He began his career at the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines before starting high-tech ventures in everything from nanotechnology to electronic health records, weather prediction systems to genomics, even an award-winning brain-training video game. He now works as a full-time author of speculative fiction.
TFx: Where did you come up with the idea for this book?
Matthew: With this new novel, Meet Your Maker, I’m combining my craft and passion for unique sci-fi thrillers together with a love of the detective genre to spawn something new and fun for my readers.
The start of Meet Your Maker was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, one of my favorite writers. In particular his short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” in which detectives find the body of a man stuffed into a chimney, with no way that anyone could have come in or out. Many consider this short story the first modern detective story ever published, and I thought that a nod to it would make a great start to my own new detective series.
And if you’ve read any of my other work, you’ll know how much I love mixing reality into the fiction. Much of this book is based on real-world events and technologies: the blurring line between physical and digital, the already-underway Fourth Industrial Revolution, 3-D printers used to make guns and other weapons, “deepfake” video manipulation, autonomous robots that mimic biological organisms, and, of course, tetrachromats—real humans, like our hero Delta Devlin, who have a recessive gene giving them superhuman vision.
I don’t want to give away more than that, but this novel mixes all of this together with a fast-paced detective/thriller plot to start off a whole new series.
TFx: The cover says this book is about the underworld of “Maker Culture” – what does that mean? Could you tell us a little about the plot?
Matthew: Maker Culture is a global movement devoted to the idea of, well, making things ourselves. This begins with the idea of just do-it-yourself, but it extends to 3-D printers and on-demand manufacturing and more. There are events called Maker Faires that are held all over the world on a regular basis, and that’s where this book kicks off, at one of these events in New York.
A central theme of Meet Your Maker is the blurring line between the physical and digital worlds, and inspired by the idea of digital things somehow making that transition to the real, physical world, and all of the other things that might become possible with 3-D printers.
Using 3-D printers to make guns isn’t new. The first plans for a 3-D-printable gun, the Liberator, were made widely available online in 2013 by the open-source firm Defense Distributed, after which the US Department of State demanded that they be retracted. A federal judge recently blocked the release of blueprints of the Liberator, but by now a second wave of 3-D-printed guns has become available online—this time, through a decentralized community of hundreds of people. There is now a wave of underground 3-D-printing gunsmiths around the world, creating totally untraceable weapons. There are plans online for polymer Glocks, AR-15s, and more.
But, it doesn’t just stop there. Several attacks have occurred using drones, some of them made entirely with 3-D printing. The most recent and eye-opening was an attack on Saudi refineries in 2019, carried out by a small group using ten inexpensive 3-D printed drones that knocked out half the country’s oil production. The fear now is that 3-D-printer technology makes it possible to produce weapons of mass destruction that are chemical, biological, or even nuclear.
In the mid-1990s, Boy Scout David Hahn used household objects and scientific knowledge he gleaned from the web to start building a nuclear reactor in his backyard. Government officials intervened before he could finish, but today, with 3-D printers and the proliferation of online plans, it may be possible for almost anyone to manage such a feat.
Even more frighteningly, one of the great potentials of 3-D printers is to create living tissue, perhaps even the ability to lay down materials molecule by molecule. But imagine the potential for bioprinting viruses, whose plans can be distributed via the web?
That’s the basis for Meet Your Maker, to explore all of these possibilities, all wrapped up in a fast-paced detective thriller.
TFx: Detective Delta Devlin was a secondary character in The Dreaming Tree. What made you decide to write this spin-off series focused on her?
Matthew: Delta is by far one of my favorite characters. With an Irish beat-cop father and a famous artist mother who is Louisiana Creole, she provides a rich background to paint her character onto. Parts of her come from very different worlds, and she is constantly torn between them.
Her claim to fame, however, is that she is literally “the detective that can see things nobody else can.” She has a condition called “tetrachromatacy” which is a real-world recessive gene that only manifests itself in a vanishingly small percentage of the female population. Women who have this condition have an extra cone in their retina, so instead of three, they have four different basic wavelengths of light they can perceive. Instead of seeing just a million colors like regular humans, they can see a hundred million colors that are invisible to most of us.
Whenever we write a character, we want to have the reader “see” the world from their point of view, but in Delta’s case, this takes on a whole new meaning.
TFx: What’s next for the series?
Matthew: I’m currently writing Out Of Time, which is a mash-up of a (technically possible) time travel story with the detective thriller with a splash of international intrigue.
Get Matthew's latest release, Meet Your Maker, out now on Amazon.
The explosive new detective sci-fi thriller from Amazon Charts phenomenon Matthew Mather, million-copy bestseller with books translated in over twenty countries around the globe.
With an Irish beat cop father and famous Creole artist mother from Louisiana, Detective Delta Devlin has always stepped between two worlds, but when the rookie is invited to work at Interpol HQ in Europe, she could have never imagined just how far apart those worlds would take her...
In the Czar's Suite of Kiev's five-star Persian Palace, police discover a body jammed impossibly deep in a narrow ventilation duct. Security cameras reveal that no one else entered the supersecure room.
An ocean away, Interpol rookie Delta Devlin witnesses an attempted assassination, but the bullet meant for the Ukrainian prime minister hits her father instead, lodging next to his heart. Investigations reveal that ex-KGB operator Yuri Korshunov smuggled a 3D-printed plastic gun into the UN Building.
As her father falls into a mysterious coma, Devlin tracks down infamous tech wunderkind Lenny Bondar at the Maker Faire, a global gathering of hackers. Desperate, she follows Korshunov and Bondor into the underworld of Eastern Europe. There, her worst nightmares materialize from the darkness. Something is coming for her, and it may not even be alive.
With Russian troops massed on the borders, and her father on the brink of death, Devlin follows a trail of bizarre murders ever deeper into no-man's-land. But can she uncover the truth and save her father before a new kind of war forever alters the world?
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