Once my novel Seventh Circle is done I may write up an idea for a short book I’ve been planning out called The Faceless. If it comes off as planned it could be quite a weird, possibly interactive way of writing that uses blogs, Tweets and maybe videos, but I’m still working all that out.
It’s a journal of sorts, documenting the last few hours of a person’s freedom in a peaceful post-World War III existence that has found new ways to keep the global populace passive and happy. But as always, paradise often comes with an initially hidden flaw, and my lead character ‘ML’ stumbles across this dark secret and goes on the run.
They choose to document their thoughts on a blog as both an expose and final will while, outside their hideout, the ruling authorities are slowly pinpointing their location and are moving in for the kill. It was inspired by all the whistleblower exposes that have occurred over the last few years, particularly Snowden. I wondered how that man could sleep at night even after being offered security abroad. A lot of people would surely like to see him killed.
The Faceless is a story about exposing corruption, and how, in a world where people are displaying their lives in plain sight through services like Facebook and Twitter, our calls for privacy can – in some cases – seem hypocritical. We crave privacy, yet have no issue openly discussing our day to day activities, location, spending habits and photos online.
Ultimately, the plot revolves around an activist group called The Faceless that, through advanced technology, has found a way to remove all their identifying marks to give surveillance networks nothing to brand them with. Face grafting, hair removal, speech distortion, removal of genitalia and fingerprints are just some of the pre-requisites to becoming a member of the group.
But in the way that avatars and forum usernames make people feel anonymous and therefore able to say or do whatever they feel like, the same is true of The Faceless. How do you finger someone for a terrible crime when they all look alike? As Peter Capaldi said in the penultimate episode of The Thick Of It, “You can’t cuff a country can you? You can’t arrest a landmass.” He’s right.
That is what make The Faceless dangerous. As a result of its true anonymity, the group grows more hostile to those who dare to walk around with their natural appearance. it becomes the majority. Their numbers begin to swell, and a new army of elite hackers and soldiers is formed to suppress the rising threat. They are called ‘Moderators,’ and my protagonist – from their hide out – will document everything they have learned about both sides to reveal everything to the world before they are hauled off and silenced forever.
This is still months and months away, but I thought I’d whack a brain dump on here just to keep it all fresh in my own mind.
Now, back to editing Seventh Circle.