Yesterday, Booker Prize Award Winner Salman Rushdie was seen scrambling out of bed in what looked like an unwashed undershirt, which barely covered his belly, throwing on his glasses to crank out the last 10,000 words of Robot Fatwa: The Novel, an AI political love-thriller he began for National Novel Writing Month.
National Novel Writing Month is a yearly event encouraging writers to complete a 40,000-word novel within the month of November, with a focus on young or inexperienced authors who have yet to be recognized for their literary talents. When world-renowned British Indian novelist Rushdie began writing Robot Fatwa earlier last month, he actively updated his friends on Facebook on a daily basis with his progress and daily word count and all the struggles he faced each day while writing.
After downing a few Hi-Balls and yelling “fuck, fuck, fuck I got this” repeatedly and attempting a few push-ups on his bedroom floor, Rushdie returned to the bed which he had at one point shared with Top Chef Host and former supermodel, Padma Lakshmi, to continue writing. Laying sprawled out over his stomach, he began stuffing himself with Quevos™ low-carb egg-chips and frantically typing out words till November ended at midnight.
According to Rushdie, his final product may have been slightly different from how he initially conceived of writing Robot Fatwa. He said: “I had originally intended for the book to be centered loosely around the theme of transmigration—or wait no, it was something very profound about human flaws concealed in Islamic society, but then along the way it just kind of morphed into this thing with aliens and Galacticon and AI robots taking over earth. I literally could not even tell you how it ends.”
“Death,” he caught himself. “It was definitely something about death and the immense power of grief. But I think after the first 20,000 words, I kept the plot mostly centered around the AI sex robots thing. I don’t remember if I mentioned Islam or immigration again after the first 2,000 words, which I had spent the entire month up to Thanksgiving writing and rewriting in painstaking, exquisite detail.”
Rushdie, who claims to be just as happy with his official NaNoWriMo Winner’s Award for participation as he is with his Man Booker Prize as well as his official knighthood in France and the United Kingdom, said, regardless of any potential significant plot changes, he still had high hopes for the novel’s upcoming release. He expects it will, without a doubt, make the New York Times Bestseller list, and he remained certain it would be lauded by critics.
“No matter what, I’m still Salman Rushdie,” he said. “No matter how incoherent my book is, or how derailed the plot got from whatever point I was making about Islamic society when I started letting all the aliens come out of nowhere and take over Earth…they’ll only make something up and say that it adds to the rich, layered textures of the narration and redefines our perception of the role temporality inhabits in contemporary literature. Like what the fuck does temporality even mean? Literally, does anyone know? Something about like time passing, right?”
Before leaving, Rushdie said: “And the major battle scene, which had been taken straight out of the movie Battlestar Galactica, and occupied 15,000 of the 40,000 words in the novel in grotesquely vivid, unnecessary detail—they’ll make up some bullshit about how it’s the deepest allusion to Homer’s Iliad we’ve seen in writing over the past thirty years.”
“I could write literally anything about anything,” he added. “These people really have no idea how to read.” Still, in spite of glowing reviews from the New York Book Review, whether anyone has ever read a single novel that’s come out of NaNoWriMo remains to be seen, including Rushdie’s.