Author Chuck Palahniuk first came up with the idea for the novel after being beaten up on a camping trip when he complained to some nearby campers about the noise of their radio. When he returned to work, he was fascinated to find that nobody would mention or acknowledge his injuries, instead saying such commonplace things as “How was your weekend?” Palahniuk concluded that the reason people reacted this way was because if they asked him what had happened, a degree of personal interaction would be necessary, and his workmates simply didn’t care enough to connect with him on a personal level. It was his fascination with this societal ‘blocking’ which became the foundation for the novel.
"This is one corner of one country on one continent on one planet that’s a corner of a galaxy that’s a corner of a universe that is forever growing and shrinking and creating and growing and never remaining the same for a single millisecond, and there is so much—so much to see. Because it goes so fast. I’m not running away from things, I am running to them. Before they flare and fade forever."