“Be very in touch with yourself; be very honest. Honesty is vital in fiction,” said Santa Barbara author Mitchell Bogatz. It’s a principle he clearly follows; in his recently published sci-fi novel, Tiny Instruments, Bogatz realistically explores philosophical concepts within the playground of a warped world of limitation through the protagonist’s naïve perspective.
The book reads like an intricate thought experiment; it plays with the possibility of genetically modified human copies called “artificials,” questioning their existence and contemplating the meaning of humanity. The thought-provoking plot follows the inquisitive clone-scientist Timothy Cottard as he rebels against Cavanagh, the restrictive research facility that manufactures and imprisons clones.
As a hybrid dystopian science-fiction novel with a coming-of-age tone, Tiny Instruments harks back to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World while also incorporating the raw innocence of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. “I’ve heard it called a young-adult book before, and I’ve always thought that was kind of funny because I never intended to write a specific genre,” Bogatz explained. “For me, it’s written very simply, in a childish way, because that’s the way I imagined Timothy views the world. Despite being very knowledge-savvy, he has no idea about emotions or social hierarchies.”
Timothy’s narration insightfully observes society through its cracks, offering a fresh psychological take. It took Bogatz seven months to craft his story, much of which he spent refining Timothy’s character as a pseudo-human replica of an Einstein-level scientist. Bogatz created Timothy as “the personification of this problem we have as a modern society where our lives are measured by how much technology we have,” he said. “Timothy is taking this to the extreme, showing how we value scientists too much. Scientists, the people who make these technologies that we love so much, and we don’t even value them as people anymore — they become instruments for us to use.”
In addition to novels, UCSB graduate Bogatz writes screenplays, maintains a writing blog, and works as an editor. He is currently writing his next novel, Cavalcade, about a daring love affair in the 1920s and the moral issues raised by the relationship.
Mitchell Bogatz’s writing may be found on his website, mitchellbogatz.com.