Michael Smith

Biography

Michael D. Smith was raised in the Northeast and the Chicago area, then moved to Texas to attend Rice University, where he began developing as a writer and visual artist. The seven novels in his Jack Commer science fiction series, The Martian Marauders; Jack Commer, Supreme Commander; Nonprofit Chronowar; Collapse and Delusion; The Wounded Frontier; The SolGrid Rebellion; and Balloon Ship Armageddon, are published by Sortmind Press. In addition, Sortmind Press has published his literary novels Sortmind, The Soul Institute, Akard Drearstone, CommWealth, Jump Grenade, and his novella The First Twenty Steps.

Smith's web site, sortmind.com, contains further examples of his novels and visual art, and he muses about writing and art processes at blog.sortmind.com.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you come up with the idea for CommWealth?
CommWealth sprang from a long, richly detailed dream in which the central “I” demonstrates his easy adaptation to a property-less society by demanding electronic gadgets, cars, motorcycles, in fact anything he desires, and hoarding it all in a mansion he’s booted someone else out of. He takes the basic premise of this society, the guilt-ridden, involuntary sharing of everything, to its extreme when he asserts the right to claim a former girlfriend as his property. Fortunately I had a certain psychological distance from this dream narrator character who became CommWealth’s arrogant, pathetic anti-hero Allan Larson.

The dream was so clear that the plot flowed easily, allowing for both farce and reflection on our emotional and legal attachment to the tens of thousands of objects we own. The book demanded a semi-realistic dystopia, no weird science fiction technology or future setting. I wanted a literary element to highlight range of human romance, fear, and courage, as well as the shadow aspects of the self.

The main thing I'm looking for in any novel is a psychological solidity no matter how bizarre the plot may get. I also drew on my less than stellar playwriting and acting stints at Rice University as background for the amateur theatrical troupe in CommWealth.
Who’s your favorite hero in CommWealth?
My favorite is the over-the-top anti-hero Allan. The insanity of the six-month-old CommWealth system, in which all private property has been outlawed and citizens are required to share everything, finds its expression in Allan Larson as he glibly procures a Porsche in the first scene. Allan is a narcissistic playwright and actor who forces the Forensic Squad theater troupe to stage his mediocre play Cabaret. Supercilious, clueless, and manipulative, he’s claimed a mansion in Linstar Heights, surrounding himself with expensive cars and gadgets. He both needs friends and is quick to betray them. As a writer he thinks he should express his buried truths, but he’s too fearful to find out what they really are, and when crime tempts him, he sees it as just another avenue to fulfilling his needs. Though he has a certain measure of charisma, he’s basically a loser, and the only way he can get his love object Lisa is to demand thirty days’ ownership of her as per CommWealth regulations.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Michael Smith online

Series

Origins of Jack Commer
After the Final War, the evacuation of Earth, and battle with Martian terrorists, is eldest brother Jack fit to lead the United System Space Force? A look at the childhood beginnings of the Jack Commer saga, and the further development of the series and its characters.
The UR Jack Commer
Price: $1.99 USD.
Jack Commer, Supreme Commander
With the shocking suicide of the Typhoon I, the most powerful military spaceship ever built, the four Commer brothers are reduced to two. After the horrors of the Final War, the evacuation of Earth, and an unexpected conflict with native Martian terrorists, is eldest brother Jack really fit to lead the United System Space Force? Yet despite stress bordering on hysteria he always seems to come up with the proper solution. Shy with women but easy with command as opposed to his passionate, guilt-ridden brother Joe, when promoted to Supreme Commander Jack passes over numerous ambitious admirals and holds onto power for decades with the newest rejuvenation technology. But has he ever really recovered from the responsibility of overseeing forty years of futile time war with the Alpha Centaurians?
The Martian Marauders
Price: $3.99 USD.
Nonprofit Chronowar
Price: $3.99 USD.
Collapse and Delusion
Price: $3.99 USD.
The Wounded Frontier
Price: $3.99 USD.
The SolGrid Rebellion
Price: $3.99 USD.

