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Monday, January 17, 2011

Q&A with Middle School Reader

A middle school boy near Houston, TX in the early reader program sent me some questions as he was reading this weekend. It's interesting because sometimes the questions tell you more than anything else. I certainly thought of some revisions to make the novel clearer while I was exchanging email with him. He seems to like the novel so far.

Boy: What are the numbers after the characters names for?

Answer: The numbers after the names indicates that they are a modified clone of the original. For example, Elof died. His mind was saved and put into a new body, Elof2.
Paul25 is the 25th clone of the original Paul. There are multiple clones of the Pauls
alive at the same time.

[This is actually explained indirectly when Elof2 says he could be brought back as Elof3. But since this information is pretty important to understanding the novel, I should make it more explicit.]

Boy: When the book changes to Stefan's mom reading him the book, is it a flash back or is it really happening?

Answer: If you are talking about the beginning and end of chapter 1, then it's a matter of perspective. The Book of Time has written in it all of the past, present, and future. So when Stefan's mom reads the book to him in the beginning, she is reading Stefan the story of his future. So outside of her explicitly reading to him, the story is either the story being read to Stefan, or it's the story really happening and Stefan knows the future from when the book was read to him. But there are two subtle things. To get the distant future to be correct, the book may lie about the near future. So people who have read it, will have read what they needed to to make them act in ways that will allow the distant future to come true.

[As you can see, time can be complex in a novel involving time travel and people/living books monkeying with the time line. I will have to explain time flow a bit better in the next draft.]

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