About the Author

My name is Andrew G. Berger. I have studied German Literature, Political Sciences and History. Today I live and work in Berlin. I am married and have two children.

As a high school student, I realized that writing was something I liked and enjoyed. So I wrote for the school newspaper, then for the local paper, and later as a student for a large national daily newspaper. Then I wrote short stories that were published in anthologies.

Over time I developed the idea for “THE SUPERFLARE”, my first long novel. It was published in 2022. The story is set in the near future and explores how humans might behave in extreme situations.

An artificial superintelligence plays a central role in it – and not by chance. The question of what impact the triumph of AI could have on humanity’s future has long been the subject of controversial debate. Since Chat GPT was launched, this discussion has reached the public – and gained even more urgency.

Please feel free to read the AUTHOR INTERVIEW below to learn more about me and the writing process.

The IWORDBOOKS Interview – Andrew G. Berger

26 Feb 2024

What inspired you to write this book?
One day I was sitting in a subway train and looked around me – everybody around me was staring at some kind of digital screen. This example is just the tip of the iceberg. Today we are completely dependent on countless digital helpers – smartphones, navigation devices, laptops, iPads, tablets, smart TVs, smart watches, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, smart homes, Google, the Internet, etc. And I thought to myself – what if some catastrophe caused the digital world to collapse? What if all our digital devices stopped working overnight? How would people react if they were suddenly deprived of all their technical and digital helpers? That seemed to be the interesting core of a thrilling story. But what could cause such a catastrophe? After some in-depth research, I found out: A worldwide EMP, triggered by a gigantic solar storm, could do the trick. Based on this concept, I designed possible scenarios that branched out and condensed more and more. The story that would eventually be told in THE SUPERFLARE slowly began to emerge.

Where did you get your information or idea for your book?
From everyday life, experiences, and the topics that occupied me. The fear of machines, robots, and artificial intelligence has been as old as humanity’s longing to simplify their lives, enhance their capabilities, or even – as “homo deus” – create a new life form: Artificial Intelligence. Professor Yuval Noah Harari describes this process and its potential consequences in his book “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.” His concern is that artificial intelligence might not make humans all-powerful but rather render them obsolete. When I began writing THE SUPERFLARE several years ago, these thoughts were on my mind as I developed the character of TRON, an artificial super-intelligence that plays a central role in my novel.

When you’re working on a book and a new idea pops up, should you pursue it immediately (also known as ‘UP syndrome’) or finish your current project first? What do you think is the best course of action?
I think every writer has his/her own way of dealing with such ideas. I tend to concentrate on the project at hand, but I also use a pin board to pin down new ideas so that they are not lost.

Which character do you enjoy writing the most as a writer and why? If choosing a favorite character is like choosing a favorite child, which character do you find requires the most attention and detail from you as a writer?
I enjoyed all the characters and their interplay. But, of course, the main characters require the most attention. During the writing process, many of the supporting characters developed a life of their own and became increasingly important, so I gave them more room to move.

Was there anything you had to research for the book?
Of course, good research is essential. The technical details, the world-building, and the whole setting must be coherent – despite all the poetic and creative freedom necessary to write an exciting, captivating story.

Did you have any say in the cover design?
Yes, of course, I ordered it and discussed and commented on each draft I received from the designer until I was fine with the result and accepted it.

Do you have any personal connection to the story or characters?
Of course, because I created them. They are based on my thoughts, my ideas, and my imagination, which in turn are based on my experiences and my character, the books I have read, my likes and dislikes, fears and hopes, my values, the society and time I live in. Nobody writes in a vacuum.

What were the key challenges you faced while writing your book?
I started with a basic story idea and plot outline. As the writing progressed, the story became more and more complex, and it was quite a challenge to keep track of all the different strands of the story and the many characters and weave them together in a meaningful and exciting way. I also had to accept that the characters had developed a life of their own, so I just followed them and the flow to find out where it would take me. After having finished the first draft, the re-write process began to make sure that every piece fell into the right place.