In honor of the three months since An Absolute Mind came out, this month, I shall be doing a weekly series of behind-the-scenes glimpses at the process and the decisions made with the creation of the novel. Be careful for potential spoilers if you haven’t read it yet, and I hope you enjoy.
An Absolute Mind is set in the future, and yet it brings up a number of events from the past; not just the pasts in the lives of the characters, but of our country as well. Perhaps the funny thing about it is apart from making, what we call our present, the past in accordance to their time, what we currently consider the past is just as prominent of bringing up in conversation too throughout the novel. To consider these time-jumping factors, without having any real time traveling at all apart from the glimpses into the past Absolute Memory allowed, was an interesting concept to work with; especially how it thematically flowed together in the long run.
Setting An Absolute Mind in the future was a necessary maneuver for making the existence of Absolute Memory much more believable. A lot can happen in 50 years, and this was just one way of doing so. Of course, this allowed room for considering the circumstances of things now and seeing how they can change for the better in the future. This can apply to many factors in the novel: Tuition-free college education, advancements in preserving the environment, the fact that an openly gay mixed race woman is President of the United States, hover cars are the norm, etc. It wasn’t just about advancing the technology of this era, but also everything in between as well.
While I wanted to create a desirable future, I also knew that I didn’t want it to be perfect. Apart from the circumstance that unfolds throughout the novel, there are other ways of showing just how not everything is completely peachy. Right from the beginning, Sonya is under pressure to decide on a major before the end of the term, otherwise she would get kicked out of college. There are people in the country who are skeptical of a constantly growing mixed race population. The practice of live protesting has since died out. Historical places such as the Anne Frank House no longer stand. You get the picture.
It was already tricky to keep my mind constantly focused on the fact that this story is set in the future. However, it was even trickier to maintain the idea that my present is the characters’ past. So I had to think about the issues that we’ve been facing presently and how that could be viewed in 2064. Given the current political climate, obviously some additional answers can be tossed into the mix; but at the time the novel was being worked on, events and issues that came to mind include the Black Lives Matter movement, the debate over gun regulation laws, how social media impacts our capabilities to remember, and how women are viewed and treated by society at large. The fact that I approached these current events and topics to make them as dated as possible was quite a thought experiment to pull off.
In one instance, that even included events happening in real time that can easily sync well with the state of things in my novel. For example, as I briefly mentioned last month in my post about why I write LGBT characters, the fact that the future An Absolute Mind was set had long since legalized same-sex marriage was an idea that actually predates the 2015 Supreme Court ruling. That’s why when it happened, I was floored on how this aspect of the future that I had created is now real.
With the fact that making my present the past was tricky, you can imagine then how much easier it was to speak of events that happened long before I was even born. But that’s not to say that this didn’t come with a challenge of its own as well, largely due to the increased length of time that will have passed by 2064, and making them still significant enough to bring up in conversation. While that seemed natural enough for the president to do in her speech, for she’s in a position of power that should be about remembering the past and going forward for the better, for characters like Sonya, it did require some reasoning behind where her train of thought is coming from.
For example, as I’ve talked about many times already, Sonya is a descendant of Japanese American internees. While this month will mark 75 years since Executive Order 9066 happened, by Sonya’s time, it will have been 122 years. But this shameful event is still prevalent enough for her to bring up anyway, especially when dealing with the circumstance she was to deal with. Of course, it goes without saying that the event is just as prevalent to bring up in real time, in regards to the stupid Muslim ban.
In the long run, everything synced up together, in terms of the duality of the events of the past (both what is considered the past to me and what my present has yet to become) and the future. It’s with this approach that I’m proud of the novel An Absolute Mind has become, and (as I’ll continue to emphasize) just how timely it has become in light of today’s events.
An Absolute Mind is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. If you read it, please leave a review, for they’re greatly appreciated and help me grow as a writer. Also, be sure to check out its Goodreads page, and feel free to leave any questions you have about the book.