A bit about my participation in the blog chain and what it is
"The Next Big Thing" is a blog-based interview series where authors can discuss their latest projects, their process, and mix and mingle with fellow authors and kindly readers.
Thanks to Nancy Stohlman for inviting me into this writerly conversation! Read about her new book, The Monster Opera and other Bible Stories.
The questions: an interview with David Wagner
What is your working title of your book?
The title of my new project is Marvelous Things.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, it is actually the mingling of a few different ideas. First and foremost, while preparing to begin my Masters in Philosophy, I was spending waaaaay to much time delving into phenomenology and metaphysics, basically looking at the way we experience consciousness and then again, where and what does the consciousness derive from.
These questions were the way into the concept of my newest novel. As for the actual setting and characters, well, these come from my own preoccupations with underdogs, losers, failed messiahs, and brains in tanks.
What genre does your book fall under?
The novel is technically science fiction, my first foray into such areas. Though it is just as much a psychological cat and mouse game, a speculative future history, a Platonic dialogue, and a love story that happens to take place on a space ship heading that way.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Wow, what a question. Gary Oldman, circa Leon, simply because he should be in every movie ever made.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Dale Abbot is pushed to his breaking point by the unforeseen consequences of
the long and lonely deep space mission he is employed on.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
At this point, it will be self-published, the dangerous game of futility and heartbreak. I will also be looking for a publishing house to perhaps represent my work, but as of this writing, I am a free agent. Why, do you know someone?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about fourteen months. I wrote for about 8 months, and then put the book down for two years while I pursued a Masters degree at SFSU. After graduating, I moved to Istanbul, where I live now, and spent the next six months finishing the first and second drafts in one long, mind-numbing session.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, I am not really sure. Within my genre? I will have to be more general than that. I think somewhere between some J.G. Ballard, some Joseph Conrad, and some Plato. Oh, and of course Lem and Gogol.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for Marvelous Things is primarily my investigations into the evolution of the conscious mind, and the creation of sentiency. This is then combined with my awe and curiosity about technology and the future of humanity, the basic notions of 'we can', 'should we', and 'what if we did'? Speculation at its finest.
Further, I have always been interested in madness and isolation, and how the mixing of the two creates something both more and less than a 'human.' What I mean by that is the age old question of 'breakdown' versus 'breakthrough' and in the end, is there any real difference? Different cultures in different times have had various ways to deal with madness, and I have found ongoing fascination with the subject. If you don't believe me, let's hang out for a while, or you can read my first novel, The Life and Partially Coherent Times of Linus Cain, which I self-published several years ago.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
My feeling is this: If you like space, insanity, sentient computers, speculative histories of Earth, pitch black humor, philosophy, abstract process, and love, then you will more than likely dig into this book with unabashed pleasure.
Links to a few other participants in "The Next Big Thing" :
Nancy Stohlman: talking about her new book The Monster Opera and Other Bible Stories.
Carolyn Zaikowski: talking about her new book, A Child Is Being Killed,
Bryan Jansing: talking about his new non-fiction book, A Guide to the Microbreweries of Italy.
Nate Jordon: talking about his new chapbook, Vinnie Palmieri.