If you’ve come this far, then a fragile bond is forming-up between us, author and reader. It’s my job to nurture this bond, to reinforce and intertwine it into something stronger, something that might survive an occasional bounce or hiccup on the road I’m hoping you’ll travel with me. It’s your job to stop reading the moment you feel like it.
"Afterimage" is a work of fiction. With every syllable you read, I will be asking you to pretend these people and events are real. Why would you do that?
Because I believe the best way to communicate concepts is by dramatization. I am attempting to tell a story in order to illustrate an idea. I have worked hard to write a believable story so it is a little easier for you to pretend it’s real.
One way authors reinforce the bond with their readers is with suspenseful action. This usually involves violence, car chases, ninjas, government or corporate conspiracies, spies, vampires, grisly battles, swords, terrorists, zombies, robots, giant lizards and sex. I will try to avoid these things.
Another way authors reinforce the bond with their readers is with compelling human interest. This usually involves the strengths and frailties of the human spirit, character study, art, insanity, romance, beauty, cruelty, tenderness and maybe a little sex. I like some of these things and I think some of them may seep into my narrative, but these are not the focus of "Afterimage."
A third way is to unravel one of the few remaining Mysteries of the Universe. This, I will very much try to do.
"Afterimage" is a work specifically of science fiction. In order to help you pretend this story is real, I have tried to build it on a foundation of good science. I will not endanger our fragile bond by expecting you to believe that ghosts just happen. You might be willing to suspend your disbelief in ghosts, but it is not in my nature to presume so.
Take zombies for example. We all know how the science works: some sinister microorganism invades a dead mammal and reanimates it into a near-mindless, flesh-eating...well, zombie. Simple.
But ghosts. Are we to believe that anyone who dies with unfinished business here on earth, thus lingers about, invisible, to take care of it? Where’s the science in that?
There can be no simple answer to how the science of life and death works because it is inextricably interwoven into that simplest of questions: What is Life?
Is "Afterimage" the answer? I hope our bond survives long enough for you to find out.