Phil Kim interview Part One (with Jeremy Robinson)
Phil Kim interview Part Two (with Jeremy Robinson)
Phil Kim of:
When I went to see The Martian, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve heard wonderful things about the novel, and it’s been on my to-read list for a very long time. (It’s a long list that gets very little time, and I’m a slow reader.) But, this was the movie. And it was the opening weekend, so Facebook and Twitter hadn’t yet given away the entire plot, which I will attempt to not do as well.
I saw the trailer once, so I knew I was going to see a story about Mark Watney (Matt Damon), an astronaut left behind on Mars when the mission goes FUBAR. I also knew from the trailer that at some point, the crew that left him behind would be heading back to rescue him. What I didn’t know was if he would survive, and if so, how. Once I decided I was going to see it, I ignored everything about it, and even missed the fact that it was directed by Ridley Scott. And I’m glad I didn’t know, because even knowing that would have given me some expectations, and I often find those to be toxic to my enjoyment of a movie.
I got to the theater a half hour early, got a prime spot in one of the theater’s new recliners, and chowed down on a hotdog. When the movie started after twenty minutes of trailers, I was eager to get started, but I wasn’t prepared for it.
I want to just start off by acknowledging my estranged relationship with Mr. Shyamalan. I saw Signs not knowing anything about it. (This was before Mel had melted down and long before I knew how to pronounce Jacqueline or Shyamalan.) I had not seen the previews, so I was not among the throngs who thought they were going to a wall-to-wall alien invasion horror film. So as the Family Drama in a haunted house vibe rolled out, I was on board, and I was hooked.
Of course, where do you go after that? IMDB tells you that this is the same guy who gave you The Sixth Sense, and you now have to rent Unbreakable (from a ma and pa video store). Do you remember that time period? People were getting all hyperbolic on him: ‘The second coming of Hitchcock!’ ‘The next Spielberg!’ (This was two years before War of the Worlds, so that was still a compliment.)
In 2013, the President signed a bill that was written by ExoGen (a massive agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation), directly benefiting the company, and which was introduced by a senator who had received $64,000 from the company for his campaign committee. That kind of direct influence over lawmakers is always a dangerous thing, but in this case the potential for dire consequences is astronomical. The bill basically gives GMO companies permission to hack crop genomes without fear of future litigation. That means that if ExoGen splices corn with genes from a frog, and that change causes significant health problems in the future—cancer, allergies, anything, the company is held blameless. This gives them free reign to not only experiment with the genetics of their crops, but also the genetics of every single person who eats them. And they can sell this food to the general population without ever accurately labeling it. Left unchecked, this freedom could lead to a rash of illnesses, or worse, permanent alterations to the human genome.
HUNGER, a novel by my new pen name, Jeremiah Knight, explores the possible ramifications of this unmonitored genetic manipulation and what it would mean for the human race. Could GMO foods be the solution to world hunger? Absolutely. Despite the doom and gloom I’m presenting, I’m not anti-GMO. There are millions of people around the world that do and will benefit from modified crops. But I do understand human nature and greed. In the hands of companies concerned more about profit than people, who’s to say that there won’t be sacrifices made along the way, or that the consequences for unchecked science won’t be far reaching and tragic? Even worse, what if the true intentions of those modifying our crops are not as benevolent as their commercials would have us believe?
For my take on this subject—and you probably have a good idea it won’t be dull—snag HUNGER, hold on to your seat and prepare to think twice before chowing down on that corn cob this summer…and a little differently about that friend who is a little too excited about bacon.
Desperate to solve a global food shortage, ExoGen scientist Dr. Ella Masse oversees the creation and release of RC-714, a gene that unlocks millions of years of adaptation and evolution, allowing crops to use long dormant junk DNA to rapidly adapt to any environment. The world’s food supply grows aggressively, occupying every inch of earth, no matter how inhospitable. World hunger is averted. Humanity flourishes. RC-714 is digested, absorbed and passed on.
The Change affects small, fast breeding mammals first. They multiply with the same aggressive speed as the ExoGen plants, but a new, insatiable hunger drives them to violence. War between species breaks out. And then RC-714 reaches humanity, along with every other large creature on the planet. Civilization implodes as every living thing that consumed the ExoGen crops begins to adapt to a world full of predators, accessing genes dating back to the beginning of life itself.
Peter Crane and his son Jakob survive the Change, living in their family farmhouse and eating non-ExoGen food from a biodome, one of many provided by Ella Masse, who discovered the ramifications of her breakthrough too late. The pair ekes out a living in a world full of monsters, surviving until Ella shows up on their doorstep with her daughter, pursued by desperate predators and men alike.
As the farmhouse falls under attack, Crane learns that the end of humanity, of life on Earth, can still be averted: if Ella Masse and her daughter survive, and if they make it to the other side of the country without being captured…or consumed.
Jeremiah Knight merges the science of Michael Crichton with the horror of Stephen King in this fresh take on the post-apocalypse, creating a true worst-case scenario for GMO crops that will have people reading labels before eating their next pepper, tomato or kernel of corn.