Eric Klein Author

Interview with Claire Buss

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This week I am interviewing Claire Buss about her novel The Gaia Effect




What was the most surprising thing you found out while researching/writing your latest book?

I actually learnt about the Gaia Hypothesis while working at The Linnean Society, the oldest natural history society in the world founded by Carl Linneaus. The hypothesis was developed by scientists James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis and it states that the Earth and it’s organisms will eventually form a self-regulating, complex system with the inorganic surroundings therefore always reverting to a balance point. I found this idea really interesting, and full of hope for our future. It was that concept that got me thinking about how the Earth’s spirit might manifest itself and what small changes could it make to encourage that symbiotic relationship between man and nature.

Why did you choose this setting?

I decided to write about two hundred years into the future because I didn’t want to go so far ahead that I couldn’t bridge the technology and mindsets of today with what could be available in two hundred years time. Especially as my book is set after the next mass extinction event which is highly likely to be man-made in real life. I kept my story on Earth but it’s a ravaged planet after being damaged so badly by High-Energy Radiation weapons, not nuclear but the weapon of choice in the last mass conflict in my books timeline. I did some research into the half-life of gamma radiation so that I could time recovery rates and make it possible for my characters to interact with the world outside their protected city walls.

What’s unique about your world?

In my future world I’ve tried to think about the natural progression of technology for instance, social media feeds are an integral part of everyone’s life, catching the ‘sweeps’ and updating regularly are normal practice. There are technological solutions for every need especially the growth of babies and early years childcare. The concept of natural parenting is almost alien and one of the themes within the book. Health has also taken rapid steps forward with the ability to cure all diseases but not to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Genes can be manipulated once symptoms arise to cure the disease but in order to keep the human genome as diverse as possible each child that is created is done so to preserve certain genomic traits.

How real do you think the science is in your book?

I tried to base all my assumptions on scientific foundations that exist today so the science definitely has a realistic feel to it. I kept much of the human nature qualities as I believe that as we move forward into the future, our emotions won’t evolve enough to keep up with the pace of technology so that side of man will always be recognizable. Instead of the Apple Watch of today, I’ve got sub-dermal info watches which I think is a very realistic probability. The gamma radiation from the last conflict wiped out nature and for instance all the trees and yet in my book, the science division botany branch has managed to retro-sequence the DNA for one of the earliest ever plants, the fern, bringing hope that man and nature can replace what has been lost. To a certain extent at least. Don’t worry though I haven’t gone Jurassic Park!

What did you include that you wish was real today?

The one thing that I really, really wish was real and was something that I included in a fit of whimsey was the WDBW strip (What Does Baby Want). As a new mum one of the scariest things I found was trying to figure out what it actually was that my baby wanted. Did he want to be held, fed, changed, sleep, play? It can be incredibly stressful trying to figure that out as a new parent and when writing my main characters story line and them collecting their baby I put one of these into their new baby pack. Just don’t ask me to explain the technology behind it, it’s more wishful thinking than anything else.

Anything else our readers might need to know?

Talking about The Gaia Effect from a scientific point of view makes it sound like it might not be accessible to everyone if they don’t have a science background or a good grasp of genetics but really it’s a story about friendship and how those friends cope with massive changes in their lives.

In July 2017 I released Tales from Suburbia, a humorous collection of short stories, plays and blog posts commenting on life in the suburbs and my new book, The Rose Thief was released in November.