The Good Life – Why Does It Seem to Elude So Many?


We all live in our neat homes, mix with our circle of friends, laugh, love and generally think life isn’t that bad. Then we turn on the TV and see what a mess we’re making of the world, and we realize how naive we are.
As I write, a multitude of people are trudging towards the American border, believing that this place will be their ‘promised land’. The fact that many Americans don’t want them is immaterial. They have been living in the dirt for so long, any kind of life other that which they have endured will seem like heaven. If we’re not hearing about these, we hear about other migrants from Africa and the Middle East, who have been pouring into the West for the past four years, (though there was a steady trickle of would-be migrants many years before then).
Reading the letters of some of the online journals, I get the impression that many people think refugees of any sort are out to take advantage of their host country. Most, they write, are economic migrants, who aren’t really running away in fear from their own countries. In other words, the general sentiment is that they want to drain the resources of the more affluent West and give nothing back. Such incendiary rhetoric raises the indignation of many hard-working people, who are struggling to get the best for their families.
What people aren’t doing, it seems to me, is go deeper. Nobody is trying to say why this is happening. I have read that it all stems from over-population and that there are too few resources for the number of people on the planet. This is partly true, but I question why some, powerful people aren’t willing to share more than they do. The West gives money to third world countries, but it this money obviously doesn’t always land in the right hands. Greedy people, in other words get their hands on it, live well themselves and let the rest rot.
Every time I think of global greed, I can’t help thinking about Africa. Then a mirthless smile comes to my lips. This continent is rich in natural minerals. South Africa, for example, has diamonds, yet a sizeable amount of South Africans are still living in shacks. And, other African countries don’t appear to be fairing any better. In fact many Africans are living like Dickensian paupers because they don’t have the means to get themselves out of the sludge.
Then there are countries in the Middle East, which has had oil revenue pouring into it for the past fifty or so years. Where has that all gone? Not into the hands of the ordinary person. When we watch the news, we can see that these people are definitely not living well.
That brings me to oppression. If African and Middle Eastern people were able to let their governing bodies know how much they felt they were being let down, and how awful it was for them to have to scratch about to make a meagre living, without being persecuted, they would be living reasonably decent lives. That is because they could hold democratic elections and vote in whom they wanted. The change would not come overnight, but it would be a start. It would give them hope, and ingredient which nobody can happily get through life without.
I don’t believe over-population alone is to blame for the instability of the world as it is. It is corrupt governments who rule by fear, and refuse to share for the good of all. In other words, it’s human greed, and until we find a way of eradicating that, I don’t think the news will ever be full of anything other than the same old, sad story.

Why Do I Write Science Fiction?

I suppose the answer to that is that I have a low boredom threshold and writing about people in other worlds is a way of putting my imagination to work. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy ‘grounded’ stories. I have written two, both of the crime fiction genre. As much as I enjoyed this, at times I found myself confined to the rules of the planet on which we all reside, and I couldn’t branch out. I couldn’t, for example, give my protagonist the ‘Sight’ as I did with the main character in A Gaze of Flint. Neither could I have given her the chance to meet two characters from a parallel universe, which again features in this book.

Writing Science Fiction also allowed me to imagine what going from one universe to another would be like for a person, without having to go into the realms of quantum physics. In my fiction, Quantum physics, though interesting, doesn’t quite cut it as much as using a special device which de-materialises the subject, and then materialises them in another world, in a matter of seconds. Orion, the male protagonist, does this all the time.

Lastly, I want to write. I don’t want to spend my precious time ploughing through research to make sure that the technology I’m talking about on Earth holds water. Writing Science Fiction is a way of by-passing all that. So, if I want to create solar-powered carriages, and talk about simple pathways between two regions in another dimension, I can.

Even so, my characters, whether Earthlings or those from a parallel universe, can all be identified with anybody on Earth.  That’s why I’m so fond of them all. Weird creatures/life-forms are not for me, though I respect anybody who can dream them up and pull them off.

I suppose the essence of my brand of science fiction is that I put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Then, my imagination can race away and polish away the tarnish of life on hum-drum Earth and hopefully, do the same for my readers.