ARE YOU A PLOTTER OR PANTSER? I fly by the seat of my pants. When I plan a story’s plot and its characters, they turn out dreadful… the story has no flair and falls flat. The story that is LifeGames arrived while I was sitting on a nude beach in Spain; I was on vacation but those damned LifeGames characters and their story simply didn’t care. They proceeded to eat 10 days of my precious vacation. Four hundred pages later and I sat back and decided I hated the outcome because the plot had morphed from big business shenanigans into what seemed like paranormal activity. So… the story lay dormant on my hard drive for the next twenty years, until I re-read it and realised it only needed some minor tweaks to turn it into quite a ripping yarn.
WHAT DREW YOU INTO WRITING THE GENRE YOU DO? The human experience is rich with emotions and cultural baggage. These factors provide endless opportunity to put us each at odds with our fellow traveller and reality. The path away from conflict and toward mutual understanding is greatly helped by understanding how the brain, mind and reality really works. I aspire toward writing fiction that draws readers into the world of characters who are navigating these themes and discovering how they can find understanding and peace by confronting and grasping reality. Reviews of my work suggest that this technique of mine is working.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF YOUR BOOK? The world of tomorrow belongs to technology, and we run the risk of either being its master or its slave. I was musing what specific technologies might influence tomorrow’s landscape the most, and settled on an unholy alliance between Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality (VR)… But, I realized even the best immersive VR is limited… the subject on a VR training simulation knows that it is only a simulation, that there are no real consequences for failing in a virtual world. So, what, I asked myself, would happen if a company - LifeGames Corporation - first used a hypnosis sequence to convince each participant under training in their facilities that they were about to experience a real crisis. The outcome would be the authentic reactions and certification of an employee’s aptitude; and a LifeGames certificate of competence would become the gold standard for climbing to any position of power — LifeGames would become immensely wealthy and powerful. But tinkering with the brain, as LifeGames would have to, comes with risks, particularly when the brains being tiered with are the world’s most powerful and influential individuals.
“Ready?” Catherine asked and Ken nodded.
She dabbed the ‘play’ button.
The man's voice sounds soulless and matter of fact, the green murk of night vision before him a meandering network of tracks through scrubland. Telemetry data and a compass ticker scroll with leisurely precision.
"...I’m all-seeing, I’m Jehovah hovering above. My lightning bolts reach out and touch the wicked."
The camera tracking the night below drifts onto a deserted rural village. Half a dozen phantoms busy themselves around a pickup as it falls squarely into the cross hairs. The scurrying figures are ethereal, pale green spooks on a hurried mission hefting loads into the vehicle.
"They make bad choices. Bad choices makes my good choices easier."
The almighty sounds a bit Southern.
"This God business…” He pauses unhurriedly. “It has consequences all round. First rule; don't think too much, let them make the decisions… make them responsible for my actions."
Threadbare lightning bolts streak away, fairy lights of death diving toward the green unfortunates. The vehicle has swallowed four of them; six have become two and then the two evaporate into the vehicle just as the tracers stitch the ground toward it.
The night vision blows for a silent instant to white light.
“Go with God." His intonation is matter of fact, "Allahu Akbar... straight to hell."
It's eerily silent as the burning flotsam of the explosion rains to stillness.
Moments later startled greens come pouring out of the houses, scattering or running toward their dead.
"What a peculiar Top Gun I am... delivering justice from half a world away. I hang up the headphones and grab milk and a Big Mac on the way home."
FIND AUTHOR Michael Smorenburg at: Website
FIND Life Games AT: Amazon
Michael, what kind of books do you like to read?