LIVE WITH TAU AND KATA! by Jude Austin

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LIVE WITH TAU AND KATA! by Jude Austin

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LIVE WITH TAU AND KATA!
By Jude Austin

Hi there, Person Reading This Article! My name is Jude Austin, and I don't write dystopian sci-fi.

There! Got that off my chest. While I will admit that the situations my characters find themselves in are usually less than pleasant, I never understand sci-fi writers who think the world is going to suck. I think it's going to be a pretty neat place.

However, any kind of place requires the author be very familiar with his/her characters. There are many ways to do this. For example, some people like to interview their characters. I, on the other hand, never, ever, ever do such a thing.

This is why:

ME: Hi, guys. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me for the people at Online Book Club. I don't want to go into long introductions here, as I'm hoping we can all get to know the two of you better through this interview, so can you just tell us your names?
TAU: Yes. My name is Tau, and I'm here to answer any questions you, the people at OBC and the readers have about us and our world.
KATA: I'm Kata. I'm here because you promised me a cheeseburger.
ME: Yes, yes, alright, you'll have one at the end of the interview. For those of you who don't know me—
KATA: Which is probably about 99.9% of the people out there.
ME: –my name is Jude Austin, and I'm the author of the sci-fi book Project Tau, which was Book of the Day on September 29. Tau and Kata are the main characters.
KATA: Translation: please, please, please, please, please buy my book on Amazon! Pretty please? With sprinkles and marshmallow bunnies?
ME: Let's just start the interview, okay?
KATA: Fine by me.

What emotion/feeling are you afraid to experience?
KATA:
Going straight in at the deep end, huh?
ME: Well, things like your favorite color or date of birth are nice bits of trivia, but they don't help get to know you as a character. I mean, it's not like you're going to react differently to someone because you like purple more than green.
KATA: Fair enough, I guess. Answer: loss of control.
TAU: Pain.

What bad habit are you struggling to overcome?
KATA:
I used to bite my nails, but since GenTech replaced the ends of my fingers with claws, that pretty much killed the habit.
TAU: I don't think I have any bad habits.
KATA: Unless you count quizzing people to death.
TAU: Asking questions to clarify understanding was always permitted in the labs.
KATA: Sure it was. If the scientists happened to be in a good mood.

What do you fear losing the most?
TAU: Kata.
KATA: That's...actually quite sweet of you, Tau. I'm not sure how to react to it.
ME: What about you, Kata? What are you most afraid of losing?
KATA: Freedom.
(Pause)
TAU: I would be hurt, but that's really not an answer I can argue with.

How many brothers and sisters do you have?
TAU:
None. Projects are created one at a time.
KATA: Yeah, but the scientists used the same batch of DNA to make your predecessors, didn't they?
TAU: Does that count?
KATA: No idea, but if it does, you had nineteen older brothers.
ME: Kata, how about you?
KATA: One sister, four years younger than me.

Do you have a family member that's ever let you down? If so, how has that affected you?
TAU:
Projects don't have families, so no.
KATA: It's strange considering my folks and I never had a particularly easy relationship, but no. Whenever they said they'd do something, they always came through. I can't remember either of them ever breaking a promise to me.
TAU: What about your sister?
KATA: We squabbled a bit as kids and I remember spending most of my teenage years in a state of prank warfare, but it was never anything more than typical sibling rivalry.

Are you afraid to be alone?
KATA:
Not at all.
ME: Would you say you prefer to be alone?
KATA: I don't really know. It's more like, it's what I've always been used to, right from when I was a little kid. I handle my own company pretty well.
ME: What about you, Tau?
TAU: I like being alone with Kata.
KATA: Yeah. That's really not meant the way it sounded. 'Alone' for Tau means a human-free environment.

Are you proud of who you are?
KATA:
Not particularly.
TAU: I don't know.

Do you like who you are?
KATA:
No.
TAU: I don't know. I never met myself.

What keeps you up at night?
TAU:
Coffee.
KATA: Yeah, and what a lousy night that was.
TAU: You should have warned me about the effects of caffeine.
KATA: You should have warned me you were about to chug an entire percolator!

