The Pains

Do you enjoy cyberpunk? Are you a fan of Neal Stephenson and/or dystopian alternative presents or futures? Then read my friend John’s newest book already, before he apparently starts shooting people in the face.

From the site:

Vineyard Haven Author Pens Third Novel

Dystopian narrative evokes shock and dread of Orwell’s classic “1984”

VINEYARD HAVEN — John R. Sundman III, a longtime resident of Martha’s Vineyard, has published his third novel. The author is popular among readers of the science fiction genre known as “techno punk,” which grapples with issues such as the role of technology as a destructive force, the devolution of modern civilization, and the threats posed by socio-religious cults in a 21st-century global culture linked by the Internet.

Sundman’s new novel, “The Pains,” is a story of faith in a world that appears to be falling apart. It tells the story of Norman Lux, a 24-year-old novitiate in a religious order, who becomes afflicted with something akin to stigmata.

“I wanted to recapture the sense of shock and dread that George Orwell’s ‘1984’ inspired when it was published back in the 20th century,” Sundman said. “Orwell’s masterpiece has become so familiar that its basic message no longer shocks and disturbs us. Time and familiarity have diluted its power. I’m hoping that “The Pains” will rekindle some of the visceral excitement that readers experienced when reading ‘1984’ for the first time. That being said, it’s not to everybody’s taste — some people might find it too shocking or too disturbing.”

Adding to the dark aura of the book are a dozen stunning illustrations by Canadian writer and illustrator Cheeseburger Brown. Brown’s artwork has garnered several awards on both sides of the border. His short film “Space Attack!” was awarded a Stanley from the California cable broadcasters’ community in 2007. He won the 2002 Lightwave Animation Award and the 2003 Hewlett-Packard Juried Digital Art Competition in 2003.

Sundman’s first novel, “Acts of the Apostles,” was published in 1999. It was well received by “geeks” worldwide. Slashdot gave it an excellent review, saying it was “what Tom Clancy would write if he were smart.” Rusty Foster of Kuro5hin said it “may well be the ultimate hacker book.” also published a highly positive review of “Acts of the Apostles,” which won Writer’s Digest Magazine’s “National Self-Published Book Award” competition in 2000. Sundman’s novel was judged first in a field of 325 other books.

His second book, “Cheap Complex Devices,” was published in 2002. Although purportedly about the “Hofstadter Prize for Machine-Written Narrative,” the book is a meditation on self-awareness (human, machine, or other), and a satire of academic artificial intelligence in the spirit of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Pale Fire.”

For a limited time, “The Pains” will be available for download at no cost. For additional details, please visit

In addition to writing fiction, Sundman has done reporting for and other magazines. He is a volunteer at Island Food Pantry and the Serving Hands pantry, and a member of the Tisbury Volunteer Fire Department.

So read it! Read it now! Buy a copy for a friend! (And while you’re at it, check out his first two books as well.)

4 thoughts on “The Pains”

  1. I believe that it was Templeton Cheney who was threatening the face-shooting.

    I myself am reasonably nonviolent.

    Nevertheless, it’s probably prudent that at etjabberwockians read The Pains. Just to be on the safe side.

  2. atrophia: I guess I’m guilty of a little bit of marketing-speak there. But when there are TV reality shows with titles like “Big Brother”, it kind of gives one pause, I think. Big Brother is kind of a concept to be toyed around with, not dreaded. At least among some portion of the population anyway. I mean, one can hardly imagine a “reality” TV show called “Playing House at Auschwitz,” for example. Anyway, I hope you’ll take a look at The Pains and see for yourself. (And pass the link along and buy copies of my books too!)

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