Ghosts In The Machine

By John Auckland

A novel about one woman's fear of dying and her relentless pursuit of eternal life

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Nearly at the finish line, and my inspiration behind writing the book

Last week Ghosts in the Machine passed the 70% mark, which means we’re on the final stretch towards getting funded! Thanks so much to everyone who has helped me get this far.

We’re moving into the final weeks of the campaign and a hard push is needed to get us across the line. You’ve already done so much by pledging or following my campaign, but there’s still more you can do.

For example, it would be great if you asked me some questions on the campaign page. I won’t respond with spoilers, but I will discuss some of the deeper themes and thoughts that went into the book.

Of course please also share the campaign with anyone you think might be interested. Your pledge won’t be realised unless I get another sixty or so people behind the campaign – if everyone did just one referral I’d shoot past my total in no time!

I also thought it would also be a good idea to share the reason behind why I wrote the book, because it’s likely that the story will relate to many of you and perhaps that will help provide inspiration.

I had the idea for the book when my Grandfather was quite ill. He was diagnosed with cancer and I was very close to him so struggled to come to terms with it. He was still so strong and clear of mind, and it didn't feel like it was his time. At the same time I coincidentally heard about an African American woman called Henrietta Lacks, who unknowingly donated cells from her cancerous tumour to John Hopkins Hospital back in the early 50s. Her cells formed part of the first immortal cell line - they will never die. But of course the catch is that they're cancerous. I realised cancer and immortality were closely linked, and knew instantly there was a story in this idea somewhere, and that I wanted to write it in my Grandfather's memory.

Angela, the lead character, discovers early on in the book that she has cancer and that her worst fears are coming true. It sounds quite morbid, but actually the book is designed to explore our relationship with death, and in some ways come to terms with it.

About halfway through the novel the story changes completely as we get to see Angela's legacy come to fruition. It is set in the future, but it's not designed to be an out-and-out science-fiction novel - there's just no escaping the fact some of the story needs to move forward it time, otherwise I couldn't explore the end game of the narrative I'd started.

The novel is as much about the concept of legacy as it is with death, which is designed to make people hopeful, but also to give them pause when thinking about the possibility of living longer - or eventually forever. I don't believe it would be the utopia many people think it could be.


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