I started writing a new project code-named “Metuselah”; I was inspired by the “Meths” in Altered Carbon, a Sci-Fi netflix show. Methuselah was the longest lived of any of the bible figures, having lived about 969? years.
In my story – I don’t want to give away too much – but it’s also inspired by Snow Crash: it’s a future where telepaths “Jack in” to a brain network and skin themselves as celebrities to hide their true identity and communicate with each other telepathically and anonymously. Skinning as a celebrity costs a token, and most people only unlock one token a month.
In the network where he is almost constantly “Jacked In” and of a high rank on the ladder, the “longest-lived” of all “Jacked In” individuals is constantly harassed by fans, and requested by his peers. A new harass, a wifey request, keeps popping up in his mind, with a secret admirer skinning as various famous female Earth celebrities and propositioning him. It’s a troll: but this user must have many tokens to spare – he or she keeps skinning different celebrities to catch his attention – and most people only unlock one token a month to skin themselves. It piques his curiosity, why “she” is burning through so many tokens just to proposition him, and leads him to an adventure he did not anticipate, which includes a war for his ancestral home: Earth, and involves a penal colony in a parsec not far off. The penal colony claims a war will occur unless one of their prisoners is released. This could embroil a whole chunk of the known universe, and be a war that lasts Millennia. To avoid this costly and needless war, is a job for “Metuselah”, the longest-lived of anybody on the ladder.
This was not only inspired by video games, where the highest ranked players are treated as celebrities and claim to be G-ds; but also it was inspired by an episode I’ve had during schizophrenia, where “locally emulated celebrity voices” talking to me in my mind; I could literally hear celebrity voices, but it wasn’t them, of course.
I guess this work is also a take on where the internet is going, if anonymity becomes more popular. Pretty soon we’ll just jack in as someone else and communicate telepathically and anonymously – why not as our favorite celebrities, and never as ourselves, so that we can say whatever the hell we want, to whomever we want? It’s a dark and gritty world I’ve created for this story. Everyone seems rude, uncouth, and not very gentlemanly. This is contrasted by some of the main character’s “noble” actions.
Don’t know if this makes any sense. It was confusing to me for a while but I finally think i’ve got it down. So let me get this straight, voices in my head: you’re talking to me telepathically, you’re not the celebrity I can hear, and you remain anonymous? Looks like you were placed in my “fiction to write” bin as inspiration!
For those of you joking: Where do I upgrade? how can I “Jack in”? I want to hear voices, too! I don’t know man. I’ve been hearing voices for more than 15 years. The only thing left to do is graduate with a BA in English, and write books about my experiences with the voices. I’ve got 5+ years of part-time studies left on my degree. After that I guess I’ll put pen to paper.
Amazon self-publishing, here I come!
update: Looking at my early notes, I’ve decided I will not be mentioning any celebrities by name in this novel. I’m a pretty polite artist and straight-laced; I’ll say things like “red-haired beau” or “a muscular male with an inner-city accent” or something cheesy like that. At the heart of these cheesy skins or avatars, is a sophisticated technology. I find the dichotomy between a simple avatar or skin and the complicated inner workings of our protagonists something that I’d like to contrast and develop.
Signing off to write a little!
Your artist friend,