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Monday, May 1, 2017

Hacked by Book Characters

This is a guest post by Nicholas Bridgman.

Detective Robert Gladstone looked around his new environment, bleary eyed from both his transition between literary worlds and from the tie-dyed background of the webpage. The tie-dye looked familiar, coming as he did from San Francisco. But other than that, the page did not look at all recognizable.
So, Robert sought the narrator’s help, as he often did when he needed information and had nowhere else to turn.  He addressed him directly, asking, “Where am I now, you control freak?”
The narrator responded with a laugh, “You’re in a webpage, or more accurately, a literary blog.”
“Why do I want to be there?”
“I’m just testing you, seeing how you react to new stimuli.  I need to know you’re going to be responsible if I take you from fiction into the real world.”
“So this isn’t the real world?”
“No, it’s a website created by a woman named Amber Gregg, for people to come to who like to read and talk about books.”
“Well that’s a good thing, at least. I like books. I should, since I’m a character in one. But if Amber created the page, then how come you are narrating it? Don’t tell me she wanted you to do the narrating for her.”
“As it turns out, no she didn’t, I hacked my way in.”
“You hacked some writer’s website?”
“Yes, it wasn’t that hard to do given the simplicity of her passwords. And anyway, I hacked for a good cause, I wanted to see what you would do if I took you partway into the real world—a website is a good place to start, virtual enough to be harmless, but connected enough to somewhat represent the real world.”
“I see. Well I hope you learn what you’re after.  You’re doing enough damage in the process—both to this woman’s site and to me and my life.”
“Right, yes of course. Why don’t you just take a look around? Familiarize yourself with this website, and when you’re done, we’ll see about taking you from your novel into my writing studio in my house.”
“Okay. I see she offers Editing Services. Things like line editing, developmental editing, and proofreading. Maybe that could have helped you, my narrator friend. It’s not like you write the most seamless plots.”
“Hey, I wrote you, didn’t I? You should thank me.”
“I know, you’re right. I guess I’m just tired of the fictional world. I want more: I want to live, I want to see and do things under my own volition, not because of your control. I want to know what it’s like to choose my own destiny, and to see things just because, just because they happen to be occurring around me, not because they are planned by you to advance your plot.”
“And you will, I promise, with time. If people want to know more about how you fare with this, they should read Nicholas Bridgman’s novel, A Character in Reality. This will describe all of Detective Gladstone’s adventures in reality, and how his journey leads him to learn insights about what it means to be human. Bye for now, see you in the real world.”

Nicholas holds B.A.’s in Rhetoric and Ecology from U.C. Berkeley.  His fiction has appeared in Pilcrow & Dagger and Indiana Voice Journal.  His debut novel is A Character in Reality. For more info, go here.