About Thursday 2.0
Spoiler Questions below. If you haven’t read Thursday 2.0, then you might want to skip these…
Q: Your last project was a novel, but this is an adaptation of someone else’s writing. Why the change?
A: I love to read and write books that are fun and imaginative, that surprise me, that move quickly, that are character-driven, and that are built around universal truths in such a way as to challenge my assumptions and broaden my views. When I first read G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, it hit all those characteristics better than almost any other book I’ve read. I enthusiastically recommended it to others, but began to sense that the 1908 setting, language, and culture seemed to be a impediment to some. But I really wanted them to read this book and I began to wonder how such a marvelous tale might better suit today’s readers. In time I found myself making the adaptation.
Besides, my first novel is actually a retelling too. And looking back at much of my unpublished work, I can see a definite trend of putting my own spin on great old stories. If I can ever get it to work, I have a trilogy about the Pilgrims who first settled America. I also have an allegorical fantasy series in the works. I guess that’s my thing.
Q: Why did you put profanity in this book?
A: Well, I didn’t… I’d have to point to GKC on all the occurrences of “d@mn” and “a$s”. The shorter of the two words referred to the stubborn animal and wasn’t considered profanity at the time. I suspect at that time the other word didn’t carry as much weight on the profanity scale either. Still, I elected to keep most of them in the text, so in this project it is my responsibility. It came down to this question: does it add to the story? To me, they did. I laughed out loud a few times and nodded in agreement with the sentiment on the others.
Q: What were the major updates that you made to the story?
A: Obviously, the technology was a major focus. In 1908 an automobile was a very rare thing, while trains and horses supplied almost all transportation. I also spent a lot of time on Google Maps Street View, to ensure roads still existed and GKC’s descriptions of the London scenery matched reality. Those types of updates were easy. Creating a virtual level to everything was a bit more of a challenge. The key to those scenes were to consistently make them a natural extension of the character and not just a eye-candy.
The characters were overhauled a bit. I imagine the most controversial choice I made was to make them more diverse. Some longtime Thursday fans might cringe to think of beloved characters now being female. Again, it came back to my goal of making Thursday a book modern readers would enjoy without changing the core story. I think most would agree that those changes didn’t make a huge difference in the book.
To me the most challenging update was in how to account for the gentleman’s sense of honor, where one kept his word to his death. Several characters make vows that severely limit their choices, and in today’s time of cheap promises it would seem ridiculous. To get around this and keep the original story intact, I created a system that would impose the same sense of honor externally. It would be wonderful to live in a time of such inward fortitude and honor, but in today’s world it would not ring true.
Q: Was Sunday a man or was he something or someone else?
A: Tough question. I have always thought of him as something more than a man. But who? The other characters think of Sunday as Nature. The character identifies himself as “the Peace of God”, while in another spot he quotes Christ as if he owned the saying. And then another character quotes a passage of the Bible alluding to Satan presenting himself before God when Lucian Gregory arrives to accuse them all. Through the years there has been a lot of conjecture of what GKC intended. I think he intended the question of Sunday to be open-ended yet symbolic of many things. And the original title of the book included the byline “A Nightmare”, so there is a lot of artistic freedom in a dream. To answer for myself, Sunday is a symbolic expression of the Divine, though I’m not sure to what level or how complete.
Q: Do you really think we’ll soon live in a world where we’ll always see and hear computers?
A: What we’re talking about is called “The Singularity”, the projected time when mankind develops the ability to physically and mentally merge with technology. Let’s just start with one aspect: vision. I think as soon as there is a retinal interface for computers (currently estimated around 2030), it will be quickly, wildly adopted. And it will be a game changer.
Once computers see what you see at your every waking hour, once they begin to adapt to that input and supply content, it won’t be long before we are completely dependent on those added abilities and skills. What would happen if everything you saw could be stored and recalled with just a thought? And what if you could share those records, those virtual memories? What if eveyone had a photographic memory and learning become instantaneous? Think Neo in the Matrix: “I know Kung-Fu!”
The value and power of science fiction is to imagine those scenarios and to ask: “What if?” If learning could become instantaneous, what would happen to schools? What would happen in the workforce? How would children react to having immediate and complete access to knowledge and skills that beforehand took years to learn and master? Would that be amazing? Would it be terrifying?
The thing is, it is coming and most of us will be alive to see what happens.
Q: In Thursday 2.0, you refer to Naugs. What are they?
A: Naug is a term I coined for those who weren’t Augmented, a slang-shortened “No Augmentation”. It refers to those who hadn’t participated in The Singularity mentioned in the previous Q&A. Throughout his writings, Chesterton showed concern for the poor, and in Thursday one character chides the police for harassing the poor while the biggest criminals with wealth and power go untouched. I built upon that with the idea there was an underclass who could not afford augmentation. I’ve got to wonder what will happen to those who don’t have the memory and skills provided by implanted technology when it sweeps across society. If all training starts coming from a memory download, will businesses start posting “Naugs need not apply” on their doors?
Q: Do you have any plans for a sequel?
A: Not at this time, though I do want to revisit some of the questions and ideas mentioned in this Q&A, concerning the haves and have-nots of implanted technology.
Have a question? Click here to send me an email. I will try my best to answer your question and you might even see it here! EDC