Well… here we are. Two days from now will mark five years since the release of my second novel, An Absolute Mind. Half a decade has passed since I made this work of mine available to the world, and I continue to be astonished as to how relevant some of the themes and topics covered in the novel have and continue to become.
While the projects that I’ve been working on in relation to expanding its universe or bringing it to a new medium have been halted for now due to my focus on other writing projects currently, I wanted to do something similar to what I did on the fifth anniversary of A Moment’s Worth where I read my own novel and provide a review of sorts here. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned writing projects, other obligations going on in my life currently, and also the fact that I’m reading multiple books at once (which I do not recommend doing), I haven’t been able to finish it all the way through in time for the anniversary post. However, I still wanted to have something out in time, which is why I’m going to share my thoughts with what I’ve read so far.
It’s been five years since An Absolute Mind came out, but over six years since I wrote it — and it shows. Just from what I’ve read so far, there’s already quite a bit that I could have done better had I written it today.
For one thing, I think there’s way too much exposition on the futuristic enhancements and how the time period is different from our present day. I think I could have done a better job with incorporating those elements more naturally.
In a similar vein, I find the characters way too self aware that they live in the future. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be oblivious to how the conditions of their world are significantly better than how it was in the past, but the way they would make an abnormal amount of references to the past — whether it be to our time period or the 20th century — felt way too excessive and unnatural. I definitely could have done that better.
I, for sure, should have included a trigger warning in the beginning. For those reading this who have never read An Absolute Mind before, it’s worth noting that there are graphic descriptions of violence, murder, discrimination against people for their abilities, attempted and successful abduction, a scene where a character gets drugged, etc. (Wow, that’s a lot having written all that out now.) Admittedly, this was in a time before things like trigger warnings and content advisories were taken as seriously as they are now, I really should have known better as I was getting ready to publish this thing.
So far, I’ve been self critiquing myself. While that’s not a bad thing, I do want to also focus on what stands out to me as having been successful then and remains successful now. I think the big one for me really has less to do with the novel and more to do with the time it came out. An Absolute Mind was released one week after Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States. The majority of us who did not vote for him knew then that we were about to enter a very dark period for the country. The fictional future the novel is set in comes in a time well after some major changes were made for this country. I always had this gut instinct that it would take a particularly large occurrence for society as a whole to evaluate how we live our lives and whether it was worth tolerating the minutiae that either no longer nor ever made sense to begin with. Little did I expect that large occurrence to take the form of a global pandemic that we are still very much in.
While I was writing the novel, I observed as sci-fi authors of the past (and present) have a tendency to predict what would eventually come for humanity. At the time, I didn’t know if that meant we as humans so predictable, it doesn’t require that much effort to dream up what the future could look like, or if sci-fi authors are honestly insightful than they may otherwise be given credit for. Call it being Aquarius, but given the state of the world we are presently in, my hope is that it’s the former; that we are so fed up with living with the pandemic, mass shootings, unjust working conditions and schedules, unrealistic societal expectations, that we can actually work towards the future described in An Absolute Mind (minus sending off people with enhanced mental abilities to a secret island, of course).
That’s kind of where my mind is at with what I read from my novel so far, and in comparison with what has happened in the world since its release five years ago. Depending on how quickly I get through the remainder of the novel, I’ll see about devoting another post to my thoughts about it.
In the meantime, you can help me celebrate An Absolute Mind‘s fifth anniversary by either buying yourself a copy or for someone you know who may be interested. You can purchase a physical copy or a digital one through Amazon, Arkipelago Books, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. If you’ve already read it, then I’d love it if you can leave a review on it for either the vendor you bought it from and/or for the book’s Goodreads page. Your review will make it easier for other people to find it.
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