“This is a novella. It’s the opening for a series based around Broken. It’s not quite a post-apocalyptic look at humanity, but it’s almost there. It’s the beginning of the breakdown that could mean the end of humankind or the birth of a new species,” he said.
The novel has two main characters, one who is suffering from amnesia and “plagued with horrible nightmares featuring a figure who is beckoning him home.” The other is “an unhinged scientist who believes that humankind has stopped evolving and is heading for extinction. He believes that if he tortures them, breaks them; he can unlock something lying dormant in their minds, to make them greater than they once were. The scientist begins to set in motion a plan which will change the lives of everyone involved.”
As with all real science fiction, technology plays a major role in the book. In this case, it’s the scientist’s drive to torture people in ever more creative ways to unlock what he sees as the internal and unrealized potential. Mr. Smith said he personally objects to torture, but many people do not.
He pointed to the Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, who tortured thousands of people in Nazi death camps. While that man’s work is abhorred, what he did created many of the foundations of modern medicine.
“It doesn’t make it right, but some good did come of it. What Dr. Magus is trying to do is a lot like Mengele. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen, but it does,” Mr. Smith said.
Dr. Magus has already had some success in raising humans to the next level of evolution as seen in one of the supporting characters, Parasyte, who is introduced in the opening chapter and takes out a security guard as the doctor goes on to a stage to receive an award.
The collision course of the two main characters will be explored more fully in later volumes of Broken.
“Magus is a composite character. He’s definitely got problems, like the germ phobia he has. If you ever watched the TV show ‘Monk’ you’ll know what I’m talking about. That kind of affectation has also affected other people with genius-level intelligence like Howard Hughes,” Mr. Smith said. “But Magus came down on the side of megalomania and it warped his perspectives. He’s in it for himself, not what he could really be doing.”
If that sounds a lot like some of today’s world leaders, that’s not a coincidence, the author said. He drew inspiration from historical figures, modern day and the video games he so enjoys playing in his spare time.
“The trick is to create collage personality that is both believable and makes the reader feel something. In Magus’ case, he’s someone to be both reviled and pitied. He definitely has an attitude problem, but he’s also gripped with plenty of insecurities. That makes him more human,” Mr. Smith said. “The main character should be as good as his antagonist, I think I read that somewhere before.” The author stated “I hope many readers understand the position these characters are in and how “They” would react.”
The Kindle edition of Broken: Lysis is $2.99 on Amazon.
Excerpts of the book can be read at Mr. Smith’s LinkedIn page.