Books

The Damage Patrol Quartet: Four Stories
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 35,180. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
A feckless young architect falls in with a sixteen-year-old’s dubious trucking venture. Drug-addled Randy bemoans his fate as a slave employee in New Fascist Australia. An archeologist arrives on a tiny artificial gravity platform to give a scholarly lecture to barbarian colonists. And the Conscious Reach Corporation sets out to cure an entire city’s mental illness.
The Balloon Ship Interviews
Series: Origins of Jack Commer. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 23,690. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » General
In the early stages of developing plot and characters for the novel Balloon Ship Armageddon, the seventh and final Jack Commer, Supreme Commander adventure, the author interviewed twelve characters from the previous six books, wanting to know what energies they could bring to the project.
The UR Jack Commer
Series: Origins of Jack Commer. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 48,140. Language: English. Published: April 1, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
With the shocking suicide of spaceship Typhoon I, the four Commer brothers are reduced to two. After the Final War, the evacuation of Earth, and battle with Martian terrorists, is eldest brother Jack fit to lead the United System Space Force? A look at the childhood beginnings of the Jack Commer saga.
Balloon Ship Armageddon
Series: Jack Commer, Supreme Commander. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 68,520. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Steampunk & retropunk
Jack Commer’s murdered son Jonathan James finds himself recreated as a bio-robot of the Wounded, a race that destroys stars for kicks. Eight hundred years later he rises to captain Balloon Ship Armageddon on a toxic waterworld in the Large Magellanic Cloud, but he’s terrified by the ancient, inexplicable star map in his cargo hold that warns of an abrupt termination of the universe.
The SolGrid Rebellion
Series: Jack Commer, Supreme Commander. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 90,220. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
When the solar system adopts the buggy SolGrid telepathic network as a defense against alien intrusion, Jack Commer’s impudent son Jonathan James rises in opposition to what he considers fascist brainwashing. But when he storms an orbiting museum and steals Typhoon II, Jack Commer’s ancient 2030’s spaceship, Jack realizes that his son’s pirate crew is staging an armed rebellion against Sol.
The Wounded Frontier
Series: Jack Commer, Supreme Commander. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 84,140. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
When a star thirty-four light-years away vanishes, leaving the infrared signature of a Dyson sphere inexplicably built in one week, Supreme Commander Jack Commer readies the untested Typhoon V for Iota Persei, roping in a replacement engineer doubtful of Jack’s command capabilities, and cajoling a navigator beset by old combat trauma into postponing his retirement for one last risky mission.
Collapse and Delusion
Series: Jack Commer, Supreme Commander. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 59,140. Language: English. Published: November 26, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic
As former ship’s engineer Phil Sperry struggles with his decades-long treason to the human race, Supreme Commander Jack Commer and his wife Amav journey to the paradise planet Andertwin for a painful visit with their reclusive son Jonathan James, survivor of an abduction by Alpha Centaurian security forces and now the author of a bestselling novel about the collapse of the Centaurian Empire.
Nonprofit Chronowar
Series: Jack Commer, Supreme Commander. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,500. Language: English. Published: November 17, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Ranna Kikken creates the Committee to End Suffering on Planet Earth at her nonprofit Cat Farm, but its first 2028 conference is ruined when disgraced space pilot Joe Commer inadvertently time-travels from 2036 to lecture Ranna’s nonprofit ladies on the 2033 destruction of Earth, the panicky evacuation of humanity to Mars, and an unavoidable war with a psychotic Alpha Centaurian Empire.
Jack Commer, Supreme Commander
Series: Jack Commer, Supreme Commander, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 58,250. Language: English. Published: October 30, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
Jack Commer, newly promoted to Supreme Commander of the United System Space Force, leads a peace mission to the fascist Alpha Centaurian Empire, but his marriage unravels under the pressures of his new command and his wife Amav’s discomforting presence aboard his ship, and he loses his crew to Centaurian brainwashing as he and Amav are sent to be tortured on a barren planet.
The Martian Marauders
Series: Jack Commer, Supreme Commander, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 97,300. Language: English. Published: October 16, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The United System Space Force not only wrecks the earth with the planet-destabilizing Xon bomb, but in evacuating the survivors to Mars, also discovers an indigenous race quite displeased by the arrival of two billion shellshocked humans. Jack Commer and the crew of spaceship Typhoon I battle native Martian terrorists led by their new human Emperor, political agitator and traitor Sam Hergs.
Jump Grenade
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,280. Language: English. Published: June 29, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Sports, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
Sixteen-year-old Billy Bolamme, Junior Dropout Basketball League star, joins shamanic forces with Guenevere “Uni” Ryder, fellow high school dropout, art gallery receptionist, and unwitting accomplice to thirty thousand murders.
CommWealth
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 59,120. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Humor & comedy » Black comedy
What if anyone could ask for anything you owned and keep it for thirty days until someone else wanted it ... your home, your car ... even your body? Members of the Forensic Squad theatrical troupe find themselves leading a suicidal revolution against the CommWealth system, which has outlawed all private property.
Sortmind
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 132,000. Language: English. Published: February 11, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Science fiction » General
The telepathic Sortmind app Mindwipes ten thousand users, and hysterical factions battle in the streets over whether telepathy should be free or outlawed. Oliver and Sam, high school art students whose fathers head the reviled Citizens Against Telepathy, struggle with friendship, love, and family--as well as rumors of alien invasion and the malfunctioning, reality-altering Sortmind.
Akard Drearstone
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 121,910. Language: English. Published: October 23, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Historical » USA
A cinder block falls on Akard Drearstone’s head and he trades his print shop job for lead guitar. Months later, as the four members of the Akard Drearstone Group face the onslaught of national fame at their rural Texas commune, twelve-year-old Jan Pace nurses her crush for the narcissistic, paranoid bassist Jim Piston, growing up way too fast in a surreal summer between seventh and eighth grade.
The Soul Institute
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 183,190. Language: English. Published: December 5, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Coming of age
Computer technician Himal Steina realizes his dream of a mythic return to the sanctuary of a vast foggy university of Soul when he’s appointed writer in residence at the Soul Institute and falls in love with one of its numerous faculty goddesses, unaware that he’s blundering into a catastrophic jumble of power lust, romantic chaos, drug abuse, and gang violence.
The First Twenty Steps
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 25,570. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
An ex-convict finds himself mixed up in a motorcycle gang’s plan to heist a hyperspatial supercomputer.

