My Books!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Matrix And The Alice Books

Welcome! You've arrived just in time for Voice Simandan's interview.  Get comfortable, and let's see what our guest has to say.

1. How do you feel about self-publishing?

My very first book, The Spirit of Medieval Japan, appeared under the publishing wing of an NGO while dozens of my non-fiction articles and short stories were published in various academic journals and anthologies. Apart from public exposure, there was no monetary benefit. Among the books I have chosen to self-publish, The Matrix and the Alice Books has been the most successful financially. As a writer, to be paid for your writing is a huge reward. Now that one can read an e-book on an increasing score of gadgets, I think self-publishing is a positive way for writers to make their work available to a very large section of the public. And if the writer did their job properly, then they might even see a return on their investment.


2. Which genre appeals least to you?  Why?

I have various intellectual interests, from history to anthropology to linguistics, so I tend to evenly balance the number of non-fiction and fiction books that I read. Recently, I have started reading more and more science fiction, delving into the works of the classics that have established this genre. However, I also read literary fiction, fast paced mysteries, and books of fiction written by expats living in Thailand – which I then review for a Bangkok-based monthly magazine.


3. What does your family think about having an author in the family?

As a young boy, I used to see and hear my father writing fast and furious on his noisy typewriter on a daily basis. I published a very short news item in a local newspaper in 1995, at the of 17, and ever since then I have published hundreds of articles and about two dozen short stories in newspapers, magazines, anthologies and websites around the world, using both English and Romanian text. For me, writing seems to be a family legacy.


My Thai wife comes from a Chinese background and she thus has an acute entrepreneurial spirit and an entrenched desire to succeed in her on-going business(es) for which she uses most of the hours of a day for her work. That leaves me with plenty of quiet time to pen my next international bestseller, which will obviously become the inspiration of a future Hollywood blockbuster! Of course, from time to time, she reminds me that while there are high chances she will become a millionaire in a few years time, I have very slim chances of affording to quit my day job and become a full-time writer.


4. What is your favorite book? That you wrote, I mean…

The book that I’m virtually touring now. It is an intertextual study of the film The Matrix and the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. The initial research for the book was done as part of my two-year master’s degree studies in Bangkok. I have probably seen The Matrix trilogy over one hundred times and having the book in my hands has brought my longtime obsession with The Matrix and the Alice Books to a satisfactory conclusion. Now it’s time for the world to read it and dive down the rabbit hole and explore a world where the boundary between dreams and reality is blurred by some of the most remarkable and memorable fictional characters ever to appear on the pages of a book and on the screen of a TV.


5. Did any other authors inspire you? If so, who?

It is very difficult to name just one single author but I do have favourites within the literature written by one country or another. Thus, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his The Great Gatsby – the first unabridged book that I had ever read in English – would be my choice from the many other American writers I enjoy reading. Natsume Soseki’s and Yukio Mishima’s body of works, with Kokoro and, respectively, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion – which I have recently visited during my trip to Japan – are two Japanese writers and two novels I could reread over and over again and still find new meanings and things I have missed in my previous readings. William Golding’s view on the nature of mankind, brilliantly depicted in Lord of the Flies, makes him my favourite British author while the short stories of Mircea Eliade, a Romanian philosopher mostly known for his seminal books on the history of religion, have had the most visible influence on my fiction writing.

Thank you so much for answering my questions. Readers, it's time for a blurb and excerpt.

The Matrix and the Alice Books

by Voicu Mihnea Simandan





The Matrix and the Alice Books presents aspects of intertextuality in three primary sources: the script of the motion picture The Matrix written by directors Andy and Larry Wachowski, and the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll.


Intertextuality is a set of relations with other texts, which can include direct quotations, allusions, literary conventions, imitation, parody and unconscious sources amongst others. In The Matrix there are few explicit references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.


This book by Voicu Mihnea Simandan presents both the explicit references and the less direct ones, giving evidence from primary and secondary sources. In doing so, it makes use of a literary construction developed from GĂ©rard Genette’s structuralist theory of transtextuality as a framework to present how a web of intertextual relationships is clearly formed between the Alice books and The Matrix.





“In The Matrix, Neo comes from the Oracle a bit disappointed with what he had just found out, but Morpheus tries to show him the way: “Neo, sooner or later, you’re going to realize, just as I did, that there’s a difference between knowing the path... and walking the path...” Alice wakes up only when she is ready to face the real world, just as Neo has to understand that, in order to defeat the agents and end the war, he has to face his demons and take control of his own life. […]


In The Matrix, Cypher confesses his regrets to Neo over getting unplugged. “You know, I know what you’re thinking, because right now I’m thinking the same thing. Actually, I’ve been thinking it ever since I got here... Why, oh why, didn’t I take... the blue pill?” The repeated phrase shows hesitation and the intensity of Cypher’s emotions. Neither Alice nor Cypher understand the new world they have entered, and both have second thoughts about remaining there. But, while Alice tries to unlock the secret of wonderland and eventually is able to control it, just as Neo does in the end, Cypher betrays his crew members in a desperate move to be reinserted into the Matrix.


Despite an ever-changing environment and logic, both Alice and Neo continue to deal with the challenges that beset them. No prior experience in wonderland or the Matrix can teach them about what to expect in their next undertaking; nevertheless they manage to get through each encounter, ready to face new situations.”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
 Voicu Mihnea Simandan is a Romanian writer and freelance journalist who was born in 1978 in Arad, a small city in Transylvania. He has published short stories, non-fiction, and books for children. He has been calling Thailand home since 2002 and he has been a member of the Bangkok Writers' Guild since 2009 and a member of AP Writers since 2012. He is now teaching Language Arts and Social Studies at an international school in Bangkok. His upcoming debut novel, The Buddha Head, a suspense thriller set in Thailand, is scheduled for publication in late 2013. He loves archery, martial arts and travelling.
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Readers, follow this tour and comment often for your chance to win an electronic copy of Mr. Cheng's Coffeepot. Voicu is giving one away at every stop. He's also giving away a grand prize of a $10 gift certificate. You can find his tour schedule at



  1. That's a lot of genres

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  2. You mention Thailand's expat community. Is it big there? Are there a lot of expats writing there? Is it like Paris in the 20s?
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  3. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  4. @Catherine: No, it's nothing like Paris. The expat community is quite big, but as expat writers go... only a very few can make a living from their writing.