We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Andrew G. Berger – the author of ‘the Superflare.’ He works and lives in Germany.
HE speaks to NEWS WORLD INC about his dystopian science fiction, ‘The Superflare’, writing aspirations, upcoming books, life memories and much more. Stay on…while we chat with him.
NWI: What inspired you to write this book?
The initial idea was to consider what would actually happen if all digital devices stopped working overnight. We are becoming more and more dependent on countless digital helpers – smart phones, navigation devices, laptops, iPads, tablets, smart TVs, smartwatches, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, smart homes, Google, the Internet etc.. But what if all those helpers suddenly stopped working? A worldwide EMP, triggered by a gigantic solar storm, could do the trick. Based on this idea, I started to design possible scenarios that branched out and condensed more and more during the writing process.
NWI: Are you going to write more books in future with a post-apocalyptic backdrop? Are you fascinated by dystopian stories?
“The Superflare” is my first novel. It is a science fiction story and thus belongs to a genre that has fascinated me since I was young. At the same time, it is an adventure story and explores how people might behave in extreme situations. This is my main interest as a writer – to explore and describe the possibilities of human behavior in extreme situations. How do people react to pressures and crises? How do they change and shape themselves? Dystopias are here only one of several possible settings to tell such stories. Will I write more books with a post-apocalyptic backdrop? Future will tell.
NWI: How do you manage your professional life and literature aspirations?
Fortunately, my professional situation allows me to divide my time very freely and create space for writing, which for me is work and pleasure at the same time.
NWI: Are you concerned about the future of AI and humans?
Shouldn’t we? Humanity faces many problems anyway, be it climate change, hunger, pandemics and poverty, the confrontation of power blocs, the war in Ukraine and armed conflicts in many other places around the world. But the triumph of AI presents us with a completely new challenge. Until now, there was no question that we are the crown of creation, that we control things. But are we still in control? Do we really still know and control what happens in the thousands and thousands of computers that are networked together? Do we really know what they do with the trillions of data they collect about us and the world every day? Haven’t we already given algorithms the power to decide in many areas without humans still being involved? What Google does show us, whether we can open an account or get a loan, is in many cases already predetermined by algorithms – machines, programs, software. Research is already being carried out on autonomous cars and autonomous weapons in which artificial intelligences are allowed to decide whether a person may live or must die. Some people are already seriously discussing whether artificial intelligences are not the logical next step on the evolutionary ladder, or to put it in negative terms: whether humans are not about to make themselves superfluous and abolish themselves.
I asked the AI Chat GPT this question: Is it conceivable for you that artificial intelligences could one day escape the control and guidelines of humans and act autonomously?
Chat GPT’s answer: Yes, it is conceivable that artificial intelligences could one day act independently of the control and specifications of humans. This is one of the major ethical and security issues posed by artificial intelligence and its development. It is important that we start thinking today about how we can ensure that artificial intelligences are used safely and responsibly to avoid negative impacts on society and individuals.
NWI: Would you prefer living in clean cities or live like free settlers if the world is taken over by someone like Tron?
This is a difficult question to answer here. Because in order for the readers of this interview to understand this question and my answer, they would have to have read The Superflare and know the worlds in which the characters of this novel live. The clean cities with their total isolation and dependence on digital devices are one extreme, the absolute technophobia of the settlers the other. In my novel, there is one character who tries to combine the best of both worlds: Richard, the Foreigner from the Mountain. I think readers of the novel should make up their own minds about which of these worlds they would prefer.
NWI: Is your book inspired by any Hollywood movie or web series? Do you think it should be taken by OTT platforms for a series?
I am an avid reader and cinephile. It is impossible today to escape all the literary and cinematic models and ideas that shape you – whether you like it or not. They form a basic cultural current from which we all draw. So there is no single book or film that has inspired me. They all shaped me and the way I tell stories, the way I create my characters and develop the plot. One reviewer wrote that a movie played in her mind’s eye when she read The Superflare. So – we’ll see.
NWI: How was your experience writing a book and publishing it on Kindle?
It was a good experience, everything was explained well, there was great support, including with regard to formatting the book. Meeting the requirements with the different formats for text and cover was not always easy, but in the end of the day not a big problem.
NWI: What are some of your favorite German novels and authors?
Difficult question, because there are so many great German novels and writers. At the moment Erich Maria Remarque’s powerful novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” is on everyone’s mind, since it was screened on Netflix and has won 4 Oscars. A must read, just like Günter Grass’ “The Tin Drum”, Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”, Patrick Süskind’s “Perfume” or “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. But I also like YA-novels like “Tschick”, written by Wolfgang Herrndorf, or the fantastic novels by E.T.A. Hoffmann.
NWI: Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
I tend to keep private things private and separate from my work as an author and from my other lines of work. Considering the fact that many books are now sold on Amazon that were in fact produced by the AI Chat GPT, I can confirm that “The Superflare” was written by a human being.
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