Hitting the target

For his debut book, Shale Nelson pictured the Twin Cities in the near future – around 2050 or so.

Nelson, a Hendricks native who now lives in St. Paul, published a science fiction novella, “Target Audience” at the end of May. It is available on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook apps and devices.

Nelson writes for a living, working in advertising. He said he is also interested in writing fiction, including science fiction.

“(It’s) about exploring or thinking about the future,” Nelson said about science fiction. “It tells us about what’s happening today.” Many of those elements are in his novella, Nelson said, and one can see that, especially when you look at entertainment, the economy and the advertising today. “I’m interested in explaining those things, and in the meanwhile, telling a love story, which is the center of the book.”

Nelson said he’s a little vague about the year the novella takes place, that it takes place in the middle of the 21st century.

“The language has changed in the future, among other things,” Nelson said.

The novella is about a middle-aged man named Dwight and a young woman, Sharlut.

“And I placed them in this futuristic setting, and the story just wrote itself from there,” Nelson said.

Dwight is sort of a shy loner and a bookworm, Nelson said.

“And he’s kind of a throwback to an earlier time,” he said. “Target Audience” is placed in an age where people don’t read much, they have the technology that allows them to experience the world of the book, he said.

Dwight is sort of in a rut when he meets Sharlut. He is attending a seminar in a park when a rainstorm sends everyone running for cover. Dwight sees a young woman doing calisthenics in the downpour. He is dumbstruck, and they start up a conversation. According to the book’s description, “one winter day, an ominous message from Sharlut sends Dwight scrambling across the city to save her life. Targeted by nosy drones, pushy AI merchants and pervasive advertising, Dwight must make all the right moves to save the girl he loves.”

“He’s almost willing to do anything for her to hold on to her,” Nelson said.

Nelson’s novella was about 21,000 words long – the quarter length of an average novel.

“You have to economize what you’re doing writing- wise,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he worked on the novella for about a solid year when he had the time and energy after work to sit down and write.

“I wanted to be very precise with the descriptions and everything,” Nelson said. He said the book offers vivid descriptions of places in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in the future.

Nelson added that the novella will also appeal to those interested in our culture and society and where it’s going.

“There’s a very human love story at the core,” Nelson said. “(There’s a) strong human element people can latch onto if they’re not a science fiction fan. (There’s) interesting plot twists that will keep people guessing.”

For more information about “Target Audience,” go to www.shalenelson.com.