New novel ‘PW2’ explores the end of the beginning in 2012
November 24, 2009
By David Hayes
MC Miller couldn’t have published his new novel at a more fortuitous time to exploit the hype involving 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar.
Hollywood rolled out the blockbuster disaster flick “2012” Nov. 13 and not long before that Miller’s novel, “PW2: 2012 The End of the Beginning,” debuted.
Not all apocalyptic tales are necessarily about the end of the world.
“The ending of ‘PW2’ pivots on a theory no one takes seriously,” Miller explained.
What “PW2” doesn’t have is a convoluted tale of a main character who must convince everyone that he’s found evidence the end of the world is approaching. Rather, Miller’s protagonist has discovered something strange, and isn’t quite sure what it means, but it sure goes a long way to explain the weird things happening.
An ex-physics professor has developed an unlikely theory involving a 13.7-billion year countdown, Miller explained, that somehow has something to do with the breakdown of expected probabilities. Miller equates it to a science fiction tale along the lines of “Minority Report,” which at its essence was a “what if” yarn.
“‘PW2’ is for people who want a character-driven story beyond the typical treatment of the subject,” Miller said.
Where does he fall in the hype or hysteria of the real-life end-of-the-world scenario of 2012?
“I’m more of an agnostic when it comes down to it,” Miller admitted. “I don’t necessarily believe it. I’m open to hearing any evidence there may be. But from what I’ve seen, we might make the world end more as a self-fulfilling prophecy, more than because of anything the Mayans did.”
To write his novel, Miller thoroughly researched the subject, as he’s done for his other books. He said he figures he gathers so much background information, that he uses maybe one-tenth of it in the stories.
“PW2” is Miller’s third self-published novel. His first was “Islands of Instability,” a techno thriller with the McGuffin (a plot element the drives the narrative in a work of fiction) of the possibility of a 500-pound bomb developed into the size of a microdot. His second novel, “Uberwoot!” journeyed into black-comedy territory, as it featured a man who is willed a telepathic dog.
Both were written while he worked on “PW2” the past four years. The leap from computer programming to writer was an even longer trip. The former computer systems analyst took quite a detour before returning to his first love of writing.
“I used to write when I was a kid on a manual typewriter,” said Miller, now 54. “But then, the Apple IIc came out and it was a revolution in editing and word processing.”
But a funny thing happened on his way to trying to get his stories published in Analog Magazine (which impressed editor Ben Bova enough that he sent a personalized rejection letter saying how impressed he was with his style and encouraged him to not give up trying). Rather than hitting the road with his feet running using his new Apple IIc, Miller’s inquisitive nature kicked in.
“I began tinkering with it,” he said. “My basic, analytical nature, combined with my communication skills, made it natural I’d become fascinated with the computer’s inner workings.”
This combination of skills became invaluable for IBM. Miller found himself thrust away from his first love onto a four-decade tangent into high technology.
IBM moved him from Los Angeles to the Seattle area in 1998. He’s lived in Klahanie for the past five years. Helping him promote his novels is his wife, Debora, who works in sales in her day job. And what does she think of his venture into the unknown territory of writing and publishing?
“She’s the one who encouraged it,” Miller said. “I was blown away by the fact. It’s actually part of the fun.”
Miller is already deep into writing his next novel. Proving again that he writes what interests him, rather than stay mired in one genre, his next novel is geared more toward a young adult audience. With “PW2” getting more attention, he’s got plenty of ideas extrapolated from real life to keep writing well into the future.
Unless, of course, the world does end in 2012.