On dystopias and otherworlds

Twenty years ago we moved to the west coast in search of a more genuine life. A little less than a month from now we’ll be heading back to the Midwest for the same reason. What that means for me personally is more time. Time to hang out with my other half, heal some deep wounds, read, maybe attend a con here and there, and write. Very much that last one.

In my previous post I talked about my growing obsession with Philip K. Dick, alternate realities, and the multiverse. I can’t stop thinking about those cracked-mirror worlds, populated by odd people with strange ideas and even stranger customs. Foreign lands. Some fantastical, others too horribly real. Worlds upon worlds, with infinite scenarios playing out.

And that, dear reader, leads me to my next growing concern: the US government and the absolute psychopaths running it. When Covid hit, a mountain of incompetency and avarice the likes of which none of us have seen in our lifetimes was suddenly exposed. I’m not going to climb up on a political soapbox here. I don’t give a shit if you’re for the red team or the blue team (I’m personally for neither), I think we all agree that the powers that be have bungled things royally (as royalty they seem to view themselves). They showed their true face. Mark Twain said we have the best government money can buy, and this is becoming clearer all the time. If you don’t serve some profitable purpose in the system, it will leave you for dead without a second’s remorse.

multiverse, otherworlds, dystopian, dystopias

In any case, this is currently where my head is—dystopian (or dystopian-adjacent) governments. I’m part of a big club of other authors (including Dick) who were in that headspace as well: George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Ray Bradbury, and the wonderful Margaret Atwood, to mention a handful.

These authors imagined societies filled with horrors, nightmare worlds of painful existence, though Margaret Atwood has stated that the events she wrote about in The Handmaid’s Tale were either happening somewhere in the world at that time or had happened at some time (meaning they could happen again).

These are the things that haunt me nowadays—strange, often harsh societies, and the myriad otherworlds that might encompass them.

Without spilling too many beans, these are the essential elements of the novel I’m working on right now. The going has been painfully slow, but as I said, once we reach our new home, and after the dust settles somewhat, I’ll finally be free to write pretty much unencumbered. I haven’t had that for a long time, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens.

Until next time, so long from California. I’m Illinois bound!

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Read Dreaming at the Top of My Lungs.

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