As a writer I often draw on history. At times it is my own, at other times it is something I have inadvertently witnessed. Whenever an idea coaxes me into action, I find myself wishing that I could go back – if only as an observer – so that the experience could be fresh on my retina before my fingers take to the keyboard.
There is a dystopic aspect to this intrusion into the past that I had not considered until I came across Charlie Brooker’s Dark Mirror. The final episode of his first trilogy explored the drawbacks of technological advances that would allow us the power to record and play back every event we had ever witnessed through the aid of a chip or ‘Grain’ implanted under our skin.
It made for uncomfortable viewing. The story focused on the implosion of a marriage, fuelled by the jealous paranoia of a husband who invades his wife’s privacy in order to confirm his suspicions. The broader implications of this technological invasion – what one may read in-between the lines – were far more disturbing, touching on the theme of alienation: the detachment that technology has brought into our lives. Facebook snooping comes to mind.
If you could relive the best moments of your life, replay them in detailed sequence again and again, would you choose to do so? Would the other side of the coin make you weary of wielding such power: having every mistake, every disappointment and failure only one click away…