What was your worst injury ever?
KATA:
Does getting my claws count?
ME: No, that was a surgical modification. I'm talking about outside the labs.
KATA: Then I would say, the time I fell out of bed.
ME: That's it?
KATA: It was a cabin bed, okay? They're a lot further up than they look!
ME: Tau?
(Tau looks away, shifting his weight and inching a little closer to Kata)
TAU: I don't think I want to answer this question.
KATA: Okay, Tau. That's okay. Let's move on.

Who is one person you would never ever want to see again? Why?
TAU:
Dennison.
KATA: Dennison, and is the last part supposed to be some kind of trick question?
ME: It would help for those readers who don't know the background.
KATA: Fine. Let's see; I never want to see Dennison again because he kept me prisoner along with Tau, he gaslighted, starved and completely dehumanized me, and had me and Tau tortured on a regular basis for no better reason than to amuse himself. That's not counting what we suffered in those daily training sessions, by the way, and I'm not even going to mention what he ordered done to poor Tau here.
ME: I see, well—
KATA: After all that, is it any wonder that Tau and I were so happy at the chance to get a little of our own back on him and his cronies when we escaped?
ME: No, but—
KATA: And yet, the mass media are jumping up and down and calling us monsters and accusing us of killing for sport, just because we didn't want to spend the rest of our lives being systematically tortured before GenTech sold us off as pets!
ME: Erm, let's move on, shall we?

Who would you want to raise your child if you die unexpectedly?
KATA:
Since this is purely hypothetical, can I choose someone who's dead?
ME: Um, sure, I guess.
KATA: In that case, I pick my grandfather.
ME: Maternal or paternal?
KATA: Does it matter? Paternal, if you really want to know.
TAU: I pick Kata.
ME: I thought you might.
TAU: Well, he's the only person I know outside the labs.
ME: Fair enough.
TAU: Although this is completely hypothetical, as I still don't quite understand where children come from. Maybe you could explain?
KATA: Yeah, go on, Jude; explain.
ME: Uh, maybe some other time. Let's move on.
TAU: I'm starting to think that nobody actually knows.

This one's for Kata. Which parent do you take after more?
KATA:
Physically? My father. Both my sister and I look like him, although she's got our mom's eyes. Personality-wise, I have no idea. I'll say my mom, if only because my father was always adamant that I didn't get my love of computers and science from his side of the family. That said, my mom's no different; both my folks are the camping out, sports-loving kind.
TAU: Can't humans enjoy computers and sports?
KATA: Not in this case.

Have you traveled to other lands? Or planets, even?
KATA:
I assume you're talking pre-GenTech?
ME: Yes, all these questions are either pre-GenTech or during it.
KATA: Not really. My homeworld's Trandellia, and my family and I traveled a bit, but it was always around the same continent. I never left my planet until I went to SACAS.
ME: That's the Sanderson College of Arts and Sciences, for all you non-interplanetary types out there.
KATA: Yeah, so my parents dropped me off at the nearest shuttle stop, and I traveled by myself from Trandellia to Basarr. Then I went to that space station where GenTech had its lab, and the rest is history.

How do you view other races or cultures?
TAU:
Other races? Like humans?
ME: Uh, no. Projects are human clones, so you're human too.
KATA: Only in appearance. Legally, he's covered by the same laws that apply to cattle and dogs. Well, we both are; it's just that Tau was created with Project status, and I had Project status thrust upon me.
ME: In other words, slaves?
KATA: (bitter laugh) No! Calling Projects slaves is the same as admitting that they are human. We're livestock. You can't enslave a horse, or a cow.
ME: I see. Alright then, Tau, what do you think of humans?
TAU: They hurt.
(Pause)
ME: Is that it?
KATA: It's enough, isn't it? Move on.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
KATA:
Hypocrisy.
TAU: Breaking a promise.

Which living person do you most admire?
TAU:
Kata.
KATA: I'd be a lot more honored by that if I didn't know full well that I got your vote by default. Living person...I don't know. I don't remember ever having a hero figure.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Kata, you're not allowed to answer this one.
KATA:
Hey!
ME: Sorry, but I'd like to get through this interview without being banned from OBC. Tau?
TAU: I don't know. "Please," perhaps.
KATA: (muttering) I overuse plenty of G-rated words and phrases.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
KATA:
I'd like to make my claws retractable. They're a nuisance in everyday life.
TAU: I'm fine as I am.

