“What gave you that idea…”

Hi, kids–

Hope everyone will have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend. Amidst whatever you’re doing today, please remember that this is also a day to remember those who have died in military service to the nation. Here’s a link for more information on that.

Anyway, got a nice comment from “Lisa,” on the “Book List” page here on my site. For those not in the know, my Book List is a list of books in both my series (mystery AND sci fi) and the order in which they should be read. You can either print it out from my site or download a .pdf (there’s a link on that page) to frame it or put it up by your bookshelf or Kindle/e-reader. Or use it to line the bird cage. Whatever floats your boat.

So join me while I answer (or attempt to answer) Lisa’s questions!

Lisa’s comment was:

I just read both of your Far Seek books and absolutely loved them. I couldn’t put either one down,metaphorically speaking (.pdf). When should all the alt sci-fi enthusiasts of the world expect a 3rd book? I’m interested to know where all the imaginative colorful characters
are headed.
And, just out of curiosity, what drug trip was the inspiration for “being brainjacked”?

First, many thanks for reading, Lisa. I really appreciate that and I’m extremely glad you enjoyed Friends in High Places and A Matter of Blood. Readers, you can see what those are about and read excerpts HERE.

I am currently writing book 3 (I don’t release the title of the work until I release an excerpt, which is usually a month before publication). I am actually just about done with number 3.

The way my process works is I’ll write a book, then let it sit for a couple of weeks or so before I go back in and start preparing it for the publisher. I’m hoping to have book 3 done by the end of June, so it’ll go to the publisher sometime mid-July and then it has to be edited and the cover needs to be finalized and all that good stuff. Which means HOPEFULLY, Cyllea willing, book 3 will be available around early fall.

Now to the second part of your question. Just so we’re clear, it was not one of MY drug trips, for the simple reason that I’ve never had one. Yes, I am that geeky and pure. 😀 The experience with addiction I have is by watching friends who have family members who have been caught in the throes of various addictions, including meth, alcohol, and cocaine. I also came into contact with a meth addict in Albuquerque who haunted a particular stretch of Central Avenue. I spoke with him a few times, and figured out he was using meth because he had several of the most notable symptoms of long-term use. He disappeared after a few months and I always hoped he got help, but I have a feeling he may not have survived his addiction. So with that in mind — how addiction can manifest physically — I thought about what kinds of drugs or stimulation people would be able to access via sci fi.

The idea for brainjacking isn’t necessarily something I made up all by myself. There’s a strain in sci fi that involves cybernetic intelligence, and the merging of human and machine. Think about virtual reality. You interact with something that isn’t really there via technological tools, but it tricks your brain into thinking it is. Star Trek employed the Holodeck, where entire worlds could be constructed but the actual room on the Enterprise was empty except for the person using the technology.

The movie Strange Days (1995), directed by Kathryn Bigelow, included people interacting with virtual reality in ways that made it really scary for the thrillseeking humans involved. The link I provided above will take you to the Rotten Tomatoes site for Strange Days, which has a good overview of the premise of the black market virtual reality technology that people are engaging with in the movie. Basically, they’re getting thrills off other people’s memories, that have been recorded and are made available on a device that allows people to participate in the memory. Many of those memories involve sex and violence and many people become fascinated and addicted, in a way, to experiencing life this way.

That was sort of what I was thinking about when I developed the idea for “brainjacking.” Something that stimulates certain parts of your brain like a drug would, but it’s from neuro-technology. Electrical impulses that work pleasure centers/thrill-seeking centers in your mind but, like present-day street drugs, there’s the potential that you’ll need more and more of that stimulation to achieve the high. In this case, long-term users of brainjacking develop certain physical symptoms/traits. If they don’t get a fix, they might have what the character Cyr exhibited — symptoms of withdrawal.

With regard to working the brain, Medical science is already working with magnets and the brain to alleviate some of the symptoms of depression of Parkinson’s, and neurostimulation is being explored to help with Essential Tremors. We as a species have a long history of neurostimulation and experimentation, whether for good or nefarious purposes.

So that, plus my fascination with virtual reality technology and how the brain can be tricked into seeing things that aren’t there, led me to brainjacking, because honestly, we don’t know what the long-term effects of something like that may be. There may be none. But what could happen if you trick the brain enough times into thinking something’s there that’s not? Or if you keep it linked too long into technological conduits? What kind of strain is that on the brain? And what does it do to neuromapping? I don’t know. But science fiction allows us to explore things like that, and posit “what if” questions.

And there you have it. Thanks for reading, thanks for stopping by, and hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

3 thoughts on ““What gave you that idea…”

  1. WOW…I certainly did not mean to imply that it was your own experience with drugs that provided the fodder for brain jacking.
    I appreciate the thorough explanation and the references to virtual reality. Being an educator, I have often witnessed the drug-like side effects of overgaming in 11th-12th grade boys. When the boys have had a particular long night of playing, the guys usually refer to each other as being brainjacked the nervous ticks, “itchy fingers” , dead stare…etc. When I read the same term in the series, it really flipped me out! I guess you never knew you had a hidden audience of adolescent boys! HA!
    I will look for the 3rd book towards the end of the summer. Thank you your continued writing. It is nice to know that reruns of 7of 9, Captain Janeway and Scully aren’t the only strong futuristic women lesbians have access to!

  2. Hee hee! I know you didn’t. I just wanted to make sure that nobody wondered what I was up to when I wasn’t writing. For the record, people, I work and clean the house when I’m not writing. Oh, and there’s grocery shopping and laundry. Sometimes I go to the movies! I read, too. And I take lots and lots of walks because I think it’s important to get away from the computer at regular intervals and interact with real people and real life. That way, you’ll be better positioned to know if something’s NOT real. Heh. (one hopes, anyway)

    Wowzers. I didn’t realize that the term was in the gaming community, as well. I was thinking in terms of “highjacking” and “brain” and came up with brainjacking. I also use the term “mindjack” in the series. I don’t game (used to, in high school). Too much going on in the real world and my writing worlds. 😀

    Interesting, how disparate parties can come up with the same term for a similar situation. I like that. Sort of a synchronicity kind of thing.

    Anyway, thanks again for reading!

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