My worlds clash and the contrast is part of the enlightenment.
Future Earth is a technological hegemony where geo-engineering has failed, most known species of flora and fauna are extinct, women are denigrated and the only currency is drinking water. Not a nice place for my main characters, Kali and Nell, to grow up.
But adjacent to this is Gaela, a pre-industrial, agrarian based, magical hegemony where genders are equal and all life revered. It’s through these contrasting worlds I explore issues of gender, race, aggression, social constructs and environment. Also sentience, and love. Lots of love, even in those very dark places.
On future Earth all but human kind is considered an it. Object. Expendable. On Gaela, everything—people, animal, rock, tree, river, storm—is a thou. As Joseph Campbell said, our whole psychology changes when we see the world as a thou.
How? It turns out the brain can’t tell the difference between a dream, a memory, a fantasy or ‘reality’. If we are emotionally engaged with the story—seeing it unfold through the eyes of the main characters, frightened when they are in danger and uplifted when they fall in love—it’s the same, to the brain, as if the events were really happening to us.
This is the magic of speculative fiction. It takes us to a place where the question what if . . . becomes true. By going there in the mind, new neural pathways form, connecting us to the experience of things like gender equality and reverence for all life. From the contrasting worlds, readers may gain a deeper understanding of themselves and where life as thou can lead. From that point a different future becomes possible because we have, for a moment in time, lived it.
Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela. Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption. You can find out more about her at kim.falconer.com or her daily blog The 11th House. She posts here on the 16th of every month.