Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"The Flicker Men"

Ted Kosmatka was born and raised in Chesterton, Indiana, and spent more than a decade working in various laboratories where he sometimes used electron microscopes. He is the author of Prophet of Bones and The Games, a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel and one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2012. His short fiction has been nominated for both the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards and has appeared in numerous Year's Best anthologies. He now lives in the Pacific Northwest and works as a writer in the video-game industry.

Kosmatka applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, The Flicker Men, and reported the following:
From page 69:
Her slender arm curled behind my neck. “Sound can be a flexible too. A catalyst for chemical reaction, or an inhibitor. Start with a maximum frequency density and then carve away those parts that you don’t want to hear. There’s a Mozart concerto hidden in every burst of static.”

Again, I couldn’t tell if she was joking.

I sat up in the lightless room. At that moment, in the dark, we were the same. Only when I turned the lights on would our worlds be different.

“Mornings are hardest,” I told her.

In a few hours the sun would rise. The sickness would come or not come. “It’s time for me to go.”

She ran a hand along my bare spine. She didn’t try to get me to stay.
The top of page 69 in The Flicker Men actually touches upon a theme that threads its way through the rest of the book. What is darkness to one who is blind? The Flicker Men is at least in part an exploration of the ways in which we shape our own realities out of all the potentials around us. Maybe a random burst of static contains every possible sound, just as the waves and particles that impact us and comprise us contain every possible shape of reality. Certain interpretations of quantum mechanics suggest that in some ways, we carve out what we experience and make it real through act of observation. It is not just sound that is a series of waves, after all, but matter itself on some level. Everything. Reality collapses into existence all around us.

Quantum mechanics covers the physics of the very small, but it asks the biggest questions. What is the thread count of reality, and who the weaver, if not us?
Learn more about the book and author at Ted Kosmatka's website.

Writers Read: Ted Kosmatka.

--Marshal Zeringue