We Are All Humans And We Must Live Together

 Alexandru Czimbor Author Interview

The Soul Machines follows three young friends who discover a mysterious artifact that brings out the worst in people. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I chose Transylvania, the place where I grew up and that I still visit every year, because it is a region with a convoluted past, where different ethnicities, cultures, and religions coexist. I wanted to depict life at the dawn of two of the most devastating political currents in our history, because I see a lot of unfortunate similarities between the rise of extreme left and extreme right politics and the current tendency to move away from the political center. 

What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?

My goal was to challenge the reader to be less hasty when judging other people, irrespective of their identities. I tried to pack this message in a story that shows love, beauty and generosity, but also hatred, cruelty and insanity. I wanted to emphasize the inner struggle of my characters, and to show their growth. You can still recognize who the “good” and “bad” characters are, but in some circumstances, good people do bad things and vice versa. I wanted to show that it is important to navigate through life following strong principles (things like taking care of the family, following your dreams, helping others, and so on), yet without committing to any idea too far. We are all humans and we must live together if we want our civilization to continue to flourish.

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

Among the many themes I tried to portray in this novel, I’d mention the coming-of-age, prejudice, family, life and death, change vs. tradition, and more.

Where does the story go in the next book, and where do you see it going in the future?

At the end of “The Soul Machines” I closed a full circle from the moment the main character unearthed the artifact in Transylvania to the moment an explosion buried it again in Austria. There are many directions to explore in a sequel with our heroes facing the rise of socialism and nazism in Europe. But first I need to publish my second novel, this time a Science Fiction story set in the near future – just a few decades from now.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook

This story opens on a burgeoning mining town in Transylvania during the fading years of the 19th century. Life goes on uneventfully, save for the occasional trouble caused by the greedy local baron. Three young men—a poor Romanian, a gypsy, and a rich Hungarian—are bound by a strong friendship that is frowned upon by the town elite. During a trip to the baron’s forbidden lands, one of the men discovers a mysterious artifact that symbolizes humanity’s evil nature, bringing out the worst in people, particularly those predisposed to wrongdoings. Far right extremists, socialists, and an order of Christian Orthodox monks vie to get their hands on it, which leads to a series of tragic events that disturb the town’s peace. Murders, insanity, and suicide wreak havoc in the region. A wild chase and a fight for the possession of the artifact end up altering the mind of a boy who is bound to change the course of history. Meanwhile, a doomed love story begins between the young man who unearthed the artifact and a rich local girl who’s already betrothed. The story takes place in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and spans an eclectic mix of fiction subgenres, including romance and mystery. Themes include the rise of extreme politics in Europe, feminism, and the conflict between religion and naturalism.

Posted on May 12, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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