Science fiction/fabulist/slipstream/magic realist author A. A. Attanasio is beginning a new novel and letting readers look over his shoulder on his blog. He tucks the announcement into a longish post about a trip into the mountains of his native Hawaii, in the company of three elderly men who repair ancient shrines in the peaks, and the great-grandnephew of one of them, a young Marine who lost part of a leg in Fallujah:
The Marine shrugs. Clambering up the side of the colossal boulder and scouting from the top, he spies a cliff, which he believes we can climb to higher ground. I warn him that those trails are good for goats not people. He dismisses me and lumbers off into the fern maze. I would prefer to stay put and wait for the stonemovers to find us. But I can't let a friend's relative wander alone aimlessly, even though I have no idea where we are, and so the double leads me deeper into Adam's dream, a trance walk darkening toward nightmare.

Strenuously and repeatedly, I silently wish I had stayed home. This, of course, is the timeless desire to remain unborn and in the womb, the original (but not final) destination of the itinerant hero. Night descends before we find our way out of the grotto, and we crawl into our sleeping bags, pull up our mosquito cowls, and submit to the uterine regression of sleep and dreams.

On the way to dreamland, I work out some of the ideas for "Otherlight." The science inspiring the fiction is genetic amplification. Not long ago, I read about a genome wonder that entailed the inoculation of human DNA snippets (that code for color vision) directly into the eyeballs of color blind mice and monkeys and that immediately endowed these animals with color vision! The researchers were amazed at how quickly the recipient nervous systems went from b&w to color -- and that got me fantasizing about genetic transformations that could instantly add different senses, new ones, with a science fictional bent, like seeing other dimensions, parallel worlds ... and then not just seeing but interacting with and adventuring in alien universes. DNA in 10-space!
This open writing project will be a treat and it's entirely possible a new form of literature will start to emerge, just as art and music are changing with the advent of more porous boundaries among creator, consumer, and distributor. Few are better suited to the attempt than this writer with a strong posthuman thread in his fiction. His books to date (Radix, Centuries, Last Legends of Earth and others) are mind-expanding and there's no reason his blog can't be the same as he delves into this narrative.

- tom moody 6-18-2007 1:04 am