Halloween is two weeks away, and I want to talk about something really scary. It’s not vampires or serial killers or great white sharks. It’s the Internet and the digital trail we leave there. The Internet is full of data about me: where I live; my favorite drink at Starbucks; where my book events will be; the best and worst reviews of my books; pictures of me snapped by friends or fans; even my false birthday.
Yup, my false one. When I created a Facebook account for my Bekka Black pen name, I gave them a false birthday because I didn’t trust them not to leak it (January 1, which would have made me an adorable little New Year’s baby). When New Year’s Day rolled around, my page was flooded with birthday wishes—even though that’s not my birthday and I’d marked it as Private: Do Not Share With Anyone.
It was a reminder that there’s a lot of data out there about me, and no matter how private it seems, it leaks out.
What if someone deliberately used all that information? A stalker? A killer? Or even an identity thief? What if someone created a virtual me? What havoc could that persona wreak on me or others?
Those were the questions that started me on iFrankenstein, where a homeschool teenager named Victor Frankenstein uses all his online data to create an electronic chatbot. He thinks it will help him win prizes and get early admission to college, but, like the original Frankenstein’s monster, it quickly morphs beyond his control and threatens everything dear to him.
What’s the worst thing your digital doppelgänger could do to you? Is there anything you’ve put up online that you’d like to pull back? Share your stories!
Blurb for iFrankenstein:
Frankenstein comes to life for the wired generation!
Following her critically-acclaimed iDrakula, award-winning author Bekka Black breathes life into a modern re-telling of iFrankenstein, using only text messages, web browsers, tweets, and emails.
Homeschooled teenager Victor Frankenstein is determined to write his own ticket to independence: a chatbot to win the prestigious Turing prize and admission to the high tech university of his choice. He codes his creation with a self-extending version of his own online personality and unleashes it upon the internet. But soon he begins to suspect his virtual clone may have developed its own goals, and they are not aligned with Victor’s. The creature has its own plan, fed by a growing desire to win darker and more precious prizes: unfettered power and release from loneliness.
As the creature’s power and sentience grows and its increasingly terrible deeds bleed over from the online world into the real one, Victor must stop his creation before his friends and humanity pay the ultimate price.