Sunday, April 25, 2010

Literal Thinking

Several years ago I read a book called the Sefer Yetzirah. It is one of the earliest extant book associated with Jewish mysticism and kabbalistic practices. It's on a list of 15 books that will always stay with me (see the 06/20/09 entry below).

One particular passage in the Sefer Yetzirah placed the book on that list. There was one chapter that talked about the passage of time and how we perceive it. How we see the past shaping our present, and our reaction to the present creating the future. According to the Sefer Yetzirah this perception is incorrect. It is the future, reaching back through time to change the past so it can be, that creates the present.

The concept appealed to me. I've thought about it quite a bit over the years and have come to the conclusion that its purpose was to make practitioners consider how their decision each and every moment affect their ability to reach an ideal future. That there is an idealized version of themselves waiting for them in the future, and that what they do 'right now' will either lead them toward that future or away from it. Recently, I've started a practice of having 'contemplative moments' where I try to hear what my 'future self' is trying to get me to do.

As a writer, particularly as a science fiction writer, I find that I can find interesting story ideas by taking what I hear literally. Combining the 'future reaching back to me' with the 'many worlds theory' from quantum mechanics, that says each moment many separate universes are created, I came up with the idea that there are competing futures out there, each one fighting the other to change this moment so it can be. If one future succeeds, the chances for another future and its inhabitants coming to be is diminished. This is the backdrop for the stories I write in what I call the 'Tauian Adventure.' It is my hope that you'll have the chance to start reading these stories in some venue soon.

Current Project & News
This week I'm working on a story I'm calling 'The Long Ride,' about a man trapped on an interplanetary transfer vehicle that is accidentally sent on a sixteen year cometary orbit toward the sun. It's a hard science fiction story set in my 'Tauian Adventure' universe.

I should have a comic story I wrote a few years ago coming out in print again soon. 'SoftMetal' was originally published in Radio Comix monthly anthology, Furrlough. You can find information about the story on my website,, in the Creative Works section. Another publisher, Angry Viking Press, has expressed interest in reprinting SoftMetal and carrying the comic forward. The artist I worked with, Sanny Folkesson, is handling the details. I'll let you know more details as I get them.