Garison Readers

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I still don”t know who”s reading about Garison Fitch.  I can check my account at Amazon and see that—this month—I have sold several copies of my books about Garison (and even a couple copies of the books about his grandson ["All the Time in Our World"]) but other than the one friend on Facebook who told me she bought a copy, I have no idea who these people are.

Yes, I realize that”s SOP for most authors.  John Grisham probably gets a lot of fan mail, but I doubt that he gets a letter from every one of the millions of readers each of his books have.

Still, I”d like to know.  Part of it is curiosity.  I”d like to know where they heard about my book and whether they would recommend it to a friend and if they prefer Kindle or actual paper.  I”d like to ask those questions.

There”s another aspect to it all, though.  I wrote and re-wrote “First Time: The Legend of Garison Fitch” for over a decade.  And then, there was the publishing mishap, followed by another majore re-write and the adventure in self-publishing.  That was followed (many years later) by my foray into publishing with Kindle (which has worked out better than I ever imagined!).

Over that time, and through it all, Garison has become something more than an imaginary character to me.  My brain knows he”s a fictional person, but I”ve also gotten to know him so well that when writing “Lost Time” or other, unpublished, works wherein Garison appears I have occasionally run into walls.  Not that I don’t know how to write for Garison, but that I know too well!  I write a bit of dialogue, then think, “Garison wouldn’t say that.”  Or, “Garison wouldn’t say it that way.”  Or, I’ll put Garison into a situation that I know he wouldn’t get into.

Same with Heather.  I know these characters so well that writing about them is less like writing fiction and more like writing biography.  I think part of why I want to hear from people who have read my books is I want to know if they Garison and Heather (and Sarah, Edward, Marianne, Bat, Jody and Joe and Ellen) seem as real to them.’, ‘Garison”s Readers’, ‘Over that time, and through it all, Garison has become something more than an imaginary character to me.  My brain knows he”s a fictional person, but I”ve also gotten to know him so well that when writing “Lost Time” or other, unpublished, works wherein Garison appears I have occasionally run into walls.  Not that I don’t know how to write for Garison, but that I know too well!  I write a bit of dialogue, then think, “Garison wouldn’t say that.”  Or, “Garison wouldn’t say it that way.”  Or, I’ll put Garison into a situation that I know he wouldn’t get into.

Multiple Realities

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Most modern time travel fiction that I’ve read or seen is based on the idea of multiple realities. From a fictional standpoint, this resolves the old time travel connundrum of “Could I go back in time and kill my grandfather because wouldn’t that cause me to cease to exist?” If we say there are multiple realities, then the person who travels has not so much traveled in time as to another reality, one in which they are free to kill their grandfather, shoot their dog or whatever, but the outcome in that reality won’t in any way effect the outcome in their “starting” reality.

The “logical” conclusion of this idea is that there are an infinite number of realities out there, each spawned every time a decision is made. This morning, when you had to choose between strawberry jam or grape jelly for your toast, you spawned several realities. There’s the reality where you chose grape, the one where you chose strawberry, the one where you decided not to have jelly at all, the one where the toaster caught fire and burned down the house, leaving just a charred reminder of your sorry existance underneath the rubble of the kitchen table, etc.

People who support this theory of multiple realities will often say there is theoretical math that proves the possibility of multiple realities. The possibility. You see, it’s not really provable (as normal people define “provable”).

Therefore, the universe of Garison Fitch (which includes “All the Time in Our World” as well as anything else I’ve written) assumes that the possibility is not a possibility and works from the assumption that there’s only one reality and one timeline and Garison somehow altered it. This makes some people mad. They have so fully bought into the concept of multiple realities that they cannot conceive of a story based in and on a single reality.

What strikes me as funny about this is: “Dude! It’s fiction!” The nature of fiction is to tell a story that isn’t in such a way that the reader thinks it could be, or–at the very least–understands the premise. So if I, as the author, want to tell a story predicated on a single timeline (or on the concept that the sky is plaid or that politicians are innately altruistic) then a] that’s my right and 2] it behooves me to stay true to my premise within the story (unless it’s part of the story that the character is finding his assumptions challenged or changed).’, ‘Multiple Realities’, ‘What strikes me as funny about this is: “Dude! It’s fiction!” The nature of fiction is to tell a story that isn’t in such a way that the reader thinks it could be, or–at the very least–understands the premise

Why Time?

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Jerry Seinfeld said that when you walk into a bookstore you have the fiction section and the non-fiction section.  In other words, one group is telling the truth and one group is lying.

So, why lie about time travel?

I have always been fascinated with time travel.  Who doesn’t have something in their life they would like to go back and change?  I have made stupid mistakes I wish I could go undo.  I have also done things that I really enjoyed and wish I could enjoy them again.  Let alone “big” things like go back to Dallas in 1963 and prevent a presidential assassination—or just back to 1980 and somehow have the Astros win that one-game play-off they should have won anyway.

What if, though, I were to travel back in time and make things worse?  This is the dilemma of Garison Fitch.  He has traveled back in time and, when he returns to the future, the world has changed.  Should he go back and try to change things back to normal?

Of course, in Garison’s world, the strange new world is the one you and I are used to.  Garison grew up in the Soviet Americas, where the Republic of Texas existed just across the southern border and Japan ruled the western half of the continent.  His decision is whether to live in this whacked-out world of the United States, or see if he can undo what he’s done.

Why write about this?  Because I find it fascinating.  What if I went back to 1986 and treated the girl I was dating then better?  I’d like to not be known (at least to her) as a jerk, but what if in so doing I somehow messed up meeting my wife in ’88?  I think I’d hate that.  What if I could somehow prevent my wife from having a miscarriage in the summer of ’96?  Well, then I wouldn’t have my youngest son.  I know I’d hate that, even though I’m sure I’d love the other child.

And, of course, I wouldn’t know about any of these changes if the change were made.

It’s probably just as well that I can’t change the past.  But it’s still fun to think about.’, ‘Why Time?’, ‘What if, though, I were to travel back in time and make things worse?  This is the dilemma of Garison Fitch.  He has traveled back in time and, when he returns to the future, the world has changed.  Should he go back and try to change things back to normal?