DarkFuse Magazine published my newest short story, “Comfort Woman,” last week. I wanted to post a little about the inspiration behind it…
Stylistically, the story is a homage to a darker form of Twilight Zone, as well as to vintage scifi, in that, while it incorporates cutting edge technology, the story isn’t about the tech. It’s about what we as humans do with it, how we live with it, react to it.
Charlie, an elderly widower, lives alone, then suffers some health setbacks that affect his ability to live independently. In the future portrayed in the story, the government has mandated robotic in-home companions for people in Charlie’s situation. The idea is to provide cheaper–and more effective–home care instead of putting people in nursing homes.
These robots are very advanced, very lifelike. So much so, they are manufactured to resemble the lost spouse/companion physically–and they’re implanted with the deceased’s memories, so they come as close as possible to the real thing.
Charlie’s an independent sort, and he’s not buying it. But he’s given no choice. He either accepts Gracie, or he will be confined in a nursing home to the end of his days.
“Comfort Woman” is the story of Charlie’s journey with the new Gracie, where life takes them both, as individuals and in their relationship together.
I hope you enjoy it!
I have a new posting up at Shelf Pleasure, discussing how I see the bright side–and the dark side–of technologies, and how that informs my writing. Take a look!
There are two aspects to the technology in THE GENESIS CODE. One is the Information Technology aspect, with the trading system and performance monitoring. That sort of thing already exists, and has for some time.
But the chip implant. I made that up. As I’ve mentioned in other forums, THE GENESIS CODE originated with a short story I wrote in 2000-2001 called 24 X 7. It’s never been published, but it contained the original concept for this implant. I completed the manuscript for THE GENESIS CODE in 2006. Since that time, I’ve seen the occasional story here and there about similar technology or technology that might some day lead to it–often in the context of military applications or pure brain research.
Just the other day, there was a news story that scientists have successfully implanted a memory in a mouse’s brain. They used light pulses rather than an implanted chip, but still…pretty scary when you think about it, eh?
I enjoy making up technology entirely when I can in my fiction. I also enjoy looking at tech trends to get an idea for something–and then taking it beyond where the technology is today to create a world or a situation where the technology has fully developed–for good and for not-so-good. Developments occur at such a rapid pace these days, the fodder is there for the taking.
In my second novel, THE JANUS LEGACY, I do exactly this. Current technology enables scientists to create certain parts of organs today from stem cells, for example. What if this were perfected and taken to an extreme? What good could it bring to the world?
And what might be the dangers it could bring as well? This is exactly what THE JANUS LEGACY explores in a thriller novel setting.
It’s a little scary to me that the idea I had for THE GENESIS CODE is happening now. Might the same thing happen with my central technology in THE JANUS LEGACY?
THE JANUS BEQUEST. Feels good to have a name for it at last. The revisions are going well. It’s feeling very good…
UPDATE: THE JANUS LEGACY. There. There we have it. Much better, thank you Greg!
“Part dark corporate techno-thriller, part cautionary tale, THE GENESIS CODE is an electrifying debut novel made all the more horrifying because of how plausible it is in our ever-expanding computer age.
If you like the works of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook, you’re going to love Lisa von Biela!”
—Greg F. Gifune