Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Transhuman Odyssey

A fearsome future. A greater hope.

After reading about transhumanism for a couple of years, I plotted the journey of Chase Sterling, the world’s first transhuman. His story begins with my first published novel, Wake the Dead. The sequel, Killswitch, is awaiting its release date. I expect to complete the final book in the trilogy by late summer. Then I’ll say goodbye to Chase and take up with another offshoot of the fiction tree branching in my head. But right now I’m concentrating on getting this wired-up superhuman to a reasonably happy ending. His life is a mess.
I wasn’t frightened by the very real potential of H+ (transhumanism) when I studied it, or when I turned my reluctant hero into a transhuman. But Chase was frightened. Readers are alarmed—even more so when they find out I didn’t entirely make this stuff up. I wrote an article, "Top Ten Things Christians Should Know About Transhumanism." I said I wrote it to warn people, but the truth is I don’t believe there’s any reason to fear the technology. I don’t fret over ending up like Chase. Still, it’s something to consider. This movement, like many others past and present, is rooted in mankind’s quest for eternal life, for becoming god-like.

Readers disturbed by the transhuman agenda have not been outnumbered by those remarking they find my future-fiction government just as troubling. In the story, the U.S.A. is no more. The reason for the drastic overhaul was the crumbling Constitution, and the perceived obligation of elite rulers to protect common citizens and supply their every need. The result? Zero unemployment. Free healthcare. Free housing and education. Of course, there’s a catch. And a rebellion.

People ask me if I think our nation will turn into that nation. After all, I did my homework on H+. Did I research the possibility of a government reboot? Is it going to happen? I don’t know. Questions loom concerning the progression, if you can call it that, of our government. For me, it’s easier to grasp the potential of H+ than to predict the success or failure of America.

Even so, living under a totalitarian government doesn’t worry me. When readers tell me I wrote a scary book, I almost shake my head. “I don’t think so,” I want to say. But of course, if readers say it’s scary, then it’s scary. So I'll keep putting out a few fear-driven tweets and posts. I’ll go with it. But I’m not scared.

The point of my story is to give readers a thread of hope. I want them to tug on that thread and unravel the frightening scenario. My mission is not to stir up anxiety, but to give good reason why there’s nothing to fear. H+ is scary. At times, the startling changes being cast on us by those in authority are overwhelming. But I can do little to change the direction of either science or politics. All I can do is tell a good story. And so I’m writing a transhuman odyssey. It’s a hard road for my hero, but fear will not conquer him. Hope will win.

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