Thursday, June 14, 2012
Rebellion Against a Collective "Freedom"
|Star Trek Collective: Borg|
While in that class, we read a story about collective minds. I honestly don't remember what the story was called or even what it was about, but it got me thinking about collectivism and specifically about how agency would affect a member of a collective. I became obsessed with the idea of breaking away; of that specific instant when the decision is made.
At the time, I was developing a story. I had roughly half of it, but I felt like I was missing as much as I had. I needed another thread--another plot line to make the story rich and fat. When I started thinking about this idea of an individual making the decision to break away from the collective, I had it! Everything clicked into place so fast that it took my breath away...and I started writing.
Below is a short excerpt from my debut novel, forthcoming fall 2012 (release date TBA). Tell me what you think. Does this interest you at all? What direction would you go with a character like this?
It was an Instant. A single, inappreciable moment in time. He didn’t understand its significance as it came and went, but he would reflect upon it with near constancy for the rest of his life.
The Others had been with him for so long that he no longer knew what it was like to be without them. In that moment, he pulled away. He walled his mind off from theirs and became Alone.
It was like putting his feet on the side of a swimming pool and using his own weight and momentum to push off, muscling through the water as hard as he could, trying to get as much distance as possible. In his case, the water was cement that was drying too quickly. The pushing was excruciating and the more distance he got, the more it hurt.
After what seemed a thousand years, the pain became numbness…then the loneliness set in. To be so Alone in the darkness; to hear nothing, except one’s own thoughts…
The terror that crashed in to fill his chest was consuming.
He curled his body into a fetal position, wrapping his long arms around his head, and screamed silently. He screamed in his heart and in his soul and in his mind…but his voice made no utterance.
He crawled through the grass. He couldn’t raise his belly from the ground, so had to use his arms to drag himself along.
Strangely, despite the loneliness and horror of his choice, he never reconsidered. He was a revolutionary unto himself, and there was no going back. Not now, not ever. He’d known that in the Instant he made the choice, but that seemed so long ago now. He’d had the others with him only minutes before, but it seemed a lifetime had passed.
The farther he got from the encampment, the more physical strength he found. Soon he was able to get up onto his knees and crawl. He didn’t know if anyone who found him would act unfavorably, but he didn’t know that they wouldn’t, either. He had to get away.
He could feel them, pushing at the edges of his consciousness, trying to get back in. His body was very weak but his mind was not. He kept them out. He just didn’t know if they would be able to follow their sense of his mind to where he was physically. The farther he got, the longer he was Alone, the harder they pushed, slamming themselves against the barrier he’d put up around his mind, trying to get in. He succeeded in keeping them out. It was the first time in his life he’d known success against then; but then, it was the first time he’d wanted to.
When he finally crossed the Boundary, all sense of them left. He could no longer feel them trying to get in. He knew they could no longer feel him. He collapsed, gasping for air.