When I was a kid, a lot of the games my friends and I would play started with the phrase, “Let’s say…”
Let’s say the X-Men have to save Barbie from the Ninja Turtles.
Let’s say you’re a wizard and I’m a thief and we have to find the dragon.
Let’s say we can both fly, and the UFOs are trying to hunt us down.
These were exploratory statements. They set the stage for the adventure we were about to have; contextualized and established a framework in which to explore. It gave us anchors so that we might accept everything else as a variable. You and I can fly, so what happens next? How do we act? What does running from aliens look like when gravity isn’t a limiting factor? How do we outsmart them? What happens if they catch one of us?
I’ve always loved fiction because it allows me to explore these “Let’s say…” scenarios. The worlds presented and the characters who explore them give me the means to suss out more about myself and who I am, while also empathizing with alternative responses to the same stimuli. Exposure to these non-truths are, in many ways, the best cultivators of truth I’ve ever come across. I know myself and my world far better for having seen others worlds from the standpoint of other people.
I’ve written a good deal of fiction over the past few years, and my first attempt at a longer narrative was a series called Real Powers. The storyline is hardcore speculative fiction, and in it I make all kinds of predictions about where the world will be about fifteen years from now, technologically, politically, spiritually, socially, journalistically, and in just about every other sphere of being I can think of.
I wanted to really flesh out the world I was extrapolating upon, so the book is told from the standpoint of six different characters, each with their own personalities, motivations, hopes and dreams and ways of dealing with the world. The thing that ties them all together is that they’re all heroes and villains; super in their own way, though not in the comic book sense. Their world, like ours, is a big, sometimes intimidating place. Each of them, in turn, can be big and intimidating in their own way.
Most of my publishing career has revolved around nonfiction work, and indeed, most of my income still comes from my essays and books about philosophy and things of that nature. I’ll continue to write on those topics, of course, because I truly enjoy exploring the world in non-narratively, and sharing my thoughts in that format.
But fiction has become an increasingly important genre to me, and as such I’m working hard to expand my experience and offerings in that area. I’ve recently published two books, Ordovician and Trialogue, which have been getting phenomenal reviews and have been doing quite well in sales, too. Thanks so much for that, if you’ve given either one a read!
Just yesterday I released the third book in the Real Powers series, completing the first trilogy starring those six characters (there will be more) and giving me the excuse to go back to the first two books and rewrite them a bit, tweaking the language and the formatting and catching a few typos that snuck through in the first editions. Second editions of those first two books have also been published.
I’m still fleshing out the fiction-wing of my writing portfolio, but the more hands I can get my work into, the more time I’ll be able to spend exploring the world, in every way possible.