Every now and then, serendipity intervenes in my life. One of the days she was working overtime was the day I met Gordon Bonnet.
Gordon and I are both published by Oghma Creative Media. At the time I met him, I was the marketing director there, and I met him to discuss media kits, promotional materials, etc.
I didn’t often have time to read every word of every manuscript of every writer we represented, but in Gordon’s case, I made the time. His novel, Kill Switch, grabbed me by the throat. I couldn’t put it down. It was fabulous. Then I learned more about the guy. He not only wrote well, he wrote fast, and he offered Oghma several more manuscripts (which I’m so glad they snatched up). He has a fantastic skeptics blog, Skeptophilia. And not only was he hard-working, he was a joy to work with.
I’m pleased to introduce him to you today, where he talks about his latest release, Lock & Key. Please make him feel at home. Take it away, Gordon…
I was talking to my younger son about quantum physics, as one does, and the subject of the “Many Worlds interpretation” came up.
This is the idea that every time an event could have gone one of two different ways, it goes both—in different universes. Put another way, when there’s a decision to be made, every possible outcome occurs somewhere.
The physicists who take this idea seriously (and there are a few who do) believe that once these splits occur, the timelines become permanently walled off from each other, so that there is no way to slip into an alternate universe and find out how your life would have gone had you chosen differently. As C. S. Lewis put it in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “‘To know what would have happened, child?’ Aslan said. ‘No, nobody is ever told that.'”
And that was when Nathan said, “Wouldn’t it be cool, though, even though we can’t see what would have happened, if there was a place that kept track of all of the possibilities?”
And that was the birth of the Library of Timelines, the setting for my recently-released novel Lock & Key.
In the opening pages, we meet Darren Ault, a mild-mannered Seattle bookstore owner, who is invited over to his friend Lee’s apartment for dinner. After the meal is over, though, Lee pulls out a pistol and shoots Darren in the head. Far from killing him, the gunshot makes the rest of humanity—Lee included—vanish. Somehow, Darren’s death has caused a temporal paradox, and the event has left only one person alive.
Well, not just Darren. Also the staff of the Library of Timelines, including the Head Librarian, Archibald Fischer, and Fischer’s right-hand, his administrative assistant Maggie Carmichael.
After some inquiry, they decide to send Darren into the past to try to figure out what has happened and to attempt to repair the damage. This starts Darren on a journey careening through time and history, first to 11th century Scotland, followed by 14th century Norway and 19th century Kentucky, each time to a place and time the Master Computer of the Library has identified as a pivot point for the paradox. Along the way, he meets Vikings, a perennially-depressed Norwegian silversmith, an insane highwayman, a religious cult that believes the way to salvation is through pain, a beautiful red-haired Hebridean lass, a brilliant but unstable physicist, and an elderly peasant woman who couples smart advice with a talent for throwing dumplings at people she doesn’t like.
Darren is assured that on his travels, the Master Computer is looking out for him, and will make sure he is brought back to the Library if his life is in peril. It’s flawless, Fischer says. Darren will be fine, there’s nothing to worry about.
“And the computer always gets you out just in time?” Darren said.
Fischer nodded. “Always. Lightning-fast processor. Cutting-edge technology.”
“Well, there was Janowsky,” Maggie said.
“Oh, yeah,” Fischer said. “I’d forgotten about Janowsky.”
“Janowsky?” Darren said. “What happened to Janowsky?”
“Well…” Fischer acted a little reluctant to discuss the topic. “Janowsky was a Monitor who worked on our custodial staff. He was a bit of a thrill-seeker.”
“Morbid type, if you ask me.” Maggie’s round face radiated disapproval.
“He wanted to take a vacation back to the eighteenth century, and experience the French Revolution first-hand.” Fischer paused. “He got his wish, I guess.”
“He died? I thought you said your computer always kept track of where you were, and could pull you back to the Library!”
“Oh, he came back to the Library,” Maggie said. “Just in two separate chunks, as it were.”
“Took forever to get the stain out of the carpet,” Fischer said.
And with that reassurance, Darren is launched on the adventure of his life.
Lock & Key weaves together time travel with humor, history, and the question that all of us have considered from time to time—what would have happened had we chosen differently?
Just remember, next time you are faced with choices, the decision is yours to make. But everything is being monitored by Fischer and his computer. If you ever get a chance to visit the Library of Timelines, ask Fischer and Maggie if you can check on the Computer and see what would have happened had you made a different choice.
You never know. They might just let you.
Are you as intrigued as I am? How can you not be? I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s definitely on my list.
If you have any questions or comments for Gordon, please leave them below.
And to learn more about him, visit him via the following links:
Gordon Bonnet is a writer, musician, teacher, and scuba diver, and currently lives in upstate New York. His love of fiction began when his story “Crazy Bird Bends His Beak” won critical acclaim in Mrs. Moore’s first grade class at Central Elementary School in St. Albans, West Virginia. His interest in the paranormal goes back almost that far. Introduced to speculative, fantasy, and science fiction by giants in the tradition, he was captivated by their abilities to take the reader to a fictional world and make it seem tangible, to breathe life and passion and personality into characters who were (sometimes) not even human. This fascination with the paranormal, however, has always been tempered by Gordon’s scientific training. This has led to a strange duality—his work as a skeptic and debunker on the popular blog Skeptophilia, while simultaneously writing paranormal and speculative novels, novellas, and short stories. Gordon explains this with a smile. “Well, I do know it’s fiction, after all.”