Did I or Didn’t I Make This Stuff Up?

I read an article this week called “10 Amazing Superpowers Humans Will Be Able To Get From Brain Implants.” (I posted it on Facebook and Twitter.) My first thought was that I shouldn’t have set Wake the Dead twenty-something years into the future. Maybe ten. Maybe next week.

My second thought was that my brain is already connected to cyberspace and I just didn’t know it. I ruled that out when I tried to check my bank balance without using the app on my phone.

But some of the stuff on the Top Ten list really does happen to Chase Sterling (the transhuman I wrote about). One: super hearing. Two: night vision. Of the ten superpowers examined in the article, the only one that wasn’t used to enhance Chase or some other character in the book was number three: the ability to zoom in and focus on a faraway object. I’m sure Chase could use that. I’m writing the sequel—maybe he’ll get it.

So I wonder after reading the article, even more than when I first began plotting this story in my head, what the world will be like when a growing percentage of us can leap a tall building in a single bound, so to speak.
Leaping isn’t actually on Top Ten list, but a leap is what it’s all about. Will we voraciously take the evolutionary jump that Chase was forced to make? Will we understand it? Chase just doesn’t get it. He’s a game show host, for crying out loud, not a scientist. He finds the hearing enhancement and night vision a bit of a joke. Even the doctor who implanted the superpowers calls them gimmicky.
But soon it may be more than fiction. No joke. Motivation exists for aiming toward the transhuman. Health, comfort, convenience, safety. Money. Utopia.

More than anything: power.

More than power: eternal life.

The everyday consternations of the human being might very well meet a new world and claim new victory. But real power belongs to God. And eternal life is a gift from God. And He gives it freely. Don’t look to the superpowers coming soon to offer thin hope in winning the war against death. Instead, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Why do I Read this Stuff?

A few weeks ago I discovered a bestseller, The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan, and I bought it on my Kindle right away. My excitement built as I read reviews and learned a bit about the author. The book had been rejected by over 400 publishers. I didn’t know that many publishers existed. Of course, I’ve been rejected by a few myself, but I think I’d give up after the 399th time.
But this author, who by the way is much smarter and more qualified than me to write about transhumanism, went the self-pub route. And now he has a bestseller. Gotta love Amazon.
So, I started reading the book and I figured maybe the guy hadn’t been to a writing conference or read anything about how to write commercial fiction. But does it matter? He has a bestseller. I kept reading. Um, the writers I hang with don’t use that kind of language. My editor took the word heck out of Wake the Dead. But I kept reading. Hey, I was taught not to use a novel as a platform to preach. There are all kinds of messages that can be preached by a fictitious character. The protagonist of this story lays it on thick. His message to the reader is that the world needs to lay aside all religious belief, all political systems, all societal restraints on becoming eternal by the works of our own hands. In other words, we need to become a transhuman race.
Maybe Mr. Istvan doesn’t really want that for his world, but I got the impression he does. For his world and for my world too.
I wrote about some of the same stuff—the New World Order is alive and well in Wake the Dead. The difference is my book shows another side of Utopia and a different ideology regarding the real hope for our world.
Did I finish The Tranhumanist Wager? Of course. Did I like it? Once I got used to the omniscient narrative, sure I did. I gave it four stars on Amazon. Do I recommend it? Well, can you endure page after page of speeches written to bring you on board the train to Tranhumania? (Actually, it’s on an island so you can’t get there on a train.) Can you deal with a main character who doesn’t ever convince you that he’s the good guy, and yet you find yourself rooting for him in the end? (Made me kind of queasy.) Are you easily offended or do you faint at the sight of the F word? (I can tolerate it when it’s not used in casual conversation, and it isn’t in this book.) Are you compelled to read other books written on the same subject as your upcoming novel? (You’re probably aren’t.)
For most of my friends and readers, I can’t say it’s on my recommended reading list. If you’ve got the stomach for it, go ahead. Remember it’s just fiction, but when you’re done say a prayer for our future. May we meet it with grace.

Why do I Write this Stuff?

Since I signed to publish Wake the Dead, I’ve heard these questions over and over.

The first question: “What’s your book about?”

“The world’s first transhuman,” I say. Blank stares follow. An educated, well-read person complimented me on making up such a clever word. Only a couple of questioners were familiar with the term. Even then, they didn’t really know what I was talking about. More questions follow:

“So, it’s a Christian book?” (Most people know I write from a Christian worldview.)

“Well, it’s not an Amish romance novel,” I say.

“So then, it’s science fiction?”

“I like to call it speculative fiction.”

Then my favorite question: “Why do you want to write about that?”

For a couple of years I studied transhumanism. (Google it.) I don’t know why I meandered through this weird topic so long, but it held my interest and fueled my imagination. I wondered what the world would be like if it happened. And what the church would do with it. It’s the ultimate Tower of Babel and the foundation of the tower is already set. Many wonderful things will be built on the bedrock. But, of course, we will take it too far. We will want too much. We will put our faith in it.

And it will not save us.

I didn’t know I was on the path that leads to the tower until I realized I can’t go an hour without a firm grip on my iPhone. I’m connected to the cyber world’s building blocks, and one day they will crawl from my device and up my arm and into my brain.

Not really. I know what happened to the first tower. So why do I write this stuff? It’s a subtle, quiet process—this coming of age of the transhumanist. I don’t want anyone to be surprised by it. Oh, and I like speculative fiction with a Christian worldview. And I write what I like.