“For those missing Katniss, the Divergents and the Maze Runners, this must be your next book” – Emmy Award Winning Film Director, Johnny Burke. I had the opportunity to chat with Robin Bootle on his upcoming book, Extropia: Mind Game, and ask him a few questions about his book and being a writer.
When did you know first discover you wanted to be a writer and why writing?
I was sitting at work when I was 21, emailing my brother back and forth to moan about the boredom of my job. He wrote back saying, “Why not try writing something, it’s fun.” So I wrote a chapter about not much in particular, with no plot and no plan – but really enjoyed the process. Ever since I’d wanted to write a book, but I was waiting for the right idea to come to me.
Tell us about your book and why you wrote it?
The idea came to me while I was watching Tron: Legacy. I loved the idea but thought the execution was poor. So I took core premise (boy goes into computer game to save father) and ended up writing something completely different.
What message or lasting thought do you hope your readers will take away from your book?
Well I could try and say something deep here, but the real goal is that the readers will walk away thinking “that was fun!”. That’s not to say there aren’t some deeper ideas inside The protagonist encounters some of the potential perils of AI, man-playing-god and mankind not taking due care of the technology we create.
What author and/or what book has had the greatest impact on your life?
Philip Wooderson – he mentored me throughout the process and is an absolute genius.
Can you offer any advice for beginning writers or those trying to get published?Lots! Ping me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want any advice – it’s free. But here’s 3 things:
1) Get feedback, lots of it, and not from you mother or anyone who is going to be anything but brutally hard on you.
2) Related to that, you’re going to get knocked down a thousand times. Just believe that you CAN do this if you keep at it.
3) Use the down time, when you can’t find the energy to write, to network with the publishing world and start building your audience NOW.
Beside your book, are there any other books you would recommend reading this summer?
A kind of obvious one, but I’m reading the Game of Thrones books. Just incredible.
Published: March 2, 2017
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An act of sabotage leaves Edward’s father trapped inside a virtual reality game, Extropia. In a bid to save him, Edward follows, entering a world he knows he might never leave. A world of artificially intelligent beings, subjected to a life of misery and fear in the name of entertainment.
Now one of them has learned of the real world, and is determined to have his revenge…
Edward’s eyes cast about his surroundings. His arms squeezed into his sides as though the white walls around him were made of poison. He felt moisture around his ankles. By the time he looked down, the blue SenseGel had already reached his knees. He glanced back up, hoping that Oriel might be rushing to let him out. Instead, the man continued to motion with exaggerated movements for him to breathe.
The blue liquid swamped his fist, then his upper arm. He’d already stopped breathing, his instincts readying himself to go under. He tried to push to the top of his port, to reach the last bubble of air. The liquid splashed his eyes, and then that last bubble was washed away in a swirl of blue.
He stared aghast at Oriel, eyes wide and cheeks full of air. Oriel walked over to the port, but only to continue his signal for Edward to breathe.
Edward glanced down, left, right, desperate to find another way out, an abort button or anything. His lungs felt like they might explode. His head was spinning. Oriel started to blur on the other side of the glass.
Finally, he gave up and opened his lungs.
The SenseGel rushed past his cheeks and gums. He thought he felt it creep up his sinuses, but he couldn’t be certain; everything was already numb. The warm liquid against his skin was gone. He could no longer feel his arms or legs, or his teeth that a moment ago had been clamped together. Everything was perfect pitch black, because his eyes too were gone. It was as if he’d been reduced to nothing more than the voice in his head.
VirtuaWorld! The voice screamed so frantically that he worried the port wouldn’t be able to process it. VirtuaWorld!
With a flash of light, he could feel himself standing, shaking, breathing. The sound of a soft wind ruffled about his ears, then the three-note tweet of a bird. He lifted his eyelids gradually, letting them adjust from the dark to the light of day.
Elizabeth’s hand touched his forearm. ‘So this is it then. VirtuaWorld.’
Robin was born in Athens, not long before the 1981 earthquake. As a boy he lived in Chennai (India) and Hampshire (UK) before moving to Mauritius at the age of nine, the paradise island to which he still returns every year. He has since lived in New Zealand & France, and is now settled in Crouch End, London, with his wife, Kate. Like many of us, he is intrigued to see how the world changes over the coming years with the evolution of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, and as a fan of fantasy RPGs such as Skyrim and The Witcher 3, he has combined his interests to inform his story. Extropia: Mind Game explores what might happen if artificial intelligence becomes so advanced that the emotions of the characters in these games become indecipherable from those of a human.
Hope you are able to check out his book or some of the reviews on GoodReads. Happy Reading 🙂