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Themes

Monday, 27 June 2016

I am covering some common ground here, again, but I feel pretty strongly about my views on the matter. It can't hurt to include this in as many social media outlets as I have access to. Now, onwards...

As of today, my novel, Transilience, has only 4 weeks left in its funding campaign. I need a lot of help to make this a reality. So please help. Order a copy today.

Something happened on Friday that made one of the themes in Transilience become very relevant. Britain voted to leave the EU.

I’ve covered themes in Transilience before on my blog Skid Rogue Haven; however, I’d like to do it again. I promise these themes will not be couched in the same terms (or all of them anyway) as the last time. It might be worth reading this post – even if you have read every other post in my Haven.

Science Fiction has a strong tradition of being a platform for social commentary. This is no secret. I bring it up because Transilience fits within that tradition and it’s important that we all know that factoid.

There are two plots, covering two themes in Transilience. The themes: Greed and Idealism.

Greed is the B Plot. Social commentary on greed is nothing new.

Greed, that old chestnut!

However, it doesn’t mean it isn’t any less relevant. The divide between rich and poor is growing exponentially each year. The quest for higher profit margins – and satisfied stockowners – continues to impact the world around us. The environment is compromised. Ecosystems decimated. Towns ruined. All because something can be made cheaper elsewhere. Or the price is too high to not destroy our planet. Or not replace city services when they are killing the citizenry.

More than ever, the cost of greed needs to be a theme explored through fiction and non-fiction alike.

Idealism is the A Plot. The main story. The one that will prove the most difficult for the protagonist.

The idealism of which I speak is the dialogue of racism. Anti-immigration. The belief that a country is better off without an influx of men, women and children looking to make a start somewhere else.

In Transilience, horrible acts of terrorism happen because some believe the Western world is better off without these people who want to make a better life somewhere else. Somewhere safe. Free from war. Free from tyranny.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

On Friday the UK voted to leave the EU. You can say it was about this or it was about that. However, UKIP made immigration the defining issue and I agree with the BBC on this one.

In the US, the presumptive nominee for the GOP’s bid for the presidency has thus far only one clearly defined platform in his candidacy: Exclusion. Build a wall and start deporting whoever you don’t happen to like at the time.

At the heart of these issues – and the same one that features in Transilience – is the idea of a loss of national and cultural identity. What does that even mean?

For a country (England) which has as many regional traditions as it does dialects, can you claim a national identity? Is language? Is it Sunday roast? Is it being white?

For a country with 50 different states, each with a history that predates their joining the Union and their history once them became a state. 50 little countries really with their own customs. Their own cultural traditions that separate them from the 49 other states in the Union. Here’s the kicker. Most of those traditions were brought to the US from elsewhere. That’s right. By immigrants. Men, women and children looking for a land of opportunity.

 “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

How can a country so large and so varied claim a national identity or culture? Is it language? Is it baseball? Is it being white?

Over these past few weeks, it has felt like characters from my novel have quite literally walked off the pages and into reality. I find it all rather unsettling.

The connection between the A and the B Plot are the protagonist, Daniel Helmqvist. A Private Investigator in Mars’s only city, New London. In the novel he must evaluate his moral compass against the commitments he makes to his clients. Having done that, he must then face the consequences of those decisions (for good and ill) and try to make a living.

What happens, I will leave safely tucked away in the pages of the novel. I am very sad to say that if you want to find out, you have to buy the book.

Thanks for reading.

Again, time is running out on the campaign. Your support will be greatly appreciated and you will be immortalized in print for your kindness.

Cheers,

Kevin

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