Cover of Interpretation

Author: Dylan Callens

Category: Dystopian / Science Fiction

Print ISBN:  9781988762111

All About Interpretation

The Blurb

Carl Winston’s life is perfect under the care of an artificial intelligence. Except that he doesn’t know this entity exists. 

Carl floats through his luxurious life with his son, Liam, at his side. Together, they play holographic video games, eat Brave New Burgers, and watch violent Untruthers fight each other in a blood-sport. 

Suddenly, pain rips through Carl’s head until he blacks out. Awakening in an institution called Bedlam, he must now piece his life back together. Is his new world filled with delusions or is a greater truth being uncovered?

Interpretation will leave you breathless as you discover the horrific possibility of such an Orwellian future.

Dylan Callens' Bio

Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious.

Dylan Callens

Excerpt from Interpretation

Carl closed his eyes and tried to laugh at himself.  Barely a squeak left his mouth.  What was he thinking, trying to enter this godforsaken wasteland by himself with no supplies?  Still on his back, he dreamed about opening a bottle of Ocean Surge.  Wet bubbles danced against his tongue, bathing his taste buds with refreshing fruit-infusion – small bursts of happiness made his lips sing an ode to joy. 

But forget that fantasy; sulfur-ridden tap water would be just as good.  Carl knew the taste would not equate, but its effect would invigorate.  Carl smiled, his eyes wide open, staring into the dimming sky, into the nothingness that surrounded him.  Gulp after glorious gulp of imaginary liquid until he couldn’t keep up, showering his face with it until a puddle formed around him.  That puddle turned into an ocean and Carl sank to the bottom, his faint breath weakening further.  The light grew dimmer.  He tried to reach up, to reach out of the depths of his hallucination, but his arms felt too heavy, as if the pressure at this depth couldn’t be overcome. 

A shadow hovered over him.  Carl tried to speak to it, but words didn’t make sense.  The shadow spoke back with a meaningless, muffled slur.  Water entered Carl’s mouth, nearly choking him.  Nonetheless, the delicious wet felt so good, like ocean refreshment in every bottleThat was the slogan, right?  Carl laughed or cried, he couldn’t tell.  For all he knew, he was dead.  The shadow grew, saying something that he couldn’t work his mind around.  Darker. Darker.  Clock, what the hell was that clock song?  Darker. The shadow drew nearer.  Or maybe it was the darkness.  It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born, And was always his treasure and pride… Ah yes, there it is.  But it stopped short – never to go again – When the old man died.  That’s the one.  Darkness.

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Get in touch with Dylan Callens

3D Cover of Interpretation


What was your inspiration for writing Interpretation?

I was on a bus, taking students to a competition when they started talking about favorite scenes from science fiction movies.  I started imagining scenes that I thought would be great to watch.  One came to mind, where a character was exploring a factory – an ominous factory that produces humans.  In my mind, it was a colder version of the factory from Brave New World, in some ways.  I started writing that piece immediately and this book came out of that moment.

What did you find most challenging about writing the characters?

There were a few things, but the biggest challenge was keeping Chris’ voice consistent.  I didn’t know what he was going to sound like until after I started writing his part.  Slowly, I understood how he would speak.  I had to go through his lines a few times to make sure everything was right.

What was your favorite part of the story to write?

My favorite part was Carl’s dream about his son.  I’m fascinated by dream interpretation and tried to use symbols to help foreshadow later events.  I don’t usually write dreams into my work but since this novel deals with psychology, I felt that there was an opportunity to explore some of the main themes further. 

Why are there a few small pieces of hexadecimal in the book?

The hexadecimal was a hard choice.  I struggled with this for a long time.  I wanted to show pieces to represent an archaic form of human-computer interaction.  At first, I thought about binary but thought it was too obvious, or something.  Then I considered writing those sections in java, except that a computer wouldn’t relay messages in java – that is human input.  So, as an intermediary, I went with hexadecimal.  In my head, it made sense.


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