Where would you most like to live?
KATA:
You mean, like a city or favorite town?
ME: Yes, or something along the lines of forest, desert, etc.
KATA: Okay. Part of me wants to say beach, but I'm fair and I sunburn really fast, so that probably isn't a good idea.
TAU: I want to live at the bottom of the ocean.
ME: That's interesting, Tau. Can I ask why?
TAU: Yes. Kata says that humans rarely go that far down, so it seems the safest place to be. He also told me about swimming, which I don't fully understand but which seems the closest you can get to flying.
KATA: I guess I could live in a desert, but that has the same problems. Maybe I should go for an isolated hut on the mountains with perfect internet connection, six hundred TV channels and easy access to shops.
ME: That's a very specific type of isolation...
KATA: Or somewhere completely different, like a treehouse in the Vahnat Plains so I could watch the wildlife free of charge.
TAU: Yes, I'd like to be able to watch wildlife as well. I've never seen animals before.
KATA: No, wait, I've decided. I want to live in the penthouse suite of a five-star hotel near the beach, with all expenses paid for the rest of my life including room service and any excursions I want.

Who's your favorite writer?
KATA:
If I say you, do I get a treat?
ME: No, but don't let that stop you.
KATA: In that case, Jerome Wilkes.
TAU: Who?
KATA: He writes horror novels. He's a little bit out there, but I love his stuff.
ME: I was hoping you'd pick someone our readers have actually heard of.
KATA: You should've thought of that before you picked someone from over fourteen hundred years in the future.

Are you generally organized or messy?
KATA:
Organized. Maybe it's a by-product of having a scientific mind, but I really hate it when things are out of place.
TAU: Kata's a little anal.
KATA: No, I'm not, I—wait, you know that word how, exactly?
TAU: I heard one of the handlers use it to describe Dr. Chatton.

Which talent would you most like to have? Why?
KATA:
Okay, that's a pretty interesting question. I assume you're talking about normal human talents, as opposed to genetic modifications?
ME: Yes.
KATA: I'd actually—I'd really like to be able to paint. Not VR sculpting or holograms, but old-fashioned oil or watercolor.
ME: Ooookay. That, I was not expecting. Why?
KATA: I don't know, I just love those amazing paintings you see on the net and in museums. I mean, virtual work is cool and all, but it's easy. You know, if you want to create a tree in your virtual world, you select it and just put it down, and you can duplicate it thousands of times to make a forest with the push of a button, and delete it with another button. It's the same with light; it's all done automatically. If you paint the traditional way, there are no shortcuts and what you end up with is the result of your own talent and dedication.
ME: I see.
KATA: What I end up with, on the other hand, looks like regurgitated jellybeans, and that's on a good day. I was probably the only kid in kindergarten and elementary school whose parents never put their art on the wall or refrigerator.
TAU: What did they do with it, then?
KATA: I dunno. Tossed it out, I guess. Never occurred to me to ask.
ME: What about your younger sister?
KATA: Mel? Nah, she was always the golden girl of the family. I mean, she's not much of an artist either, but at least with her paintings you know what you're supposed to be looking at. Tau?
TAU: I want to be able to read.
KATA: You can read. I taught you in the labs and Dennison had the two of us beaten half to death for it, remember?
TAU: But I can't read like you can. You look at a sign and understand it immediately. I have to puzzle it out one sound at a time.
KATA: You just need practice, that's all.
ME: What would you like to read?
TAU: A book.
KATA: Yeah, might need to narrow the field a bit on this one, Tau. What kind of book?
TAU: I don't know. Any kind. I've heard that reading books is pleasant.

If you found yourself walking alone in a dark alleyway with the feeling of being followed, what would you do?
KATA:
I'd probably turn around and demand to know if anyone was following me.
TAU: What would you do if someone said, "Yes?"
KATA: Turn invisible and hightail it outta there.
ME: Oh, the perks of having camouflage technology integrated into your nervous system.
KATA: Oh, the perks of working for an expositional writer. (Glares at Tau) And the camouflage thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.
TAU: Kata, if this is about the time I accidentally sat on you—
ME: Guys—
KATA: You didn't sit on me, you threw yourself on top of me!
TAU: Well, you were the one who collapsed on my cot! Why didn't you use your own?
ME: Guys, please! Moving on.

Define yourself in one word.
KATA: Survivor.
TAU: Me.

