Check out this author spotlight for science fiction writer Chris Lodwig!
You can find all the links for where to find him furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
I live in Seattle with my wife, daughter, two dogs, and an unlikely number of shrimp.
I spent my younger years playing music, throwing illegal parades, adult science fairs, underground Mexican wrestling matches, and bring-your-own art parties. My fifteen minutes of fame came from clandestinely installing a monolith and other sculptures in local parks early in this century. These days, I write science fiction, volunteer at my kid’s school, fly fish, and run the neighbourhood haunted alley. In my free time, I work at a major technology company in the Seattle area.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Cat or dog? Dog. I’m a gregarious and social guy. I like being out in the world, talking with friends and doing things. A dog will get right in there with me. The more I do, the cooler they think I am. Whereas it seems that the more fun I have, the more cats judge me. That said, I do like cats and have lived with several. But these days we’re stocking up on canines.
Library or museums? Museums. I can take in a ton of historical artifacts, fossils, art, air and space gadgetry, etc. in the time it takes me to read half a book. So, while I love libraries on every level, I would choose a museum based purely on the bits-of-new-information-acquired-per minute metric.
Hunter or gatherer? I like to fly fish which feels like a combination of both. I sneak around in the woods and look for food under logs. Though at the end of the day I let all the fish go, so perhaps I’m bad at both hunting and gathering.
Pen and paper or computer/phone? All of the above depending on what I’m doing. It’s sort of like asking a carpenter if they prefer a hammer or saw. I use pen and paper when I’m trying to break through a log jam. I use a computer when I’m laying things out, or editing, or when everything is coming extremely easy. I use a phone to write on the bus or in the middle of the night in hotel rooms so I don’t wake up my family. Each of these has a dramatically different effect on my writing style and I’ve learned to use them each to achieve specific effects.
Book or ebook? Audio book. I like being read to and I enjoy a good narrator’s ability to bring characters alive. I wrote Systemic specifically to be an audio book. And that’s the version I point people to whenever I can.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
I’m a bit of a sucker for the young person who doesn’t know what they have in them trope. They might be a braver hobbit than they thought or a savant space fleet commander, or a good witch who doesn’t know her own power. I like to watch people discover a power within themselves. I’m also a big fan of reality bending, where things aren’t what they appear. I think that also comes down to discovery. I think that the nature of reality is vastly different than we think it is, so anything that chips away at the edifice and helps our minds accommodate alternate possible explanations for experience interests me.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
Systemic is definitely a sci-fi novel. There is a global AI, autonomous vehicles, picture-perfect virtual reality, memory manipulation, and massive social upheaval.
I’m currently working on the sequel which—without giving too much of Systemic away—is necessarily far less sci-fi. Still, it sits squarely in the realm of speculative fiction.
I might have a fantasy story or two running around in the back of my mind, so I think I’ll just go with “speculative fiction.”
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
Overview: The book is somewhere between a utopia and dystopia depending on who you ask. It takes place several generations in the future. We’ve created a super-massive AI and for years, it’s been solving all of society’s problems. But what happens to us when we don’t have any problems left to solve?
The story itself focuses on three strangers who are each making a pilgrimage to a small town in the middle of the Sagelands called Prower. Maik is chasing the woman he loves, Eryn hopes to make it home, and Lem is seeking revenge against the AI that’s hosted in the abandoned mines beneath the town.
Without giving too much away, no one knows the real reasons they’re headed to Prower, but it has something to do with their pasts and solving the problem of humanity no longer having problems to solve.
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
There were a few ideas I was interested in exploring, things I think about a lot that I wanted to get down on paper and structure a story around.
I’m a bit obsessed with the vagaries of memory. We all like to think our memories record facts and play them back verbatim, but that’s not true. Our memories job is to tell us stories about our past that keep us alive. Your memory doesn’t care if it has to insert and embellish. In fact, it turns out we don’t remember the actual events of the past at all. Rather, we remember the last time we remembered the same event. Our memories are disturbingly untrustworthy, and yet we build our entire reality on them.
Also, I am completely horrified by the current political environment, and the willful destruction of truth. I was thinking—and still am thinking—about whether and how we can ever get back to a place where we have a general agreement about facts. I tried to imagine something that could solve that problem; a generally accepted non-partisan arbiter of truth, and the System was born. Along with the many things that it does, the System deep fact-checks whatever you ask it to. In the book, “Systemic” is synonymous with “true” or “correct”, hence the title.
Strangely, the majority of novels I’ve read and movies I’ve seen that share a lot of DNA with Systemic I read after I wrote the book. Several of these were recommended to me by readers who, upon reading Systemic, insisted I check them out. Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas. Systemic is in no way a space opera, but the Culture has a lot in common with the System. Gareth L. Powell’s Embers of War. Again, Systemic is not a space opera, but Arley in my book is reminiscent of the sentient ships like The Trouble Dog. The movie, “All Things Beautiful are Far Away.”
Things I know inspired it, were Asimov’s Foundation and I Robot. Movies like the Matrix, and Memento. Tons of stuff by Philip K. Dick. I had read Station 11 by Emily St John Mandel pretty early on when I was writing Systemic, and while the story doesn’t have a lot in common with Ms. Mandel’s novel, I think it has a very similar atmosphere. It’s empty and sparse in a lot of ways. The sequel even more so.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
I have a very structured writing routine. I find that’s necessary if I ever hope to get anything done given my job and family.I’m not getting as much writing done now as I once did.
Pre-Covid (and hopefully post-Covid)
- 6AM – Get up and get ready for work
- 6:50 – leave for the bus – listen to NPR, or Pod-casts, or audio books
- 7:10 – catch bus and write until I arrive at work (7:40)
- 7:50-8:30 – write in the cafeteria.
- 4:50 catch the bus and write until I’m home (5:30)
- About half the nights I wake up and write for a couple hours in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. (it’s 3:24 AM as I write this)
- 2 – 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday
- 6AM – Get up and work out, take the dog for a long walk. Listen to NPR, or Pod-casts, or audio books
- 7:10 – 8:30 – write in the basement with a break for breakfast
- A couple hours of insomniac writing in the middle of the night a few times a week.
- Write about 2 – 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?
Don’t take yourself so seriously, and don’t try so damn hard to be brilliant. Write what comes easily to you because that’s what you’re interested in. People want to come along for the ride. Don’t worry if it’s crap. You can, and definitely should, edit it later. You can even throw it away.
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
- Audible: https://tinyurl.com/systemicAudio
- Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/systemicBook
- Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/audiobook/systemic-unabridged/id1516916890
- Website: http://chrislodwigauthor.com/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisLodwigAuthor
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChrisLodwig
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christopherlodwig/
- Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrislodwig/
- Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Lodwig/e/B082ZWNW6D
- Good Reads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19849073.Chris_Lodwig