I have never read a fantasy as unusual as “The Creature of the Wildcard.” It is a cross between a metaphysical philosophical book and a fantasy novel.
Reviewed by for Reader Views (8/06)
Reader Views is happy to be talking with Jon Fischer, author of the new fantasy novel “The Creature of the Wildcard.” Jon is being interviewed by Juanita Watson, Assistant Editor of Reader Views.
Juanita: Thanks for talking with us today Jon. Would you please tell us the storyline of your new book “The Creature of the Wildcard”?
Jon: Hi Juanita, first, I want to thank you for conducting this interview with me. I am always a bit anxious about these things so I hope you will forgive me if my answers seem choppy. The Creature of the Wildcard is based entirely on an alter ego that I created. Alaric Fischer is the main character who is a gifted artist that excels in his field. The story line is rather complex, but generally, Alaric is in search of total control over the nature of reality. It is his desire to evolve beyond being merely human. His true st hope is to attain a supernatural power over the course of mankind. To foresee and fabricate a higher level of consciousness too abstract to comprehend in his sense of mortality. Alaric’s greatest fantasy is to realize the being of light. Or perhaps to change our way of thinking about this entity in terms of being Christ, but rather the great deceiver of the human race. I should mention that this book is not a school of thought. This book is intended to provoke thought and question the nature of what we hold to be true .
Juanita: What inspired you to write “The Creature of the Wildcard”?
Jon: hmmm…..I have many sources of inspiration in my life. I admit to experimenting with psychedelics. This always altered my perception of reality as concrete. The book deals with the illusion of reality, and as Einstein once claimed it is an illusion, albeit a convincing one. Much of my inspiration is also derived from dreams and visions. I always sensed the supernatural in my life. As well, I am in a committed relationship with a wonderful woman. Veronica has brought forth a great deal of ability in me that I did not know I had. And she has been kind enough to bear with me through the creative process.
Juanita: Jon, it sounds like writing your book was a cathartic experience. Why do you feel it so necessary for people and readers of your book to question reality and think about what we hold true ?
Jon: That is a good question. When I took up philosophy in college I had many preconceived notions about the world around me. My professor tutored me on a one on one basis and we went over the history of philosophy up until Emmanuel Kant. I came away with a feeling that I didn’t know anything. Life was extraordinarily bizarre. It seemed necessary for me to work out my own thoughts about what is and is not real. Along with spiritual experiences and drug induced states I held my inner world to hold more value than what seemed to be in front of my face. My professor taught me to question everything about the material world. As if we are simply an assortment of concepts and nothing is concrete. I truly wish I remembered his name. He was such an admirable man that gave me so many treasures in life. To answer your question bluntly, I have always been geared to seek. I don’t seem to understand why I am the only one that mines for gold.
Juanita: This seems to be a book that is hard to categorize. Is it a fantasy? Science fiction? Alternative philosophy?
Jon: My writing has never fit into a popular category, which of course makes it difficult to reach an audience. I imagine the three words that come to mind when I think of this book are visionary, metaphysical, and supernatural. I wouldn’t categorize this as mere fantasy or science fiction. The concept of the book is too complex, which also makes it hard to reach an audience in the mainstream.
Juanita: Jon, would you tell us about your main characters?
Jon: As I mentioned, Alaric is an alter ego that I created. The book is driven around him. He is like me in many ways or in ways that I can only imagine in a book. I don’t quite have the same abilities that I can imagine myself having. Alaric is power hungry. Actually, he is in search of complete control over the cosmos. This is somewhat of a fantasy of mine having so little power over the course of events or the powers that dictate my real life. Alaric can control reality. I can’t, which makes writing about this character so much fun. The other characters are guides. I didn’t create a giant array of people in this book. Just a few special people to help Alaric find the path to immortality.
Juanita: What is the Neuro Art Institute and what is Alaric’s interest in this mysterious place?
Jon: The Neuro Art Institute is a new age facility that uses technology to help its members achieve higher levels of consciousness. It specializes in biofeedback and different techniques to manipulate the brain to change itself. I always had an interest in lucid dream inducers and light and sound machines. This sparked my idea to have Alaric experiment with something a bit more innovative and more advanced, which is why I came up with the idea to capture images from dreams and use my own art as these images.
Juanita: I’m not understanding completely – capture images from dreams and use your own art as these images….from your own personal dreams or Alaric’s. Can you explain this a little further?
Jon: Sorry Juanita, I guess that was somewhat confusing. As I mentioned, Alaric is an alter ego. What he dreams is what I might dream. We don’t quite have the technology to send a camera into someone’s dreams. Not yet. This is an idea I came up with for the book. The Eclipse is the device that captures a retina scan of Alaric while he is dreaming. I incorporated my own surrealist artwork into the book to give an example of what Alaric was dreaming. Basically, my art is meant to resemble Alaric’s dreams. Throughout the story Alaric experiments with The Eclipse as the members of the Neuro Art Institute help him resolve these images. What I actually do is analyze my own artwork and claim that this art is what Alaric has dreamt.
Juanita: Why does lead character Alaric Fischer have such an obsession with alternative existence?
