The Tetris Effect is Colin’s debut novel and is the first part of The Tetris Trilogy. When he isn’t writing, he can mostly be found playing open world computer games or binge watching cult television drama. He currently lives in London with his wife and two pesky cats.
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What inspired you to write The Tetris Effect?
I’m always inspired while travelling. Locations and events seep into my storytelling until they eventually take on a life of their own. I was doing a fair bit of travelling in Asia while writing the first draft. I remember being in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Khmer New Year and it was utter chaos. There was a vehicle accident; a car driving at high speed down the main street alongside the Mekong estuary with a moped jammed under the front wheels, sparks literally flying. I didn’t see what happened to the rider. That particular event was in the first draft and inspired Lars Nilsson’s journey. Many other features were inspired by this incredible place – the ghostly, rusted-up ship in the river, the twisted golden shrine, the firing range armory that Dr Vegas visits for his power-ups, the shadow animals. I’ve seen them. They’re real. OK, maybe not the shadow animals.
I found tales of Eastern mythology incredibly inspiring; the legends of Tengu, Kitsune and the Eight Immortals. I was intrigued by the idea of these ancient immortal beings with no concept of time just getting worn down, and eventually being tempted to stray from their ancient duties in order to sample a little sweet mortality.
There’s also a liberal loot crate of gamer and movie references in Tetris, some direct, others more subtle. I hope the reader enjoys how they’re used. Zack and Wiki would be my favourite.
Alongside travel and gaming, there’s the idea of going places online but never actually going anywhere; being stuck in a little cupboard room at the top of the stairs while maintaining an internationally famous reputation. I’m interested in how we hide behind these identities, and how maintaining a life online can be strangely fulfilling.
Do you have a favourite character?
It has to be Berry Butler. I wanted to write a strong, independent, female character with her own story. She’s clever, super quirky. She’s over complicated. She’s a pop culture leech. She’s totally addicted to sugar. She knows what she likes, but she’s also flawed. I’d like to hang with her, but I don’t think it would be very easy to get to know her. I can tell you that we’re going to learn a LOT more about Berry in books 2 & 3. I hope the reader enjoys trying to understand how she ticks. Also, shout out to Dr Vegas. He rocks.
Immortal gods, online gaming, and a reincarnating goldfish … Lars Nilsson’s life is about to level up.
Online gamer, Lars Nilsson has just been booted from the top of the league in his latest high-stakes obsession. A sequence of cryptic in-game messages sends Lars on a journey of cosmic self-discovery more challenging than any game.