CD Spensley’s Free the Bear! is an especially timely work of speculative fiction for the age of Trump. A novel of ideas – the creation of a self-aware Artificial Intelligence from glowing tropical fish and human neurons; a rebellion of a million gamers and one philosopher; a twenty year plot to withhold key science from the Federal government; the dream of a genuinely peaceful succession of California from the Union – all dreams on the cusp of reality until triggered by the national emergency created by the election of Donald Trump. Free the Bear is a rousing adventure story and a cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of utopian dreams.

Michael Alenyikov, author of the award-winning novel, Ivan and Misha

An AI’s exponential growth, brilliant minds steeped in both science and spirituality, and the Bay Area’s frustrated youth – these are the seeds of California’s independence. Free the Bear is a fun and smart look not only at how it could happen, but also at how the movement creates its own myths along the way.

– Jeff Liss, author of The Second Pact

Free the Bear! is a fascinating and richly detailed glimpse into a near future that might be upon us sooner than we realize. The novel is full of complex, well-rounded characters, from the Chinese martial artist and Zen student who initiates the secession to the quirky cast of youthful gamers who are its non-violent army. The evocation of the Independent Free Republic of California (IFROC) makes the speculative scenario realistic and absorbing.  Free the Bear! is both provocative and a great fun read!
-Stephen Billias, author of The American Book of the Dead and Quest for the 36