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Interview Guy Riessen

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Today we have a special Friday the 13th interview with Guy Riessen about his book Piercing the Veil: A Lovecraftian Occult Thriller

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

Early on, while I was doing research on the primary plot line, I knew one of the characters would need to be electronically tracked…but it had to be in a way that the most brilliant team member wouldn’t immediately figure out how they were being tracked. The led me down the rabbit hole of cell phone towers and secret (at that time) methods to spoof phones into giving up data. From the research I found out it was possible to fool phones and their carriers, using a suitcase-sized piece of equipment. Much of that info is general(ish) knowledge since the info on the Stingray devices has been released. Since my book also has supernatural elements, I used the existing tech and ‘powered it up” with a supernatural ‘hand wave.’ But effectively the technology behind the tracking is real…just maybe smaller than reality–although who knows how the real tech compares at the military level.

Stingray (2014)

Why did you choose this setting?

I chose the setting, which is current time/tech because one of the primary concepts behind the novel is that many of the stories, movies, games and books are actually misdirection…elements of the stories are real, but they’re presented as fiction in order to maintain psychological calm among the populace. Basically keep them from knowing the dire reality of their true situation and the constant impending doom of the Elder Gods of Lovecraft coming back to reclaim the planet through active campaigns in propaganda, misinformation, and well, fake news.

What’s unique about your world?

The Great Old Ones of HP Lovecraft are real and there is a well-funded and very ancient society whose job it is to protect us fragile humans. That’s not completely unique, but what is, is that everything we think is fiction, is actual reality that’s been covered up through  misinformation campaigns. A section of the DCV, the group that protects us, called the Sweeps, operate within the police departments and military to intervene while an event is occuring. Other Sweeps are involved after the fact, in the campaign to release real and false information along with creating popular media similar enough to dissuade the public from looking deeper.

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

Most of the science in my book is actually heavily researched and it all has a serious grounding in current science. Sometimes I  boosted the tech to a “near future” level either by making it cutting edge research from Miskatonic University or tainted by magic. There are lots of current culture draw–from Massively Multiplayer Online games, to CAT scans, to portable ground-penetrating-sonar adapted to materials-sensing. And there’s a 1980 Casio Calculator watch which has been tinkered into a modern equivalent to an Apple Watch…only much more cool, man!

What was the most mundane item that you used that really has cool tech behind it?

Whoops, I just answered that–the ultimate 1980 nerd device, a watch with a calculator in it. Only now it has cool sensor tech, wifi internet connectivity, high refresh rate laser projection and high contrast motion-sensing so you can say, project a line map on the wall and use a laser pointer like a mouse to interact with it.

What technology or science do you think will most affect the world of tomorrow?

I think it’s going to nano-scale stuff…not strictly nanotech, but the miniaturization of computers. IBM just unveiled a computer 2mm across–not a CPU, the full computer. To put it in computing perspective, it’s capable of playing the original Doom video game. Now look at this:

That’s an array of 64 full function computer motherboards. Thing about small computers is not just that they’re small, but also that they can operate at insanely low power consumption.  It’s the kind of thing that could be powered by energy produced by body heat, or walking motion. Crazy stuff.