The Quanta of Art was first imagined during the security-check at Bristol Airport, prior to boarding a flight to Turkey last year. I don’t think it was the act of shoe-removal or the uncomfortably intimate pat-down by a large, humorless guy that triggered the idea, but the x-ray devices and the scanners themselves.
I am not asserting, by the way, that particles leaked from these devices, then crashed into the soggy grey mush inside my skull and fired the appropriate neurons -- et voila -- The Quanta of Art was born.
No -- it was simpler than that.
As I bent down to re-tie my shoelaces, a character occurred to me: a guy who’d had radical surgery to implant all manner of weird and wonderful technology on and himself--scanners, etc. He looked horrific, but he’d be someone we’d pity, not fear.
So, he was a beast…so what about a beauty? Why did he do this to himself ? As a matter of fact, who is telling the story and why? Questions, questions and more questions hit me as I stood and grabbed my freshly irradiated stuff from the x-ray machines conveyor belt…
As I sat in the departure lounge, and later on the plane, I typed up a simplified version of the story and sent it to my buddy, Frank. By the end of my week in Turkey, the story had been enhanced, layered, motivations defined and the ending completed.
I subbed the story to the Writers of the Future contest, but it was removed from consideration when I won the previous quarter. I was later told by the judge, K.D. Wentworth, that she’d loved the story and had selected it as a finalist before getting the message to pull it.
Next, it went to straight to InterGalactic Medicine Show and my thanks to Eric and Edmund for enjoying enough to pick it from the slush.