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Sunday, May 19, 2013

CHOICE & CONSEQUENCE - guest post from Jeff Norton, author of MetaWars

Last year, I had a guest post about the importance of strong female characters in "books for boys" (and I know all of you out there are giving "amen"s and "hell yes"es). That post came from Jeff Norton, author of the dystopic thriller series, MetaWars, and Jeff is back again this year, in time for the recent release of MetaWars: Battle of the Immortal; this time, he's taking on the importance of choice - and the sometimes troubling consequences attached...
Check it out, and leave us your thoughts in the comments!

Choice & Consequence
By Jeff Norton

I’m fascinated by the intersection of technology and morality.  There is a moral dimension to almost every innovation, from harnessing fire to the iPad.  Just because we can create something, does it mean that we should?
I wrote the MetaWars books to explore the smash up between speculative technology and human morality. On the surface, the stories are fast-paced action thrillers; but they raise challenging and uncomfortable questions. One of the questions I pose is: how far would you go for love?

My two main protagonists are na├»ve and sheltered Jonah and worldly assassin Samantha (Sam). They begin as enemies and become best friends. Of course, underneath that friendship is a growing love that neither character can quite name.  And that love faces the toughest of obstacles: death.

But what if death could be digitised?

I based everything in the books on real, if nascent, science and research.  I’ve extrapolated real science of memory mapping and brain digitisation to construct a story world where we can upload ourselves to the Internet – to achieve a digital immortality. Think: living forever as your Moshi Monster or World of Warcraft avatar.

The MetaWars books are about choice and consequences.   At the end of Book 1, Jonah Delacroix makes a desperate bid to save the “lives” of these digital immortals, including his dead father. That decision literally comes back to haunt him when the newly conscious dead yearn to be alive again. They begin usurping the bodies of the living – starting with Sam.  Now Jonah faces the ultimate choice between saving the person he loves and holding onto his only “living” family member.

It’s a harrowing choice and I challenge the reader to ask what they would do.  There are no easy answers, and everyone has a different moral code.  That’s what makes speculative storytelling so exciting.

Jeff Norton is the author of the MetaWars saga. The third book publishes May, 2013 from Orchard Books.  He can be found at www.jeffnorton.com and tweeting at @thejeffnorton.

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