Filed under Books

Update: Action Packed April and an Award Announcement!

Hello everyone, just sending a quick update about my doings as Winter finally cedes to Spring. Lots of stuff happening and a special…
AWARD NOMINATION ANNOUNCEMENT! I’m excited to announce that my novel The Archaeologists is up for an award — the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher presented by the Manitoba Book Awards. (Okay, it’s not the Giller Prize, but it’s still cool…) Good luck to all the authors and the publishers on the shortlist!
Ebook now available: Also the e-book version of The Archaeologists is now available on Kobo for the sweet sweet price of $6.99! Nook too! Other versions coming soon…

Peterborough, ON: Next week – Wed. March 29th, 7:30pm, I’ll be reading from The Archaeologists FREE at Traill College, Junior Common Room, Scott House, along with two great Peterborough talents: Devon Code reads from his new novel Involuntarily Bliss and Janette Platana from her latest A Token of Affliction. It’s a great lineup! Details and poster here.

Hamilton, ON: Returning to my old stomping grounds of The Central Library (where I was writer in residence a few years back) to launch The Archaeologists in Hamilton! Hal Niedzviecki, Sally Cooper, Joe Ollman, Christine Miscione. Saturday, April 22nd at 1pm. Free. Central Library, 55 York Boulevard.

Toronto, ON: LitBang! Pop Up Shop featuring Broken Pencil and the works of Hal. Starting April 7 and throughout the month, my books will be on sale at this ultra cool pop up shop put on by Feathertale Magazine! There will be crazy low prices, super deals on Broken Pencil Magazine and other cool literary journal type reads, plus new BP merchandise including t-shirts, buttons and even a pencil case! It’s in the Ossington and Queen area, so drop by. Here’s all the info.


I’ve written a piece of what I’m calling fictional memoir. It’s a piece about a minor author asked to give a talk about his book about the future to a college in suburban Detroit. (Sound familiar?) Anyway, the piece is appearing in the Spring issue of SubTerrain Magazine, so sign up to get yourself a copy!
Stuff you might have missed:

The Archaeologists on CBC’s The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers: Recently, I talked with Shelagh about the themes of my new novel, why I serialized it online, and more! You can listen to the full interview at your leisure here.

The Archaeologists in the Winnipeg Free Press: A great review of the novel! “A mystery wrapped in a study of psycho-social malaise, The Archaeologists is an intriguing and gripping portrait of contemporary Canadian life.” Read the whole thing here.

New Article: I had the honour of contributing a piece to the great UK site Dark Mountain. It’s called “Trump and the Anti-Future Age” and you think you know what it’s about, but I think this piece will surprise you! Give it a read here. (I also contributed a longer piece for their upcoming book length anthology, more on that in a future newsletter!)

About The Archaeologists

About The Archaeologists

The Archaeologists is the first novel in ten years from the author of the acclaimed novel The Program and the scathing work of social criticisms Trees On Mars: Our Obsession with the Future and The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbours. Harnessing his well known capacity for sharp-tongued commentary and cutting edge fiction, Niedzviecki breaks new ground with this, his third novel and fifth work of fiction.

He tells his simplest story yet, a story that manages to capture the essence of the huge issues facing society today – the environment, consumerism, ennui, repatriation – by harnessing the quotidian passions and desires of people who want nothing more than an ordinary life they can believe in.

Equal parts Desperate Housewives, Camus, and Salinger, Archeologists tells a simple story fraught with dark comedy, wry observations, and complex emotion.

The Plot

When feckless pot dealer Tim finds out that his father, whom he hasn’t seen in a decade, is dying, he panics and bolts back to his childhood home bordering the riverbank in the fictional edge city of Wississauga, Ontario. Ostensibly there to confront his dying father and finally discover what really happened to his mother, who disappeared suddenly when he was a child, Tim finds himself inexplicably drawn to the forest river gully behind his old childhood house. Peering through the trees into the backyard he smokes his dwindling supply and witnesses a woman digging up bones.

When listless June starts having visions directing her to dig up her suburban backyard, she figures she’s got nothing better to do. Her older husband Norm is a dentist busy with his expanding practice, and there’s little else in Wississauga’s collection of malls, roads and box stores to distract her. But what begins as a weird whim quickly takes on the characteristics of obsession. Convinced that she’s discovered the bones of an ancient Native explorer pioneer, June stakes her identity and marriage on getting to the bottom of a secret she believes she’s been chosen to solve.

These two characters, plus four others including Wississauga’s oldest living resident, a cable community news reporter, and a 6th grader who goes by Charlie, pursue their separate but interconnected obsessions, but time is running out: the river gully, once home to the people of the Wississauga nation, is slated for demolition and a new road. Meanwhile, Tim’s almost out of pills and pot, Norm’s starting to wonder what’s going on with his wife, and a cub cable community reporter thinks he’s about to break the first big story of his fledgling career.