What’s your favorite food?
TAU:
I like grapes. And soup.
ME: Hopefully not in the same bowl.
KATA: You can never quite tell with him. My favorite has to be cheeseburgers. There's this really great restaurant about thirty minutes away from where I grew up.

What foods make you gag?
KATA:
That nutrijelly they fed us in the labs.
TAU: Really? I didn't think it tasted bad.
KATA: That's the point; it didn't taste of anything. It wouldn't have been so bad, except we were usually fed in the staff canteen, so while we were choking down tasteless gray slime, everyone around us was stuffing themselves on regular food. The smell used to drive me nuts.
TAU: I remember you tried to steal some one time.
KATA: Did I? I don't remember.
TAU: Yes, it was a french fry. You speared it on your claw.
KATA: Oh, that's right. Dennison really wasn't happy about that. Human food is too good for Projects like us.

What music do you listen to?
TAU:
What's music?
KATA: You...(pause) That's right, you probably don't know, do you?
TAU: Is it nice?
KATA: Yeah. I'll see about playing you some once we're safe, okay?
ME: What kind do you like?
KATA: Anything that isn't jazz or heavy metal. Those just sound like noise to me.
TAU: Aren't all sounds noises?
KATA: Yeah, sure, Tau, but there's noise and then there's noise.
TAU: I...see.

Do you drink alcohol?
TAU:
Kata won't let me.
KATA: No, Kata won't. The last thing either of us needs is for you to get drunk and take it into your head to start juggling space shuttles or something. We're supposed to be in hiding.
TAU: Then why are we doing this interview?
KATA: I've been wondering the same thing since we started.

Last question from me:

Do you want a job that helps people or a job that makes money?
KATA:
I want a job that I enjoy. The other two things you mentioned don't come into it. I mean, I wouldn't want a job that involved hurting people, and if I had to choose between two dream jobs and one involved helping people and one didn't, I'd probably take the first one, but it's never been a huge factor.
TAU: Really?
KATA: Yeah, well, even before GenTech abducted me, people hadn't exactly covered themselves with glory as far as I was concerned. Plus, I'm Trandellian. We're not so keen on philanthrophy.

And with that, my questions are over. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this.

TAU: It was a pleasure.
KATA: Whatever. Now make with the cheeseburgers!

We now open the floor to questions from readers and OBC forum members!

KATA: We do?
ME: Yes, Kata. We do. I emailed selected readers for some questions to ask, and I got some great responses. To kick it off, here are some questions asked by a reader named Sue!
KATA: (groans) Tell me that wasn't supposed to be a Johnny Cash reference.
ME: You want that cheeseburger or not, Kata?
KATA: (sighs) Okay, fine. Bring on the extra questions.

Kata, how do you feel now you're free?
KATA:
Like I'm in a dream.
ME: You mean everything's wonderful?
KATA: No, I mean literally like a dream. For the past two years I was illegally imprisoned and tortured, and now I'm out...yeah. I wish I could tell you that it feels wonderful or I'm skipping around singing showtunes all the time, which is probably what you expect to hear, but the truth is I guess I'm just dazed and things are pretty surreal right now. Ask me again in six months and maybe I'll have a better answer for you.

What are your immediate plans?
KATA:
Find a way home. Once we're back on my home planet, we'll be safe.
ME: Does that mean you're going to go home to your family?
KATA: Yeah, I guess we'll have to at some point, although I can't honestly say I'm looking forward to it. If I had the money, we could crash in a motel somewhere and look for a cheap apartment, but I don't. So yeah. Head back home to Cahrin, Trandellia, and try and find an apartment from there.
TAU: Are we going to look for an apartment in Cahrin itself?
KATA: We might as well. If we go to one of the other three continents, we'll only have curious neighbors asking why we moved.
TAU: How would they even know?
KATA: My accent. It doesn't show when I speak English, but when I speak Trandellian, I have a pretty strong Cahrini accent.
ME: Meaning?
KATA: Think of someone speaking English with a Southern Alabama accent, and you'll come pretty close to how us Cahrini sound to other Trandellians.

What are your longer-term plans?
KATA:
I don't know. It's been a while since I was in a position to make any long-term plans. It'd be nice if I could go back to college, but ever since GenTech, I've not been too comfortable around people in white coats, so I think my dream of becoming a nanosurgeon or geneticist is definitely over. I'll probably do something involving computing. Maybe game design. I suck at art, so any kind of CGI career isn't an option, but if I could earn money as a freelance programmer or something, I'd be happy with that.

