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An Interview with Author Bryan van Gorder

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Spent my childhood in Upstate New York. In school, I was very much a math and science nerd so, of course, when I enrolled at Harvard for college I took up History & Literature as my area of concentration. (This all makes sense later, I promise.) I graduated with honors having written my senior thesis on Edgar Allan Poe. I moved to NYC in the mid-nineties and started working in fashion public relations. In 2002, I left and headed to Los Angeles where I continued in PR while also picking up freelance work as a travel writer for OUT and The Advocate. That led to me becoming the editor of OUTTraveler and then at Logo News (part of the MTV networks.) Currently, I’m a features contributor to The Onion. It was from writing daily that I mustered up the wherewithal to attempt writing a book.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

In 2003, University of Oxford scientist Nick Bostrom first proposed the idea that we all might be living in a simulation. (And, if you think that sounds preposterous, a recent article in Scientific American states the probability of this being true is roughly 50:50.) So this left me wondering: Who would create such a thing? How would it work?

I have also had a complicated relationship with religion, specifically why would God allow so many bad things to happen and do nothing to stop them? Which led me to think: What if God were a scientist and we were an experiment? Intervention would taint the results.

I really didn’t think it was fair to limit my focus on the Islamic/Judaic/Christian God, so Athena, Horus, Buddha, Krishna, and Lucifer are also included.

I really wanted to poke fun at some of the more outlandish stories from various religious traditions. Yet, ironically, I also manage to allow all religions to coexist equally.

Tell us the story of your book’s current title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

It wasn’t the original title and, to be honest, I don’t remember how I came up with it, but it refers to the Gaud Complex research campus where everything takes place.

Describe your dream book cover.

I always imagined a closeup on the hands from Michaelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” but with God’s hand being female with painted nails (as Dr. Maria Lourdes Gaud is a woman in my book). I know it’s a well-worn image, so I’m certainly open to other ideas.

What books are you reading (for research or comfort) as you continue the writing process?

I have been re-reading Jasoer Fforde’s Thursday Next series and Douglas Adams.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I mentioned a lot of this in my bio, but I used to work on (and in many cases entirely produce) fashion shows in New York, Paris, and Milan.

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