Art mirrors life and life mirrors art. It's a chicken-or-egg thing, with no easy solution to the riddle.
A headline this week said, "An Accused Murderer Is Trying to Use a Brain Scan As Evidence He Couldn’t Control His Actions." That pretty much tells the story. The truth is that brain structure can create a tendency toward psychopathy. If the parts of the brain that control impulsivity and empathy are underdeveloped, the result can be that the individual doesn't have the built-in governor that the rest of us rely on to consider how our actions might affect others. That person might be prone to narcissism and even violence.
That said, plenty of people with "psychopathic" brain structure aren't murderers, and plenty of killers have "normal" brain structure. Everyone is responsible for his or her actions, and a brain structure deficiency doesn't excuse homicide.
The preceding is a simplistic rundown of the science behind 7 SYKOS, the new novel by Marsheila Rockwell and yours truly. The research on psychopathic brain structures has been advancing by the proverbial leaps and bounds lately, and we've been staying on top of it, doing everything possible to make 7 SYKOS as authentic as possible in that regard (although, in the tradition of the best science fiction, extrapolating ever-so-slightly from the existing science--that said, it's catching up to us fast).
Here's what publisher HarperCollins says about the book:
Detached from the world, how are seven psychopaths going to save it?
Phoenix is one of the most populated cities in America…but not for long. With a mysterious sickness spreading through the streets, two things are becoming very clear: there’s no cure, and it doesn’t necessarily kill you.
Instead, the so-called “Infecteds” have become a living plague, killing and eating everyone they come into contact with. Chaos is spreading, and no one is safe.
No one, that is, except for a group of psychos.
Somehow unaffected by the disease—and with promises of clemency for their monstrous pasts—a group of seven is sent downtown to hopefully find the cause of the disease…and therefore a cure. But when the asylum is the size of a city, it no longer matters who is running things.
Not when everyone is running for their lives.
The Walking Dead meets The Andromeda Strain in this fast-paced mix of science fiction and horror.
And here's what Kristin Centorcelli adds at SF Signal.com: "I can’t wait for this one. Seriously. It’s been on my wishlist forever, and it finally has a cover! 7 Sykos by Marsheila Rockwell and Jeff Mariotte is coming up in January 2016, and I really think you’ll want to check it out!"
I couldn't agree more.
The Walking Dead meets The Andromeda Strain isn't a bad shorthand description. Mine's a little longer--"It's Escape from New York, only New York is Phoenix, it's full of brain-eating Infecteds, and Kurt Russell is seven psychopaths."
I think you get the point. It's scary, it's intense, it's based on fascinating real-life science. And you're going to want to read it.
Finally, here's the awesome cover HarperCollins put together for it: