Saturday 1 September 2012

#OBSummer #Books - Ford 99 - Dementional

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Genre - SciFi Romance (R)
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I conceived Dementional as a worst-case scenario response to news about the imminent start-up of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, so the basis of the story is a theoretical scientific crisis: What happens if you LOSE the "God particle" you've been searching for?

My guess for what might happen is linked to particle physicist Mark Inman, who starts the book on the cusp of success: He's part of a high-level science team and is just getting married to the love of his life, Sarah. By page 99, though, he's side-slipped through dimensions a couple times already, and has just landed in the darkest alternate reality he's yet faced.

Each time his connection to one reality fails, he's pushed into another one and is forced to figure out who he is in this new scenario--and determine whether it will be possible to continue his research to find his way home, or find Sarah.

In this scene, he's learned that in this reality, he's a drunk, kept away from his love by a faceless bureaucracy. Sarah, in this reality, is unlike any previous version of her he's seen previously too, more desperate for his sexual favor, as the bureaucracy has determined that they are not to be allowed to be married. He's been dropped off into a scientist's dream version of a man cave and continues to try to orient himself to this new version of his life: "Since it didn’t appear that anyone would be giving me any further direction, I wandered along the edges of the lab, confronting the equations the previous me had worked up. His hand was a little sloppier than mine--though that may be attributed to whatever palsy his alcoholic tendencies had introduced. For all his slovenly self-care, his lab was meticulous. I could easily follow the logic documented on the boards, and had no trouble deciphering the order of his materials."

The scene is intended to underline the difficulty he has finding his mental/emotional bearings in the turmoil the shifts have brought to his existence. He questions why the previous version of himself allowed his body to degrade to the degree he witnesses and doesn't know where to begin his search for answers--or even whether to ask for help. After all, from his perspective, someone claiming to inhabit a body other than his own would be carted off to the insane asylum as having fallen victim to an extreme case of schizophrenia.

Mark's constant question as to whether he's gone insane versus trapped in a particle physics conundrum nobody anticipated is highlighted with each transition. My hope is that each time these random shifts happen to him, the reader is swept along in his self-rediscovery to find the answer to the question of what his life would be like with a different version of himself at the helm.

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