My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome J. Giambrone to talk about how the power of Seeing Metaphors relates to Transfixion.
In the 1999 M. Night Shyamalan film, The Sixth Sense, a boy is blessed, or cursed as it were, with the ability to see ghosts. “I see dead people” was his memorable catch phrase.
Well, I see metaphors. All around us. Lingering in the background like vermin crawling in the shadows. So I’d better write about them, before someone else does.
Shhh. Let’s just leave it as a gift — a gift that keeps on giving.
Swimming through a metaphorical ocean, we come across many types of comparisons. At the heart, a metaphor is a comparison between two structurally similar phenomena. Perhaps the sunken ship calls up notions of a sunken relationship. But I like to think bigger and increase the scope so that the central metaphor is muscular enough to carry an entire world on its back. That is what sci-fi and fantasy are all about, to me anyway.
If the scientific advances don’t have a relevance to current reality, it’s not very compelling as a metaphor. Wacky ideas for the sake of wacky ideas don’t interest me. They need to bridge the gap between fanciful what-ifs and realistic what-is. And when they do so, energy is released akin to a superpower. It expands consciousness by presenting the real world in a new semi-fantastic light, an illumination to gather the relevant ideas around, like a bonfire calling wildlife in toward a central gathering point.
I was driven very hard to create Transfixion because it concerns a metaphor that I wished to make clear. The central guiding metaphor or allegory of the book is war propaganda. That is lies, Big Lies, dehumanization of the “enemy.” That’s what the book is in the nanofibers between the letters, but not on the surface. The metaphor works well because it’s a big idea, one that affects societies and the world at large. Propaganda is pervasive, deceptive and pernicious. Writing about it directly would not work nearly so well, and so arose the need to shine it through the lens of metaphor.
I managed to talk about it by not talking about it. The malignant signal in Transfixion, which represents propaganda, includes no specifics. There are no facts to dispute, no lies to contemplate, no rhetorical puzzle to solve. The linguistic contortions have been excised. It is simply a force. It is a weapon. Its character has been altered so that it might not be instantly recognizable, but its effects are felt across society.
And like propaganda in the real world, it is largely produced by mysterious forces that the common people don’t know or understand. It comes from shadowy organizations and figures, broadcast at us constantly in the hopes of changing public perception and opinion on matters of war and peace. Therefore, in the book, the source of the signal is a mystery. The goals and aspirations of the signal are unknown. All we can see are its effects, what it does to us and how it changes our humanity.
Transfixion, then, is not so much about what the ethereal they are doing with their signal weapon, but how we respond to the conditions imposed upon us. They cannot take our humanity away. Only we can hand it over to them.
…Yes, of course it’s a superpower.
It’s nothing short of the end of the world.
Someone has weaponized the broadcast spectrum – gazing upon the transmission is enough to steal your mind.
Kaylee Colton faces a technological Armageddon when suburbia shatters into civil war. Unable to speak, Kaylee will need to fight to survive and transcend her own fears if she is to stand against these enigmatic forces of destruction.
Transfixion is an action-laced rush that will burrow straight into your brain…
The novel released in September from Solstice Publishing. The book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
About the Author:
Novelist and screenwriter J. Giambrone has taken on the Sisyphean task of confronting the dominant American culture where it lives through storytelling, satire and the airing of uncomfortable truths. In an age of perpetual warfare, he has chosen an uncompromising endorsement of peace through understanding and justice.
With Transfixion the goal is to challenge readers of all ages to confront their own concepts of conflict, of resolution, and of the myriad tenuous threads that connect all of us.
He also has a kid, a wife, a cat and two guitars.
For posts, short stories and other shenanigans, see his website.