The Interplay of Memory and Dream

Duane Poncy Author Interview

Skyrmion follows a man who enters a virtual world for the first time and navigates through dangers and dangerous relationships to find his daughter. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The Dreaming Earth by John Brunner had a big influence on me when I read it years ago as a teenager. The idea that you could be transported to another world by a street drug seemed translatable to the realm of virtual reality. Another book that influenced me in my youth is John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle. Despite all of your doubts, in the end, you do the right thing.

Joe Larivee is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

First of all, I wanted my protagonist to be an ordinary man, not a cop or an ex-military hero, or any of the common tropes in this sort of fiction. I knew he would be conflicted and a tad cynical and have regrets over a past betrayal. And the child of radical parents who have left him with a social conscience. He also loves his daughter very much and tries to do what’s best for her.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to explore a few themes that have been important to me over the years: utopia v. dystopia, and the impossibility of either one; the role of (social) memory and dream in reproducing our everyday world; and my own indigenous roots, a theme which doesn’t show up so much in this first novel but is a major factor in the full arc of the Sweetland Quartet. Using the realm of virtual reality to address these themes, particularly the interplay of memory and dream, seemed like a natural to me.

This is book one of the Sweetland Quartet. What can readers expect in book two?

I can’t say too much without it being a spoiler for Skyrmion. But it takes place seventeen years in the future in a utopic society on the verge of invasion. It follows Jessie Larivee and her half-sister, Molly Whitedeer, as their family is torn apart by the machinations of New America Corporation.

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In the minds of those left behind, the act of crossing over to Sweetland is, literally, no different than death. But is Sweetland really a new planet, ready to accept a humanity suffering from war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe—or is it another kind of escape entirely?

Joe Larivee believes he has seen the other side, and now he must decide: is Sweetland real, and, if so, does he follow his daughter and lover and escape from the hell Earth has become, or does he stay and fight for the unfortunate ones he has spent his life serving, and, in the process, just maybe redeem himself for the betrayal which eats at his conscience?

Joe Larivee is an Everyman, a single father, a tireless social worker trying to help the growing legions of the poor while keeping his own head above the water, and in 2038 the water is rising fast, fed by global warming and collapse of the ice caps. America is on the verge of war and economic disaster. For the starving many, rumors of a new answer have arrived. It’s Sweetland, a newly-discovered earth-like world. And there’s a novel way to get there — through the virtual reality called New Life.

Fourteen-year-old Jessie Larivee wants to go to Sweetland. There is no future on Earth for children like her. She has been taking virtual training classes at an online university, and she is determined to emigrate, no matter the cost. But she hasn’t figured out how to tell her dad, who is a bit of a luddite. She desperately wants him to go with her, but how can she convince him?

Meanwhile, virtual private eye, Claire Deluna, has been hired to spy on a mysterious corporate upstart by it’s parent company, New Life, Inc. Now she has the big players on her tail, but is it the mob, the government, the Bolivarians, or someone else? More worrying, why are bodies of mostly poor, young people turning up everywhere? And what does it have to do with the Temple of New Life and something called Sweetland?

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on July 9, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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