Jon: This is an excellent question. Sometimes we feel we have lived too long. Day in and day out life seems to recycle the same newspaper and feed us the same old stories. We go around in circles and the only thing that changes is the hand on the clock. I was interested in creating a character that caught the horizon. Someone that erased the line between genius and insanity. I wanted to incorporate something new, or contribute something alien of our time. What I truly wanted to create was something as abstract as the psychedelic experience.
Juanita: What statements towards reality are your making with your book “The Creature of the Wildcard”?
Jon: What I hope people will gain from this book and my notion of reality is that this it is never what it appears to be. And as the surrealist movement tried to establish, reality will become more and more like a dream.
Juanita: What do you think is the biggest illusion we live our lives believing in?
Jon: This is such an excellent question. I am glad that you asked. I believe the greatest illusion we live our lives believing in is we are not here right now, but thinking of something else. We do not live our lives aware the way an animal might. To me, this is true reality.
Juanita: Jon, your book “The Creature of the Wildcard” has many deeper meanings that are just waiting for the reader to uncover. What are some of these aspects that you hope readers will contemplate?
Jon: hmmm…..I hope that people will consider the religious elements of the book. If we look at technology it is already in process that machines may take over as the next dominant species on earth. It is not science fiction. It is happening. We are creating something that will be equipped with better survival skills than humans. We are creating something that will surpass us. Yet our mindsets are still the same. Religion does not further mankind. I believe it keeps us in an arrested development. We are not changing our own conscious evolution to keep up with the changes we are making.
Juanita: Now if this question will reveal too much for readers, then let’s not go there…but I’m wondering if you can tell us who or what is the Creature of the Wildcard?
Jon: The Creature of the Wildcard is the mark of the beast, as I imagined religious people might interpret this.
Juanita: Can you explain a little more about your ideas about religion and Alaric’s vision of religion and spirituality in “The Creature of the Wildcard”?
Jon: Alaric deals with a Christ complex. He discovers that he is a futant messiah. Timothy Leary coined these individuals as a genetic type whose future circuits have begun to be activated. According to Leary they are naturally selected to facilitate survival by being better adapted to explore the future. They are able to take risks through their genetic characteristics. Basically, their higher brain functions have been turned on. Futants deal with the future by foreseeing and fabricating it in the present. They are concerned with conscious evolution. A character such as Alaric becomes a Christ figure, but he opposes conventional thought about religion and he opposes the second coming of Christ in order to reach a higher level of consciousness.
Juanita: Jon, what has been your experience with alternative reality, and existence beyond death that has intrigued you enough to write a book about it?
Jon: At one point in my life I did 300mg of ketamine, which induces a near death experience. The entire trip of the book is to reach alternity, which is a state achieved on ketamine, as coined by John C Lilly. The experience can be described as this: The eternal death. Neither dying nor becoming manifest.
Juanita: So Alaric’s purpose in your book is to reach Alternity, which is a real-life state of being that is based on experiences taking ketamine? How is Alternity referred to in your book?
Jon: Yes, Alternity is a real life state of being produced by a drug. To be trapped in eternity. I explained Alternity as a paradox of being. To be in a state of not being. I used artwork to illustrate the state of Alternity as well. Readers may have a better understanding when they see the image. It is an endless conundrum that exists parallel to existence.
Juanita: What do you ultimately hope your readers understand from reading “The Creature of the Wildcard”?
Jon: I would like to hope that people do not put their faith in this book. As I said, it is not a school of thought. What I do hope is that it gives people something to think about. Some cultures invest more in their dreams than they do in their waking life. We live in a society that looks outwards for the truth. I imagine what I want people to gain from this is the world within. That there are tremendous treasures within the soul we seldom discover, as we are somewhat of a fast food society concerned with image.
Juanita: Jon, is this your first book and do you have any plans for future books?
Jon: This is actually not my first attempt at writing a book. I had some failures in the past, or books that simply did not take off. I wrote a book called An Alien to Existence, but the language was too abstruse. Many of the metaphors I used bordered on insanity. Writing a book and putting it out there is always a learning process. They say that the more you write the better you get. I don’t think I will be writing another book after this. The process is so draining. I might take up web design and settle into something with more security.
Juanita: Well, it certainly takes much passion and energy to write a novel, and put it out there. Congratulations on “The Creature of the Wildcard,” and if it is your last book, what a creative achievement indeed. How can readers find out about you and your book, and, do you have any last thoughts for your readers today?
Jon: Thank you Juanita. I am proud of this book. This can be purchased at Amazon.com or directly from my publisher for a discounted price by following this link and searching for the title or author name: http://www.publishamerica.com/index.asp You may also find more information on: http://members.aol.com/lalarie353
As far as finding out about me personally, I do prefer to maintain some privacy in my life. I’m not about making a name for myself. I do this because I have a lot to say. Privacy is something that we are all being robbed of in this day and age. One of the main meanings that I stress in my book is about privacy. As it already is, I don’t have a great deal of it. I would like to keep what little I have left. Take a tour inside my head, but don’t come knocking on my door. I will leave my readers with that final thought. Thank you again Juanita. I truly enjoyed this interview and I am very grateful that you took the time to conduct this with me.