To start April off with a bang I published a new book - The Man Who Wasn't Anders Voss and I thought I'd share something about the book with you. Mostly I thought I'd share where the concept for the book came from.
As a writer I sometimes get asked where I get my ideas from, and in this case it is - and I'm proud to admit it - Star Trek.
This book began with one of the unexplained and potentially unexplainable mysteries about the show - the transporter. How does it work, and more importantly if it does work how is it that the guy being transported, having his atoms scattered through space and reassembled somewhere else, survives?
As a trekkie this has been one of the questions that has puzled me for a very long time. I mean it's fairly obvious that if you disintigrate someone into their composite atoms, they die. But then somehow when the atoms get put back together somewhere else, they live again. And that of course leads to the next question - how do you know that the person assembled elsewhere is the same person that was dissassembled?
So my take on this was that they aren't. That the transporter in fact kills the person sent and a completely new person with the old person's memories and features is created. In short a copy.
Naturally this wouldn't make for a good story. Not if the copy was in fact completely convinced that he was the original. Then as far as he was concerned and the rest of the universe, he would be the original. Only the original woul know better and he of course would be dead.
So that lead to the next key idea in the book. What if the copy in fact knew he was the copy? Then we end up in a whole new world of possibilities and plot elements, and key among them, identity.
All of us are blessed with one certainty in life - we are who we are. It never occurs to us that we might in fact be someone else. Other works have touched on this idea, that we might in fact be someone other than the person we think we are. That we might have say been brainwashed, or had amnesia. But the transporter gave me a whole new vehicle to examine this possibility, and to look at the conflicts it creates.
Identity is crucial to us. It is who we think we are. It is the one thing we never consider we could be wrong about. But if we were a copy of a man, perfect in every way, and so every memory we have is of being the original, but at the same time we also have the additional memory of the original having died and of being created from his remains, what would that do to us? Could we call ourselves by the name of the original even though we know we aren't him? Can we consider his family as ours? What about his actions, both good and bad? Can we truly be held responsible for the crimes the original migt have committed? Can we accept the credit for the good things he did?
So in large part this book is an exploration of those questions. Of the struggle of a man to decide whether he is in fact the original or is a new man.
And then of course I threw in some aliens, a transporter that doesn't work perfectly, and a rather nasty scientist with a God complex!
So that's where the book goes, and I hope that those who read it will find themselves asking many of the same questions as I have in writing it.
Cheers and as always, be good or don't get caught! (And if one is ever invented do not step into a transporter!)