In Soulboxer, the main character -- Max Devos -- works at a video shipping service named FlixBuster. It's a fairly obvious amalgamation of "Netflix" and "Blockbuster," the two dominant video rental services right now. The company is both an homage and a satire, tracing its roots all the way back to one of my earliest career aspirations.
Long before I ever considered writing for a living, I wanted to be a video store clerk. I wanted to rent and sell videos to people, making stellar recommendations off of my superb taste in film.
Turns out I don't have superb taste in film, nor do I have much luck at making excellent recommendations. But I did managed to achieve my employment goal, as my first paying job was in the video department of my local Wegman's supermarket.
And I was in heaven. Discounted (and often free) video rentals AND I got to decorate the walls with my own cut up versions of movie posters and my hand lettering. I had it made.
But FlixBuster is derived from more than just my satiated desire to rent movies to people in exchange for their money. It's also the result of a few other personal experiences.
One is the fact that I was a Blockbuster Online early adopter (back in '04), and I've been fascinated with the shipping mechanics of the business ever since. And when I learned -- from a friend who was employed at one of Blockbuster's facilities -- how the shipping actually worked, I was even more curious.
Though I've never been inside one of their warehouses, I have worked at one of Ingram's book warehouses. I worked there for a couple of weeks as a "shagger." That means I went around the warehouse and found the books that the regular order pullers couldn't (or didn't have the time) to find. Granted, it's not like Samantha's job in Soulboxer (Max's best friend, as you'll eventually come to know her). But it inspired her job.
So combine my early love of the face-to-face video rental industry WITH my fascination with the warehouse shipping end of the modern online video rental business WITH my experience working in a book warehouse and VOILA! You've got FlixBuster.