O.E. Tearmann (Denver)


O.E. Tearmann lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, in what may become the Co-Wy Grid. They share the house with a brat in fur, a husband and a great many books.

Their search engine history may garner them a call from the FBI one day. When they’re not living on base 1407 they advocate for a more equitable society and more sustainable agricultural practices, participate in sundry geekdom and do their best to walk their characters’ talk.

Find out more about Tearmann via:

Tearmann will be donating 50% of profits from The Hands We’re Given from 11/23-12/4 to the Transgender Law Center. (Timing of donation may depend on receipt of royalty payments.) If you’re not buying a book, you can still donate to Tearmann’s campaign page, no purchase required

Why Tearmann is participating in Colorado #ResistanceReads:

How did current politics become a part of The Hands We’re Given?
The Hands We’re Given began with a series of frustrated conversations and one constant refrain: ‘It’s like we’re going back to the Gilded Age!’ My friends and I are mostly history buffs, so the Gilded Age — a period in the 1890s characterized by corruption, paternalistic social laws and free-market economic laws — was very much in our thoughts as we watched the politics of 2016 unfold. Those conversations got me thinking. What would the world look like if the socio-economic situation of the Gilded Age mixed with the technology of tomorrow? What would it be like if a medical insurance conglomerate could make failing to edit your child’s genes a felony offense? What would it be like to live under an employer with a mind like Pullmann and the technology to watch your every move? That was the beginning of an idea that grew into this story.

What do you believe is a writer’s place in the political landscape?
Writers hold up mirrors and open doors, both bright and dark. Sometimes our job is to say ‘this is what it feels like’ or ‘this is what the past was.’ Sometimes we hold up a mirror and say ‘look what you’re doing’. And occasionally we open a dark door and say to our readers, ‘see why you don’t want to go down there?’

Were you at all nervous about publishing about these political topics? Why?
Oh ye gods, I was terrified as I started writing on political themes. Firstly, the cast of this story is very diverse and I prayed to all gods that I wouldn’t get something beyond my lived experience wrong. I researched for six months before writing the first draft. Secondly, I had a lot of technological details, and I did not want to be the writer who makes readers yell ‘that’s not how it works!’ All humor aside, I’m writing a story where the cast of characters spans the spectrum of queer, trans, POC, and neuroatypical. I’m still scared. I know I’ll get some vitriol at some point. I already got some crap because one of the characters is Muslim. But if I’m this scared to write, imagine how scared some people are to live, on a daily basis. I write to say, ‘You’re not alone. There are people who see you. There will be people who fight for you. Hold your head up.’

Why do you think people should pick up these “resistance reads”?
When we see the world through the eyes of others living other lives, they become human to us. Hopefully, we will remember to treat them as human beings and fellow citizens when we’ve seen the world through their eyes. And maybe we’ll remember that we’re all — all colors, all genders, all faiths, all states of humanity — part of this country. We must act like it. Demos means ‘of the people’. If we stop seeing one another as equal members of one people, we stop being a democracy.

Tell us about your relationship with Colorado and, if relevant, your history with Colorado Gives Day.
Colorado has welcomed me and given me a safe, friendly place to grow and find my talents. I’ve lived in a lot of places, and I’ve never felt as at home as I do in Denver.

Why did you choose the charity you did?
One of the main characters in the story, Aidan, is trans. In his world, you can legally be executed by several corporations if you are trans, and considering what is happening to trans rights in our own world, I’m afraid we’re uncomfortably close to mixing fiction and fact. The best way I can help is by donating to the Transgender Law Center. I’m not a fighter by nature, but I can help those who are.


Discussion questions for The Hands We’re Given

This queer cyberpunk explores what it means to be American — and human — in a country that no longer finds democracy or civil rights valuable. In 2155, seven corporations run the City Grids for a profit and own their workers, body and soul. The Constitution has been relegated to a quaint document. Freedom is just a word in the news vids.

But off the Grids, there are people fighting for a change. They fight for each other. They fight for a better world. Some things are worth fighting for.

  1. What feelings did this book evoke for you?
  2. If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be?
  3. What political themes in the story struck you in particular? What stance do you believe the book encouraged on it?
  4. If you could hear this same story from another person’s point of view, who would you choose?
  5. How do you feel about humanity’s interest in changing/improving themselves? Did this book make you change any of your feelings in this regard?
  6. What new things did you learn? What questions do you still have?
  7. Will you change anything in your daily life after reading this book?

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