The Discovery of Socket Greeny

ABOUT Tony Bertauski

Tony Bertauski
Tony Bertauski lives in Charleston, SC with his wife, Heather, and two kids, Ben and Maddi. He's a college teacher and a columnist for the Post and Courier. He's published two textbooks that can be found at most book retailers. He was also a 2008 winner of the South Carolina Fiction Contes More...


The Discovery of Socket Greeny is the first book in a young-adult scifi trilogy that explores love, angst and Zen-like acceptance of true nature in kick ass fashion. Reluctant readers, especially boys, will find this story compelling, enlightening, entertaining, and, yes, even emotional. Work has always come first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother, especially since his father died. But when she shows him the inner workings of the Paladin Agency, he discovers why it's so important. It's an underground world of technological wonder including bat-like grimmets, spherical servy-mechs and humanoid butlers with brightly lit faceplates. They traverse the planet through wormholes to keep the world safe, but from what, they won't say. Although his mother is not actually a Paladin, and neither was his father, both have worked for them for most their lives. Socket, however, is different than his parents. He somehow is a Paladin and soon finds himself in the center of controversy and betrayal when he's anointed the agency's prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice and he doesn't want to be responsible for the world. He just wants to go home and back to school and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mother tells him. And when the world is soon threatened and the Paladins are forced into the public eye, Socket discovers what his mother means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, life as we know it will change forever.

In an effort to get my son to read, I started writing a story just for him in 2003. I don't remember if he gave me a character, I just started writing it. The very first draft was called The Youngest Starfighter. It was completely unoriginal. Still, he wouldn’t read it because he can’t imagine reading anything for fun. In fact, after all this time, he still hasn't read it. However, I got hooked into the main character. Since then, he became a trilogy and has gone through 15 incarnations (drafts) and a few different names, but in the end he became Socket Greeny. I don’t know why I’ve been so dedicated to this character. I’d written several novel-length stories before Socket, none worth publishing. They ended up where all practice writing ends up. But I always came back to Socket Greeny. Stopping time and artificial intelligence are not original storylines, I know this. Artificial intelligence continues to be popular, as evidenced by Terminator, Matrix, I, Robot, and others. Socket is different. At least, I like to think so. Aren’t many us like programs, just following our desires and fears accumulated from birth? I’ve been practicing an Americanized version of Zen since 1990. While I wanted Socket to be an entertaining story, I believe what drove me was its element of soul-searching, and self-realization. Some of the early drafts were pukefests of moral preaching. However, with each draft it became more refined. It became a story, first, but it never lost the undercurrent of human struggle and the search for truth. I entertained dreams of publishing Socket Greeny, but the reality eventually sunk in. Someone once told me that good writers don't publish, excellent ones do. Based on some of the books in print, I don't agree. Sour grapes? Maybe. Some things just aren't well written (just ask Stephen King what he thinks of multi-billionaire Stephanie Myers) but they're good stories and original. Agents didn't feel the Socket Greeny story was for them. Maybe they were right. In the end, I published on my own and it's been a lot of fun. I won't make a million dollars or have a movie made, but at least the story will have some finality. It's been a great ride.