The story drops us right into the fallout of a divorce, instantly recognizable and relatable. Where did the ideas for the technology and its use come from?
The tech came, as many of my tech ideas do, from an article in one of the science magazines I read regularly—I don’t remember which one. I had been asked to write a story for IEEE Spectrum, where “Someone To Watch Over Me” originally appeared, and this was it. The article described only the positive uses of implanted cameras, but of course, fiction is about not straightforward blessings but, rather, things that don’t progress smoothly and lead to problems. The problems, as in this story, usually grow from the personalities of the characters.
The “love of your life” concept is such a huge, heavy one, and yet Trevor and Amanda pass it back and forth like a tennis ball. Is it a partner, a best friend, a child?
Again, what becomes “the love of your life” depends on individual character. I have a lawyer uncle for whom the law has been the great love of his love. It could be a person, a concept (God or country or duty), a goal like power, or even something frivolous like chess. Your greatest love, no matter what you say, is whatever you award the bulk of your energy, time, thought, and feeling. It is what you will sacrifice for.
What does Amanda understand love to be, considering how she uses her daughter, Jake’s projected image, and her own appearance at the end?
Amanda understands love to be possession. She wants Jake, and she will sacrifice anything to keep him by her, or at least under her surveillance. There are people like that. I feel sorry for Amanda, but even sorrier for her daughter.
A sense of ownership seems to be the most striking boundary between love and obsession. What would you most like readers to take away from this story?
Just what your question implies—that genuine love is not ownership. The story is a cautionary tale, about both obsession and the way technology can be used in the furtherance of less-than-admirable pursuits which its inventors never intended.
What can we look forward to next from you?
In July, the first volume of my new trilogy debuts from Tor. It’s based on my Nebula-winning novella “Yesterday’s Kin,” extending the story over several decades and two planets. The first book is titled Tomorrow’s Kin. I hope you enjoy it!
Spread the word!