A little while ago, I reviewed the first book in the MetaWars series, a interesting and fast-moving take on the dystopian genre. Well, now that series is coming to an end with the release of the fourth and last book, so today, I welcome the author Jeff Norton, to talk about the mixed feelings that come with saying goodbye to characters after a long journey together...
Characters occupy a strange part of a writer’s brain, an uncharted netherworld somewhere between dream and reality. To me, these people are real. I see them. I hear them. But to everyone else, they are fictional constructs that exist only on the page.
My greatest hope is that Jonah and Sam become as real to the reader as they are to me. They’ve already made the great leap from my brain to the page. And now they exist on their own, for readers to meet and inspect and analyze. I’ve done what I can. It’s up to them to make the final jump from page to heart, to take up residence in some small corner of the reader’s life.
If you’ve read the MetaWars novels, you’ll know that immortality is a central theme of the books. In the world I’ve created, people yearn to live forever in a digital way – “Uploading” their consciousness to the internet in order to outlive their mortal bodies – digital immortality. And I suppose that’s what I hope to achieve for my characters.
Long after I’m gone, like authors of long gone generations, I hope that future readers will discover Jonah’s quest, his troublesome coming of age in a confusing world, and his friendship with Sam, and the two main characters will live anew in the mind of those unknowable, future readers. Likely, they’ll read the books in some digital form that we haven’t yet dreamed up, and not on paper, and in that way, reality will mirror fiction: Jonah and Sam will achieve their digital immortality. They will outlive me, outlive their current physical (paperback) form, and jump from generation to generation along a digital spectrum. And if they do that, they can truly live forever and my “goodbye” will not final.
Thank you so much Jeff for sharing this rather moving take on well-loved characters. And I'll be reviewing some more of the MetaWars book in the very near future...
Jeff Norton is the author of the MetaWars saga from Orchard Books. The final installment, MetaWars 4.0: The Freedom Frontier publishes 2nd January, 2014. Find Jeff on the web at www.jeffnorton.com, twitter at www.twitter.com/thejeffnorton and facebook at www.facebook.com/thejeffnorton.