There are probably lessons to be learned about being open and honest when writing, be it a novel or even nonfiction. Offending your reader will probably get you on someone’s shit list. It’s true that science fiction is given some leeway due to the very nature of exploring new ideas, worlds, and societies.
As a reader, I’m quite often amazed at how gutless authors can be that are fearful they will have to defend what they believe or at least wish to explore in their writing, unless they are Christian writers, in which case they can be as nonsensical as they please, and still find a large and supportive audience. Most authors avoid many issues completely, and those that delve into taboo areas like sex, religion, and government try to distance their protagonist so he or she doesn’t appear to be out of step with the mainstream. Let the villain be sex crazed, anti-Semitic, and out to overthrow the government.
Harvesting Terra set the stage for my newest novel, Resurrecting Terra. After a daring and almost successful attempt to rid Earth of an alien race that exterminated the vast majority of oxygen-breathing life forms, our three protagonists are left to contend with a single mother ship that crashes while trying to escape the inferno they set in hopes of creating an ice age. While exploring the crashed ship, they are forced to consume the aliens’ nutrient to keep from starving, not realizing they will be genetically altered.
In a matter of weeks, Dana, a spirited nine year old develops into a voluptuous teen, thus setting the stage for a story full of moral issues, that compound as the plot thickens. I did not set out to deal with sex being a major issue, but the plot made it an issue that was impossible to sidestep. In the process, the genetic alterations make our young protagonists almost super human. They soon realize that with the alien technology available from the crashed mother ship and a little help from the surviving aliens, that the future of man looks very promising, that is until all the other remaining life forms on Earth start to mutate.
So my stage was set, and eventually more survivors are found on Earth and are transported to Kauai Island and their new settlement. To compound the problem, only female children are conceived who develop seven times faster than normal and become sexually mature at age two. With few males and genetic alterations using alien transfiguration processes, lesbianism becomes very common, yet another issue I didn’t intend to deal with. The aliens are also a collective capable of telecommunication, and with their vast data bank of knowledge, many issues such as crime and punishment, government, God and religion become topics that are unavoidable.
These are not issues I’m shy to talk about. However, most of the people I associate with have strong Christian convictions, and don’t appreciate the fact that I try to point out that buying into sin and Armageddon have a very profound effect on the decisions humans make for the future. Why care about the environment if humanity is destined to disappear at the end of 2012? Why care that our nation is bankrupt? Although Christianity parades itself as the moral cornerstone for civilization, some of their beliefs are in fact very detrimental to the advancement of society. It is indeed a very touchy topic. Even in Science Fiction, how many Arthur C. Clarke’s do you find that will speculate that religion as we know it will disappear in the next millennia, and that man might actually come to his senses. Although Charles Darwin is well respected, there are many people who accept evolution in general, but still discount man descending from apes. To say that man is more likely the creator of God than God being the creator of man is blasphemy to believers, even though there is not one shred of evidence that God created anything.
As a writer I love to speculate about God. I truly believe there are forces beyond our understanding, and there may also be some form of intelligence that has an interest in the evolution of life on Earth. I can even see the possibility that unseen energies may actually bond life together. I hope we all have souls and will come to some enlightenment when we die, however, if I do have a soul, it’s mine and not something I will bargain with for some promise to end up in heaven, which may not be at all to my liking. I will certainly be threatened with hell, but I’m willing to take my chances because I believe I will be judged by my actions, not my proclamations.
As an observer of government, I understand man’s need for a protector. Everyone is seeking justice, and justice only exists in laws. To me, it’s a very sad commentary, but men have a long way to go to be above laws, even though most men are inherently good. It’s just that I see man doing a much better job of minding his own affairs that having government do it for him.
Perhaps the touchiest subject to deal with is sex. It’s amazing how obsessed with sex we are as a species, yet how unrealistic we are about it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concerns of parents with their children, and I understand the desire to protect the innocent, but I sometimes think back to my childhood and recall the vivid dreams I had before I knew there was such a thing as sex. To deny that young girls fall in love with mature men, or that mature men desire young girls is utter nonsense, or that older women desire young men. Humans are animals, and we should never forget this.
So how do you write about sex and not come across as some pervert? Believe me, I give this topic a great deal of consideration. As a writer, I choose to be controversial. I choose to be honest. I write knowing I will offend, but I try to do it in a way that will make people question the motives of society, and realize that many of the problems man faces is because of beliefs that are undoubtedly due for some reassessment. You can only find true enlightenment by accepting the truth, and you can only find the truth by being open.