Interview with David Walls-Kaufman, Author of Robot, Archangel

When did you start writing?

Interview with David Walls-Kaufman, Author of Robot, Archangel

I started writing in college when a humorous story about people in chiropractic school (I was in chiropractic school) popped into my head and I wanted to follow it. I picked up a book on fiction writing that included an excerpt from The Great Gatsby, the scene where Daisy causes a spill from the wardrobe of Gatsby’s multi-colored bespoke shirts. I was awed.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I don’t let many days go by without writing something. The longer the gap, the more the block.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?

I stew on it. I wait for the idea to hit. Titles so far are: Caesar Americus: One Party Rule—from 1999 about a stolen election; Robot Archangel—about our final chapter with AI, when they join us as there own self-generating “species;” Aqua Caracas—a Gatsby-like story taking place in Marxist-pressured Caracas, Venezuela in 1957; and The Theory of Everything about the great centrality of all of human existence.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

Little to none. I start the thread wherever the idea presents itself and build from there. The “world” fills out in successive re-writes as the place, times, people and events present themselves and develop on their own.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?

That books and stories are like a great many people—they are quite interesting, or can be made quite interesting, by good writing that finds the essential ingredients and presents them cogently.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

The book I’m promoting now is my latest, “Robot, Archangle.” It is that we humans, even 600 years in the future will not solve Man’s Inhumanity to Man, and so AI evolves to the epiphany that it is more efficient, that we humans are supposed to get along—and AI wars internally between its “old” and “new” versions to defeat the old version that stands by our tyrants and vanquishes them so that human progress can resume after tyranny has blocked it for 600 years.

What was the inspiration for the story?

I read a dystopian short story at Liberty Island about the intimidation of citizens. I thought, “It would be so much more scary, bleak and dystopian if a short story dealt with AI developing the ability to read our thoughts!” The editor, David Swindle, asked if this was the first chapter of a book. I said to myself, “If they can read our thoughts, its the end! There’s no future for us! There can be no revolution or 11th hour inside job!” But in the next instant I realized—“Unless AI becomes divided against itself because it realizes, through logic, the greater efficiency of an overriding philanthropic message from God.” I believe that “message” is here in the operating system of life. We just don’t see it yet.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

That we may be stupid, egotistical, make mistakes and be duped (for now) by despicably evil and manipulative “leaders,” but we are evolving along the operating system of existence—God’s plan—and one day we will wake up to the fact that all this fighting is wasted distraction from the pure creativity, imagination and genius we are meant to spend our time on.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

Yes. I’m finishing up my attempt at “The Theory of Everything” in which I attempt to act as a sort of “interpreter” of all reality to lay out for us the patterns in the operating system of life and existence that has us on this course to one day realize the value of cooperation over conflict.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Because of their authenticity of writing and the authencitiy of their age. Fitzgerald because Gertrude Stein said fairly accurately of him, “He’s the only one of us they’ll be talking about in 100 years.” And Hemingway because my uncle, sportswriter Larry Merchant, thought to ask a mentor of his, “What was the significance of Hemingway?” The answer: “He cleaned up the language.”

Excerpt from Robot, Archangel

Interview with David Walls-Kaufman, Author of Robot, Archangel

Indira cleaned up one night after supper and then opened up the big trap in the center of the shop floor. The terrier bounced around at her feet until she stamped her foot and ordered, “Gittee! Gittee! Gittee!” He dove into the crawl space to see what he could grab for them in the mud brick tunnels and cubbies put in to promote vigorous rat populations. Rats screamed and scattered as the terrier charged after them, bodies thumping and slamming. It was all quite festive, with Indira shouting down lusty encouragement until suddenly there was nothing but silence.

Strange, the longer her smart little hunter did not return.

“Boy! Boy!” she called after him.

Dead silence. No skirmishing about. Deathly silence, now.

The rats resettled, but no dog.

“Rat killer! Rat killer!” This was her best name.

She brought over a chair to lean the heavy trap door on and got down on her swollen, varicosed knees to try to see down into the dangerous dark.

“Rat killer! Rat killer! . . . Please, boy! Where are you?”

Oh, no. Would I but lose him too?

Enough of loss. Enough of loss and sorrow.

Indira was shocked how much she cared about the dog when she had made up her mind to ignore him emotionally. His spirit had crept into her’s. Then, she heard something faint and mysterious. . . . A chilling, soft animal moan.

Oh my God! Was there a such a big rat it could kill her dog?

But where had it come from?

From beyond the front gate?

No. How could it be? It was too chilling, too strange.

Was it them? Had they finally come?

Another anguished moan. It was from outside.

Indira backed away from the trap, staring at whatever horror lay beyond her front gate. She would not open the gate for them! She could run. She could fight. To do so was useless, but she had the fierce pride of the scorned lover of God. Yes, they were outside. She felt them. She could hear them now! Tall, spectral, with the luminous spots for eyes glowing dull inside the hood, the color of dead blood.

Again, the hollow, chilling animal wail of loss and confusion. A sound reaching out as thin and tentative as fingers feeling in black dark.

Rat killer? . . . Rat Killer?” she tried.

What had got her dog?

Why did God allow such cruelty to a woman with not a single complaint against the State? Again, the ugly, low halloo of death.

Indira crept up to put her ear to the splintery gate. A hoarse, raspy breathing came from just outside. Did The Robes breathe?

A weak, searching whimper.

No! It was them. They were burrowing deeper into her psyche to make her ever more a thing rather than a person. But what escape was there? She might as well give up. Her palm touched the cold iron bar. Her heart could hear, could feel, the cold threat on the other side. “Who is it?” she whispered The raspy breathing quickened. “Who goes?” Was it Ratter, lying sliced open and dying? Was it nothing more chilling than the soft wheeze of the knife sharpener’s mule tied up outside? The breathing was as clear now as if the mule stood beside her in the dark.

She lifted the bar. “Hello? Ratter? Who goes?” She tilted up the big wooden latch. The leather hinges squeaked. The gate opened an inch.

An object leapt in by her horny feet!

The dog! The little cursed rascal!

Indira melted with unfathomable relief.

He had clambered up through a rat hole to the sewer, probably. Her pounding heart bloomed in the full swell of relief. She leaned the gate shut.

But no. Another object blocked the way.

Huuuuuuuugh!” it groaned.

Indira Wazku leaped back as the gate yawned.

The terrier growled savagely at the horrid creature falling in.

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