Sunday, December 29, 2013

The most flattering feedback I've received for Artificial Absolutes...

…has got to be this: It's a philosophical essay inspired by Artificial Absolutes -- the themes of man versus machine, sentience, and emotion. While the essayist, Eyal Mozes, and I don't necessarily see eye-to-eye on all matters, I'm thrilled that my book sparked this kind of thought-provoking writing.

When I set out to write Artificial Absolutes, I initially focused on the adventure element -- the plot, the characters, and the crazy things they go through. But as I delved further into the writing, I found myself thinking about all the questions surrounding the various ideas I had women into the story -- primarily religion, artificiality, and consciousness. Which led to lots and lots more research and background reading than I anticipated going in. By the time I finished my first draft, I found myself not with the pulpy space fugitive book I'd planned, but something I hoped was a little more. Not that there's anything wrong with pulp; in fact, it's still pretty pulpy, which I'm glad for because otherwise it'd be a snoozefest. But despite all the rewrites it required as a result, I'm glad I let it go in a more philosophical direction.

Artificial Absolutes is meant to raise a few questions -- about what it means to be human and about what it means to be artificial. As for the answers… I won't pretend to have them. I don't think anyone ever will, and that's what makes the ideas so fascinating. Each character has their own views, and it's their views I present in the narrative, not necessary. Looking back, they do seem to coalesce into an overarching argument, and I think that's because the characters -- especially Jane, Devin, and Adam -- are necessarily cut of a certain cloth for the sake of the story (they all do crazy things against all reason).

I found Mozes's essay, written from an Objectivist point of view, to be thoroughly fascinating, and I highly recommend that people read it for its interesting and well-informed presentation of its point of view, much of which draws from Ayn Rand, the original Objectivist. (And no, this is not a marketing ploy on my part. I met Mozes briefly at DarkoverCon but didn't even know he bought Artificial Absolutes, let alone read and thought about it. In fact, encouraging people to read his essay is bad business for me, since it's chock full of spoilers -- a necessity, considering the themes and subjects he discusses.)

Being told one's work has inspired another -- that is by far the highest praise an author can ask for.

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