When he deals with computers, Harry is accustomed to being the master. He gradually learns, however, that his relationship to the quantum computer is symbiotic. At first he uses its advanced technologies to address his environmental concerns. But he soon realizes that the computer has its own agenda, quite apart from his. Harry’s goals are only minor pieces in a much larger plan.
Are you saying Harry and the computer don’t get along? Is the computer like a robot with a mind of its own? Will there be destructive results?
Though it’s a machine, the quantum computer in The Infinity Program is a life form in its own right. It is self-aware and conscious. But it needs Harry’s spark of creativity and his fierce initiative. When the machine tests Harry, it pushes him beyond his limits and almost destroys him. Harry is saved by his own intense determination and his remarkable problem-solving skills.
Our reviewer, Jennifer Hass said she appreciated that the book did not become overwhelming with high tech jargon. Did you intentionally make it that way and what advice would you have for people writing science fiction in terms of finding the right balance of being technical in terminology?
This was one of the hardest parts of writing The Infinity Program. I needed a certain amount of technical language to give an honest account of a High-Tech environment. I often used Jon, my technical writer, to explain the technical terms in everyday language. When technical language is used in a novel, it should always be subservient to the story and never used to “snow” the reader. It only has a place if it advances the storyline.
Well said, Richard. Readers of novels want to be entertained more than educated, although a little education doesn’t hurt. What do you think your readers will find to be entertaining about The Infinity Program and do you think they also will come away more educated about anything as an added bonus?
When I enjoy a novel, I love sudden twists and unexpected turns. I love it when I feel a novel is building to some big, explosive event, but I can’t quite guess what it will be. I aimed for these kinds of things when I wrote The Infinity Program. How well I succeeded, I leave to the reader to judge. I wasn’t really trying to educate, though I do hope the reader will come away with a sense of what it’s like to work in a high-tech environment.
I love the book cover. Can you tell us a little about the cover image and how it reflects the book’s message? Did your publisher, Camel Press, give you any say in the cover?
I love the cover too! I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. The concept was developed by the editors at Camel Press. The color green and the tree-shape represent the environmental themes of the book. If you look closely, the tree-shape is actually a circuit board, representing the technological themes. The infinity loop with the tagline was an inspired touch. Kudos to the Camel Press for such an imaginative and creative cover design!
Richard, I understand you’re a longtime fan of science fiction. What about it do you find so appealing and why do you think it’s important as a genre?
I go back a long way with Science Fiction. The first SF story I ever read was called “Gallie’s House.” I read it in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1953 when I was about nine years old. It was about a young girl who could pass through a dimensional rift into Gallie’s world. Gallie is a young girl who soon becomes the protagonist’s best friend. At the end of the story, the protagonist returns to her own world in a state of hysteria. Gallie and her entire world have been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. I have been a fan of Science Fiction ever since reading that. It’s the “sense of wonder” that pulls me in. But I should also mention that I love to read, period. In particular, I love American and European literature. I also have a special affinity for the British writers such as H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and J.G Ballard.