I am pleased to welcome Richard H. Hardy back with us for his guest post and mini blog tour of The Infinity Program.
Visit his blog http://theinfinityprogram.blogspot.com/for more information on the tour dates and hosting.
The Infinity Program Summary
Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.
Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways–Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn’t know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.
Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office’s Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.
Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.
What experiences that Jon, Harry and Lettie have on the job, did you encounter in the workplace (or at least similar situations that you drew from when writing the book)? How did you deal with them in real life versus on the page?
The characters in The Infinity Program are completely fictional. But I did borrow some elements that I actually experienced in the work place. Jon Graeme, for example has a number of things happen to him that I lifted directly from my own work experience. For example, the head of our programming department often used me as a messenger boy to bring work assignments to a particularly ornery, difficult programmer. “I’m tired of getting my head bitten off,” he said to me. From then on, it was my head that ended up on a platter. Many of the encounters with this ornery programmer found their way into the book. Here’s a short sample from the book that comes right out of my own life:
“As he walked back to his office, Jon felt like he had been mugged in a back alley. He felt no more than an inch high. For the first time he had some insight into what others said about Harry. As he looked ahead at what he would be up against in the coming months, he felt nothing but dread.”
Harry Sale, the brilliant programmer in The Infinity Program, is a composite character with qualities that are derived from many sources. For example, a particularly brilliant programmer I worked with loved to mess around with old automobiles before he came to work. One morning he came to work with motor oil all over his shoes. The night before, new rugs had been installed in the programming area. When the Director of Operations saw those oily footprints, he was ready to fire the guy. But they didn’t because he was such a brilliant programmer.
What Lettie Olsen experiences in The Infinity Program derives from stories I was told by the women I worked with. They told me what it was like to work at some of the larger programming companies in New York and Boston. Their stories were incredible and included sexual harassment, bullying, and the legion of other indignities that women sometimes encounter when they have to work with yahoos and Neanderthals in a predominantly male environment. I remember asking one woman, “Well, why didn’t you take your problem to the Human Resources department?” She said, “I did and the guy told me that if I didn’t like the job I could always quit. And then he patted my fanny on the way out.”
Fortunately, change does seem to be on the way. But for millions of women it just can’t come fast enough. It’s encouraging to know that some of the larger companies are really making an effort. At the end of The Infinity Program, there is an incredible transformation of society. The liberation of the workplace from sexism is definitely implied as a part of this.
Richard H. Hardy’s Bio:
Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.
His family later moved to England and then on to America.
After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.
He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.
After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel.
Formats/Prices: $5.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Release: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
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