Local author R.M. Gayler publishes debut science fiction novel
June 12, 2015
Park City-based author R.M. Gayler wanted to write his book "Download Incomplete" about aliens, but not the type that invade Earth in flying saucers and extraordinary spacecrafts.
He wanted his aliens to use computers — well-advanced computers.
"I mean, look at our phones and see how far they have come," Gayler said during an interview with The Park Record. "They used to be huge. And now these things that we can put in our shirt pockets have more computer power than the big ones I used in school. Take this technology and advance it by 10,000 years and what do you think we would find?"
The novel, which is available at amazon.com, follows Rich Preston, an angry and depressed man whose son was killed in Afghanistan. Preston’s life changes when alien nanotechnology blossoms into an artificial intelligence in his brain and he finds himself fleeing two world superpowers who want access to the aliens.
The idea for the book was inspired by the recent space-exploration events of the past few years, he said.
"The Mars Rover had landed and Voyager has just reached the outer reaches of our solar system," Gayler said. "So, I thought if there was an alien race that existed out there, why wouldn’t they want to explore by using small machines."
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Gayler’s first draft of Rich Preston, was, he admitted, not a good character.
"Given the situation, it was understandable why he was the way he was," the author said. "I pictured myself in his shoes and though I would be bitter and almost suicidal."
After hearing feedback from some beta readers, Gayler knew he had to rewrite Preston’s character.
"[In doing so,] I had to walk that line to keep him true to character and make him an antihero or antagonist," Gayler said. "Readers will see Preston grow and he does have a character arc."
"Download Incomplete," which, in part, takes place in Park City, is Gayler’s first book, and a dream come true.
"I started writing when I was in college," he said. "My English teachers were very encouraging and they would read my papers out loud to the classes, which was both scary and flattering."
Gayler’s mom, B.J., lives in Park City and is a nonfiction author. His father, Bill, lives in Las Vegas, and writes his own science fiction stories.
Even with those influences, Gayler put his writing on hold to pursue a degree and career in computer science at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
"I spent all those years in Las Vegas and didn’t get much writing done, but when I moved up here five years ago, I drafted the book in six weeks," he said. "Then I read it again, redrafted it and realized that I needed to learn to write again.
So, during the next four years, Gayler read every book about writing that he could find.
"I finally dragged my book out of the closet and redrafted it again a year ago and hired a professional editor and sent it off to a publisher," he said.
Gayler said many people would call him a paradox.
"I’m linear, logical and straight-and-narrow, but when I’m at home, I like to go into other worlds," he said. "That’s why I like to read science fiction. I like writing about these other worlds."
Other than his father, the science fiction programs of the 1960s and 1970s inspired Gayler.
"I loved the first ‘Star Trek’ series and ‘Outer Limits,’" he said. "I was enamored with Spock and the Klingons.
"We had a little TV and only had three channels, ABC, NBC and CBS," Gayler said. "When those shows would come on, we were all just glued to the TV."
While he enjoys the deep works of Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury and others, Gayler said he considers his work more plausible.
"I see all of these alien movies that make the aliens bad guys, and I thought why not write stories where the aliens are like us and they explore the universe like us," he said. "So I took that idea and twisted it around."
During the publishing process, Gayler learned that writing the book was the easy part.
"I always thought the most difficult thing was writing the book, because I was afraid to put it out there if I didn’t think it wasn’t written well," he said. "I have found the writing isn’t the hard part, it’s the promoting. You have to be ready for everyone to look at you and critique you, but also go out there and talk with people.
"There is a stigma that self-published books aren’t very good, but I think that’s fading, now," he said. "Still, I edited this book maybe 10 times, because I would read it and kept wanting to make it better."
R.M. Gayler’s debut novel, "Download Incomplete," is available at amazon.com.
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