The Roots of Effugium: The Time Remaining

Effugium was born sometime around 2008-2009. I wrote a story called “With New Eyes,” which was primarily about a conversation between two passengers on an intergenerational starship voyage. Their ancestors had left Earth as followers of a prophet named Kryuss. Not much is said about him, other than the fact that he was a con artist with delusions of grandeur.

Last year, I began writing blog posts by a mysterious character named Caldo, who was documenting the final ten years of humanity’s existence on earth from the perspective of a teenager.

Aliens had sent a mass text to everyone on Earth, informing them that they were an invasive species and would be removed in ten years.

Soon after I began posting, the actual President, in real life, sent a mass text to everyone, and I altered the post to say something like “Everyone thought it was one of those presidential things again.”

“Time Remaining” as a blog was to be an ongoing thing, and I was never going to reveal whether or not there were any actual aliens. It was going to be all about humanity’s hysterical reaction to an unknown threat.

I posted “With New Eyes” on my primary blog, and someone told me I should write a sequel. I thought that was a good idea, so I did. I wanted to fast-forward a few hundred years and see how those folks turned out.

It was at that time that I started to join the threads of the two storylines together–Caldo’s blog and the universe in which “New Eyes” and “Hands of the Creators” take place. Eventually everything locked into place and I had this idea to write something like a sci-fi version of the Bible.

What if I took those concepts, I thought, put them in a blender with sci-fi and ’80s/’90s pop culture and wrote a bunch of stories spanning hundreds of thousands of years, just like the Bible itself?

I pictured grandiose, cinematic scenes of Moses on the Mount Sinai, of Noah building his ark, of Jonah and the whale, and of the series of events comprising what’s commonly referred to as “Armageddon,” among other things. I pictured the Garden of Eden, and Heaven.

Hell is only vaguely represented in the book, in the story “Meanwhile…,” but it’ll play a huge part in the forthcoming novel Exsilium.

Effugium is saturated with metaphors and hidden messages/meanings that can be interpreted in a number of ways. It’s got heart, humor and melodrama. There are elements of all sorts of religions and mythologies woven into the fabric of the book, because those things are exciting and intriguing. There’s a strong fantasy element to it all as well.

Effugium draws inspiration from books like Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe, William Beebe’s Edge of the Jungle, Arthur C. Clarke’s “Songs of Distant Earth, Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Asimov’s Foundation, and even Battlefield Earth.

My writing isn’t solely or even primarily influenced by other books, though. I watch, and I listen. I pay attention to body language, and to conversations. I view things from multiple perspectives. I look at everything around me, everything I feel, and I put it into words. I put the emotional impact of music into my writing. I put my fears and anxieties into it. I pour my soul onto the page, because I have to.

Effugium takes off in wild, unpredictable directions because as I wrote it I got inside my childhood’s mind and thought What sounds cool? What do I want to see or read about? People riding robot pterodactyls? A sentient slime with a hive mind? Naked robot joggers? Knights slaying dragons? Alright, let’s go. Nothing was off limits. I didn’t stop to question whether or not science fiction readers would take it seriously, because that’s not the specific audience I was targeting. This book was written with universal appeal in mind. I wanted to write a sci-fi book that appealed to fans of the genre as well as non-fans, in the same way that Stephen King writes horror for people who don’t typically like horror.

I took my time writing these stories, and put no pressure on myself until the very end, during the editing phase when I was trying to tie up loose ends and link things together more cohesively.

In my excitement to share this book with people, I inadvertently rushed out a less-than-stellar typo-ridden version which I’ve since removed and replaced with this. I let my ego–my confidence in the greatness of this book–steer the ship, believing my Titanic to be unsinkable. I didn’t see the iceberg until it was too late.

If you’ve purchased the original version, this amended edition will be free for three full days, from Sept 20-22.

The main character of the book is humanity, and all the ebbs and flows of its journey.

Do I really believe that uploading human consciousness into machines is a bad thing that would result in the loss of what makes us unique and special? No. Not if it’s by choice. I’d undergo transference right now. In a heartbeat. Retain who I am, as well as all the pleasures of the flesh without the pain, forever? Go ahead and hold onto your principles and shit in your Depends while you slowly die in misery, but I’ll take the robot option, please.

However, I understand that most people aren’t too keen on the idea. The book doesn’t tell you what to think about anything. It doesn’t even ask you to think at all. It can be enjoyed on both surface and deeper levels.

It’s not a religious diatribe, despite the Biblical similarities. One could easily see the Qur’an in it, or the Book of Mormon, or any other religious text. No lengthy genealogies, though.

When I nearly died in July and spent four days in the hospital, I hadn’t yet written the final blog entry from Caldo that would close the book. A newfound appreciation for life gave me the ending it needed.

Effugium is Latin for “escape.” It’s a world I created for myself to escape into. It’s positive and uplifting, and there’s lots of cool stuff happening.

I also created it because I’m tired of the idea of dystopian science fiction. We already live in the world of the prophetic 2006 movie Idiocracy. I don’t care to hear about how much worse it’s going to get or how hopeless things are. I’m not feeling that. That’s not escapism to me. Give me some optimism. I hope it helps other people to escape, too.



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