Posted on March 9, 2009 - by MG
I thought I’d start a series of posts about some of the themes in Ice Shock. My publicist Alex Richardson and I worked on this for the new author pack. In the next week or so I’ll drizzle bits of it onto the blog.
The book opens with a quotation from Jorge Luis Borges. It’s from a essay of his – A New Refutation of Time.
After taking issue with the very existence of time as anything other than a metaphysical construct, Borges writes:
“And yet, and yet . . . Denying temporal succession, denying the self, denying the astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations. Our destiny is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and iron-clad. Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges.”
When I was writing Ice Shock – and indeed the sequel, Zero Moment (working title, pace Polly!), I became interested in re-reading writings about our human experience of time. I also read The Time-Traveller’s Wife – a novel which deals almost exclusively with the emotional possibilities of one man’s time travel within his own timeline and lifetime. Another old favourite was ‘Bid Time Return’ by the influential writer Richard Matheson, which was filmed as ‘Somewhere in Time’ – an old favourite of mine from the 1980s. If there’s going to be time-travel in Joshua Files then what interests me isn’t just the cool adventure possibilities (of course I have plans to use that!), but also the emotional impact.
Of meeting your parents before you were born, of meeting your loved ones after your own chronological death; all that. Time travel is too good to squander on mere adventure! There’s a deep philsophical aspect to it, too.
So, I dug out that quotation by Borges. Somewhere along the line I decided to include it as part of the story. A message from the enigmatic Arcadio to Josh – a warning about Josh’s destiny. And it won’t be the last…