July 19th, 2010 1 comment
The local MENSA group was nice enough to invite me to speak to their book club about Shimmer. This was a very nice thing for them to do, not least of which because it meant that, for weeks, I kept telling friends and family, “Sorry, but from now on, I’m only talking to geniuses.” That’s the kind of thing I find hysterical, even if my friends and family don’t. I was horrified when I met the group, though, because one of the first people I talked to was a former mainframe programmer from IBM. He’d worked there for many decades. I wanted to turn and run, sure he’d tear the book apart, exposing me as a hack writer fraud who’d made everything up. He didn’t. He enjoyed the book. He had many interesting questions and comments. Late in the conversation, though, he said he had one more question. “There’s just one part of the plot that I couldn’t quite follow.” And from there he proceeded to point out the one truly impossible aspect of the lie at the heart of Shimmer. I was fully aware of the point. But no one else had ever raised a question about it. Shimmer is fiction, and is fiction filled with exaggerations and untruths. There was no Frederick Fadowsky. There is no Core Communications. But fictional or not, the book had to be true to the world it created. A part of that, is that the company and the people who ran it all needed to seem possible. The schemes, the lying, the notion of a company built on a secret lie, these things are all clearly possible. We have real world examples, big and small, to which most anyone can compare the world in Shimmer. Yet there’s an aspect to the fraud that is simply impossible. I’m torn on whether to point it out here. I won’t today. Maybe soon.