Profile of Jon Armstrong

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This profile moderated by Jon Armstrong.


Jon grew up outside Seattle, State College, PA., and Columbia, Maryland. His parents both have fine art and art education degrees and his childhood was an extended art class. As a boy, his heroes were Buckminster Fuller and Jack Benny.

In 1986, after finishing a Liberal Arts degree at the University of Pittsburgh, he moved to New York and worked at a Japanese travel agency for several years and later had a short stint with Pan Am before the airline went bankrupt. Subsequently, he became a temp and gradually taught himself graphic design. As a graphic designer, he worked for such companies as United Media, Young & Rubicam, Archie Comics, HBO, and many others.

Jon hosts a bi-weekly mostly interview podcast called, If You're Just Joining Us. (Subscribe in iTunes here.) Most of his interview have been with authors, but other guests have included a nutritional anthropologist, a textile scientist, and a classical musician. When Jon was nominated for the Campbell last year, he interviewed the other nominees: Mary Robinette Kowal (link to interview), David Anthony Durham (link to interview), David Louis Edelman (link to interview), and Joe Abercrombie (link to interview). He was unable to reach Scott Lynch.

He currently lives in Queens, New York with his wonderful wife and child.


Grey was published by Night Shade Books in February 2007. The book is available as a free podcast at Jon,, and iTunes. It is also available as a free text download from as a PDF - HTML - Rich Text Format - Mobipocket.

In 2007, Grey was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Awards.

Jon is currently finishing his second novel, Yarn, which is a prequel to Grey. Set mostly in the sex and shopping destination of Seattlehama, it follows the rise of Tane Cedar from the poverty of the slubs, to the hights of high fashion.




San Francisco Chronicle

"Armstrong's vision of the future isn't far removed from our obsession with "American Idol," "America's Next Top Model" and the romantic and rehabilitative antics of Britney, Lindsay and Paris. There are touches of early Kurt Vonnegut and Anthony Burgess in this novel, but "Grey" follows its own well-conceived satirical strategy."

Locus Magazine

"A dazzling trip through a world alternately glamorous and grimy, set in a crumbling but media-saturated future, with eyeball-kicks galore."

Michael Chabon

"Grey is a legendary book waiting to happen. It's a mad, stylish, trippy, endlessly inventive romp through the biohazardous wastes of post-genre literature. Jon Armstrong is a genius, with an umlaut, to the fifth power."

Publishers Weekly

"A Romeo-and-Juliet tale of star-crossed lovers and their conflicted families plays out against a futuristic backdrop shaped by outrageous fashion trends..."

Paul Goat Allen

Set in a near future that is garish, superficial, and obsessively self-absorbed, Jon Armstrong's stellar debut novel is as thematically compelling as dystopian classics like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, and, most notably, Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. In a society controlled in large part by an elite group of corporations and characterized by its wild extremes -- economic, political, sexual, etc. -- young Michael Rivers is a demigod. The heir apparent to high-tech security juggernaut RiverGroup, the 19-year-old has it all: He's handsome, fashionable, and literally worshipped by millions of people who monitor his every movement through the media. And his future looks even brighter -- his girlfriend, Nora, the daughter of the head of a competing conglomerate, is his ideal partner. They share the same understated tastes in music, clothing, and philosophy, and even have a private language based on slogans from advertisements in their favorite fashion magazine. But days before the couple is set to announce their engagement -- and the historic merger of their families' corporations -- an assassin almost succeeds in killing Rivers. When he recovers from the attack, he finds his engagement off and RiverGroup almost bankrupt. Disregarding threats from his egomaniacal father, Rivers begins a perilous quest to reconnect with his true love -- only to come face-to-face with the horrible reality of his existence. Equal parts ill-fated love story a Romeo and Juliet, poignant coming-of-age tale, and disturbingly provocative glimpse into humanity's future, Armstrong's debut is simply unforgettable -- nothing short of a science fiction masterwork. A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century.