Risen from the ashes of bankdeath, Amon Kenzaki, fallen Liquidator and Xenocyst survivor, arrives at the forest from his dreams. He has fulfilled his promise to the PhisherKing to seek truth without relent and can look upon the wonders of those green slopes with clear eyes at last.
Yet now, just when his deepest aspiration can finally be fulfilled, he must balance it against the aspirations of all humanity. And he despairs to discover that his love, Mayuko Takamatsu, is still nowhere to be found.
MegaGlom demigoddess, Rashana Birla, and her faithful servant, Ono A, seek Amon’s help in reviving a single dream of liberation with enough facets to accommodate the dreams of all. Meanwhile, the lost secrets of financial life and death promise a kind of digital reincarnation to transcend the twin markets of the Free World, if only he can hold together a miraculous fellowship.
In A DIAMOND DREAM, final book of the Jubilee Cycle trilogy, Amon arrives at the very limits of capitalism, where he and his friends must choose which future to stake out on the other side and accept the consequences. A thought-provoking battle between corporate domination and the individual spirit to decide the meaning of freedom.
TheBigThrill caught up to Eli K.P. William, author of the Jubilee Cycle trilogy, to learn more about the final book in the series, A DIAMOND DREAM:
When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?
Amon Kenzaki is an amalgam of me and several people that I know. For example, in the beginning of book one, Cash Crash Jubilee, Amon is obsessed with saving money—he tries not to blink or use certain words because such actions can be expensive. I think this aspect of him comes from the internalized voice of my father, who was a starving poet always trying to be frugal when I was growing up. I can remember birthdays when my parents would take me out to a decent restaurant, my mother would say, “Choose whatever you want on the menu, honey,” and I would feel my father glowering silently from the other side of the table as if to add, “Except for the expensive dishes, Eli, never those.”
Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
The seed for the idea that would become The Jubilee Cycle came from a documentary called The Corporation, which details the history and rise of multinationals into the early 21st century. Towards the end, there’s a section about how the World Bank forced Bolivia to privatize its public water infrastructure as a condition for a loan. The multinational corporation, Betchel, took advantage of this condition to obtain ownership of all water in the city of Cochabamba, including even rain, and began to charge citizens just to drink it. I began to wonder: If water, the most basic necessity of life could be turned into private property, and not just tap water or bottled water, but every single drop of it everywhere, then what were the limits on ownership? Was air fair game? Or pieces of sidewalk? Or sunlight? These questions led me to imagine a world in which literally every molecule is owned and traded by different companies. But as I was fleshing this out, I realized that there had to be some practical way for the authorities to ensure that people paid for using such properties. So I came up with the concept of defining private property in terms of actions. It wouldn’t be the air as such that was owned but the act of breathing it, not food but the action of eating it, and so on.
Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
Definitely. In terms of books, I was inspired by George Orwell’s 1984, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, and generally the works of Ursuala K. le Guin and Haruki Murakami. I’m not sure about movies or songs, but the anime Akira made a big impact on me at a young age.
A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
I didn’t spend just a few years on the Jubilee Cycle trilogy; I dedicated over a decade. When I set out to write what would become book one, Cash Crash Jubilee, in 2011, I had various ideas for novels. This idea of actions as intellectual properties that incur licensing fees called to me because it seemed to speak most immediately to the present zeitgeist. I was worried that if I didn’t write the novel quick, the real world would become too much like my fictional world and scoop me. In retrospect, I think I was right to be worried. With the rise of such technologies as cryptocurrency and NFTs, the world has indeed become increasingly like the Tokyo I envisioned in Cash Crash Jubilee way back in 2015.
In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I want the readers who finish A Diamond Dream to reflect on the problems with our current global economic and political system and to think about ways we might build a better future. The Jubilee Cycle trilogy doesn’t have a specific message, but I do want people to walk away with a sense of hope and the idea that we might do better against all odds.
What can you share about what you’re working on next?
The book I’m working on right now is totally, totally different… First of all, it is a novella, around a tenth of the length of The Jubilee Cycle. It’s set in the past not the future. It takes place in Canada not Japan. It’s fantasy not science fiction. And it’s a love story…
Eli K.P. William is a British-Canadian novelist and translator of Japanese fiction. He is the author of the Jubilee Cycle trilogy, set in a hyper-financial future Tokyo, where every action—from blinking to sexual intercourse—is intellectual property owned by corporations that charge licensing fees. The series includes Cash Crash Jubilee, The Naked World, and A Diamond Dream. His translation of the Japanese novel, A Man by Keiichiro Hirano, is a bestseller. Born in Toronto, Canada, he has spent most of his adult life in Japan and currently lives with his wife and daughter in the green mountains near Tokyo, where he enjoys photography, cycling, and meditation.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.