Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scifi as folklore

One reason I like to write science fiction is that I see the genre as the folklore of the future. Some writers see the future as apocalyptic, and I tend to agree we will probably come close to ending ourselves without the help of space aliens. However, I tend to think that if we learn responsibility as a species, we might become seeds to the universe. The problem is the duality of our natures. We contain both good and bad: generosity tempered with avarice and self-seeking, xenophobia combined with an adventurer's desire for exploration. You can come up with more examples, I'm sure. To make matters more difficult, sometimes our good traits result in disaster, and sometimes our worst characteristics save us.

In my new novel, Crewkin, corporate leaders, though only indirectly mentioned, are just as greedy and ruthless as some few are today. To create ship crews that won't succumb to the rigors of long-distance space travel the corporations develop specialized crews.

The concept is simple. Raise children from birth who exist only within their own society. Provide nurses who care for but never develop relationships with their charges. Develop leaders and make sure everyone else submits to their leader's rule. Control the genome; make sure they have superior genes, select for disease resistance, strength, a certain look to make sure your crewkin look very similar, this will also emphasize their difference from other human beings. Educate them with information reinforcing the 'rightness' of their isolation and their ultimate superiority. Teach duty and dedication as their sole focus. Finally, use punishment to subvert any independent thought or action. However, no one should call these groups slaves, for they are crewkin, and as far as the general public and government know, choose to live together, even die if kept apart. Then, to increase that perception, brainwash your crews to suicide if the crew can no longer function, make sure the general public believes this myth, and there you have your perfect crew.

Perhaps, in the history of crewkin, there might be one who doesn't fit. What happens when she chooses not to die? What happens if she has the courage to seek a life outside the confinement of crewkin indoctrination? Can she survive? And if she does, what type of danger does she pose to the corporations?

Look for Crewkin from MuseItUp Publishing in February.