Cyber muse, futuristic essays, high technology and more

Roger White when did you first know you wanted to be an author?

What originally got me into writing was word processors on personal computers, way back in 1977. Writing by hand or typewriter was boring because it was so hard to fix mistakes. But with cut-and-paste and spellcheckers… wow! What I started
writing were articles that explained high technology… such as how to use
personal computers and local area computer networks. Gradually I started adding some fun science fiction writing to that, and then I got into many other topics.

My first, and still my most popular book, was a how-to: Wordstar with Style. It
explained how to use the Wordstar word processor on CP/M machines, and later MSDOS machines.

The next big breakthrough was starting a web site: White World. I started that in 1996, and now I had a home for whatever I wrote that I thought was interesting to other people. I still personally maintain White World.

==What makes you passionate about writing?
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I like explaining new concepts to interested people. The concepts can be in
science, technology, history or current events. Making my new concepts
understandable to other people became an interesting, life-long challenge. My
style of science fiction — Technofiction — is an extension of that into the
realms of speculative fiction.

==What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?

The Wordstar with Style book was inspired by a college alum who told me there
could be a market for a word processing how-to book, and he knew of an interested publisher. He was right. Because I was in the right place at the right time, that first one was real simple for me to produce and promote.

==Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?

Because I write mostly for myself, I’m rarely discouraged. The discouraging part
is when I present a piece to a reader and get “Huh?” back as a response. But for
me that is simply a challenge to explain better.

==What books have most influenced your life?

I was a voracious reader starting in middle school. I gobbled up military history, science and science fiction books. I even worked through the World Book
Encyclopedia.

==Please tell us about your book, Visions of 2050.

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This is the latest in my Tales of Technofiction series. It is innovative. It is a mix of visionary essays about our near future, our real future, and science
fiction stories that take those concepts, mix in interesting characters and
settings, and make fun stories out of them. There is not much out that is like it in style or format.

==Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you
outline first?

I take an interesting science, historical or technology concept, and think about
the ramifications of it — how will it change our lives or change our thinking?
The concept can be a real one, such as how to do space travel, or a fantastic one, such as what happens when a pair of scientists succeed in summoning an angel?

What makes Technofiction different is being very sensitive to internal consistency in the story, and what are the interesting ramifications of the concept?

==Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

Hmm… The Internet. If I didn’t have a web site to produce for, I wouldn’t be
producing nearly as much stuff as I have been.

==What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
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Keeping them internally consistent and letting them explore the ramifications of
interesting concepts. If they are paying attention to the world around them, they will do interesting things, and the story will be both interesting and unusual in how it evolves.

==Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?

Oh… my goodness… so many! My motto is, “I’ve been there, done that, and while I was doing it I was taking notes.” For more on this check out my backgrounder in the Book Room on White World.

==How do you come up with your character’s names?

I like names that are interesting plays on words or concepts. Eddy Current, for
example, is a character who is a super hero with electricity as his super power.
(Check out the definition of “eddy current” to see the play here.)

==What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?

That they enjoyed a story and it got them thinking about some new science concepts
==What gave you the nerve to attempt your first novel?

I had put together a bunch of interesting short stories on White World. I decided to collect them and publish an anthology. Likewise, most of my novels are actually collections of short stories that have a common theme and characters.

==Please describe your writing process.

I read about science, technology, history and current events. I also teach about
English in Korea and computer networking in various Pacific Rim nations. In the
process of doing these things, when I come across an interesting new concept or
ramification, I write some essays about it, then create some stories about the
concept by folding in some interesting characters and settings.

==Please give us a brief rundown of the plot of Visions of 2050
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Visions of 2050 is a mix of essays about what will be happening in our future —
our real future — and science fiction stories that mix interesting characters and settings with those forecasts. The result has some pretty fascinating concepts.
One example being cyber muses — these are self-aware robots who are designed
specifically to inspire humans. Think of the proverb “Behind every great man
there’s a good woman.” and update it to “Behind every great person there’s a good cyber muse.” The cyber muses inspire faster, better and cheaper than other people do. This is the topic of both an essay and several stories in the book.

==What genre is it?

This is a mix between visionary forecasting and science fiction.

==What goal did you originally have for your books and/or writing?
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I like explaining things. The goal for all my books is to explain interesting
concepts so that many more people can understand them, and then take advantage of that understanding to make their lives better.

==How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

When it has been on White World a while, and I still like what I have written, and I find I keep adding to the concept.

==Where can readers go to find your books? This is my Book Room on White World
http://www.whiteworld.com/cyreenikland/press-room/index.html

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