Will you seek any redress on GenTech to stop what happened to you happening to someone else?
TAU:
Are we to assume that somewhere out there is another human who's stupid enough to sneak into a restricted laboratory for the sake of impressing a group of random people he's known for less than thirty minutes?
KATA: Thanks for that, Tau.
TAU: You're welcome.
KATA: But Tau has a good point, even if he does make it with all the subtlety of a depth charge in a goldfish pond. You know, if anyone else tried what I did, ninety nine point nine percent of administrators would just detain him, give him a severe talking-to and send him right back home after contacting whoever was responsible for him. That's assuming he could even get into the labs in the first place. I just hit the longest of long shots, both in getting in and in the labs being run by nutcases like Mason and Dennison.

Do you think GenTech should be closed down?
TAU:
Yes.
KATA: (whistles) Man, I don't know. The emotional part of me says yeah, but let's get real for a minute: we're talking about a multi-trillion dollar corporation here. They've got labs and research facilities on every single colonized world and moon – they even own a few of those moons outright – and they're the biggest business empire to have ever existed. There was this founding computer corporation a thousand years or so back called Microsoft. I don't know if anyone except computer junkies like me or classicists would know that name now, so I wouldn't be surprised if you've never heard of it, but it was huge in its day.
ME: I think our readers are probably more familiar with it than you might think.
KATA: Well, anyway, compared to GenTech, Microsoft's just a little corner shop in a sleepy village somewhere. Plus, GenTech is also the source of cloned organs and just about anything else a person needs for transplants. If you take that away, what about the hundreds of thousands of people waiting for life-saving surgery? You know, if we—okay, to take an example, there are kids dying of leukemia and desperate for some cloned bone marrow from GenTech, so if the company shuts up shop, what do you tell those little kids? What do you tell their parents? "Sorry, but some people in GenTech did some bad stuff to me and my friend. I know your innocent child didn't have anything to do with that and doesn't even know about it, but that doesn't matter; we've already decided to take out the best chance of survival he/she has because of what a few people did to us?" That's before we get into the tens of millions of jobs that would be lost.
TAU: They can find new jobs.
KATA: It's not quite that easy, Tau. So my thoughts on GenTech closing down are a bit like my thoughts on dropping a nuclear bomb into an active volcano. Part of me really wants to do it, just to see how big the explosion would be, but the consequences for tens – if not hundreds – of millions of people would be horrific, so I hope it never happens.

Tau, how do you think you will cope in a new environment?
TAU:
(shrugs) I don't know. I learned to cope in the labs just fine. The outside world can't be all that different.
KATA: Yeah, I think once we're safely back, we can focus on taking everything as it comes.

Do you believe that you could ever become 'human'?
TAU:
Why would I want to be? Humans use pain when they're angry. (Pause) Or trying to teach you something. (Pause) Or bored.
KATA: Not all humans are like that, Tau.
TAU: The ones I met are. If becoming human means I have to start hurting other people, then I don't want to become human.
KATA: Of course, if we're talking from a legal perspective, then I doubt it. Projects aren't even slaves; they're livestock. Asking if Tau can ever become human is exactly the same as asking if a cow or a dog could ever become human. People can't get their heads around that concept and, frankly, I think most of them would be pretty alarmed at the suggestion.

And that's all we've got time for now. If anyone reading this has any questions for the characters, or me, feel free to ask away in the comments!

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La Cabra
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Post by La Cabra »

Oh my God, how did I not find this earlier?! Thanks for the interview, loved it!
I have a question for Jade: How long did it take you to write Project Tau?
For Kata: Why on earth did you choose med school over something more related to computers? I feel like I remember your dad mentioning something about this but I'm not sure...

