A fiction novel requires no introduction, but occasionally it demands one. It is not the intention of this writer to engage in a polemical work to discredit ideological opponents or to write a tendentious broadside masquerading as a novel in order to convert the nonconvertible. The narrative is merely an exploration of characters in an imagined setting, and a depiction of their reactions, interactions and resolutions in the light of shared difficulties and conflicting intentions. But it would be disingenuous to pretend that it is not a commentary in some ways upon this world’s present plight.
The resurgence of an anti-industrial ideology that at its very essence is opposed to civilization, yet is predatory upon the technological advances that only civilization could have birthed, is a leitmotif that is fraught with opportunity and peril. It is not the intention of the author to dismiss that humanity faces obstacles springing forth from industrial life, such as pollution; or to deny that climate change exists, although it is a perpetual feature of nature that is only slightly impacted by human activity. Environmental challenges exist, and the author is not brushing that reality aside.
In some ways, modern mankind’s fears about industrial society can be explained in a straightforward fashion; but it would truly take the milieu of dystopian fiction to do the conflicting fears justice. Many people feel impotent in the face of increasing social complexity and seek cozy retreat in the beckoning confines of nature. Thus, some understandably feel the primal urge to get back to the wilderness and to ‘simpler times.’ Escapism, in one way or another, is our society’s singular cause. This book is in some ways about human beings finding the courage to face objective reality. It is an escape from escapism.
There is a deep, subconscious craving for human beings to feel like they are part of an epic struggle. The apotheosis of environmentalism clings to the residue of past religions and replaces their dusty attachments with a shining new universal religion, substituting the God of the afterlife with an all-powerful State ruling in the here-and-now. The human, all-too-human rulers heroically take up the mantle of socially re-engineering man, presumably before we all meet some nuclear, or by substitute, climactic apocalypse, vary from the tragically misguided to the unmistakably nefarious. Some are well-intentioned; others are not. The dynamic between these two archetypes is also a major aspect of the book, lending it an originality that is not commonly found in dystopian fiction.
Until human beings feel heroic in their own right, rather than victims of a tragedy that can be magically whisked away by an omnipotent state, then the world will always be in real danger of authoritarian statism that can admittedly be used for good or for evil – but neither on a guaranteed timeline. The inhabitants of Western Civilization will continue their destructive cycle of trying to live at the expense of others, because it is only natural that people seek the path of least resistance. They will also remain in perpetual dismay about their miraculously high standards of living, if only some people live better lives than them.
It would be best if we all realize the true dangers that lay before us, as opposed to ferociously combating the various imagined threats we so earnestly want to believe real. We should always be ready to question authority, regardless of the truth, never give control over our minds and bodies to others, and never trust those whose first and last answer to any question is to use fraud and force. With these caveats in mind, the author hopes that all readers can find something to enjoy about this novel.
About Kyle Nathaniel Alfred Becker
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Published October 2, 2012
Literature & Fiction.