This is the official page for my debut novel, Caffeine. I am branding it as "my unashamed attempt at Philosophical (Christian) Science Fiction," which is indeed what it began as. The e-book was first published here in October 2009. Print and Kindle editions became available through Splashdown Books on November 15.
Brandon Dauphin feels like a dying ember. He’s jobless and feels worthless, and
falling in love has only made his problem worse. In an authoritarian and overstimulated 22nd-century America, all he can do to relieve his pain is indulge in the computer-simulated fantasies of a network called Dynamic Reality, until a virus takes control of the simulation. Unable to return to the real world, Brandon finds that the virus shares his questions about existence, and that she will stop at nothing for her answers.
The story represents many things to me. Dynamic Reality is my vision of the internet's future, one which is already emerging: a universe in its own right, created by human beings. Throw into this artificial intelligence - learning programs I believe will be mature technology in a couple of centuries - that a user ("ascender") will interact with just as if they were people. Virtual Reality is a well-explored concept, as is humanoid artificial intelligence (yielding the what-if-they-became-self-aware story); but then there's a third concept...
Ever open the attachment on an e-mail? You did scan it for viruses first, right?
Though DR is vastly different from the modern internet, it is still a wide-open, global computer network. Certainly, there will be hackers writing viral AIs; and certainly, the virus will be a greater threat than today, being literally able to kill the users whose conciousnesses are online. Yeah, scary, but wait...
1. What if, in addition to the friendly AIs, the viral ones could become self-aware, too?
2. What if (and I'm being a Christian here), God could forgive their sins?
This novel isn't so much in-your-face-praise-Jesus evangelism as an argument for why faith works. Since my own tastes gravitate toward the deep and existential, it was natural for me to contribute accordingly. My hope is that Caffeine and the works that follow will leave the reader, believer or no, in a state of reflection. Lord willing, I can close a gap in the Christian market and reach audiences no one ever thought to.
Caffeine was written between October 2007 and August 2008, with a non-commercial e-book released to the public in October 2009. This e-book was a finalist in Marcher Lord Select's 2009 Premise Contest.
Writing Caffeine was an exciting project. I got to use completely new ideas (at least, that I couldn't find in any existing work) to craft a meaningful story, which glorifies Christ rather than the evolutionary ideas working their way into more and more sci-fi (though they do get treatment in Caffeine).
Splashdown Books picked up the novel and released print and Kindle versions of it in November 2011. The non-commercial e-book was updated to match the Splashdown version, and the two are fundamentally the same.
In 2012 I began work on my second novel, The Day The Rain Came Back . It's not a sequel, but it has enough in common that Caffeine's fans are sure to enjoy it.