Friday, 21 June 2013

An Interview with Helena Puumala, author of the Kati of Terra Series - Part 2

Part Two – Science Fiction and the Paranormal

Question:  Helena Puumala, I sense that you enjoyed the deer that ambled across our path, a few minutes ago as we walked through the park?

Answer:  It was interesting that the deer crossed our path at the same time as a car went by on the road next to the walking path.  Some people speculate that this is a natural behavior of a young male deer, showing off his fitness to any female deer in the area.  But it was so casual about it, that it was as if it had a sixth sense that that particular car (and we) didn’t actually pose a danger.

Question: So, a sort of deer ESP?

Answer:  Why not?  If people can have sixth sense, then why can’t animals?  Of course if you believe ESP is impossible for human or animal, then we are back to the show-off deer explanation. 

Question:  ESP plays a significant role in the Kati of Terra series, as well as the Witches’ Stones series, both of which you will continue to write.  Is this primarily a literary device, to carry a story forward in interesting and unusual ways or do you have a belief in it in the “real world”?

Answer:  I have had enough odd experiences of my own, and have heard enough stories from people that I know and trust, that I take it for granted that ESP exists.  But of course I am also using it as a literary device in my novels, as it allows me to give my characters greater range and scope for adventures than would otherwise be possible.  It’s a fairly common literary device in science fiction – think of telepathy in Star Trek or the Force in Star Wars, for example.  But it probably doesn’t hurt my writing about it, that I take it seriously, as a reality as well as a literary device.  

Question:  What about the Planetary Spirits in Book 2 of the Kati series?  Do you see these as other worldly or as just another way that nature might express sentience in our universe?

Answer:  I would say both.  I don’t see a contradiction.  As Shakespeare said, there are more things under heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies.  Why couldn’t there be sentient organisms much larger than ourselves that evolved differently than how human intelligence evolved on Earth, yet shared many of our mental characteristics?  We still haven’t figured out how our own consciousness emerged from wherever it emerged, so it seems to me to be both foolish and arrogant to discount such possibilities.

 Question:  Yes, I suppose even a fairly hard-line materialist couldn’t deny that.  Plus, the Planetary Spirits made great characters, especially my favorite, the Ocean Sister.  Did you have a favorite?

Answer:  No, I liked them all.  But Ocean Sister was a lot of fun, with her turbulent and erratic, but playful personality.

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