How i got here. Musings on ‘The Bioborg File’

Ever wondered how a writer reaches his novel? Yes, me too. I am not sure how others get to where they are, but the following is how I came to have the story which is ‘The Bioborg File,’ a sci-fi novel set in south England with man/machines for heroes.

Sometime in the distant 1990’s there was a fantastic computer game, ‘Synndicate’ by Bullfrog, which involved a ‘god-mode’ view of four cyborgs. Set in a dystopian future ruled by companies (Syndicates). As the cyborgs, your jobs is to do various missions and take over the world. In a word, this was the beginning, the inspiration, the reason for the ‘Bioborg File’. I loved the idea of people having robotics added to them. Thus were born the Bioborgs.

I equipped them in trenchcoats because they could hide weapons easier. (Also in the ‘Untouchables’ it looked cool!) Terminator, the Untouchables and many other films have shotguns, so this became the weapon of choice for Lockley, my hero. With research into cybernetics, both real and sci-fi, so the background was building up.Inspiration came from films such as ‘Terminator’ ‘Universal Soldier’ ‘ Alien’ and RPG’s of Shadowrun, and also Warhammer 40.000 wargaming.I did not was a parody or rip-off of the films and books and games, and with a mixture and immagaination, my baby was being it’s own world.

Lockley is not a robot but a man with robotics, but his commitment meant he could have little emotion. He is good looking, brave and hard as steel.He is not based on anyone person. He has his own weaknesses and interests, and has friends. He grumbles at roadworks like the rest of us, and prefers the weather to be sunny.

Mel is the other main character. An unwilling heroine. She smokes too much, screams too much and is not brave. She hates Lockley, and would rather be clubbing. She is based on several people, but mainly loosely based on someone I once knew. She has had several names over the years, but I settled with ‘Mel’ after Melissa Joan Hart, who is a real hottie in Sabrina the Teenage witch.

The bad guys are not all bad. To Hitler he was a good guy, to Al Queada they are right and we are the bad guys. These ‘bad guys’ have families and friends, sometimes they are gentle. I hate Holloywood portrayal of bad guys who only hate. Seriously, would a bad guy shoot a henchmen in cold blood becuase he failed to kill the good guys? When people failed Hitler he replaced them, maybe sent them for trial, but did not shoot them in the chancellory. The same applies for the way that i make bad guys. They are bad because they are on the ‘other side’. They still love people, they are not stupid and at one point in the novel, Lockley is in the office of the enemy leader. On his desk is a photograph of his daughters. And why not? He loves them, and they will cry when/if he dies. I try to make the baddies like real, rounded characters so they are believable, and possibly even some sympathy with them.

Why set a novel in south England. Simply because I know it. I cannot set a novel in New York as I have never been there. Almost all locations are real or based on those that i have been too. A committed fan could trace the routes that the characters take. I also wanted a book set in England as most Hollywood films are set in America, which is boring and repetive and also harder to associate with being English. I want the book to be recognisable.

As i write, i try to think what is similar in real life? The head quarters of the Bioborgs is a business. There will be posti-its about, and coffee machines. They call each other by their Christian names. Biobrogs are armed but they are not soldiers. The MD is in charge, not a general. Staff will complain about the state of the toilets and the cost of the canteen. In a word, it is fiction in a real England.

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