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Post by JudasFm »

La Cabra wrote:
14 Nov 2019, 05:16
Oh my God, how did I not find this earlier?! Thanks for the interview, loved it!
I have a question for Jade: How long did it take you to write Project Tau?
For Kata: Why on earth did you choose med school over something more related to computers? I feel like I remember your dad mentioning something about this but I'm not sure...
HOORAY! My first comment! :D
I mean, ahem, thank you, I'm so happy you loved it!
Now, onto the questions:

How long did it take you to write Project Tau?
ME: If memory serves, the first draft was written in about 6 months. I say "if memory serves," because - although it was published in 2016 - I actually wrote it in my early-mid 20s, sometime around 2006. KDP didn't exist then, and I wanted to try and find a traditional publisher, which is why it took me so long to get it published. I then had to revise it a bit, as the original cover was terrible and the prologue? ...Yeah. To everyone who commented on BOTD and mentioned being put off by the opening scenes on the basis of blood and guts, believe me, the first edition was much, MUCH more gruesome. I also tightened up some passages, added others, took out a lot of the profanity (you might not believe that last one, but it's true! :D ) and re-uploaded it. So, to make a long story short--
KATA: Too late.
ME: --about 7-8 months all told. I'm still making minor edits, but these are mostly small, like correcting typos. I'm happy with the main story as it is.

For Kata: Why on earth did you choose med school over something more related to computers? I feel like I remember your dad mentioning something about this but I'm not sure...
KATA: I'd be surprised if he did, since he and I never really had the kind of relationship where I could talk to him about my future goals. But anyway, the answer's pretty simple: I love medical science. It's compulsory on my planet from elementary school onward, and the second my teacher brought up that first hologram of the human skeleton, I was like, "WOW! That's what we look like on the inside? Cool!"
TAU: I have a hard time imagining you saying either 'wow' or 'cool.'
KATA: I was six, okay? Then we got onto veins, and then muscles, and then the teacher had to switch off the hologram and wait for a few of my more squeamish classmates to stop crying. So, yeah. I kept going, signed up for every medical-related extra-credit course and loved every second. As far as computing goes, though, sure, I'm good at it and I understand computers, but IT doesn't grab me with the same passion. I mean, the human body is always changing, there's so much about it we still don't know, but the only computer-related changes that occur are usually in the gaming and movie industries.
TAU: Wouldn't you want to make games? You play enough of them.
KATA: I don't have much in the way of imagination and like I said before, I suck at art. So if I made a game, it'd probably be along the lines of "orphan waif saves kingdom from ancient evil in accordance with the prophecy, discovering along the way that he's the long-lost prince." It wouldn't necessarily be bad; it just wouldn't be anything original. Long story short--
TAU: Too late. (off Kata's look) What? You thought it was funny when you said it.
KATA: Yeah. Well. Anyway, I'm great with computers and not a bad hacker, but there's no computer-related job I wanted more than I wanted to become a surgeon, so that's what I did.
ME: That makes sense. Thanks for answering.
KATA: No problem.

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Post by Makulima »

A thrilling article that oscillates from scientific logic, to factual humor that entices the reader to read and read further.Kata talks of DNA when discussing number of brothers and sisters while Tau talks 19 brothers by DNA.The article sets a high level of humor set on a lofty pane," Kata said she felt out of cabin bed as a form of worst injury, and when she refused to mention someone who would raise her child in case of death,she humorously quipped" its hypothetical and she would rather choose her grandfather who had died. Kata is comparatively humorous compared to Tau, while Tau is overtly introverted, keeping to herself most issues but with great affection for Kata, showing emotional and behavioural preference and approval of Kata most time.

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Post by Frances019 »

For Jude: How did you come up with the idea for Project Tau, and what is your writing process like? I loved the book!

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Post by JudasFm »

Thank you so much :D
How did you come up with the idea for Project Tau, and what is your writing process like?
KATA: Simple. Think of two innocent people, and then think of as many tortures as possible to put them through.
ME: The reader's asking me, Kata, not you.
KATA: I bet I'm right, though.
ME: The idea kind of came as I was writing it. I wanted a novel that could easily be turned into a low-budget movie, which is why the bulk of it takes place in the labs. Honestly, I never set out to write something dealing with the rights of clones; it just morphed into it :D
KATA: Yeah, so like I said: you thought up two characters and tortured them. I still have nightmares, you know!
ME: You can complain all you like after the interview's done, Kata. Anyway--
KATA: I wonder if JK Rowling is hiring new characters...
ME: Even if she were, you'd probably still end up being tortured or cursed or something. Anyway--
KATA: Yeah, but I'd be able to do magic. Claws, invisibility, super-speed and a magic wand? I'd be unstoppable!
ME: Anyway, about my writing process. I basically kind of start in the middle and work both ways. When I think of a paragraph that I like, I write it down and drop it into what I call a holding document. Writing a chapter basically involves copy-pasting a bunch of those paragraphs into a new document, then writing stuff to fill in the blanks :D

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Post by leximutia »

First of all, I want to say that I can't believe I haven't found this earlier, and it's super fun to read both Kata and Tau's reactions to the questions, as well as yours!

