Long before the writing of Firestone Key was ever on the horizon, I was an avid fan of the Science Fiction & Fantasy genre. I still recall watching Star Wars for the first time in 1977 and desperately wanting to live in the world it created (and run off with Luke Skywalker). When I finally plucked up the courage to admit that I was writing my first novel, I was greeted with indulgent smiles, until asked what it was about. Once Sci-fi, and especially fantasy, came into view, I was asked why I would want to write that. Isn’t it just an escape from reality? An abdication of real life in favour of a world that only exists in your imagination? Because I was too cowardly to reply ‘What’s wrong with that?’ I used to answer, a bit pretentiously, that the genre was the last bastion of the metaphor; a place in which to dissect issues and themes outside of our limiting culture or ingrained viewpoints. Racism, sexism, ageism (and all the isms) are easier to spot in other worldly settings, opening our eyes to the ridiculous and destructive nature of prejudice. Logan’s Run, in which society disposes of all above the age of thirty, particularly speaks to me now that I’m older and supposedly less useful.
However, being older, I now realise that ‘What’s wrong with that?’ has morphed into ‘What’s right with that?’ It’s easy to giggle at those of us in Jedi costumes or Star Trek shirts, but are we longing for something that society is missing or has lost? Surely we all want something to believe in; something to live for other than the same endless cycle? Wouldn’t you love to live and work as part of a true community, where they have your back and yet give you the space to be yourself?
Don’t get me wrong, Firestone Key is first and foremost a good yarn with twists and turns and a plethora of fun characters (hopefully!). Yet it also has a theme, a point to make, if you will. A tag line for the novel is ‘Every action has a consequence’ and this is my belief. Granted, not every action we take has such life shattering consequences for the entire world; however, it will have a consequence for someone – if only yourself. Do you build your world, or destiny, if you like, or does the world control you?
Is Science Fiction & Fantasy an escape from reality or are we actually misinterpreting our reality? What if we viewed our lives as world changing and full of destiny, rather than a tickbox for survival? Perhaps those fantasies I fell in love with are a longing to see my ‘real’ world as just as epic and eternally life changing.