In writing books for me the idea of the characters always comes first. From there I think of a setting to place the character’s in, and interesting storylines based around the character being placed in those settings.
In relation to The Chronicles Of Hope series I was sat on the tube one day and a glance opposite was to be the basis for many of the characters in the series. What I saw was a man, or rather, a gent. He had silver hair swept into a side parting, a smart briefcase, long beige mackintosh, and was reading a copy of the financial times. He glanced up occasionally to genuinely sneer and flash dirty looks at an unkempt looking black man opposite him. Unfairly but instinctively, in my head I ripped this pompous racist apart, myself probably guilty of stereotyping as much as him. The whole scenario got me thinking about stereotypical characters and made me think that the most interesting characters I know are those who don’t fit a set stereotype. I love people like that, people without predictable identities. Goths and hippies, any set group of people about whom stereotypes can be projected, I find completely unoriginal. The interesting people are those whose personalities can’t be pigeonholded or pinned down to a set stereotype. That in itself makes a character in a sense and it became the basis behind the ideas for most of the characters in ‘2082’.
The government project involved in ‘2082’ is a totalitarian one based on a personality machine, with ‘contradictory personalities’ such as a racist hippie and competitive rastafarian highlighted in a very crude form. As unrealistic as the whole concept should be, recently there have been several revelations about how the government and social media sites are collecting this very data. It then wouldn’t be hard to envisage how such information could potentially be misused in future and make this a realistic concept.
In one chapter Frank challenges the residents to come up with positive stereotypes in order to try and open up the subject in a positive way and make fun of how the government have treated his charges. I think having a sense of humour towards these issues is the way to go, let’s acknowledge that we all instinctively stereotype and at least try and project that in a positive manner, let’s seek to laugh about it rather than getting offended.
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Genre - Political Fiction
Rating – PG