By Peter

Early on in thinking about the story of Coiled, I wanted to have a guide to the virtual world to help Joshua and his friends. Since the world of Space Station Tesla is completely virtual, it occurred to me that he could be from anywhere. My first thought was Australia, and I imagined someone like the Crocodile Hunter. But then I thought about how India has become such a software powerhouse, and that seemed more appropriate.

Thinking about India got me thinking about my friend, Shankar Venkatagiri, who is a professor in Bangalore. I met Shankar when we were both working at a start-up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This was during the dot-com boom, and, like many start-ups, the company was often a scene of very smart people working in an environment of chaos.

One of my favorite things about Shankar was that he was unflappable, and remained calm and cheerful no matter what nonsense was happening around him. My fictional Shankar is not exactly like the real thing, but I took that quality and brought it into my virtual world, where everything has an air of absurdity around it. Fortunately, the real Shankar was kind enough to let me use his name and likeness.