Bizarre tales: Road trips gone wrong, planes vanish, people disappear, and bodies turn up packed in suitcases…the type of stories that inspire movies or perhaps novels. Or do they? At times, real life events seem so unreal that if we were to publish a novel about it, our audience would slam it as not believable. Yet as news, people absorb it like sugar, craving more; the more absurd, the more they devour it.
A part of us enjoys the fantasy, the off-centre. It’s as if we want more to life than what is. I reckon my family’s no different. While driving on the way to Magill, Mum, my son and I discussed the latest bizarre news story of a road trip gone awry, the Kadaicha man and how my alien character Boris might be involved in the evil in the world. You can read what mischief and mayhem Boris gets up to in my novel Mission of the Unwilling, and novella, The Hitch-hiker, both available on Amazon.
My friend who has read both, remarked that when a certain plane went missing in 2014, she was sure Boris was behind it.
And back to the news, the search for alien life-forms continues. Subterranean liquid beneath the surface of Mars has made scientists hopeful of alien life—bacteria at least. It’s news. We want to know, do aliens, sentient beings from worlds other than Earth, exist? Or are we, as humans, alone in the universe? Are we God’s unique creation? Or one of many of God’s image in the universe? Does it really matter? Why is it so important we want to know?
My novels are science-fiction fantasy and there will be some out there who roll their eyes and sigh, “Not interested”. I know, most people I meet like their murder mysteries and romance novels. But there are some, more than I expected, who have a fascination for adventure exploring the universe and other worlds, where anything is possible.
The reason I started with science fiction back in my youth was, certain people I’ve met and certain issues I faced. Oh, how I wished I could have written all the issues involving such characters back then. But no, I was told, I can’t. I’d upset such tender egos if I were to write about my experiences relating to bullying, harassment, women’s rights, relationships, attitudes and values of the time. Still, unless such issues are discussed, how can they be resolved?
But, how could I present these issues for discussion? My solution, write these stories in fiction, science fiction. In the world of outer space and stellar travel, I could convey stories of the issues facing our world, and in my life. With some metaphorical distance, I put these issues on the virtual table, open a dialogue and minds to grow and change.
Our lives, our worlds are bubbles. We live within these bubbles of the world we know. The bubble of our world-view and attitudes filter the way we see the world, how we interpret what we see, how we form our values and our narrative.
No one wants their bubbles burst. It’s the reason we don’t really listen to another’s point of view. Really listening means confronting another’s world-view—a world alien to our own. We’d rather shut the other person down, treat them as the “other”, the enemy, than have our bubble burst.
Fantasy and fiction allow us to safely enter other worlds, explore other attitudes and values, expand our worlds and grow. And although we fear the bubble bursting, we crave the more, what exists outside our bubble. How often haven’t we said, after reading or hearing a way-out story on the news, ‘I never knew how the other half lived.’
Aliens are all around us. They are the “others” and their stories. When we really listen and enter another’s world, the world and stories they offer are limitless. Everyone has a story. Connecting with others, face to face, through literature, through the internet, through the arts, opens us to grow as individuals and collectively.
It’s creativity that connects us as a community. Through art we share the world as we see it. Music interprets the themes and emotions of the heart. In writing, we interpret life through words. Our stories involve characters, people—whether in a fantasy world, spaceship, a town or home, or a road trip—people clashing, colliding, interacting and learning to blend in acceptance and unity.
The story of our lives and relationships is a journey where we rejoice what we have in common, and learn to celebrate our differences. Through this process, we may discover that reality is stranger than our craziest imaginings. Better still, we come to know more of the greatest, indescribable mystery of our creator—God and the realisation that it’s not sameness that unites us but embracing our differences.
As it says in God’s word, the Bible: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity…” Psalm 133:1
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2016
Photo from slide: Monkeys Grooming, Japan (c) Lee-Anne Marie Kling (nee Trudinger) 1984