Sheldon's Song - Darin Preston
I found the topic of Sheldon's Song to be fascinating. Two of my favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov. I felt like this book was the perfect combination between the two of them. The idea behind it was similar to I, Robot by Asimov, but the feeling behind the book and the characters were reminiscent of Bradbury.
What I love about this book is that there are so many in depth characters that I was able to relate to at different points throughout the plot. At time characters reacted exactly as I expected them to and at other times, I was completely surprised -- which is an aspect that I feel is necessary to bring characters to life.
I also enjoyed the underlying question that Preston brought up. How far are we willing to go to combine technology and science? And what are we risking with these experiments?
While the general consensus is that it's not possible to have too much technology, (otherwise how would we clean, cook, and entertain ourselves???) I think that a line will be found eventually -- perhaps after we've already crossed it.
Sheldon's Song introduces us to the idea that there is a line and while the plot seems way out in the deep realms of science fiction, we should already be questioning how far is too far.
I'm quite anxious to see more work from Preston and I hope we don't have to wait too long to see what fate he has in mind for Sheldon.
Some Bio Information
I'm a true Midwesterner, and have lived in Wisconsin my entire life. Born into a blue collar family, I've always appreciated when life provided more than just the basics for survival.
I love baseball, comedy and fishing. I've wondered about combining them, but hitting a fish with a bat is not all that funny (for the fish).
I've been told that I'm a good listener, and tend to be rather analytical. No doubt, this is what lead me to enter the field of psychology, and to ultimately become a School Psychologist. I've practiced school psychology for 15 years, but recently decided to take a break and focus on writing.
I value loyalty, honesty, humor and generosity. There tend to be characters whom embody those things in my stories.
I've always wanted to be a writer, but doubted my abilities for a long time. The story for my first book came to me when I was still in my teens, but I did not write it until I was in my late thirties. Now, I feel more free to write, and express, the ideas that have been hidden for so long.
I am really enjoying the ride! I hope others will hop in the bus with me along the way.
1. Is Sheldon’s story over?
Sheldon’s Story is just beginning! There are many factors which need to play out here. The challenge with fiction is often how to predict what reactions the world around a character, or event, will have. I certainly see an identity crisis occurring personally for Sheldon, as well as for the people around him. I have also been pondering expanding the story to have a more global feel. Let’s face it; Sheldon’s mere existence would cause a storm of controversy. However, it will probably be a little while before I write a sequel. I want to allow Sheldon’s story radiate outward, while I work on a couple other projects in the mean time.
2. Which character do you most identify with?
I identify with each character on some level, but Dr. Vincent Kross possesses a big part of my personality. Maintaining objectivity in tough situations can be very difficult. Experience and training can get a person part of the way, but one must also be committed to the idea that, personal feelings must be put aside if any fairness can be had in the end results. Vincent is committed to that ideal, but even he is forced to realize that there are some things in life that cannot be solved without emotional investment.
3. What do you want readers to take away from your story?
Although I certainly wish for each reader to be entertained and drawn into the environment of Sheldon’s Song, I do hope that each person takes a moment to think about the implications of the conclusion. The story is something of a constant rollercoaster of emotion. From a human perspective, it can be uplifting to see Sheldon make positive strides in his growth, but there is the constant threat of it all being undone in the name of proper scientific practice. If readers take time to contemplate the ending, I think that the true scope of what it could mean may lead to big discussions, and perhaps (although it is not my intention) some controversy.
4. Who's your favorite author?
This is a tough question, as there are many whom I enjoy. I tend to gravitate toward fiction with a real-world, feasible, feel to it. I enjoy Ray Bradbury, and Stephen King, but sci-fi leaning authors such as H.G. Wells and Timothy Zahn are also favorites. However, if I have to choose an all-time favorite, I would have to choose Peter Benchley. Jaws was the first novel I read that dealt with real danger and suspense. I am planning to write a short piece of historical fiction as a tribute to Peter Benchley. Hopefully, I can capture some of the magic he gave readers over his long career.
5. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I find that inspiration starts with a tiny seed that whispers to me during times of quiet. I have yet to go looking for an idea, as they seem to come to me when I least expect them. I’ve actually pulled ideas from dreams! However, once the seed starts to grow, the branches are influenced by my experiences and perspectives. As a licensed school psychologist, I often draw character personalities from the varied people, and situations, that I’ve encountered over the years. Sheldon’s Song is heavily influenced by my time getting to know, and value, students with cognitive disabilities.
6. Describe the perfect science fiction plot.
I’m not sure if there is such a thing! However, I greatly enjoy stories that start out by lulling the audience into believing that they know what is going on, and then taking them somewhere unexpected, but feasible. My first novel, Sequence 77, is set up to feel like a familiar, cop mystery, kind of tale. However, the story takes the reader on an unexpected journey before settling into what it really is meant to be. I’m not saying I write the perfect science fiction plots, but I enjoy trying!
7. Do the good guys always win?
Not in my fictional world(s) they don’t. I appreciate fiction that mirrors the struggle, triumph and often, heartbreak, of real life. Sometimes people put in a herculean effort, but fail to avoid crushing defeat. The important part, to me, is how each Character responds to a situation before, during and after the consequences are known. Often, there are no “good guys”, only people doing the best they can to make sense of the hand they’ve been dealt. One character’s good intention may be another’s worst-case-scenario.