April 5, 2007

Synergy

Today is the day that the virtual book tour for Synergy makes a stop here at A&C. Authour M. D. Benoit will be here most of the day to answer your questions in general, and more specifically on the theme of this stop on the tour:

There are three themes that appear in Synergy, two of which pretty much crop up in all my writing. The themes are water, time, and, in Synergy’s case bioethics.

Water. I was raised around water: my hometown has a river running through it (wasn’t that a movie title?) and as a child I spent my summers at the lake. As we step into this new millennium, scientists are already talking about water shortages, droughts and riots for the near future. We take water for granted. In Synergy, the world is slowly coming out of a global thirty-year drought; the villain (yes, there is one) is obsessed with owning his own desalination water plants, which will allow him to control a great portion of the world. The city —the Greater Ottawa Metropolis —is under a melting heat wave. Growing gardens is an anathema since it wastes precious water, yet Laslo Radic, the man who is the catalyst for the story, has a small garden outside his office window as a sign of his economic and social status. Like time, water flows through the story.

Time. This book came to life in part because of my own collision with time. There I was, minding my own, when all of a sudden, smack. Time hit me in the face and showed me how fast it was going while, in my head at least, I thought it stood still. Time can be as insubstantial or as concrete as water. It trickles, flows, rushes, freezes. Time surrounds us, carries us, runs through us. We can’t rewind it, or speed it up. In Synergy my two main characters, Torver Lockwood and Demetria Greyson, defy time each in their own unique way. Torver travels people’s lifepaths, sees into their past, and uses their deepest secrets. Demetria has visions of the future. Together, their synergy will allow them to manipulate the silver thread of their lifepaths to find the cure for a deadly disease.

Bioethics. Synergy is the first of three novels that explores ethics in science, and specifically ethics in genetic engineering. In 2096, people own their genetic code, and it is illegal to perform human genetic research without government approval. Yet, strange mutations are cropping up at an alarming rate. One of them threatens the life of Laslo Radic’s child. Defying the law, he hires Torver Lockwood and Demetria Greyson to find a cure before the disease kills his son. When Torver finds the solution, he realizes that his cure could also be used as a targeting genetic weapon.

Synergy asks difficult questions. Should scientist be burdened with ethical conduct? Does the acquisition of knowledge, pure or applied, justify the possible consequences and dangers inherent in advancing science? When a scientist knows in advance that his/her research results could be used in a negative way should he/she conduct the research? Who gets to decide? The scientist? The institution? Government? Philosophers and ethicists have been debating these issues for as long as science existed, and I don’t presume to answer them in Synergy, or to even offer an opinion. I hope, though, that my readers will take enough from the story to ask themselves these kinds of questions. They are important. The answers may —and probably will —affect life as we know it.

You can read the first chapter here.

Ask your questions here in the comments of this post.

I think the problems with commenting have been solved -- at least, no one's complained lately [g] If you log in to type key and it still won't let you make a comment, leave the blog entirely and then reenter, and that should solve the problem. But I'm hopeful that's no longer a problem [keeps fingers crossed] I've instituted open commenting for today.

If you're unable to comment, please email me (edithna (at) yahoo (,) com) your questions and I'll post them for you.

I hope you enjoy this day of the book tour! And thanks to M.D. for choosing A&C as one of her stops!

Posted by Ith at April 5, 2007 1:27 AM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE

Testing. Are comments working?

Posted by: Ith [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 5, 2007 8:15 AM

Testing non signed in commenting.

Posted by: Ith at April 5, 2007 12:24 PM

Glad to be here, and glad to see comments are working, now.

Posted by: M. D. Benoit at April 5, 2007 12:47 PM