ebooks, and also as a single paperback THE PLATINUM RAVEN AND OTHER NOVELLAS. See for reviews of these novellas, including by Iris Murdoch, James Purdy, "Lambda Book Report" and "New York Press". Hunting as a pack, all four delve deep into the beauty, darkness and mirth of this predicament called life, where we seem to have been dropped without sufficient consultation ahead of time.

His new novel THE BEASTS OF ELECTRA DRIVE is a prequel to the above five tales, and a great place to start. See for reviews by "Kirkus", "Bookmuse", "Bending the Bookshelf" and others. From Hollywood mansions to South Central motels, havoc and love are wrought across a mythic L.A., through the creations of games designer Jaymi, in a unique explosion of glamour and beauty, horror and enchantment, celebrating the magic of creativity itself. | | @RohanQuine |

"Rohan Quine is one of the most original voices in the literary world today - and one of the most brilliant." -"Guardian" Books blogger Dan Holloway

"The swooping eloquence of this book had me hypnotised. Quine leaps into pools of imagery, delighting in what words can do. The fact that the reader is lured into joining this kaleidoscopic, elemental ballet marks this out as something fresh and unusual. In addition to the language, two other elements make their mark. The seaside ghost town with echoes of the past and the absorbing, varied and rich cast of characters. It's a story with a concept, place and people you'll find hard to leave." -JJ Marsh, "Bookmuse"

"Quine is renowned for his rich, inventive and original prose, and he is skilled at blending contemporary and ancient icons and themes." -Debbie Young, "Vine Leaves Literary Journal"
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Rating details

3 ratings
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3 33% (1)
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