‘The Rising’ has appeared in the autumn 2014 issue of the Colored Lens, and is now freely available online. From the publishers—
By publishing short stories and serialized novellas every quarter in genres ranging from fantasy, to science fiction, to slipstream or magical realism, we hope to help our readers see the world just a bit differently.
The main source for the story was the movie A Hora da Estrela (The Hour of the Star) based on the novel of the same name by Clarice Lispector. The background for the sf component was the technique of geological surveying with a magnetohydrodynamic generator.
With some pieces, I find it difficult to identify sources or inspiration and with other pieces I find it easy, but that doesn’t mean I’m doing some sort of copying from a source.
Ian McHugh at the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild has written a great post on what and what not to ‘borrow’ from other authors, where he describes how writers can put the works that inspire them to good use.
I can’t identify much of A Hora da Estrela in my piece, either in the characters or the plot, yet I know it was the broad inspiration for the story. I find it hard to see exactly how stories get to the keyboard, but I imagine it’s a little like the special ability of the protagonist in Haruki Murakami’s dream-like novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
The character is a ‘Calcutec,’ who’s been trained to use part of his subconscious to encrypt (scramble) data, and he does it for a living. In the novel, an encryption key, ‘End of the World,’ has the same name as a fantasy realm where a parallel narrative takes place, and I wonder whether Murakami was in part referring to the process of actually writing fantasy with his idea of subconscious encryption.
I think we all have a subconscious scrambler. At night it turns out dreams, which are always encrypted, and my scrambler amuses itself through the day by encrypting the location of my car keys, my car, and occasionally, me. Still, I tell myself it’s a small price to pay for the enjoyment of writing sf.