EXTRA LIFE is out today!

Here’s a little piece I wrote for Booklist on switching genres from crime fiction to the crazy hybrid thing that EXTRA LIFE is: a young adult contemporary science fiction thriller.

Those familiar with my other books might be wondering where this one came from, and whether it’s up your alley. It’s still a thriller–in fact, even more of a fast-paced thriller than anything I’ve done before. I’m writing from the point of view of my protagonist for the first time, a sharp-tongued sixteen-year-old kid, but there’s an ageless obsession with the last few decades of movie culture, too.

I think it works for readers of all ages, kind of like READY PLAYER ONE did a few years back.

At its deepest level, EXTRA LIFE arises out of the same preoccupations I’m probably stuck with for good–what it means to be a self, what identity is, how time and circumstance and situation change who we are. It’s definitely a question young adults ask themselves, but I think it’s pertinent for all of us.

This time around, I’m attacking these questions directly, through the lens of science fiction. I’ve long been fascinated, for example, with the question of the “philosophical zombie.” If there were an exact replica made of you, would it share your consciousness? If not, is it “alive?” And therefore what does “alive” mean?

Or what if we were to actually invent teleportation. If your true self is evaporated and a copy is made, are you still “you” on the other end? Has your consciousness vanished? These are the questions that keep me up at night. In the end, they’re really questions about that unknown country, aren’t they?

So that’s what EXTRA LIFE is–a breakneck thriller and a twisty mind-bending foray into questions of what it means to be who we are. It’s also a love-letter to the movies and the movie-making business. Give it a try. Let me know what you think! website launch

Welcome to the brand new website for author Derek Nikitas. The new site coincides with the release of my third novel, EXTRA LIFE (which also happens to be my first novel for young adults).

EXTRA LIFE is a mind-bending science fiction thriller in the vein of Back to the Future, with a little Donnie Darko mixed in. Its official release date is October 13th, though it’s already available in hardcover most places. The e-book version will become available on the 13th.

It’s being released by Polis Books, and here’s a taste of what it’s about:

Russ has never been your typical teen. After being expelled, Russ has started to get his life back on track. He’s a pop culture junkie, and living in a town where the popular teen soap “Cape Twilight” is filmed, how could he not be? So when Russ decides to make his own short film, he recruits the (emotionally unhinged) star of “Cape Twilight” and his own motley crew to help out. Seems like a great idea…until the plan blows up in Russ’s face.

Just when everything seems to be falling apart, Russ receives a message on his cell phone — from himself. Recorded in the future, ‘future Russ’ informs him that the day can be fixed if he’s willing to use an app to leap twelve hours into the past. Russ is happy to oblige, figuring the day can’t get any worse. But he couldn’t be more wrong. Because as soon as Russ tampers with time and space, he introduces dangerous glitches he can’t control, including alternate of himself. And suddenly Russ’s sanity and the lives of everyone he cares about are at risk if he can’t find a way to regain control of his own life— past, present and future.

For more information about this book and my previous novels, please visit the new homepage at

Available Now

“By turns clever, surreal, and poignant, Derek Nikitas has achieved a rare thing with EXTRA LIFE – a high concept thriller with both smarts and heart. An inventive, memorable young adult debut.”

Gwenda Bond, author of Lois Lane: Fallout and Girl on a Wire