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Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Avatar Effect

I am one who likes to push the envelope on whatever I am doing. I did that somewhat with this book. Writing a story where the characters can carry on multiple conversations simultaneously (telepathic and out-loud at the same time) was a bit of a challenge since people just can't do that. We may sit back listening to a cacophony of sounds from numerous simultaneous conversations, picking out a word here, a phrase there to remember. But to carry on multiple conversations at the same time, to feed data selectively from one conversation to another while they are going on, is just unimaginable. Yet everyday, computers do this very thing. Your computer is figures out what conversations can occur at the same time and freezes those conversations in time which can't proceed simultaneously. Working in the software industry, I got very familiar with this since one of my talents was visualize how all the programs (conversations) would interact and to track down problems with programs that "talked" out of turn.

Computers come from our minds, right? So how big a stretch is it that one day, perhaps a hundred thousand years or so from now, a living flesh mind will be born from us (a better human, hopefully) that can do the same thing. Our minds came from evolution and one would hope that perhaps evolution might eventually catch up with what we can imagine.

So, like watching the Avatar movie, riding along in this new kind of novel was a bit wild and exhilarating; when the movie/novel is over, there is a bit of a let down effect. Just as when that new and fantastically realized world disappeared off the silver screen and you suddenly realize you are sitting in a cold, dark theater with a bunch of old rotting popcorn scattered everywhere, I am feeling the let-down from finishing the novel. But unlike the movie, I doubt anyone will experience the same thing unless they actually write a novel themselves. It's a bit unique. The only good thing I can say, is that unlike the next 10-15 years it might take to produce the next Avatar, my road to bliss is a bit shorter. Perhaps I can spend a couple of months of research and fixing up all of the real life activities I abandoned during the year of writing. Then if I can be lucky enough to write some more, I can be off on another year to year and a half trek on my own private Avatar adventure.

So, novelists out there, have you experienced an Avatar let-down when you have finished your novel???