People write novels for a lot of various reasons, some of them seemingly entirely contradictory. I started writing stories when I was ten, living fifty miles from the nearest California town and being taught fifth grade by my mother - and a Calvert School teacher in Boston. Every couple of weeks I'd send a short story I'd written to this teacher in Boston, and a couple of weeks later I'd get feedback. And during those early writing experiences, something intense came alive inside me that's never let go. I got hooked, addicted, lured into the lifelong passion of spinning new myths for the next generation.
The myth underlying GOOGLE BETA 3 has been a lifelong project - I wrote the first version of this story (published bty Warner Books in 1980 as Powerpoint) right after an intense year-long adventure down at Lago Atitlan. Yes, there was a woman very similar to Mahalena, caught up in a parallel situation at the lake to what I portray - that part of GOGLE BETA 3 is fairly accurate historic fiction.
But even before before that southurn journey, I had worked at the New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute while finishing up my psych studies at Princeton, and made first contact with the emerging science of psych-tech. Much of the impetus for GOOGLE BETA 3 was born way back then - because unknown to me, that seemingly above-board government mind-research program was being secretly funded by the CIA's MK-Ultra program, exploring how to manipulate people's emotions and thoughts from a distance - yep, way back then they were already working at it. I worked there for 2 intense years and experienced first hand the researcher's thrill-of-discovery that I've now put into Google Beta 3. In fact, Robert Hadley is more than a bit based on Dr Humphrey Osmond who ran the institute for real.
Bits and parts of GOOGLE BETA 3 continued to fester in the back of my mind as I worked as a therapist and consultant and now and then strove to invent new cognitive-shifting systems (for instance I led a research team at UC Santa Barbara several decades ago struggling with a breather-belt OxyBox invention). But it was only when I moved here to Santa Cruz and started bringing my mindful-meditation programs to corporations in Silicon Valley, five years ago, that all the various themes of my life experience began to come together into a unified suspense plot. Tapping characters I've worked to manifest for many years, I set GOOGLE BERA 3 a couple of years in the future against the backdrop (and foreground) of everything Google has rapidly come to represent, both negative and positive - and let the story unfold on its own step by step.
Novelists do ultimately draw on real experience, as imagination and compression transforms everyday life into a distilled version of reality. I can't imagine ever not being engaged with writing a novel. It's so obvously addicting to be busy in the mind's playground creating an entire mythic but realistic universe inside one's own mind ... and now ... you come along and read the novel, and - the mythic creation comes alive in yet another unique way as it interacts with your universe of experience - that's fiction at its best!
And as people read a book like GOOGLE BETA 3 that's plugged into their own unfolding lives, my hope is that you'll talk with each other informally or in reader groups or company seminars - and use this book as a springboard for examining the core themes of the story. It's your response - your action in talking about these themes with others - that will make GOOGLE BETA 3 an impulse for discussion, community reflection, and required action to make sure we don't ever have to face the dangerous scenario presented in this story. The questions are complex - and they must be faced if we're to mindfully evolve into a bright future.
Feel free to share your thoughts on this ...