Set entirely in the fictional suburb of Wississauga, Archeology is a provocative vision of 21st century life. This is a novel about the end of history, the foundational collective guilt shoring up consumer society, and the yearning for simple feeling in an age of hyper-speed digital communication. The Archaeologists is also a novel about people whose lives intersect as randomly and inevitably as fate. A lonely housewife loses herself in a dream; a young man fleeing his future returns to the site of his childhood past; and a cadaver of bones buried in a backyard poses as either the answer to everything or the portal to a phantasmagoric collective madness.


Hello I’m Special – How Individuality Became the new Conformity

When being a rebel is sanctioned by society, what is left to rebel against?

Hal Niedzviecki has a blunt message for the army of tattoo and piercing enthusiasts, bloggers, skateboard warriors, and anyone else walking around with the smug certainty that they are one of a kind: Individuality is the new conformity.

Niedzviecki’s meditations touch on everything from designer religions to webcasts, from reality TV to the endless “Everybody Is A Star” platitudes of global pop culture. He unearths the amateur underground and shines a spotlight on the self-help industry, Hollywood, and mainstream media. The result is a smart, witty, and impassioned argument that shatters the you-can-do-anything pop myth and exposes the paradox of individualism.

“A blend of cultural analysis, reporting and memoir, Hello, I’m Special is full of sharp and funny observations (most of them somewhere on the spectrum from bemusement to rage) and is generally a bracing read.” –

“Hal Niedzviecki is truly special, but not in the mass market way. He is one of the wisest, funniest and most acute cultural critics writing today. A sure-footed guide through a surreal landscape.” – Naomi Klein, author of No Logo

“Equal parts Jerry Seinfeld and Thomas Frank . . . an equally gifted fiction writer and social critic, Niedzviecki in his new book gives us everything that makes his brand of literary genius so, well, ‘special’. Breaking every hipster’s heavy heart by identifying the shared cult of individuality underlying both mainstream and alternative cultures, Hello I’m Special makes an impassioned–and oftentimes hilarious–case for a personality that money just can’t buy.” – Tikkun Magazine

Read This Book:

From the publisher City Lights



From Chapters/Indigo

The Peep Diaries – How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and our Neighbors

About the Book:

We have entered the age of “peep culture”: a tell-all, show-all, know-all digital phenomenon that is dramatically altering notions of privacy, individuality, security, and even humanity. Peep culture is reality TV, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, over-the-counter spy gear, blogs, chat rooms, amateur porn, surveillance technology, Dr. Phil, Borat, cell phone photos of your drunk friend making out with her ex-boyfriend, and more. In the age of peep, core values and rights we once took for granted are rapidly being renegotiated, often without our even noticing.

With hilarious, exasperated acuity, social critic Hal Niedzviecki dives into peep, starting his own video blog, joining every social network that will have him, monitoring the movements of his toddler, selling his secrets on Craigslist, hiring a private detective to investigate him, spying on his neighbors, trying out for reality TV shows, and stripping for the pleasure of a web audience he isn’t even sure exists. Part travelogue, part diary, part meditation and social history, The Peep Diaries explores a rapidly emerging digital phenomenon that is radically changing not just the entertainment landscape, but also the firmaments of our culture and society.

The Peep Diaries introduces the arrival of the age of peep culture and explores its implications for entertainment, society, sex, politics, and everyday life. Mixing first-rate reporting with sociological observations culled from the latest research, this book captures the shift from pop to peep and the way technology is turning gossip into documentary and Peeping Toms into entertainment journalists. Packed with stranger-than-fiction true-life characters and scenarios, The Peep Diaries reflects the aspirations and confusions of the growing number of people willing to trade the details of their private lives for catharsis, attention, and notoriety.

Read The Peep Diaries

from the publisher City Lights



  from Chapters/


The Big Book of Pop Culture – A How-to Guide for Young Artists

illustrated by Marc Ngui

  • Gold Award, National Parenting Publications
  • “The Year’s Best” List, Resource Links
  • New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age
  • Independent Publisher Book Award, Bronze
  • Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

It’s culture creation made easy by a master of the independent art scene.

Join indie-guru Hal Niedzviecki on a how-to journey to creating pop culture. In upbeat, spirited writing, Niedzviecki first leads readers through a quick history of entertainment, including its early origins, to the present day, when corporate powers largely determine what we read, hear and view.

Niedzviecki then shows how to reclaim cultural expression by encouraging everyone to use the tools of modern media: print (self-publishing zines, comics and books), video (making movies and shows), CD (creating original music) and the indie-paradise of the internet (websites, blogs—even developing video games). Quick and easy do-in-a-day project ideas are included to get things started so emerging artists will feel ready to tackle more ambitious works.

Punctuated by inspiring interviews with young creators, engaging sidebars, and zine-style graphics that capture the spirit of the indie movement, THE BIG BOOK OF POP CULTURE is an empowering guide to original artistic expression.


