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Humans or Holograms: A Lesson For Writers

Miku06Who’s your favourite singer, are they human and are you sure?

Don’t be too quick to answer. You may be cheering on a holographic image. That was certainly the case when in 2010, a Japanese hologram belted out pop songs to sold-out concerts.

A trick of light creates an image that looks three-dimensional and, in the case of Hatsune Miku, sings to and interacts with a crowd of fans. While she does have certain cartoonish features, Miku is impressively solid-looking nonetheless.

I wonder if rock stars shuddered and actors groaned. If this technology gets any better, movie directors and music agents might start eyeing the low maintenance holograms who’ll work any hours, anywhere in any role for a very low hourly rate of a few watts of electricity.

So how is this related to writing?

A few years ago, I created a character that has a brain but no body. Instead, Mind Ops uses a solid-looking holographic image to interact with the world.

At the time, I thought it was only a figment of my overheated imagination. After all, my only experience with holograms was limited to fridge magnets. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon proof that my figment actually exists in the real world. I was also relieved, as Dragon’s Mind relies on this technology to allow the characters to interact.

This discovery highlighted to me the importance of a curious mind in the writing process. When a story resonates with some aspect of truth, there is a power to it that the reader feels. Think of Isaac Asimov, for example: he was a scientist first, before he launched a writing career. His scientific knowledge provided a solid foundation for his novels, and his flights of fancy were as believable as the science behind them.

While not all writers will have the depth of knowledge that Asimov had, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore the worlds we create, and broaden and deepen our understanding of them. When fiction is based on fact, it’s a lot easier for the reader to buy into it. It’s a lesson I’m keeping in the forefront of my mind in the African paranormal series I’m developing.

So thank you, Hatsune Miku and Cryton Future Media, for proving that Dragon’s Mind isn’t as farfetched as I first thought.