The books shown on the left are by Matt Tyson. Click on the cover to order.
This interview was conducted by
Teri Davis: Did any particular book or authors inspire you to write this series? Which book or author?
Teri Davis on November 8, 2016.
Matt Tyson: For this story, I was largely inspired by real world events. The world
has been so unpredictable in recent years that it seems genuinely feasible that society as we know it today might breakdown – but it wouldn’t be possible to uninvent the technology that exists today. I was interested in the idea of children playing with dangerous things they don’t understand as a metaphor for how high technology might be used in a less ordered world and the narrative grew from there.
Teri Davis: Do you have a favorite book?
Matt Tyson: In non-fiction I love Robert Caro’s biographies of Lyndon Johnson and Robert Moses. Outrageously well researched, making two giant men seem human, flawed and relatable. As for fiction, I think The Player of Games by fellow Brit Iain.M.Banks would rank highly. I liked his politics and blunt expression of them too. A sad loss.
Teri Davis: What one advancement in Telonaut would you most like to see in your lifetime?
Matt Tyson: Don’t you think biological teleportation would be great? The 3D printing of humans in deep space as a substitute for rocket propulsion. Imagine how much more of the universe we might understand if we didn’t need to push an iron ore and silicon shell around with us.
Teri Davis: Are you like any of your characters in real life?
Matt Tyson: I think all writers need a real world reference to build characters from. This particular novel has themes of family, parental duty and love. As a husband with a very young family myself I think there’s a bit of me in several of the characters and certainly a few lines of dialogue I’ve said out loud myself or heard in my house. Not all the parts of me that are in my characters are the parts I’m most proud of either – which made writing this story interesting.
Teri Davis: In Telonaut, there are differing motivations amongst the characters. What do you think separates people who focus on "good for all" as opposed to "good for self/family"?
Matt Tyson: We’re deep into philosophy here! One of the preoccupations I had when writing Telonaut was whether there really is such a thing as ‘good’ outcomes. It’s the awareness of outcomes that are at the heart of this question. If awareness of outcomes when making a decision is imperfect then a reductionist might say that choices don’t matter and all we’re left with is appreciating the moment. Perhaps those that focus efforts closer to home are instinctively more focused on the moment? Politicians have been dancing around this since humans first grouped together.
Teri Davis: In the real world, do you think there any successful communities that are genuinely organized around doing “good for all”?
Matt Tyson: I was born in Europe and have spent a lot of my adult life in Africa. In my experience, I’d have to say no. This story is at least in part about recognizing that societies are always flawed, just as humans are always flawed because each grows from the other.
Teri Davis: In Telonaut, Prid is clearly a character that you adored for her adventuresome spirit and intelligence, but she’s also naďve. Who was your inspiration for her?
Matt Tyson: I have young children. I’m regularly amazed by their force of will and deduction but equally regularly overpowered by their vulnerability and need for help.
Teri Davis: I loved your play on words with the auditor's name being Sero and his father's name Won - along with the interspersed light-hearted humor and wordplay in difficult situations. What word games actively engage your mind?
Matt Tyson: Those aren’t the only little things in there that might all make more sense by the end of the series! I hope my readers will enjoy putting things together. I do love clever dialogue though. When I grow up, I’d like to be Will McAvoy from The Newsroom. Circular, self-referential banter is the foundation of all my close friendships.
Teri Davis: How do you envisage the world fifty years from now?
Matt Tyson: Making predictions is a dangerous game, played best by drunks and demagogues, so I’m wary of wading in. I think the world we live in today is the best version of humanity there has ever been. There was never any golden age when things were better than they are now. If we were to sit in the sky and chose when in all of history to this point we’d be borne, we’d all chose right now. I hope his holds true in future and we’re always living at the height of human endeavor.
Teri Davis: What is your intent for this series? How many books are you planning?
Matt Tyson: The story has a least another two books to run to complete the arc I’ve planned out. At the moment, the sequel will probably be called ‘Infonaut’. I’m interested in building on a single line in Telonaut about the how all the possibilities in all our lives, in the universe, can be imagined as different choices. Wouldn’t it be great if we could explore those choices whilst retaining our sense of self?
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