And you can read it right here! Special thanks to Rudy Rucker for deciding to share it with everybody.
Coincidentally, I am now sitting in almost the exact same location I was when I wrote the first draft of this little vignette, way back before I knew it was a novel, and long before I had any inkling that anybody would want to publish it. I’m on retreat with my writers’ workshop, and it was on just such an occasion that I wrote the prologue to the prologue to vN. It was a wet, cold, and gloomy Saturday, and by the time I finished, my bones ached from resting in one position for too long. But my head was clear of the vision I’d had, and I felt like I’d really accomplished something. I just had no idea of what that something was.
Originally, I had wanted to write a story about a man discovering that his wife and daughter are self-replicating humanoid machines. I had a whole scene written in which he caught his daughter eating sand on the beach, unaware that she was trying to process it into silicon. Then I realized that I was writing a Twilight Zone episode, and that those had already been done, and better, decades earlier. So I started fresh, and inverted the revelation. Jack knew his wife and daughter were robots. What he didn’t know was what they could do.
(A sidenote: on an airplane this winter, an ad man from London saw me gazing at the cover of my book — I know, I know — and asked me: “So, does she know she’s a robot?” I nodded emphatically and said: “Oh yeah. She knows. And she’s happiest, that way. She doesn’t want to be a human being. She can’t imagine why anyone would.”)
Now I’m back in the same place as I was back then, and I’m working on the sequel to vN, tentatively titled ID. I’m hoping for another epic day of writing just like that last one, years ago. A lot in my life has changed since that day: my relationship, my education, my job(s), my understanding of myself. But this place, and what I do here, has not. I’m profoundly grateful for that. I am surrounded by rain-soaked trees and rusted trucks. I am listening to The Fragile for what is likely the thousandth time. I’m still me, and I’m still doing the same thing I’ve always done, in one way or another. It’s great.