Sometimes you start a project and it takes on a life of its own. One such project for me was the Triad World novels, which started off with the innocuous idea of telling a Huxley/Orwell style dystopian tale from the perspective of outsiders who stumbled upon the dystopia, rather than from the point of view of those who lived in the dystopia. This idea eventually became Schrodinger’s Book, a novel I started publishing here in March of 2018. This was long before I had the idea for the Roy Harper adventures or my current secret project, Burning Bright. I honestly expected the story to be one and done.
But about halfway through Schrodinger’s Book I had the idea for Martian Scriptures and I thought there might be something interesting to look at there. While I didn’t like Martian Scriptures as much as Schrodinger’s Book I did think it was a pretty decent story playing in the same general thematic area.
The problem was, by that point my narrative had lore. Which is to say there were rules and concepts that existed solely to describe the world which readers (and I, myself) were curious about and wanted to see carried through to their natural conclusion. While Schrodinger’s Book was built on the Huxley/Orwell foundation and Martian Scriptures was a similar look at the premise of Logan’s Run, one thing that had always bothered me about the dystopias I’d read was the question of sustainability. How are such complex societies built on such wildly inaccurate views of human nature to last for any length of time? What happens when reality comes into contact with the fictions these societies are founded on? What are the fault lines pressure will expose in them?
Fortunately, the lore of the Triad Worlds presented me with an excellent opportunity to explore that question, for there is no reality more pressing for Earth’s UNIGOV than the United Colonial Fleet. I just had to think about what kinds of contradictions outsiders would force on UNIGOV and work out what kind of story would be interesting to tell about said contradictions. It took a little longer than I thought it would but now we’re here.
I didn’t set out to write Schrodinger’s Book as a warning, so much as a thought experiment about how a slide into an Internet age despotism might look from the outside. I don’t write The Gospel According to Earth to seriously speculate on how an Internet age despot might be overthrown. Rather, I’m interested in how that despot might justify itself once in power. I want to examine what the good news UNIGOV offers to the cosmos is and how attempts to uphold that new world order will slowly crumble under their own weight.
I don’t think this is a prophecy, because I’m not sure any despot could as thoroughly and completely shape a society as the one we find in 1984, much less Schrodinger’s Book. The logistics are too difficult, for starters. But beyond that, the very delusions of utopia needed to create a dystopia put the leaders of such societies too out of touch with reality to truly wield the kind of power The Party or UNIGOV wield for any length of time. Which isn’t to say such delusional thinking isn’t frightening or dangerous. It’s just gong to destroy itself and everything it touches long before it can distort human nature to that extent, which in many ways strikes me as worse.
Regardless, the point of this tale is much the same as the point of any speculative fiction I write. It is to examine a wildly exaggerated situation and see if there are any insights into human nature which we can take away and perhaps apply to the more mundane, day to day situations we face.
And to entertain you. That is also important.
So it’s my hope that, as I wrap up the Triad World novels, you will find that the story entertains and applies. If you are fulfilled to any level beyond that, that’s just gravy.
Of course, The Gospel According to Earth is a sequel to two other stories, which you may have already gathered at this point. You can still read those stories here on this blog, by following the links below:
Martian Scriptures – https://natechenpublications.com/2020/05/01/martian-scriptures-introduction/
Like these previous tales, The Gospel According to Earth is a bit different from my typical fair in one important way. While I generally try to avoid profane or obscene language in my writing, these stories are exceptions. The goal is to try and portray real people in the realest ways possible, so I chose not to obscure coarse language in these stories. It’s an aesthetic choice I make for very particular reasons and I don’t try to go out of my way to fill the story with such language for shock value. I do put thought into the swearing in these stories.
However, I also don’t blame anyone who chooses to avoid such language in their entertainment. People have different standards concerning such language stemming from a host of different sources and that’s fine. This warning exists largely to help you evaluate whether this story will meet your standards or not. Please evaluate accordingly.
Our time with Martin Langley and the United Colonial Fleet is coming to an end but, for the moment, we still have a little more to spend with them. The strange things they’ve discovered on their return to the Homeworld haven’t all played out quite yet. Let’s join them for a little while longer, and see what they think of The Gospel According to Earth.