Tuesday, 12 July 2011

As for "Charlie's Trips"...

It's the very first book I managed to write in English. I completed some other works in French language before, mostly manuscripts, all unpublished. Now I've completed something serious in English I feel sort of forced to tell about it, maybe more than I should. I just can't stop myself! In this one I kind of managed to tell a surprising story, the one of a young soldier from the Midwest who's taken away by a tornado (like in The Wizard of Oz) but instead of winding up in some magical world, he's hurled into space-time. He ends up... 21 years later, on the West Coast! A bit off San Francisco. He's found unconscious on a beach and stays in a coma for two or three days. But in the meanwhile more and more people start imagining things about this young boy from nowhere, who just appeared, just like that (nobody knows his name or where he comes from), and who may have fallen down from the sky, according to some bimbo. The rumour that this very boy could be the Christ Himself, back on earth, always grows bigger in minds. And he's in a coma, a TV show about to be organized on him, waiting for the moment he'll wake up! And when he DOES wake up... right away he has a prediction about the future, the vision of a violent earthquake, supposed to strike the city (San Francisco) the day after. Of course he doesn't know he's the host of a TV show, he's still not aware either that his memory of the past is lost... and he's still unaware of a lot of other things around him.

I'm not a believer. In fact I'm an atheist. I don't believe in God. As I wrote this story I didn't think about religion. I was just somebody, writing an ironic story about our society. Now I'm aware of some other things in it. I know that some atheist people, not believing in God or in any other deity supposed to watch and protect us all, have written stories closely connected to God. Like brilliant writer Alex Garland (author of 28 Days Later and The Beach), who wrote that film, Sunshine, which shows the Sun as a positive representation of God. I wrote Charlie's Trips as an atheist, with the idea of the possibility - and I'm saying again, only the POSSIBILITY - of the Christ coming back to Earth in a shape we don't expect. In this case, as a teenager who doesn't really believe. Who even lost his past. Why not? A little bit like John Connor in Terminator 2, who's still a teenager and still doesn't believe he's the one supposed to save humanity from the destroying machines. Charlie's case is of course different since he's not supposed to be anybody in the first place. And he just showed up, as a total stranger, in a world he doesn't know about.

This rather short book doesn't give any explanations and sticks to the action and to the descriptions of the futuristic world Charlie ends up in; following what happens to him and around him, and what may get through his blank mind. You'll probably say I'm just trying to promote my work, of course I'm promoting it, this is what a blog is for but since I'm an atheist and this domain is very vast I thought it was wise to question people (and myself) about this issue and start a debate here. Maybe the Christ is already among us and we don't know it, maybe he's already judged us? For some strong believers, the end of the world is for next year (2012)... The book also speaks about some other values that are very strong these days, family, marriage, celebrity, patriotism...

The book also introduces us to a new kind of character: an 'amnesic psychic' (able to see in the future when he has lost his past) and to space-time travel. Unlike films like the Back to the Future or the Terminator series, where the characters travel through time but stay at the exact same place, Charlie's Trips shows a time travel that includes space, young Charlie jumping from the Midwest to the West Coast, without even realizing. Without even remembering, since the result of that travel for him is a complete loss of memory! And an ability to see the other way, forward instead of backward.

The book is a fun and compelling read for all audiences. Along with The Wizard of Oz, Charlie's Trips could be put close to other classic tales for children and teenagers like Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte's Web, Gulliver's Travels and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as to science-fiction works from Philip K. Dick (for his approaches of precognition) and HG Wells (the time travel). So the book will grip fans of Dick and Wells as well as those of Roald Dahl. It makes children and teenage literature meet science-fiction and disaster genres. Because Charlie's Trips is also a disaster story.

I'm not saying 'Buy the book, if you don't you have nothing to do here since you don't know what you're talking about!...' stuff like that. No, I really can't wait for what everybody has to say, I'm looking forward to hearing from you storytellers, readers, and (non) believers!

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