One in Ten Influences: Black Mirror and Type 1

I often present to schools about how my work is mostly a byproduct of the intersection of my students’ lives and my own teen years. One in Ten is no exception, except that the novel also has significant Science Fiction and Dystopian elements, which are a departure for me. The reason, my influences at the time I was writing.

The exact date for when I began writing One in Ten is unclear, but the seeds were sown years ago with the series Black Mirror and my increasing reliance on technology to assist with my type 1 diabetes.

In fact,  Black Mirror season 1, episode 3, “The Entire History of You” significantly launched my mind into overdrive and inspired the technological component in One in Ten. Here’s the trailer:

It’s not the ability to flip back in time that I was intrigued by, but rather the ability to turn the body into a cyborg with technology that allows visual and audio recording, false memories, and for my purposes, the potential for mind control. This aspect is literally embedded into One in Ten in the same way as the tech in this Black Mirror episode, but to very different ends. However, you will feel as unsettled by the novel, as you will at the end of this episode.

There has always been a theme within Sci-Fi that given too much power, technology will turn on its creators. One in Ten explores the idea in different parameters: what if technology could cure us of addiction? If so, could we live with the side effects?

Most of you know that my youngest daughter and I live with Type 1 diabetes, and that we use various tech (patch insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors) for our care. It’s no leap to conclude that my experience of walking around as a cyborg and letting technology run aspects of my endocrine system informed how I viewed taking a similar concept and applying it to heroin addiction and recovery.

The issue with all medical-related technology is that it is not a cure, only treatment. However, if the tech is integrated in such a way that the treatment leaves the patient “as good as cured” then what’s the problem? Well, what if that tech has capabilities not disclosed, even in the fine print? This turn of thought is where the Dystopian element comes in. It would not surprise me in the least if given the power, government would apply technology to a problem as a pseudo-cure. And quite possibly use the subsequent control to egregious ends.

And this intersection of health, technology, and the overreach of its application is where One in Ten becomes less Sci-Fi/Dystopian and more a cautionary, contemporary tale.

So, between now and April 21, watch some Black Mirror to prepare for One in Ten. I will have pre-order links next week, and I’ll let you know why they matter so much. Stay tuned.