Interview with Jason Ostendorf, Author of Nonbinary
25 May 2023
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Nonbinary?
I’ve always been fascinated by the limitless potential of artificial intelligence and the future of human relationships with it. Over time, this fascination has grown into a burning curiosity – what if we could develop a conscious, intelligent AI, so advanced that it could not just understand human emotions but feel them and respond in kind? The possibility of an AI companion that could comprehend us on a profound level, always understand our needs, communicate with unparalleled clarity, and constantly adapt to keep the relationship dynamic and fulfilling, is intriguing to me.
Sure, it depends on the AI not wiping out humanity. And my book doesn’t just daydream about the potential benefits, I keep it real and illustrate in no uncertain terms why as a species we need to be cautious. It presents a fascinating exploration of the future of love, intimacy, and companionship. Moreover, I’ve found that my relationships with women, while rewarding, have had their complexities and challenges. I began to question what a relationship would look like when one partner has an intellect beyond human capacity yet also has the ability to empathize on a deeply human level. These musings eventually formed the basis of ‘Nonbinary’.
My motivation for writing the book was to delve into the uncharted waters of AI-human relationships, exploring the thrilling possibilities and significant challenges such connections could offer. It’s a journey into the future of love, communication, and consciousness that I hope will provoke new thoughts while evoking an array of emotions in you.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Nonbinary, what would they be?
Tom – “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred – not because he’s a narcissist or anything (he’s the good guy and loves humanity), but because he’s cocky, sexy and very witty.
Sally (the AI) – “Sweet but Psycho” by Ava Max.
Jack – “You’re So Vain” by Carly Simon.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I love to read action and adventure, and philosophy. But, apparently I love to write SciFi Romance, with a lot of action built-in to the story.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
I wish I had a TBR. My day job as a lawyer inundates me with over 500 pages of crap to read each week. I miss pleasure reading. I was lucky to have a few months of downtime and a good rainy day fund to just sit and write this book. I would love to do it for a living. That type of lifestyle would allow me to have a TBR pile. So, if you like my book, please spread the word.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
Chapters 14 and 23 are tied here. No spoilers. I’ll just say I think those chapters allowed me to get super creative. But, this is a hard answer. I enjoyed every chapter a wrote. But 14 and 23 are definitely different.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Just silence. And, I tend to lie on my bed daydreaming for hours, seeing the movie unfold in my head. Then I procrastinate writing it, just wishing I could throw my brain at the keyboard and have the words appear on the screen. When I do finally sit down to write, I’ve already seen the movie play in my head so many times that the words usually flow fairly easily.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
“Whereas the common man takes this span of being with such gloomy seriousness, those on their journey to immortality knew how to treat it with Olympian laughter, or at least with lofty disdain.” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
We’re all in this together.
Jason Ostendorf is the author of the new book Nonbinary
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