“ … would serve as a manual of information and suggestions for teens trying to figure out how to take their self-expression to the next level.”
—VOYA, 08/07

“… a must-have for anyone who wishes to be involved in the media or have their work distributed in the community.”

“… it celebrates all that is great about popular culture rather than only warning against its ‘sinister nature’ and because it really encourages young people to get their voices out there. This book is all about empowerment and provides practical, sound advice about why and how you can get your voice heard!”
—Resource Links, 06/07

Read The Big Book of Pop Culture



from Chapters/

We Want Some Too – Underground Desire and the Reinvention of Mass Culture

Published on the brink of the millennium in the waning days before the iPhone, Reality TV and YouTube, We Want Some Too is acclaimed cultural observer Hal Niedzviecki’s groundbreaking book about the mass desire to reclaim popular culture. Since its publication in 2000, We Want Some Too has become an underground classic.

As relevant today as it was 10 years ago, it portrays the way generations of TV-infused product-adorned aspirationals have formed a new relationship to popular entertainment. This relationship, which Niedzviecki dubs “lifestyle culture”, consists of endlessly attempting to confer the fabricated events of pop with personal truth; a truth that situates mass culture at the very heart of daily life. (“Oh my God. She’s dead. I can’t believe she’s dead!” a man was reported to have screamed while browsing the weekly edition of Soap Opera News in a Toronto bookstore.)

From zine publishing to punk jazz to underground comics to pirate radio and culture jamming, Niedzviecki unearths the underground, makes sense of the barbarians massing at the gates of high art, and ruminates on everything from the nature of reality to the role of the ‘stupid job’. We Want Some Too depicts legions of disaffected, dedicated culture consumers challenging and utterly reshaping everything from television to journalism to pop music. The legions of Reality TV supplicants, bloggers, uploaders and digital mash-up artists that emerged a few years after We Want Some Too imbue Niedzviecki’s thought provoking commentary with new urgency and relevance.

We Want Some Too is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand the role of popular culture in contemporary society. It’s also a book that retains its reputation as a smart, funny, accessible – and ultimately uneasy – portrait of a conflicted millennial culture born out of collapsing values, fragmented families, and uneasy economies.


Read We Want Some Too:

Originally published by Penguin Canada, the hard copy is now out of print.

But this book has been re-released as an e-book by Smellit publishing.

Read on the Kindle.

Read on the Kobo.



Trees On Mars: Our Obsession with the Future

“Hal Niedzviecki’s urgent, eye-opening Trees on Mars exposes our mania for the future as exactly what it is: an ideology as narrow and dangerous as any we’ve known from history. Read this book and be the first on your block to recall the rebel thrill of living in the present.” —J.B. MacKinnon, author of The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be.

“A dark book about the future — and a thought-provoking one. Trees on Mars will leave you questioning our ideas about progress.” —Clive Thompson, Wired columnist and author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better.

tempcovertreesonmarsAbout Trees on Mars

Trees On Mars: Our Obsession with the Future

320 Pages

Release Date: October 2015

Publisher: Seven Stories Press.

The future is big right now – for perhaps the first time, our society is more focused on what is going to happen in the future than what is happening right now. Through visits to colleges, corporations, tech conferences, factories and more, author Hal Niedzviecki traces the story of how owning the future has become irresistible to us. In deep conversation with both the beneficiaries and victims of our relentless obsession with the future, Niedzviecki asks crucial questions: Where are we actually heading? How will we get there? And whom may we be leaving behind? READ MORE

Upcoming Events


Come hear Trees on Mars author Hal Niedzviecki speak about the book and the rise of future obsession. Events upcoming in cities across North America. Click here for details.

To find out more about hosting Niedzviecki at your upcoming event, click here.


Reviews and Interviews

To read reviews of Trees on Mars click here.

To read interviews with author Hal Niedzviecki click here.

Table of Contents and Excerpts

PART I: Our Lives in the Age of Tomorrow
Chapter 1: Chasing Tomorrow: Dispatches from our Obsession with the Future READ AN EXCERPT
Chapter 2: Teaching Future READ AN EXCERPT
Why Schools are Teaching Change and Preaching Tech
Chapter 3: The Group Just Slows Us Down READ AN EXCERPT
Future vs. Institution
Chapter 4: Data Harvest
Owning the Future and Everyone In It
PART II: Our Minds in the Future
Chapter 5: After
Why Our Minds are Vulnerable to the Pull of Future
Chapter 6: Put a Spell on Me READ AN EXCERPT
When the Magic Became the Information
PART III: The Case Against the Future
Chapter 7: Consumption, Innovation, and the Truth of Change
Chapter 8: The Human Robot
Homo Economicus in Decline
Chapter 9: Future Shock and Awe READ AN EXCERPT
Anxiety Factory
PART IV: The End
Chapter 10: Escape from the Permanent Future READ AN EXCERPT
The Problem of Hope

Buy the Book