In my Shifter series of books, my characters have the power to undo their decisions and thereby change reality.
In Shift, the first book in the series, I focused on the psychological and emotional impact of that power and how one single decision changed can have a huge impact.
In Control, the sequel, I expand on these ideas but I also start to question how this power could affect the world physically. How a single decision could literally, and on a grand scale, change the world.
Early in the book, there’s a scene where Scott, the main character, is walking over Tower Bridge towards the Shard:
The kids laughed and I was about to put them all in their place with a devastating retort when everything flipped. There was that now all too familiar feeling of being caught between two realities and suddenly we weren’t walking across Tower Bridge. We were all stood in front of a huge golden pyramid. I looked around and tried to get my bearings. The Thames. St Paul’s. We were still in pretty much the same location, but I didn’t know this building.
It wasn’t as tall as the Shard had been. It was wider and made entirely from gold-tinted glass. I couldn’t see anything inside as the glass was completely mirrored. I saw my shocked face reflected back in one of the panes.
I spun around and pointed at the bloody great pyramid.
“What happened to the Shard? What’s that thing doing there?”
“What?” Aubrey said, looking up at me puzzled.
“The Shard. Tallest building in Europe. Great big pointy thing. It was right here!”
Aubrey looked worried. She pulled me away from Sir Richard and the rest of the group. “Scott, are you having a reality attack?”
“I don’t know. I know I didn’t Shift. But someone else must have.”
This is the first time he’s felt the direct influence of someone else having made a Shift. It starts to make him think about just how fragile and fluid our hold on reality is. And from then on it, it’s like he’s standing on sand.
It feels especially fitting to imagine all of this shifting taking place in a city like London. It’s always changing – buildings seem to appear over night, changing the skyline. And every brick placed, every sheet of glass, every iron girding, represents a choice made by someone, somewhere.
This is one of the joys I find in writing sci-fi: not only do I get to play with ideas (as all writers do), I can play with reality itself. And now, every time I pass the Shard, I imagine my golden Pyramid in its place…