Suffering in the Name of Research

Mindline is selling briskly, so I’m thinking it’s a safe time to talk about the research I (wo)manfully underwent in order to bring you a believable fictional experience!

Gravity
Simulating a high-gravity experience is a bit beyond my means and scientific expertise, but if all those museums were right a big part of it involves being suddenly and measurably heavier than you’re used to. It’s the “suddenly” part that seems the most important: when you put on weight in a normal way, it’s gradual, and your body compensates for it (poorly, sometimes, but it does). Packing on twenty or thirty more pounds overnight, when your bones, muscles and cardiovascular system are still operating on their prior assumptions… that’s the trouble.

I have, and had been ignoring for a long time, a weight vest (a lot like this one). So, on a whim, I thought, “Hey, Jahir’s suffering. Let’s see what that’s like.” For several weeks, then, every time I went out for a walk, I packed every weight that vest came with into its pockets before leaving.

Now, my walks involve jogging, jumping and spontaneous eruptions of dance. I bring music and work out current novels in progress while thinking; moving helps me sort my thoughts, and music makes me move more. I like my walks.

I did not like my walks while wearing a weighted vest. There was no more dancing, jogging or jumping, because walking itself made my heart-rate skyrocket. I didn’t even get a quarter of the way around the neighborhood before I had stitches in my sides. I am not the fittest person in the world, but I am nowhere near unhealthy enough to merit that sort of wreckage. And I wasn’t even simulating all the additional weight Jahir was putting on while on Selnor…! Barely a third of it!

I can’t really adequately express how depressing an experience it is, to be walking through a beautiful evening, knowing that you’re usually capable of capering and leaping and knowing that you absolutely can’t without laying yourself out. I’m not sure Jahir adequately expressed it either, but re-reading, I can feel my frustration and exhaustion permeating his viewpoint in the first half of the book, so… yay for research?

After a few weeks, I doffed the vest because I figured I’d suffered enough for my art. That night was so exhilarating. The pain was almost worth it, for that moment of release.

Almost. -_-

Food
There is a scene in the book where Jahir eats an ice cream that Vasiht’h tastes and gives back to him. It’s designed for maximum caloric and nutritional density.

That ice cream exists, and I have tried it. You can too, because the recipe is online.

This ice cream contains eight eggs, a stick of butter and the equivalent of a stick of coconut oil. Eating it was the most stunning experience I can remember in a long time, because all the cells in my body started shrieking, “YES! GIVE ME DELICIOUS USEFUL FAT AND PROTEIN!” while my gallbladder was howling, “NO NO I CAN’T HANDLE THE PRESSURE!” This is literally a recipe developed by a man who wanted to ensure his wife’s maximal fertility (while satisfying her chocolate cravings), and I’m telling you, some atavistic part of my brain was totally on board with it. A body could totally make babies on this stuff. Quadruplets, probably. But you can only eat maybe a quarter cup of it before you’re done. For the day.

The Bulletproof Executive is also responsible for my trying hot buttered coffee, which also appears in the book. Hot buttered coffee is what Starbucks wants you to think you’re getting with its froo froo high-fat drinks, but it is serious about the high-fat and by the way, no sugar, thanks. This is coffee for backpacking over a mountain peak. It involves blending a stick of butter into the strongest coffee you can make and drinking it. It was delicious, but it was food, and my body gets angry with me when I drink food. It likes chewing. It complains I don’t have a high enough activity level to justify drinking it as well.

But both of these things were novel experiences, if exhausting to eat, so I gave far-future versions of them to Jahir who actually had a legitimate reason to need high calorie/nutrition foods. I briefly considered writing the Bulletproof Executive and asking permission to put the recipes in the back of the book, but sometimes it’s the duty of the author to torture herself to save her readers from the necessity.

You’re welcome. >.>

  1. Hehe. This was interesting and amusing. I’ve not read those two books yet (well done on holding back any potential spoilers, even after it’s selling well), but I am tempted now, if only to see the fruits of your experiments turned into art.

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