Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
Recently, we talked with Victor Torvich, a physicist by education and inventor by heart, about his writing and his unpublished book, Subsurface History of Humanity.
Victor Torvich is a physicist by education and inventor by heart. His work in precise science fields was initially in physics, and later, in complex systems.
Victor Torvich always was inclined to be creative. His work in physics was not purely academic. Instead, it was dedicated to solving engineering problems. Victor worked in several different areas of physics/engineering. In every area he got patents.
In complex systems, Victor Torvich specializes in the complex system of humanity. He published several academic papers on this topic and many more papers are in a journal queue.
Victor Torvich lives in a center of Silicon Valley, which is in California, USA.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
My upcoming book is a historical nonfiction. The title is “Subsurface History of Humanity”. Nobody ever looked at what was going on under the surface of historical events. Definitely, I’m original here.
Tell us some more about your book.
Let me tell you first the questions, for which I was not able to find answers in any books, articles, or on the Internet.
Could you make sense of humanity’s history based on existed knowledge about that history? Is there any order in the history of humanity? Does known history provide a clue to a future? Did you come across a single short book, or, even better, one sentence, which describes where mankind is headed? I guess, not.
To answer those questions, I had to write the book. That book should clearly show an objective direction, where humankind is heading.
What inspired the premise of your book?
A short answer is mathematics. If you want to describe the direction you go from your bedroom to the kitchen you have to use math. The same is true with a description of any direction. The direction of mankind’s development is not an exception.
Why in the past many thousand years nobody found this direction? The answer is simple. Nobody tried to apply methods of precise science to humankind’s global history for the duration of the whole history of mankind. Yet, it should be possible. It just has to be done and done properly.
Are you a feeler or a thinker?
In non-narrative nonfiction, you could not be just a feeler. The plot in such a book is not with human characters. It is with ideas and their delivery. You have to be a thinker to write such a book and to make it interesting. At the same time, the more stories are incorporated into the book, the better. You have to be a feeler too. I guess I’m both a thinker and a feeler.
Which scene or chapter in the book is your favorite? Why?
My favorite book chapter is one titled “Mankind Development”. This chapter is central to the whole book. The most interesting section in this chapter called “Mankind History in One Graph”. This graph shows an objective direction, in which humanity is moving during the last 44 thousand years. It is simple and easily understandable. I think readers will enjoy reading and seeing it.
What makes this book important right now?
If you look back into all the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, you have to wonder if the history of humanity is just a chain of unrelated, chaotic events or not? The understanding that there is a clearly defined movement of mankind in a certain direction would be an important anchor for people in this raging world.
My book addressed to the general public, who are 13-14 years or older. Anybody, who is interested in our history, in how humankind functions, could read it.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My book is easy to read. At the same time, there are over 200 references in my book. I had to do a lot of research. Sometimes scientific publications, which I found, made me rethink what I was writing. My writing and research phases overlapped quite often.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
“Subsurface History of Humanity” is my first book. It is finished but is not published yet.
How many hours a day do you write?
When I write or edit, I tried to do, at least, 250 words every day.
What are your favorite books?
Ray Kurzweil “Singularity is Near” book was an inspiration for me. This book revealed a lot of long-term trends in mankind’s history. However, those trends are dedicated mostly to technology. The book, which impressed me lately, is
Max Tegmark’s “Life 3.0”. The subtitle is “Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence”.
What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I hope the reader will get objective answers to a multitude of “big questions”. Here is the list of those questions.
What is the direction of mankind’s development?
How fast humankind is moving in that direction?
Is that move controllable by humans?
Why humans rule the Earth?
Which force is driving humanity’s development?
Will mankind’s development in a future continue its path as it does now? Or could it change?
What circumstances can lead us off course?
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