Ilene Winn-lederer
Ilene Winn-lederer asked Michael J. Sullivan:

I have just finished reading Hollow World and thought it extraordinary particularly for your insights into the intractability of human nature across time. If you are considering a sequel, I'd be most interested in knowing how the Pax character would be developed. Also, can you tell me what some of your stronger influences came to bear on your concept of Hollow World and its inhabitants?

Michael J. Sullivan Hey Ilene, Thanks so much for giving Hollow World a try. I'm so glad you enjoyed the read. It was written as a standalone, but when my wife finished reading it she had a list of 5 - 6 sequels she wanted to see made that explored various other aspects of the characters and world. Some of those were already nagging from the corners of my mind...so yeah I'd love to do a sequel.

In at least one of the potential versions Pax and the "hive mind" would be explored in more detail. I think it would be an interesting dynamic as far as Pax and Ellis trying to figure out a deeper mystery and I can see a lot of "Pax in jeopardy" threads that would provide some good drama.

The strongest influence was probably my brother/mother. But maybe not how you think. Both of them are very nostalgic for the past...thinking the days were best in the 50's and things just spiral down from there...you of course can see that in Warren's thought processes. I may be a glass half-full kinda guy but I think the world is actually moving in a positive directions. People are far less prejudice nowadays then in the past. Have we conquered racesim? Of course not. But it's better and I think it will continue to be. So a lot of what I was playing with is the whole concept of whether things are getting better or worse and how some people are stuck in the past and as such don't adapt well. It's the ones who can "jump the highest when the ground falls out from under them" that tend to not only survive but thrive.

John Lennon's song Imagine was also a big influence on the book. I kept thinking about a world with no religion no countries, etc. And the entire concept of a world free of wants. As a writer I'm always thinking what it takes to make a certain system work - and when I thought of it three inventions (and the commitment to genetic engineering - to eliminate differences which eliminates prejudice) could basically change the world from what we know now...where move of us spend most of our days working at jobs that we don't want to - but the bills have to be paid. With unlimited power, "makers" to create anything you want, and teleportation no one would HAVE to work and so the question becomes what do we all do with our time.

Basically I spend a lot of time exploring "what-if" scenarios some of which were with me for years and I just didn't know where to put them all. Hollow World ended up being a good repository for a lot of those things, which is probably why (a) it was so easy to write and (b) so much a project of the heart that I just HAD to put down on paper.

Thanks again for reading it and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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