There are as many different visions of the not-so-far future as there are authors in science fiction. However, quite a few of these visions tend to overlap in a science fiction world type known as the dystopia. I absolutely love dystopic, post-apocalyptic fiction. The Giver and Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry formed my first introductions to this sort of world. After these baby steps, 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World, Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood continued the slow journey into the end of the world and what happens after that.
Then, I found myself wondering about a different kind of dark world, beyond the governments ruled by an iron fist and overt violence, such as V for Vendetta's setting. I hungered for diversity--surely not every government would be soul-crushing in the same way?
Happiness (tm) by Will Ferguson powered the curiosity, really, and gave me a good lead. Being surrounded by a very interesting dominant culture in my second-year university classes gave me the rest of the direction for my setting. You can only be surrounded by New Age-y Neo-Buddhists in a department ruled by an iron fist for so long before you have to go eat a steak and make fun of Jung. Meditating, talking about chakras, and discussing self-actualization as you investigate life trauma will drive even the most patient people up the wall eventually. I'm patient, but I wasn't patient enough...
Anyway, I started to wonder...what if...the 'nice' people, like vegans and hardcore hippies, became the ruling heads in a totalitarian regime?
More seriously, the current political situation in America, with the religious right's frantic suppression of contrasting ideas, provided further food for thought. Atheism and freethinking are on the rise, along with other dirty hippie liberal egalitarian pinko socialist ideas like gay marriage, but the old systems are putting up a good fight. However, much as I tend to spend a lot of time on the left side of the spectrum, it's impossible to avoid noticing that rhetoric-spewing nutbars exist in every part of the political spectrum. So, say that certain elements of the liberal continuum finally won out in the ideological wars...how much would they end up mirroring their former opposition?
These are some of the questions I've explored in Wordthieves. It started as an homage to dystopias and dark science fiction, and became something more. I hear you screaming, 'what's the plot? It's nice to know what inspired it, but tell us what we're in for!"
Well, friends, let's say that it involves some of my signature wit, hamsters, coffee, foreign languages, hipsters, and tofu. Lots and lots of tofu. Are you scared yet?
Tune in next time for more hints, sneak peaks, and more thinky talky things. And don't forget to follow me on Twitter, https://twitter.com/#!/SciFiMagpie and to share this blog on Facebook and with friends!