Thursday, October 21, 2004
I feel like there ought to be choirs singing the Hallelujah Chorus right now.
I have found my answers to Darkness Falls. Not only do I have a second character, I know that her pieces will be presented as journal entries in a computer. Nothing long -- just pieces into insights as she tries to reconcile her survival with the loss of so much, and understand her place in the future -- and view the two human groups vying for power.
But tonight another thought occurred to me -- or, at least, finally became articulate.
Survival just to survive is barbaric. I don't want my humans to look forward to barbarism.
So I started thinking about what it is that makes humans not always barbarians. It's more than just the culture from which they came, because we have so many human cultures that it's impossible to claim any single one as the piece that keeps us all from barbaric backsliding.
What is it that groups like street gangs give up when they turn to the power of guns? When was the last time you heard of a gang member quoting even one of their own to any purpose? They have no past or future. So they just act for today.
Personally, I think we are not barbarians because the past talks to us. We can 'hear' Homer, Plato, Locke, Kant, Augustine, and Darwin. Even many societies that never developed the written word of their own have, at this point, been transcribed as best they can.
Those who don't read history are destined to repeat it, right? My people may have lost Earth, but that doesn't mean they have lost their past. It was one of those true 'duh' moments.
And then I started comparing that to what I had created in my alien society. Is it possible they don't have written language? They have a scientific notation... but not symbols for writing common words. They have created a strict hierarchy of status to avoid chaos, and into that system an occasional 'Holy Man' will bring enough change to keep the world from becoming completely stagnant.
And now one of my humans has taken on that role. He doesn't quite understand what it is he's bringing to the aliens, being rather preoccupied with helping is own people survive and convincing some of them not to fight him.
It probably sounds boring as hell. But it's exciting to write up the outline and see if I can't introduce at least a little of the philosophy into the action.
Oh, and that second POV character? She's the only surviving communications officer from the ship. She's been trained to deal in words, and her very act of writing down the history of what happens from the time Earth is destroyed has a significant symbolism.