This is absolutely different from anything I’ve ever read (or listened to, in this case).
The Audiobook is Discarded: Dumpstermancer Series, Book 1 by Michael J. Allen, narrated by David S. Dear, a paranormal urban fantasy.
Magic has been franchised. Magical conveniences are sold everywhere like designer coffee. Everyday life is filled with technical and magical wonders. Only, the magic is murdering people.
Thoth Corp’s hot new spell is turning people into ravening monsters. Their only hope to quietly rectify the situation before the epidemic spreads is the spell architect they framed and sent to prison.
El’s response to his former partners wasn’t polite.
Homeless, forbidden to use government-regulated magic, and barely surviving out of dumpsters, Eli struggles to rebuild his life. Fairytale rats thought long extinct with the rest of the fey rescue Eli from murderous vigilantes, but at a cost. They force him to save fairy matrons stolen away by Thoth’s monsters, thrusting Eli between his old company and a shadow war waged against humanity.
To stop the war, cure Thoth’s victims, and rescue the city, Eli need only find some way to make magic out of trash.
And here’s the coolest thing! A character profile and his interview!
Meet Elias Balthazar Graham:
Hair: Dark Sable
Eli began as a wide-eyed young man of slightly above average intelligence. A lean, strict childhood beneath loving parents left him stubborn and prideful but with a strident work ethic. A problem solver from an early age, he combined interest in puzzles and origami with a love of magic to pursue a degree in arcanology specializing in spell architecture. Magic and puzzle solving came easily to Eli, further inflating his pride issues.
Eli’s interests in living and extinct cultures exposed a love of food and a romantic adventurousness indulged during his years researching spells in the field. His college sweetheart Thecia originated from even more meager background. In her pursuit to satisfy her materialistic needs, she introduced Eli to all levels of creature comfort. Uninterested in soft living himself outside good food, Eli still made a habit of bringing her back exotic treasures from his global spell research.
His fairytale life came to a crashing end when his partners accused him of misusing an Incan spell for nefarious purposes. Convicted on charges manufactures by his partner and college friend Adam Mathias, Eli was sentenced to a subjective century in the Wasteland virtual reality incarceration system. Within the apocalyptic digital wasteland, Eli was forced to die and kill over and over bending his personality toward jaded nihilism.
Recently freed to a life of self-imposed homelessness, Eli’s only desire is to be left in peace to eek out survival on the streets of his birth city. Unfortunately, he chose an alley occupied by actual fairy creatures long through extinct. These fey saved him from being murdered, but leveraged his sense of personal responsibility to enlist his help saving their matrons.
Thin to the edge of emaciated with several days of stubble and draped in overlarge thrift store clothes, he’s not much more than a wandering scarecrow.
Hi Elias, and thank you for being here. How did you feel when you were released?
Consigned then horrified. I had a plan, but I’d had no way to know all that had gone wrong with society in my time away. Adam turned Seufert Fells into everything we’d formed Thoth to stop. Magic wasn’t special. It didn’t do great things anymore. People took it for granted, used it to find their keys and spice their food instead of learning how to cook. While I’d suffered, Adam had sold magic to the lazy.
How did you not see the kind of people your partners turned out to be?
Adam and Thecia were my friends. We dreamed together over nachos and beer. We were going to do great things, help people, change the world. I knew magic. Adam knew how to find customers. Thecia took care of me and she would help balance Adam’s ambitions against my idealism. Why would anyone believe the people who were like family would ever betray them.
Because people are stupid—me more than others.
Maybe I did see it. Maybe I should’ve foreseen Adam’s greed and Thecia’s materialism combing into something that set them against me. But, I was exploring the world, delving into tombs, getting to play out fantasies of being a modern Merlin or Indiana Jones. I guess I just chose not to look too hard, chose not to believe my friends were capable of betraying me, chose not to rock the boat lest it tip me into the water and cost me the adventure.
I won’t be that stupid again.
Why did you want to give up magic?
There was no magic in the Wasteland. I had to learn new ways to survive, but ultimately magic was the bane of my existence. To the uneducated, magic is an unknown, unquantifiable force that could do anything—something to be loved and feared, used or for someone talented abused. Magic sent me to prison. Ignorance of its capabilities and belief that such power corrupts stole my life. Adam turned that fear against me. He convinced a jury of ignorant citizens that I’d done the unthinkable. He didn’t need any evidence. Magic is all finger twiddling and sparkles. It could do anything someone like me wanted. He played on their fears and their ignorance. The head of an arcanology company told them a monster could use magic to steal their minds then he pointed at me and all the jury saw was a monster they had to vanquish in order to feel safe.
What’s your relationship with Sunny? Is there romance in your future?
Hell, no. She’s a nosy, insufferable do-gooder. She’s my lawyer, nothing more. Considering the results of my last friendship you can be damn certain I won’t make the mistake of opening myself up to that sort of thing again.
How did you end up engaged to a fairy rat?
I’m really not sure how that happened. Tunoh’s a nice girl, but even if a relationship with her wasn’t impossible, I don’t want anyone that close to me ever again.
You know how to make spells, why live on the streets? Why don’t you just go off into the wilderness and build a tower or something?
I was wrongly convicted. Call it pride, call it whatever you want, but I will not justify the crap verdict that sent me to the Wasteland, and that’s exactly what I’ll have to do sooner or later if I take up residence somewhere. Besides, I have plans. I won’t be sleeping out in the open in some alley forever.
Can’t you reach out to your family for help? Other friends?
Whatever friends I thought I had before the verdict are gone. Family? I can’t. I just can’t face them. Dad struggled all his life, putting up with prejudice, crooked contractors and other stupidity to make a name for himself. I can’t even imagine the damage my conviction did to his life’s work. It’s better for everyone if I’m basically dead.
What’s it like to use raw Ley magic?
It’s indescribable. It’s like being a chocoholic all your life only to be given high end Dutch chocolates and then told eating even one more might kill you.
Are you really planning to leave Seufert Fells and move to “Fairyland?”
For now, I have to concentrate on paying my debts. After that, I’m not sure. I’ll probably leave. There’s not a lot to hold me here. It isn’t like my fellow humans have treated me well, and I can’t say living in a world of magic and fairytale creatures doesn’t sound like utopia. In the meantime, carry on and plan for the worst.
Do you intend to exact revenge on your former partners? Your former lover?
Adam can have Satan’s whore. They can blissfully live in ultimate luxury for all I care. I just want to be left alone.
About the Author: Michael J. Allen
Michael J. Allen is a bestselling author of multi-layer science fiction and fantasy novels. Born in Oregon and an avid storm fan, he lives in far too hot & humid rural Georgia with his two black Labradors: Myth and Magesty. On those rare occasions he tears himself away from reading, writing and conventions he can be found experimenting in the kitchen, enjoying bad Sci-Fi movies, playing D&D or the occasional video game, getting hit with sticks in the SCA or hanging out with the crew of Starfleet International’s U.S.S. DaVinci.
About the Narrator: David S. Dear
A little over 25 years ago David walked by an audition posting for a local playwright’s festival and said, “That sounds like fun!” That spontaneous jump onto the stage led him to perform in numerous staged productions. However, he discovered voice acting to be an ideal fit and parlayed his many years of theater experience into audiobook narration and podcast production. As an Audible Approved Producer, David produces and performs in numerous audiobooks as well as several audio dramas.
David lives in Tacoma, WA with his wife where they spend time with family or jaunt about the country on little excursions.