The inspiration for: Circus Of Prodigy
My imagination has always been rooted in technology of the future, not in some magical environment 100 years from now, but the more understandable 20 - 30 years from now. I believe extrapolating today's tech into 30 years can be done with a fair degree of accuracy if you understand the limiting factors of today's technology and what is in the pipeline.
In 2008 I'd written a book on my philosophical take on why things happen: The Meaning Of Life. For the few years that followed, a central tenet of that book gave all of my extrapolations a very disturbing trajectory based on the trends in neural network artificial intelligence. In my judgement, homo sapiens are simply the highest ordered arrangement of matter that we know about, in an universe of increasing order. This "order" is not about entropy, but rather about arrangements finding better ways to persist. This order predates Darwinian evolution back to the Big Bang, and will continue long past homo sapiens' existence.
From 2010 to today I've been grappling with the fleeting nature of the world as we know it and how quickly we are producing technology that makes our wondrous biology look soft, weak, old, slow, and dumb. If my theory of order holds, we are only decades away from being overthrown by our technology. I've been searching for a hopeful vision where we break this cycle of the new order overthrowing the old, where we embrace and become part of the new order. The best chance I see is for this new order to quickly become a part of us.
To do so would require us to break with comforting notions of "the good old days", understanding that our children's lives will look increasingly alien to us. This idea started to snowball into a hypothetical scenario that, in 1 hour, was a fully-formed sci-fi story clawing at me to go back to the writer's desk. It was an exciting and important story that needed to be told.
Don't get me wrong, I've seen Terminator, and various other sci-fi stories about robots taking over. I know that is a well-travelled plot. But what hadn't been done to my knowledge was a telling of this story with real science, real robots, real technology rooted in logical extensions of today's tech. At the time I was a senior software engineer at iRobot Maritime Systems building various autonomous underwater vehicles for the Navy, NOAA, MIT, and other research institutions. Before that I'd spent 7 years at Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Systems building autonomous space vehicles.
I had the fortunate experience of writing a novel not because I wanted to write, but because I had a story that I had to tell, in a subject I knew a lot about. Because of this I spent 4 hours every night for 1 year writing without a moment of writer's block. The Snowflake Method for writing also helped a lot with that.