Michael Smith's tag cloud

1970s    abduction    actors    adolescence    affairs    alien contact    aliens    alpha centauri    amplified thought    animals    antidark energy    armageddon    art    art galleries    artificial intelligence    astrophysics    auditions    balloon ships    barbarians    basketball    betrayals    bikers    black humor    brainwashing    character interviews    cheating    childhood    collapse of empire    coming of age    commune    computers    counterculture    criminals    cybercrime    databases    decay    delusion    dictatorship    dreams    dropouts    drugs    dyson sphere    dystopia    electricity    estrangement    evacuation of earth    final war    first contact    gangs    gladiators    hacking    historical novel    hive mind    hoarding    identity theft    indexes    infiltration    informers    inhalant abuse    jack commer    karma    large magellanic cloud    love    love story    malware    marriage    martians    mass murder    motorcycles    murder    music    naval combat    novel development    parenting    philosophy    prison    property    psychology    quasars    rebellion    robbery    robot dogs    robotics    robots    rock journalism    rock music    romance    science fiction    seduction    self analysis    selfanalysis    sex    sociopathy    solar system disasters    solgrid    soul    space detectives    space opera    space war    spaceships    spies    sports fiction    steampunk    strikers    surreal story    teenagers    telekinesis    telepathy    texas    the wounded    theater    theft    time travel    time war    trauma    university    urban warfare    war guilt    wounded    writing    writing development    writing ideas