I've excerpted the following essay from my website page devoted to 'Oddities & Entities'. Check it out at www.rolandallnach.com
For the full book tour, visit my earlier post, or my page at TLC Book Tours.
"My Other Me"
As the third tale of 'Oddities & Entities', "My Other Me" is meant to take a bit more of a philosophical look at things, and, as such, is perhaps one of the more difficult stories to describe. Whereas "Boneview" and "Shift/Change" work around ordinary people caught up with things beyond their understanding, "My Other Me" follows the main character, Noel, straight into the storm.
The basic vision for "My Other Me" came to me one night while walking across a parking lot. As I went between the light poles I noticed how my shadow, split into four images around me, shifted, stretched, and spun. It seemed an odd thing, and I started to wonder what it would be like if one of those shadows had an awareness of its own, and how it might perceive reality. From there the idea refined to the somewhat more traditional concept of peering through a looking glass, or looking over a fence. Given the train of thought I opened with "Boneview", I decided to take that precept into a darker, perhaps more twisted interpretation. What came next seemed a natural evolution of ideas. I recalled a few experiences from my college days, when I had the opportunity to visit ICON, a large sci-fi convention that still makes annual appearances at my alma mater. The convention drew an interesting crowd, and I remember seeing some interesting artwork, which was quite a contrast to the realms of math and science that formed the core of my classes. That contrast seemed a fitting background for the elements that would erupt in "My Other Me". With all the groundwork in place, the story came into being.
The finished product that is "My Other Me" presented a bit of a problem, at least in terms of how to explain or market the story. I purposely wrote the story to be a bit of a head-scratcher but, when I made a few attempts to have it published, I found myself at a loss for words as to how to sum it up in a few sentences. I love stories that are somewhat open in the tradition of the great anime stories such as Akira but, as I said, they can be difficult to describe. Yet, when I thought of where I was going after writing both "Boneview" and "My Other Me", I was even more convinced that these stories worked better as parts of a greater whole than independent pieces.
That said, I think the surface plot of "My Other Me" serves up a nice disturbing dose of fiction, and while not perhaps something that can summon a shriek, I think it serves more in the realm of summoning a chill the next time one walks alone. After all, when it comes to horror, I for one find the insidious chill of a story more lasting than a shock-scare. Shock-scares are like the candle that burns brightest, having an immediate but short lived effect. Insidious creeps, the psychological disturbance that finds its way into one's thoughts, is more lasting, and in the end I think leaves the story with a deeper resonance.
But, if nothing else, "My Other Me" left me hungry to write more along this growing theme of people colliding with unseen orders of nature. And as is typical with my writing, after going in one direction I like to rebound and write my next piece in a different direction. So as much as "My Other Me" was written to embrace psychological horror, I wanted to go in the opposite direction, and try my hand at a bit of comic-horror.
And so came the fourth tale of 'Oddities & Entities', a story by the name of "Gray." Stay tuned for the next post for the background on this trip into the surreal.