Second...
ME: Anyway, about my writing process. I basically kind of start in the middle and work both ways. When I think of a paragraph that I like, I write it down and drop it into what I call a holding document. Writing a chapter basically involves copy-pasting a bunch of those paragraphs into a new document, then writing stuff to fill in the blanks :D
That's a pretty unique way to write -- working off previously written blurbs then filling in the blanks!

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Post by DEEPA PUJARI »

I have a question for KATA:
How did you change from an average wannabe college kid to KATA, who is audacious and figures out everything perfectly? If cloning can do that I would like to clone myself :)

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Post by JudasFm »

DEEPA PUJARI wrote:
04 Apr 2020, 18:17
I have a question for KATA:
How did you change from an average wannabe college kid to KATA, who is audacious and figures out everything perfectly? If cloning can do that I would like to clone myself :)
KATA: The torture probably helped. Also the lies, the dehumanization--

ME: Kata!

KATA: Alright, alright. I'm not sure if the word average really applies to me, though. I mean, I was reading adult novels by the time I was six, and that academic scholarship I won? I don't know how many applicants there were that year, but it numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and you need to get the top two or three highest marks in the college entrance exam to be awarded a scholarship. And I've always been able to figure things out and see the big picture, to know how people are likely to react.

TAU: If you know how people are likely to react, why did you end up trapped in GenTech?

KATA: I said likely, not guaranteed. So yeah, the hyper intelligence and figuring out thing is something I've always been able to do, going right back to when I was a little kid.

ME: And the audacious part?

KATA: Ehhh...not so much. I mean--okay, take my father, right? He's this big, strapping athletic type and he wanted a carbon copy of himself, only he got me. I went to his old school, Sorin Academy, and that's like this really intense, sports-centric place, and I hated every second of it. I was bullied pretty bad in the first few years, like from kindergarten to the first two years in elementary school, and after that I was just completely ostracized. I was light years ahead of my classmates; I read The Stand when I was eight, to give you some idea, and I was hacking and bypassing the school's firewall by the age of ten, so I was a smart little cookie.

ME: So you've always been hyper-intelligent?

KATA: I guess. It's not something I ever really thought about it. I wasn't tested or anything; I thought all kids were as bored as I was in class. Worst part was when the teacher used to rope me in as a kind of unpaid teaching assistant. Like my classmates didn't consider me enough of a freak already.

TAU: Why didn't you tell your father you wanted to attend a different school?

KATA: Oh, yeah, Tau, never thought of that! No, it was always my fault: I wasn't trying, I wasn't making enough of an effort, I should lose weight and be better at sports. Most of my life, like from when I was about ten up until I left home, was being fat-shamed and having my weight made fun of. I don't just mean when I was eating; I mean every single time I entered a room.

TAU: Why didn't you tell your father that, then?

KATA: I'm talking about my father, Tau. Anyway, the thing about being an outcast is that it eats away at you. You can't ask why, because nobody will tell you. You don't get any real sympathy, because people just tell you to make friends if you don't like being alone, like making a friend is as simple as making a cake.

TAU: Cakes aren't simple...

KATA: If this is about the chocolate cake fiasco, I did tell you that basil was a very bad idea. But getting to the point of all this, by the time you're, say, fourteen or fifteen, you've been socially isolated for ninety nine percent of your life, you go through entire days without anyone saying a simple, Hi, and you have no self-esteem left. You try to be the nice guy, the one who does what he thinks everyone wants, the people-pleaser, and it doesn't make any difference.

ME: Okay, that does make sense, but how did you end up going from that to, well, you?

KATA: Honestly? I don't really know. I think self-preservation.

TAU: How is talking back to the scientists and getting hurt for it self-preservation?

KATA: That part of it isn't. I was also a lot tougher as a little kid. Well, I was bullied, so I had to be. If they decided to try and prick me with words, I'd sling it right back at them, and I could be vicious. I think that's why they left me alone in the end; it wasn't worth the hassle. But that part of me, the part that would fight, I think that was still in there.

