How did this story emerge? Were there any unexpected challenges along the way?
This story actually started about five years ago in a community college creative writing class. Our instructor had us each grab something from our cars and swap items — I ended up with a replacement car thermostat with this list of instructions on the packaging. That became the story’s structure, and I built around that. It took me four years to actually finish it, mostly because at the time I didn’t have the chops to write the story I wanted to tell. The viewpoint presented certain challenges — first person present tense using no pronouns isn’t a perspective I’m used to writing. But the structure and the voice were challenges I set myself, so I’m happy with the result.
What struck me forcibly about this story was that even though the technology is beyond anything we have now, people in the future will still be in these terrible accidents, there will still be those moments of not knowing if the treatment will work, and probably times it won’t work at all. Can you tell us what sort of experiences you pulled on to show that?
I studied to be an EMT in college and spent a short time working in that field, and especially on an ambulance, that’s a daily reality. There are well-known interventions — like C.P.R. or defibrillation — that, despite what we see on TV, aren’t usually successful. It’s a hard situation to be in, because you can do everything perfectly and still lose someone. And even if it works, it doesn’t always work for long, and sometimes the damage you do trying to save someone isn’t worth it to them. It’s a real downer, but that’s where I pulled from. Humans are fragile. Technology helps, but it can’t change that. Yet.
What drew you to use the Frankenstein motif to frame a story about resuscitation?
That actually came late in the process, once I really got to know the protagonist. They started as a noble scientist whose work has been perverted for evil, but that didn’t make for a very interesting story. So they got more megalomaniacal, more mad scientist, and with that came the grandiose comparisons to Einstein and Curie. This character is constitutionally incapable of seeing themself as unimportant. So when their attempt to save the world turns into an attempt to bring back the dead, they naturally go to Frankenstein as a new way to frame their actions.
What’s next for you?
I’m not quite sure! This is my first publication, so I’m hoping to follow it up soon. I hope to continue destroying science fiction in whatever way I can!
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