Derek Künsken, the author of The Quantum Magician, delivers an interesting account of his background and path to science fiction writing. Künsken is a passionate writer of science fiction and fantasy predominantly, and his love of all interesting subjects, people, and places keeps him fueled and always pushing to create more. Since he was ten years old, Künsken has been singularly focused on his desire to write and create. Künsken talks about his journey from early childhood through his university work in molecular biology, to working with street kids in Central America, and how he finally came back to his first love—writing. He discusses his work, from short fiction to novels, and highlights the relevant physics that are featured heavily in his writing as he weaves tales about extreme situations in the universe and the existence of life in other environments.
Künsken contrasts the novel world vs. the movie world and how film and TV don’t usually, because of the time limitations, delve deep into hard science. He describes that in the novel world, it is much easier to go into detail and explain the science that is involved in the subject matter, sometimes simply because there is just more of an opportunity in the written novel to elaborate and get into the fine details. And he delivers an interesting perspective on early science fiction film and television. In his discussion, he explains how Star Trek, the TV show, didn’t go deep into any actual science of the technological devices they used but rather took an interesting look at the impact of such scientific technology on those who were able to access it.
Künsken gives an overview of his method for creating The Quantum Magician, and discusses what intrigued him, and compelled him to write the novel. He explains that it was actually his own personal anxiety about the progress and direction of technology that was a motivating factor. He wanted to look at the uncomfortable questions that could come forth, such as what happens when people are given the opportunity to engineer their children before they are born, by changing their DNA, and how would a society function in space with no police presence, etc. From biological quantum computing to eleven-dimensional space and wormholes, to time travel and beyond, Künsken describes how he wanted to allow himself to push his most thought-provoking scientific and technological ideas. And he details his process for implementing the math, science, neurology, and technology into his work, describing his use of research coupled with his own personal knowledge from his university studies.
The science fiction author provides his personal thoughts on the genre in general and some of its common tropes and structures. He states that science fiction is particularly good at delivering cautionary tales. He talks about the unintended consequences of advanced science in a practical sense and how society may interpret the use of this science and technology as it advances, and the legal implications as well.
As a guest speaker at many world conferences on scientific topics, Künsken states that he is constantly meeting interesting minds in the scientific world, and he explains that amazing new scientific ideas and theories are being pushed forward at an astounding pace by these inventors of the future.