Welcome to my world
Welcome to a dark fictional journey. These are my themes: Abuse of power. Greed. The need for control. Conflict between the desire for freedom and the need for security. Fear of change. The struggles of the heart and the dark corners of the mind.
Many of my stories involve some form of slavery. Whether formal or informal, slavery, by many names, runs through the entirety of human history and embodies many of our eternal conflicts. It’s also a subject that’s been swept under the rug in the belief that it belongs to the bad old days before we became thoroughly civilized. But it still exists.
Those stories are, in a sense, fantasies. Hidden Boundaries and Crossing Boundaries are set in an alternate universe where slavery is the norm, institutionalized in law. The two books are part of what I call the Hand Slaves universe. Privileged Lives is near-future science fiction that sneaks in a more modern, invisible form of slavery. In some ways, its themes overlap with those of the Hand Slaves universe, but it takes place in a near future that could easily be where we’re going right now.
These fantasy and science fiction worlds enable me to highlight the questions of what it means to be human, and the belief of those who crave power that other humans are worth so little that they can be owned, used, and even destroyed as if they're mere objects.
Which takes us to a change of direction in my writing. Thanks to the work of many organizations, the continuing existence of slavery, in both new and traditional forms, is becoming better known. Another dark corner of our world is mass incarceration in the United States, and the existence of what can only be called criminal injustice. For many reasons, this is a very dark corner, indeed, one about which the public is kept in ignorance. There is where my thoughts have turned lately, with the awareness that I may be more useful joining the few individuals and organizations that are working for true criminal justice and the reformation of our prison system.
Why do I focus on the dark corners of humanity? War, violence, and injustice have been part of my world since childhood. I was just old enough to be aware of the end of WWII, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Nazi death camps. Peace be to anyone who prefers to look at the world through rose-colored glasses and tell us that humanity is evolving into something better. That isn’t what I’ve seen over the past decades, and it isn’t what I’m seeing now.
But there is always hope. By creating characters who stir the readers' emotions, fiction can make hope shine just a bit brighter. And nonfiction that avoids both sensationalism and cold objectivity can provide a grounding for the changes that fiction inspires.
:: “I share with you the same revulsion from evil. But I do not share your hope, and I continue to struggle against this universe in which children suffer and die.” Albert Camus ::