What’s the inspiration behind the Origin series?
Although I had finished the third book of the American in Beijing series when I was in Beijing in October 2015, researching locations for the American in Beijing series, I was already outlining the next days and months of the same characters. The story kept spooling. I had said at the beginning that I would write four books before analyzing continuing with writing. I had one more to go.
While crisscrossing the ancient city via subway, I had time to think about the ultimate showdown between humans and robots, stimulating research trending toward artificial intelligence and futuristic applications of technology, leaping from the creation of artificial blood to the first world nano-technology conference. The series became less like espionage and more like science fiction.
The question persistently asking is how we will get from here and now, where humans rule all, to the future when augmented humans struggle to compete with the eternal bots.
The complicated and secret lineage of the main character’s twins, one with a Chinese father and the other an American, sets up unprecedented international patent and custody claims and cross-claims to develop the nascent technology accidently combined in Mai Martin’s fetuses.
The three novellas, Human Hybrids, Dangerous Visions and Wasted Time, will be released in 2019 in a boxed set!
Overnight misty drizzle hesitates after sunrise, a brightening in the east behind overcast skies. After breakfast, Mai and Ron duck into the Jenner General Store, walking hand in hand on the slimy, slick boardwalk past half barrels of summer annuals, grotesque sedum and perennial impatiens. At the back of the century-old building, stacked on shelves, are Dickies jeans and a limited variety of plaid shirts. She holds one for him to try.
“It’s going to feel big. That’s the look, loose and casual.”
“I hate loose and casual,” he says, stretching into the shirt.
“The pants, too, are going to feel bulky. That’s the way the locals dress,” she laughs.
“Am I supposed to try them on here in the aisle?” he asks.
“No, take one and pay for it.”
He shakes out a pair and measures the inseam until he finds one that offends him the least.
Rips and shreds of low clouds retreat from the assault of the sun, leaving large holes of bright blue sky. Mai says, “Let’s go to Goat Rock. I want to paint.”
While Mai drives, Ron struggles exchanging his pants, rolling the Dickies’ cuffs and thrusting his bare feet into his familiar Italian loafers.
“I love the smell at low tide,” she cries at the sight of the jetty in the mist, grabbing her kit and trudging toward the beach.
Painting as quickly as possible, she suggests the pale sunlight with a Lemon Yellow tint. Over that she adds raw Titanium White to Viridian-qian lansede sky reflecting in tide pools while a handful of tourists stroll the hard sand beach and mighty waves roll offshore.
Ron holds up his phone and captures the moment with a picture.
“I’m done,” she announces, standing beside her compact easel.
She cleans her brushes, packs up and follows Ron across the sand to the Explorer.
He hoists her painting duffel over his shoulder and carries her folded chair with one hand while holding Mai’s hand with the other, steadying her over the sandy beach.
“What names have you thought of for the babies?” he asks.
“Anglo or Chinese?” she asks.
“My family name or yours?” he continues.
“You mean Martin or Perrizolo?”
“Not your husband’s name!” insists Ron.
“I prefer Zhao. We can use yours,” she says.
“Then we should have English given names,” he says.
“Sara. Steven. Sally,” he says. “You?
“I don’t know. These are good names. How do they sound together? Sara Zhao. Steven Zhao. Sally Zhao.”
“My mother will want to have the fortune teller decide,” he confides. “When will you have a test done?” he prods gently.
Ron loads the gear into the back of the Explorer, and they hit the road again.
“When I’m ready.”