So far I have tried to focus on observational posting – music I like, historical quirks, some experiences of living here in Qatar as an American. But tonight I want to write a little bit about what I am writing about, fiction-wise. I have always been drawn to genre fiction as a reader, writer, and consumer of video media. Mostly that means science fiction and fantasy, but I also have read some horror at the behest of an ex (amicably separated due to my peregrinate lifestyle.) Thus when I talk about writing, I am usually talking about something along the lines of science fiction or fantasy.
Currently I have been slowly accreting words onto a short story about a priest of gods in a multivariable pantheon who deciphers an odd codex of ancient repute. He finds in the midst of those volumes a map that suggests that an old, overgrown area of his home continent was once the site of a completely different sort of civilization from his early industrial-era society.
He travels towards a particularly captivating location on that map, drawn by a sense of inevitability and purpose that his life in an idyllic valley of monasteries and temples did not provide.
I will not go into the conceit of the story in this entry, as I have not yet written it out of the pre-writing I have in notes and a general idea.
What I will talk to is a larger idea that I have for a novel or a series. I was thinking about the currently-popular idea that the universe is not what it seems, but may rather be an enormously complex simulation running on hardware in a higher level of reality. Then I thought, what if the different complexes of gods and spirits that humans have worshipped over the centuries are in fact different development teams on the larger simulation? Early ideas of the supernatural are humans’ neural-net simulations interacting on some level with the active efforts of developers on an early phase of our universe, focused on our world at least, and thus also giving an “explanation” for why humans feel compelled to believe in the idea of beings greater than ourselves in power and influence. Rationally, I have no trouble accepting the more mundane explanation that our sense of the supernatural arises from pattern recognition “circuitry” in our biological thought processes interacting with our social instincts and innate desire to know and control future events for our benefit. But I think that it offers fertile ground for a work of fiction to subvert that idea towards one wherein humans are, in fact, programmed to be responsive to the developers of our world as a technological project of a higher-universe group of sentients.
The idea is that the Egyptian pantheon represents one of the earliest sets of developers tasked with stimulating a complex, hierarchical society from our base coding, and the Sumerian/Mesopotamian complex that coexisted with it represents a more primitive set of developers focused on machine code that would sustain the processing and expansion of humanity towards whatever end the overall simulation is meant to illustrate or entail. From there, different pantheons represent different sorts of software development teams. The Abrahamic religions emerge as a kind of power struggle amongst management of the simulation project outside of our universe, while Japan and its Shinto faith are a subset of the larger simulation added on almost like DLC for the larger game of life, perhaps focused on algorithms designed to operate without external intervention yet to build off of the “basic rules and classes” that power the larger global experiment.
I could even see a side-series that looks at another planet developed by the same beings above our universe, and yet is a world that operates on a wildly different application of the basic physical and chemical laws that govern Earth-based life, etc. I will need to do a significant amount of pre-writing, but the basic introductory plot line is one in which a human or a small group of humans end up making contact with a developer or development team who do not like the way that humans have deified their fellow coders and designers, and who are able to offer manipulation of the world we know to achieve a set of initially unknowable ends.
This would be a very large writing project, and one that I am not sure I want to begin until I have a chance to hack at some other, earlier ideas that I have had. But as this blog was intended to be one talking about writing, I figured it only fair to share some of my story ideas. If you end up using the larger conceit to create your own work, I ask only that if I am successful at publishing mine, you not be shady and claim that I stole your idea simply because I was not as fast as fleshing out my own.
I hope that this was at least food for thought for you all, and that you have a fantastic day or night, wherever on our whirling planet you may be.