What I Like Most About Writing Science Fiction Part 2
I wanted to share what I most like about writing in the science fiction genre: Evolution of people and societies over long time spans. Another example of what I mean is Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. this also means I am talking about writing a whole series of connected novels. In my last post, I began to identify what I mean by “evolution.” In it, I looked at how a society grows and changes over many centuries.
Today, I’m looking at my second viewpoint of evolution – that of aberration or how traumatic events propagate down the ages. For example, a parent abuses child; child grows up and abuses his children in a similar manner. Or a person is raped and thereafter the person is afraid, fearful of … Many of current TV shows are dramatizing this type of situation.
Coupled intimately with this is my personal belief that we are all immortal spiritual beings who have a mind and who are generally inhabiting human bodies. Call it Karma or whatever, but this notion is reflected in many religions. A short illustration might show you what I mean by this union.
Take a minute and imagine a black cat in your mind. Get a good image of it, if you can. Now turn it red or some other color. Okay. That is your mind, sometimes called the conscious mind or the analytical mind. Pinch yourself. That is your physical body, human I hope. (Tease). Now the key question. Who is looking at that picture of the cat? That is you, the being, the person, the personality, you.
Okay, now that you have some idea what I am talking about, let’s see why this is so key to why I write long series of science fiction novels.
An individual person can suffer very traumatic events, events that cause severe pain and unconsciousness or tremendous personal loss. Likewise, a whole society can also undergo a severe trauma. While society is beginning to accept the fact that these traumas can adversely affect the person for the rest of their lifetimes unless healed, my proposition is that since the person, the being, is immortal and will have further lifetimes (Karma or whatever), that trauma is still there and can still impact them in their future lives.
Worse, we tend to forget previous lifetimes. We try to avoid pain, and that other body did just die somehow. Also, the old out of sight, out of mind kicks in. We forget things, especially if those things are no longer present anywhere in our lives. Best left forgotten is frequently the norm. Yet, that un-erased, un-handled trauma is still there, buried deep in what many call our unconscious minds and can still impact our lives.
Just how do, why, and what do such traumatic events have on people and upon a society as a whole? This, then, is the second aspect of evolution that so intrigues me and which I often explore when writing science fiction novels.
Case in hand: The Adventures of Elizabeth Stanton, Being at Large, Volumes 1-13.
The first novel begins with the six year Elizabeth living in a rural village. The world consists of small isolated villages and Druwids are watching over and protecting these farmer villages in the land called the Greenway. Her local druwid begins training her to follow in her footsteps. At this time, the druwids are organized into circles of seven, each member providing a different focus of their skills. One is their healer, an expert in the art of healing. One is their protector, an expert in fighting and the combat arts. The leader of the circle is called the Wid, because they need to know the most about everything.
Beyond their land, there are other societies, burly Axemen of the far north, wild horsemen to the east. South of their land likes the 7 Sea Prince kingdoms who deal heavily in trade using their large fleets. More critically, far to the south lies an island kingdom known as Megalos. They have a powerful army of Centurions, who are out to conquer the known northern lands.
Far, far to the east lies another giant kingdom, wholly unknown to these western countries at the start of the series. And there are many other lands on other continents, unknown as well.
Initially, the novels document the expansion of the druwids as they try to prevent the Centurions from attacking the Greenway. As unrest and random raider attacks grow, her family and her druwid teacher abandon their small home heading for safety. They are brutally attacked before they can reach safety and Elizabeth endures a very severe trauma, both physical and emotional, one which continues to severely impact her life from this point onward, even though she soon becomes the Wid of her Lightening Circle. Her trauma continues to plague her and if she’s not careful, it can drive her insane. With her circle, she visits the Sea Princes, charged with spying on the Centurions in hopes of discovering how they could be defeated.
The series of novels then follow her through many successive lifetimes. World circumstances constantly change, but she and her associates continue to try to bring peace and tranquility to at least that part of the world where they live.
Across lifetimes, societies evolve, grow, and expand, giving an ever changing background to the events of her lives and those around her.
What no one knows at the start is that their world is actually a penal colony for three alien races. They dump their unwanted, undesirable beings here on this world. Criminals and intellects and artists and non-conformist and political dissidents – all get heavily implanted with a severe trauma and dumped onto this penal colony. How are these beings kept in their cells? Their cells are their human bodies. After all, when was the last time that you stepped out of your body and headed off to another location to see the sights?
While the alien races believe this is the ideal solution for their undesirables, the fatal flaw is that they also dump some extremely intelligent and bright beings here, plastering them into human bodies. One of these realizes the truth: that he and everyone else is a spiritual being, immortal, with a mind and a body. He sets out in the second novel to change the world, educating people about this fact: the Great Messiah. The Centurions exterminate his body for his efforts are seen as threatening their iron handed rule. He and Elizabeth continue on their chosen path of trying to find a way to free the beings from a constant dependency upon physical bodies, restoring their original native powers and abilities.
As lifetimes go by, they and their close associates learn of the existence of the three alien races who are hiding behind the scenes, controlling the behavior of the humans in their areas. The Grey Creatures control the northern lands at the start, while the giant fifty-foot mantis creatures control the south. Each group of aliens is trying to get their humans to go to war and wipe out the opposite group of humans. Thus, Elizabeth must find a way to get rid of these ultra-powerful aliens and eventually does.
As technology grows, so does ship building. At long last caravels are built that permit lengthy ocean travel and Elizabeth and her crew head off to explore all the rest of their world, discovering many other civilizations on other continents, including those in the Far East, who are under the control of the third alien race, still around.
With the world now opened up by her voyage of exploration, vast new trading routes are established among all the dominate countries. Far to the south on the southern continent, the giant Demokritos, from which those on Megalos are descended from ancient times, becomes the giant power and begins to threaten to take over the entire world by force. They have to be stopped somehow.
Through these centuries, the technology to actually erase the horrible traumas a person has suffered begins to grow and produce results. Later on, Elizabeth and the Great Messiah discover that there is even a way to help a being regain the vast powers that he or she once had had, before becoming convinced that they were nothing more than a physical body and only live once. But in order to do this special therapy, the Great Messiah must have a peaceful, tranquil environment in which to work. Certainly no wars ongoing. Thus, Elizabeth devotes her lifetimes to maintaining that peaceful environment so Jes can carry out his therapy, rehabilitating the human beings.
These many lifetimes illustrate how traumas impact people and in different ways. With the right therapy, the traumas can be erased to the betterment of the person.
Just as Elizabeth and Jez are about to really produce stellar and widespread results, the aliens return. By now, they’ve mutually decided to abandon this penal colony and are making their last dump runs. However, the mantis creatures who were primarily responsible for genetically making the human bodies have other ideas. Upon arrival, the mantis creatures are shocked to find some of their prisoners are escaping their cells, that is their physical bodies. Immediately, they embark on a new program to somehow force them back into their cells, to undo the spiritual gains made by Elizabeth and Jes and their therapies. They almost succeed too.
This series then explores just how traumas impact a person and across lifetimes. Does it have a parallel to what’s going on Earth? Something to think about.