The Big Idea: Robert Boyczuk
Author Robert Boyczuk decided that if one is going to “borrow” themes and ideas for one’s book, then one should “borrow” from the biggest and best. So from whom did Boyczuk borrow from for The Book of Thomas? He explains below.
How a small-minded guy like me came up with a Big Idea for a novel:
I stole it. Yup, it was really that simple.
Never one to go half-measures, I stole my Big Idea from the best – God.
How so? Well, my stolen Big Idea began with imagining a massive, artificial world drifting in space, comprised of concentric spheres, a world in which the self-contained environment is rapidly deteriorating. And a boy writing a book in this post-literate world. So what do these well-worn SF tropes have to do with stealing from God?
Turns out that for a recent reading I prepared a small text in an attempt to explain this very thing – that is, how my creative stealing process works and what I hoped to achieve by this shameless thievery from God. So here is what I wrote and read:
An Apology To Potential Readers of This Work
Dear Potential Reader of this work, I apologize sincerely for the book entitled, The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven. In writing this book I had hoped to offend and outrage. I had conceived of a novel containing murder, incest, sodomy, rape, plague, disease, dismemberment, disembowelment, assassination, blasphemy, war, famine, and the ever-popular genocide. I wanted to write a book that chronicled injustice of every conceivable kind, in particular cruelty to women, children and slaves (including handy tips on the beating, thereof). I wanted a book rife with witches, devils, dragons, satyrs, and all manner of false Gods. A book with perversions of every stripe, with ritualistic sacrifices, pointless mutilations and oxymoronic honor killings. A book in which fear and guilt motivate all, dictating the minutiae of life – no matter the lip service the characters might pay to loftier ideals. In short, I set out to write a book about how religion exploits the incalculable stupidity of mankind.
I apologize for my failure, The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven.
When I first began this work, my modest goal had been to write a book more outrageous and offensive than any other. But in my research, I discovered that such a pernicious work already existed and was, in fact, already a best seller. A book so perverse that it not only embraces all the outrages I’ve just mentioned and many more, but does so in earnest and with great relish.
The book to which I am referring is, of course, The Bible.
How can The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven hope to compete with such a work?
So, dear potential reader, if you are considering purchasing my humble tome, you might want to reconsider, for you will surely get more bang for your buck in a copy of The Bible.
If, on the other hand, you want to stick a finger in God’s eye, and show him he isn’t the only one who can sell books filled with gratuitous violence and unspeakable cruelty, then The Book of Thomas, Volume 1: Heaven, is for you.
In case you hadn’t guessed it already, the spheres of my degrading world are known as the Spheres of the Apostles, the Catholic Church rules all, and The Bible and its sanctioned addenda are the only books permitted.
So, thanks, God, for The Bible, and thanks Big Religion for your endorsement of all the Big Ideas The Bible contains – more than I could possibly hope to steal in a lifetime.