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 Michael R. Fletcher to talk about how the power of manifesting delusions as reality relates to Beyond Redemption.
My new novel, Beyond Redemption, takes place in a world where belief defines reality and the deranged—those capable of believing the impossible—can twist the world with their delusions.
My superpower, fittingly enough, is that my delusions manifest as reality. It is less handy than you might think. I’m not delusional about everything. I’m no god; I can’t bend the world to my mad whims. My delusions are rather narrow in focus.
First, a short non sequitur:
I wish my superpower was swearing like Chuck Wendig.
And then a longer one:.
Reality is a mess. Seriously. It is so mind-bogglingly complex you have absolutely no chance of understanding it. I’m not saying no one will ever understand reality; I’m saying you won’t. Sorry. Don’t feel bad.
And yet at the same time, reality is simple. It’s so simple that a goldfish of below average intelligence will probably procreate and have to be considered a success. If a slime mould can deal with reality, so can you. Most of the complexities of your day-to-day life are not real. They’re delusions, mass hallucinations. Politics, religion, economics, peanut butter, the paleo diet, morals, ethics, Kanye, and philosophy. Not one of them is real. We, as a species, invented that shit.
Imagine playing monopoly with someone who doesn’t like you. They’re playing the bank and have a printer handy so they can always print more money. And when they do print more money, the price of everything goes up a little. Pretend they’re the only one with access to the rule book, and every time you question them, the rules seem to have changed a little. Now pretend this is a somewhat advanced version of monopoly and that not only is there a bank but there’s also a government. Pretend the person playing the government is best buddies with the person playing the bank. Maybe they even owe their buddy money in the real world. Sounds like fun, eh?
You can do quite well in this game. You can have many slips of paper defining your wealth.
But to say the odds are stacked against you is laughable. You can’t win.
If you understand it’s all a delusion, a game of sorts where someone else makes up the rules and keeps changing them, you can step out from that picture. You can stop playing.
Are you upset by this?
Are you taking me seriously?
I’ve already told you I bend reality with my delusions. Clearly I’m deluded.
But if reality is mostly illusion and I define my delusions, I’m playing a different game. I’m pulling the wool over my own eyes. Sorry, Bob.
You too can define your own delusions.
Madness. My super power is madness.
I make irrational decisions and then throw myself behind them as if they were logical constructs and there was no chance of failure. Since my definition of success is so grey, so flexible, there is no chance of failure. As well as being delusional, I’m also some kind of super Taoist. Or maybe that’s a delusion. But since my delusions manifest as reality…
Grind those gears like you just stole your Mother’s powder blue Datsun 610.
Right. Here we go. Manifesting delusions.
I wanted to work in rock and roll. So I worked in rock and roll. For fifteen years I made a living as an audio-engineer recording bands and mixing live shows. Imagine seeing three or more bands a night, five or six nights a week. I grew tired of it. Rock didn’t mix well with family life, and I wanted the family far more than I wanted the rock. So I quit. No plan, no back up; I just quit. What was I going to do? Well, while mixing rock bands I’d written a cyberpunk novel about harvesting children’s brains, and it sold to a small Canadian press called Five Rivers. I learned a lot while writing and rewriting that book. Why not write another, get an agent, and land a publishing deal with a big publisher?
What should I write about? Madness, obviously.
So I did.
My delusions manifest as reality.
I found an amazing agent, and a few months after that HARPER Voyager bought Beyond Redemption.
What happens next? No idea; knowing the future is not one of my delusions.
Now if only my delusion that I’m skinny and fantastically handsome would manifest.
Michael R. Fletcher is a science fiction and fantasy author represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. His début novel, 88, was released by Five Rivers Publishing and tastes like dystopia with a dash of cyberpunk. 88 is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and elsewhere.
His newest novel, BEYOND REDEMPTION, a work of dark fantasy and rampant delusion and the first of a series, was just released by HARPER Voyager.