Thursday, May 7, 2015

Why Do I Write This Stuff?

Last May I posted this short blog on my website. Since then my first novel was released and my second, Killswitch, is in the “release date TBA” stage.

Since I signed to publish Wake the Dead, I’ve heard these questions over and over.

The first question: “What’s your book about?”

“The world’s first transhuman,” I say. Blank stares follow. An educated, well-read person complimented me on making up such a clever word. Only a couple of questioners were familiar with the term. Even then, they didn’t really know what I was talking about. More questions follow:

“So, it’s a Christian book?” (Most people know I write from a Christian worldview.)

“Well, it’s not an Amish romance novel,” I say.

 “So then, it’s science fiction?”

 “I like to call it speculative fiction.”

 Then my favorite question: “Why do you want to write about that?”

 For a couple of years I studied transhumanism. I don’t know why I meandered through this weird topic so long, but it held my interest and fueled my imagination. I wondered what the world would be like if it happened. And what the church would do with it. It’s the ultimate Tower of Babel, and the foundation of the tower is already set. Many wonderful things will be built on the bedrock. But, of course, we will take it too far. We will want too much. We will put our faith in it.

 And it will not save us.

 I didn’t know I was on the path that leads to the tower until I realized I can’t go an hour without a firm grip on my iPhone. I’m connected to the cyber world’s building blocks, and one day they will crawl from my device and up my arm and into my brain.
Not really. I know what happened to the first tower. So why do I write this stuff? It’s a subtle, quiet process—this coming of age of the transhumanist. I don’t want anyone to be surprised by it. Oh, and I like speculative fiction with a Christian worldview. And I write what I like.  

 A year later

I’m still writing about transhumanism, but book three will be the last about that particular subject. Or at least about this particular transhuman. I’ll say farewell to Chase Sterling and move on to some other product of my imagination. I’m strongly considering speculating the past rather than the future. For now, the future is my story and transhumanism is what gets me there. But it’s not my intent for readers to know more about the subject than Chase knows. He doesn’t understand it all, and that’s okay because what the story is really about—like all good stories—is redemption.

I google transhumanism occasionally to see what’s new. A few months ago I found my picture right in the middle of the screen. I was surrounded by articles and websites on the topic. The link next to my picture opened an article I wrote. Today I looked again. My picture was still there, but the link had changed to a recent interview.

 Are they—the transhumanists—watching me? Do they mistakenly think I’m part of their movement? I doubt it. They’re smart people. If there are any questions in their pre-augmented brains, they’d quickly settle the issue by reading my book. They’d realize I know enough about the science to turn it into fiction. They’d soon find out I’m not on their team. I hope they’d clearly see I am all about redemption.

 It was only the placement of keywords that dropped me into the transhuman movement on Google—a cyber-decision relying little on human input. (Think about that.) Whatever the cause, I’m thrilled to step beyond church walls, even if it’s virtual. And blessed to tell a story about a weird subject and a wild future. And most of all, grateful to know the only thing that can truly transform a human is the redeeming power of Christ.
The world is changing and transhumanism is part of the change. It’s a crazy scary. More fact than fiction. I may have previously insinuated that my purpose is to warn the world about transhumanism. But that's not really it at all. I’m here to tell the world about redemption.



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