[Warning: May Contain Minor Spoilers]
My science fiction thriller, Memory Leak, is full of palindromes. From the tagline, “Live not on evil” to names like “Liam Mail” and “Kerrek Reinier.” My reasoning was to show that in the fictional society in Memory Leak, symmetry pervaded every aspect of life. From a person’s face, to their name, to their mannerisms, everything is symmetrical. I’ve heard from a few people that it took them two reads through to catch all of the symmetrical undertones.
The human mind likes patterns. If given the choice, our mind will put things in order, or make patterns out of nothing. Many found when first reading my novel that they didn’t notice some names and places had symmetrical features or names. That’s because their minds wanted there to be a pattern and so they naturally accepted it. I did this deliberately for one reason.
When the main character, Jonathan Hart, travels to Old Town, there is a stark contrast from the world he came from. Technically, my descriptions of the two sections of Nattan (Manhattan) were not too different. A few extra words here or there made a strong contrast in the mind. The difference between round edges and sharp edges on a table. It’s not something you point out at first and say “that’s what’s different.” Rather, it’s a feeling you get that one is more inviting than the other. My purpose was to convey the feeling that something was different between the two sections of town without telling the reader directly.
Writers: Do you employ similar techniques in your writing?
Readers: When did you notice the Palindromes? Also, how did your feelings of the main town and old town differ?