Sarah Begley writing in October 9, 2017, Time Magazine points out we have had few utopian stories catch the interest or attention of the reading public. She names only five such classic novels–the most recent of which is the Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler.
At the same time, we’ve had a boatload of dystopian books and movies. As I read the article, I began to ask is my novel what everyone has been waiting for? Or is it doomed to be ignored because it is not gloomy enough? Only time will tell.
The essence of all faith is driving us toward something better. For many, the something better is to be found only in the afterlife. For others, faithfulness is about improving life here and now. Even those who place their trust in country, job, or the things money can buy do so with the belief that those things will bring fulfillment.
So if we all desire our lives to be transformed, then why the resistance to stories that suggest that it happens? Part of the answer is that we humans feel accomplishment in the struggle and the doing more than the end result. Some may measure their sense of self-worth by the size of their bank account. But for most of us, money becomes a means to an end. We use our money to get what we need, or desire. Our most profound sense of value often comes from the efforts that enabled us to reach our goals or at least get closer.
Sarah Begley points out, “One obvious roadblock to writing good utopian fiction is that perfect societies are, well, perfect–meaning they don’t leave much room for narrative tension.” If that were true life would be rather dull.
So what about The Doorkeeper’s Secrets? Well, it is based on the belief that we can treat one another better. All people deserve respect, dignity, and an opportunity to contribute to society. Furthermore, we two-legged creatures are smart enough to address, listen, and solve most of the problems we face today. In some cases, solutions will mean making adaptions to compensate for the lack of attention to areas like the environment.
Is it “pie-in-the-sky” to think that we can develop an economy where everyone has a job they enjoy, a decent home, nutritious food, medical care, quality education, and personal safety? A place where differences are honored and seen as learning opportunities. A culture where no one becomes a slave to the economic giants and none get rich off the labors or ideas of others.
Since I believe that kind of world is possible, I have written about it. So where is the tension? For one thing, not all states have accepted the new model. Also, there are some who will do anything to undo “The Plan” and get back to being rich and powerful–even if it means letting millions die. Finally, there are some inherent weaknesses in all collaboration centered social orders and the story explores at least some of those.
I hope you will join me in my future. Then we can decide if it is utopia or just another failed attempt at human maturation.