Monthly Archives: August 2014

Immortality, Anyone?

I was surprised by this compelling article on npr.org about Soft Immortality.  It moves back and forth between how our longevity is improving, to the consequences of living for a long, long time.  It’s worth checking out if you muse about your lifespan (who doesn’t), or wonder if, at age 737, you’d still find something good on TV.

1001, The Reincarnation Chronicles takes immortality for a given.  When I was first working on it, I read The Eight by Katherine Neville, one of the great pre-Da Vinci Code Historical Information thrillers.  At the end there’s a huge reveal that what was driving the action was the secret to eternal life.  There’s tons of books with this shape, Harry Potter and The Sorceror’s Stone to name a second.  I thought: what if immortality was assumed from the first pages of a book and not kept a precious mystery?

Then the interesting question for me became: if my characters learn their souls are immortal, and that they keep experiencing life after life, how do they deal with the knowledge in their everyday existence?  How do they cope with making the same choices repeatedly throughout Time, while going to work and taking out the trash on a regular basis?

The npr article implies questions like: would you get bored?  Would you get uber-frustrated with making the same mistakes over and over?  Would the image of never dying drive you insane?  My characters wonder the same things, while marveling at the novelty of discovering new past lives as Malagasy priestesses, Higgs boson particles, and opabinia from the Cambrian Explosion (they have five eyes — I’m writing about them now, with the draft of Book Four).  At least the variety of their lifetimes distracts them from the angst of Hard Immortality.

Science Made Me Do It

My guest post on Sandra Ulbrich Almazan’s wonderful science/speculative fiction site explores how my family’s science background influenced my books.  My parents met working on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos: we’re a nuclear family.  My brother George is searching for every species living inside of us in the Human Microbiome Project.  I’m only trying… Continue Reading

Elephant Tale for World Elephant Day

The Tale of the Oldest of Worlds             There, snacking on the abundant plant life with their frontal feeders, the “pro-boscis” that much later classified them as Proboscidians in our prehistoric eras, we find a beloved sight.  “Front feeder” earned them that name, but they were the First Feeders, too,… Continue Reading

Scheherazade Meets the Karate Kid

Here’s a taste of my guest post on Fiona Kernaghan’s lovely site about magic realism, Create An Enchanted Life.  It deals with how my past methods as a composer have (un)consciously influenced my writing habits. “I play piano for modern dance classes, which means that I must improvise everything, although within a fixed structure.  Being… Continue Reading