Today (Oct 12th), digital publisher NeoText published Scrap and I was lucky enough to get a chance to send a few questions to writer, Nicholas Mennuti.
Where did this idea come from?
The core idea of “Scrap”, the notion of a character in our present, who has lost the script, who is flailing and lost, and how that leaves him vulnerable to the rapaciousness of the future, was actually presented to me by John Schoenfelder, the in-house Pope and brain trust behind NeoText.
The ideas of Travis working in a data storage site, and the overall theme of corporations boiling everyone’s soul down to numbers and atomized bodies, sprung from that original pitch. To enforce those concepts, I wanted to have Travis’s inside and outside match. He feels lost, partly because the world around him enforces and encourages that isolation for its own ends.
Is there personal inspiration for the character of Travis?
I’d say the biggest piece of me in Travis is his nocturnal alienation. When my children were younger, and the house was incredibly noisy, I’d work some seriously odd hours. When you get on a quasi-vampiric schedule, besides messing up your circadian rhythms, you start to feel very disconnected from life, the world becomes an even more surreal place, you feel anxious for no reason.
But in general, I think everyone can relate to having taken a wrong turn in life. And how that one decision leads to increasingly more wrong turns, because you can’t – or won’t — back up to solve the original mistake, so you end up doubling down on it. Although, most of us don’t have to pay the same price as Travis.
Why sci fi? This seems pretty relevant to now, so why “in the future”?
The sci-fi aspect of “Scrap” is an outgrowth of Travis’s character arc and his journey. John and I agreed the only thing that would break Travis’s crisis of inertia would be some kind of future intervention to force him to re-examine his current state.
Plus, I knew the conceptual genius Howard Chaykin would be responsible for the accompanying art and wanted to give him every opportunity to be inspired and engaged by the world-building opportunities afforded by a sci-fi environment.
And yes, I agree whole-heartedly, “Scrap” is relevant to now, and is cautionary by design. We need to take the biopolitics of corporate oligarchy seriously, far more seriously than we do. Much like Travis, and before it’s too late, we need to start making decisions and having discussions about how much power we want to grant corporations, before they turn our future into “Scrap’s” posited universe, which ultimately, they will do.
What are you working on next?
Excellent question! I’ve been working on several non-fiction pieces, one of which involves Hollywood producer Robert Evans, and another that examines the origins of the OSS, the precursor organization to the CIA. And I’ve committed to finally finishing my next novel, a Western that involves plagiarism, hashish, bounty hunting and a haunted forest.
Now that you mention it – I really should call John Schoenfelder and ask him when he needs me to start the sequel to “Scrap.”