Independent Author
<i>My Fatal Futility Shellshock</i>  <i>by NJM Hemfrey</i>
  • © 2023 J.C. Gemmell 0

My Fatal Futility Shellshock by NJM Hemfrey

NJM Hemfrey discusses his novel ‘My Fatal Futility Shellshock’

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‘My Fatal Futility Shellshock’ is the first book in a cyberpunk/time travel trilogy. This tale is inspired by Tenet’s clever temporal warfare, Altered Carbon’s dissection of upgraded societies and morality, and the philosophical depths of The Last Samurai.

So, my story found itself set in a neo-Japanese inspired future with razor-sharp time travel twists. The plot commits to a fatalistic timeline, meaning everything that happens is inevitable and everything connects and feeds into each other. So, if you’re a fan of time travel that doesn’t break its own rules and delivers on mind-warping consequences, then you’ve come to the right place. The story follows Kage Carnifex, from boyhood to old man. He is the last product of a dead corporation and is continually hunted by a secret psychopathic organization for the secrets held within his blood. Along the way, Kage learns about unbreakable contracts, absolute loyalty, and soulful devotion beyond what he thought possible. The key to his and world’s survival may lie within a device Kage can’t control; the chrono-disruptor--a time machine.

Readers can expect plenty of levity balanced with gritty hyper-violence and deep emotionality from a variety of characters that are augmented, gene-spliced, mutated, and robotic. This is a world where I don’t shy away from the limitlessness of cybernetic and genetic advancement. Cyberpunk is an important genre for deconstructing the evolution and integration of society and technology, and exploring how this affects ethics, politics, and the very shape of nature. Inspired by my research into the ways of bushido, Buddhism, and Shinto led me to become captivated by wider Japanese culture and beliefs, especially the often overlooked and simple ideas of respect and peace. So, I knew I didn’t want to do cyberpunk that accelerated towards nihilistic oblivion within polluted, criminal-ridden metropolises. I wanted the hyper-violence, high-adrenaline action pieces, and pure neon spectacle, but set within a world that really conveyed the beauty of nature, the tranquillity of meditation, and the respect even adversaries can share.

The time travel aspect of the story is fully born out of my own fascination about the concept. I loved reading the horribly lethal time loop in ‘All You Need Is Kill’ by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and the mind-bending bootstrap paradox in ‘All You Zombies’ by Robert A. Heinlein. However, what truly penetrates my soul is not the tech of time travel but the implications of its existence. Time travel reveals the nature of time which absolutely influences our identities, behaviours, free will, and sense of meaning and purpose. The nature of time is the nature of reality which our humanity depends on. Respecting my fatalistic time travel rules became essential and never bending them to create easy resolutions became crucial, as respecting time is respecting reality. Moreover, a story is nothing without unfair circumstances, consequence, and sacrifice.

So, in short, I like to think of ‘My Fatal Futility Shellshock’ as cyberpunk with the soul of a samurai that reflects raw reality.
For more details about books by NJM Hemfrey, visit or follow @cloud_neil on Twitter.
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J.C. Gemmell | Indie Authors | NJM Hemfrey