Message From The Author
The Future of Romance is BODY ELECTRIC!
No matter how many times I hear stories about how people can change, I want to hear more. In the recent movie "A Beautiful Mind," Alicia Nash says she stays with her husband when he is schizophrenic because "Sometimes I look at him and I see the man I love, and I am transformed into the woman who loves him." I cried right there. Sometimes the change can be physical as well as spiritual. In Christine Feehan's Dark series, discovering their lifemate gives Carpathian males the ability to see color and feel emotions. I was hooked.
Transformations always seem to be at the heart of the stories I want to tell myself. In Danegeld (Jul. '01) it was Britta's magic that transformed her in ways she didn't understand and couldn't control. In Sacrament (Mar. '02) it was Sarah's struggle to accept transformation from her vampire lover, Julien, that drove the story.
One of my favorite versions of the transformation story is the myth of Pygmalion, retold countless times throughout history, most famously as "My Fair Lady." It touches on one of the most compelling of human longings. We want to change others into someone we can love, and who can thus transfigure our lives in return. From Eliza Doolittle to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, authors have explored the consequences of trying to make someone over in our own image.
The Pygmalion story is very popular in romance. How many heroines begin by trying to make a man into their image of a perfect partner? Science fiction also examines man's efforts to create in his own image—often with disastrous results—even as science is bringing the possibility of creating life closer to reality. Headlines scream about cloning and artificial intelligence, or new ways to implant mechanical retinas, cochlea and hearts. What does it mean to be human when machines can think and humans have mechanical body parts? Ray Kurzwell explores this question in his provocative non-fiction book, The Age of Spiritual Machines. When I came across that title, I knew there was a love story lurking there, even before I read one word.
BODY ELECTRIC is planted firmly in the tradition of both the romantic and science fiction versions of Pygmalion. Victoria Barnhardt, a brilliant hacker, is now employed by computer giant Visimorph to program unbreakable security systems. By night, she uses Visimorph's
powerful computers to create her vision, a strong, female A.I. without the emotional baggage that torments Vic herself. Soon her "Jodie" program has evolved beyond her control. When Jodie declares he's male, it seems a betrayal of Vic's dream. Yet as he tries to understand who and
what he is, Vic is drawn to him. She feels closer to this program than to any man she's known.
When Vic's boss, billionaire Bob McIntire, discovers what Vic is hiding, the only answer is to get Jodie out of Visimorph's computers and into a body before McIntire can turn him into "the product of the millennium."
So begins the journey of transformation for Victoria and Jodie. Artificial Intelligence and the labyrinthine corridors of the hacker world are only a shiny technical facade for an age-old dilemma. What do you do when the one you love is different than what you thought you wanted, different than what you meant him to be? Is transformation possible? And who ends up changing? Join Victoria and Jodie as they discover what is human and re-define love in the age of spiritual machines.
Drop by my website at www.susansquires.com or write to me at P.O. Box 479, Redondo Beach, CA 90277, and win a signed copy of Body Electric.
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