ME: So you already had the smarts and GenTech gave you something to fight?

KATA: You could put it like that. One thing that also comes with being an outcast is you learn to fight your own battles, because nobody's going to fight them for you. I think that also had a lot to do with it. My parents thought I was dead, so there wasn't going to be any help coming from that quarter. I'm not sure they'd have done much if they'd thought I'd still been alive, to tell you the truth.

TAU: You think they would have abandoned you if they'd known?

KATA: Wouldn't have surprised me. In case you haven't been paying attention, I was something of a disappointment right from the start. I mean, they never wanted me dead, but I think that their reaction when they heard about my 'death' was probably something like, "Meh. Oh well."

TAU: I see. I think...

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Post by Nia_aaz »

This was so cool to read i love it!!

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Post by jdsatosk »

Hah! This was a great read! I just finished reading Homecoming, and I'm glad. I can appreciate the banter and context of the replies better than if I had only read Project Tau.

I have a question for Kata: If you were so overweight when you were first taken by GenTech, how is it that the scientists made a clone that would have been the right weight/size? I wouldn't think that by DNA alone they would be able to grow an overweight clone. How do you think they did it?

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Post by JudasFm »

Nia_aaz wrote:
23 Apr 2020, 16:19
This was so cool to read i love it!!
Thank you :D
jdsatosk wrote:
05 May 2020, 14:09
Hah! This was a great read! I just finished reading Homecoming, and I'm glad. I can appreciate the banter and context of the replies better than if I had only read Project Tau.
Thank you :D This was actually done when Homecoming was going in a very different direction with a completely different story and ending planned, which is why some characters aren't mentioned ;)
jdsatosk wrote:
05 May 2020, 14:09
I have a question for Kata: If you were so overweight when you were first taken by GenTech, how is it that the scientists made a clone that would have been the right weight/size? I wouldn't think that by DNA alone they would be able to grow an overweight clone. How do you think they did it?
KATA: Reverse liposuction?

TAU: Wouldn't they need a supply of fat for that?

KATA: Yeah. Honestly, this is something you'd be better off asking Chatton. You're absolutely right that DNA wouldn't have any effect on weight, though. Uh. Best guess? I'd say they either injected him with plenty of something, or opened him up--no, wait, that wouldn't work. Too many new and random scars. Yeah, I'm going to go with the injection theory.

TAU: What would they inject?

KATA: Anything would do, really. I mean, the body was ID-ed by the authorities, who were probably distracted by the bullet hole. An autopsy would have thrown up all kinds of weird stuff, but the cause of death was easy to establish, so there was no need for that. Cloned-Me got sent back to my parents, who held a funeral for him and had him cremated.

TAU: Is surgery really that simple?

KATA: Nowhere near. But it's like the organs; no one was going to cut Cloned-Me open, so Dennison got away with using organs that would either fail or be rejected in a matter of hours.

ME: You're sure it was Dennison?

KATA: Who else? The only three people in the labs qualified to create and train Projects were Dennison, Chatton and Renfield, and Dennison couldn't let those two in on his nasty little plan. So yeah. Dennison created Cloned-Me with shoddy organs, and probably injected him with something. It may have actually been fat, although I've no idea where they'd get it from. Melted butter or oil might have had the same effect, if he injected it. He was a surgeon - you have to be, to even be considered to qualify as a Project trainer - so he'd know exactly what to do. And who'd stop to wonder if the fat around my body was really fat, or something else?

ME: Do you think he injected it before or after the clone was shot?

KATA: I--jeez, I don't know, do I! After, I hope, but this is Dennison we're talking about.

TAU: I feel sorry for Cloned-You.

KATA: Why's that?

TAU: Well, you and I both had a purpose. We had a life in the lab and we'd have had one outside it if we'd hung around long enough for GenTech to sell us. I wonder what it must have been like for Cloned-You. He was created, he comes into this fascinating new world just to be taken out of it again. Do you think he could think like me?

KATA: I'm not sure there's a living being alive who thinks like you, Tau.

TAU: But do you? Do you think he was aware of what was happening? Do you think he was scared?

KATA: I...(long pause) I don't know. Man, I hope not. Let's move on to some other questions, okay?

ME: Sure.

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