by Jeffrey Ford
Jeffrey Ford is the author of several novels, including The Physiognomy, The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, The Girl in the Glass , and The Shadow Year . He is a four-time winner of the World Fantasy Award, and has also won the Nebula and Edgar awards. He is a prolific author of short fiction, whose work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, SCI FICTION , and in numerous anthologies. Two collections of his short work have been published: The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories and The Empire of Ice Cream , with a third—The Drowned Life —on the way.
The idea for this story came from Ford's reading of Julian Jaynes's The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind . «The book posits that the voice of god in ancient cultures was in fact one side of the brain communicating with the other across the corpus callosum, through the Wernicke's Area,» Ford says.
Add to this the fact that at the time, as now, Ford was teaching Poe. He says the setup of the story is sort of like what Poe would do: «take some speculative aspect of science, a theory that has not been corroborated, an idea not many know the extent of, and extrapolate a bizarre, fanciful tale from it.»