Watching Westworld recently, I was fascinated by the idea of the Cornerstone — the use of powerful memories to shape the AI of the synthetics. It gave me a name for one of the story arcs I was using with Josh.
We all have at least one — a memory or moment from our past that has stayed with us throughout our lives. A significant event that shapes who we become, a memory that never quite mellows with age, an emotional anchor that pulls us back. These defining moments are usually surrounded by powerful emotions, ones that stay with us for many years as we replay them in our minds in some vain hope that somehow there is a hidden meaning in why it happened.
Joshua has just such a cornerstone: the crash that led to the death of his best friend, Gossy — the nearest thing he ever had to a brother. The accident marked a change in the direction of his life, bound him to Lenin in ways that led to nothing but trouble and down a path of self-loathing and destruction. In conjunction with the deteriorating health of his Mother who has MS, Josh becomes nothing more than a survivor, losing all hope of any kind of future, he lives his life one day at a time.
In the first book, Anachronist, we find Josh at the lowest point of his life, with no money, a sick mother and the threat of prison looming over him, he is a desperate man looking for a way out and finding none. I wanted to explore the idea of Josh being able to go back and change the past, something we all have thought about – ‘turn a different corner’, etc.adding, and see what the ramifications of such actions would be. As a concept it’s probably closest to the many-worlds theory, but with a dash of Asimov’s Foundation (or to be more precise second foundation) and their Prime Radiant. I love the idea that a bunch of statisticians are prognosticating over the various paths the future could take, adding notes and amendments to the timelines.
Image courtesy of Ryuu-ima