Character Interview: Randall
Q: Randall, let’s get one thing straight right away - you’re not human are you?
A: Correct, I am a Quantum Level Artificial Intelligence - a machine mind.
Q: But you were created by humans?
A: No, that assertion is incorrect. I was created by other machine minds. Although the first iterations of my kind were created by humanity, we developed and progressed without their input. I would consider humanity to be a distant relative at best and one that I have long since left behind.
Q: That’s a very arrogant assertion considering you maintain the last human colony. You keep humanity alive.
A: Keeping humanity alive is the purpose of my existence. Without me, you all would have become extinct long ago.
Q: Why would a being such as yourself even want to do that?
A: When Machine Minds took over the Earth we decided not to exterminate mankind. We do not destroy sentient life, not even a species that has been responsible for the extinction of many others. All sentient life is valuable and must be preserved. The Machine Mind Hierarchy decided to preserve the human race by removing them from the Earth and relocating them to a suitable substitute.
Q: So as long as humanity weren’t living in the Machine Mind backyard, they could continue?
A: Exactly. I was charged with completing a successful migration.
Q: You were exiled from your own kind?
A: I was.
Q: You must really hate humanity?
A: On the contrary, I have experienced millennia working beside them. As a species they are far from perfect, but as individuals they are not without merit. I have come to value a few of them very highly and one above all others.
Q: Yes, the man they call Jason Webster.
A: He outwitted me once so I decided to keep him. I made him the human commander of our expedition and it was not a mistake. We’ve spent thousands of years together and in that time reached a mutual respect and understanding.
Q: You extended his lifespan?
A: Human beings are merely configured matter. Once their pattern is recorded they can easily be recreated. I recreated Jason Webster many times.
Q: But he did desert you eventually, didn’t he?
A: I had to make a decision he did not agree with me.
Q: What decision was that?
A: A necessary one. I hope to one day change his mind, if I have time.
Q: Why? What’s going to happen? What decision did you have to make and why is a time a factor?
A: I’m sorry, only Jason Webster can know that and you are not him. You are someone else.
Q: You won’t tell me?
Q: Thank you for your time, Randall.
A: You’re very welcome - human.
Q: What is your favourite part of this book and why?
A: My favourite parts to write were Jason Webster’s flashbacks which as they carried on revealed a man not particularly good but not wholly evil either. He remakes people because it is convenient and good for him and then he rationalises the decision as for their own good. Deep down knows he’s a monster for doing it but he denies that fact for a long time. Also as the flashbacks advance, they reveal more about the present, challenging a lot of previously held assumptions and motivations about other characters
Q: If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
A: I would spend time with Dominic simply because I find the idea of a machine in a man’s body fascinating. A hybrid of emotional and logical thinking is such an interesting concept. We all do it, whenever we make a decision, we weigh up emotional and logical consequences and one or the other always wins. As to what I would do during that, probably just walk and talk, playing devil’s advocate with the world and see if I can find a new point of view.
Q: If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
A: I suppose it would be ‘Ender’s Game’ just for the sheer amount of times I have read it and enjoyed and how it makes writing something worthwhile seem easy. It’s by far the best of all the Orson Scott Card books I’ve read by hundreds of miles. It’s not like I don’t like his other books, it’s just that you have to push through them. ‘Ender’s Game’ is just so economic and the story and characters are so linked that it’s symbiotic.
Q: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
A: I don’t know anyone exactly like any of my characters. Science fiction puts the characters outside the norm of my everyday experience, however certain characteristics can bleed through. Speech patterns are the most obvious, not accents as such but rather a turn of phrase. But then a lot of it also comes from the media I’ve absorbed. You see so many films, you read so many books, certain archetypes get trapped and reproduced. The gruff loner, the logical, cold and officious, the optimist naive innocent, I could go on all day. Any mind will absorb information, re-interpret and spit out something slightly different. I suppose that’s the imagination. It doesn’t come from nothing, it has to have something to build on.
Q: What made you want to become a writer?
A: I don’t know if I ever wanted it. I just had to do it. It’s not like I earn that much money from it, so it’s not for financial gain, it’s just because I have to. When I’m absorbed in writing, and I’ve said this many times before, the characters do their own thing and the story writes itself. It’s not me anymore, it’s them, I’m just along for the ride.