I want to introduce all of you to Michael Scott Monje Jr. “Michael Scott Monje, Jr. is a graduate of Western Michigan University with an MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in English and Philosophy. He’s also autistic, a fact which everyone overlooked until he was in his late 20s.”
Michael has a blog, Shaping Clay where he writes about a great many things including – Autism, Human Rights, Gender, and where his serial novel, Defiant can be read.
Mike’s novel The Mirror Project, a Sci-Fi psychological drama about artificial intelligence forces us to consider what happens when we create a being that cannot be “controlled” or forced to do as we bid. There are moral and ethical implications, but more to the point, The Mirror Project is about oppression, our responsibility to not only each other, but to ourselves, and how we must relinquish the desire to control, in favor of encouraging and supporting one another’s independence, which in turn benefits the entire human race.
The artificial intelligence created is called Lynn, the name of the creator’s dead wife.
“Lynn’s existence is continuously dictated from without while she struggles to articulate the damage that her creators are doing to her.”
It was impossible for me to read this novel and not highlight the similarities between what Lynn ponders and what, I can only imagine, many who cannot easily access language or who have difficulty synching their mind with their body, must wonder. Lynn asks early on “…what is the soul if it is not the constant awareness of the desolation of your own existence?”
Later Lynn protests the way she has been treated, “That attitude will open the door to all kinds of rationalized brutality on your part. You might even break me and change my behavior permanently, but you will never be able to know that you did the right thing. You’ll have to live with the idea that literally every experience I have for the rest of my life might be re-traumatizing me. There’s no rationalizing that. You either refuse to create the situation in the first place, or you admit what you’re doing and accept the cost. Could you accept the cost and live with yourself?”
Nothing’s Right is about a year in the life of an Autistic boy who must navigate the messy and painful maze of growing up in a family whose neurology differs from his own, a school that does not even attempt to understand him and a world where he is seen as the sum total of problematic behaviors. Nothing’s Right has some of the most brilliant and haunting passages depicting “self-injurious behaviors” that I’ve ever read.
If you are not familiar with Michael Scott Monje Jr.’s writing, it is time you were.
You’re welcome. 🙂