I want to tell you the story behind a story of mine. The story is called “Reflexes” and I think it is one of the best things I’ve written yet it has taken me two years to find a home for it.
“Reflexes” tells the story of a mixed race Australian couple caught up in a near-future war in the Pacific. It’s an emotional read that isn’t always comfortable. It contains sex and violence and politics but it is about love and loss and the choice we face between forgiveness and revenge. The title alludes to the fact that so many of our actions are not choices but reflexes.
I think part of the reason it took so long to find a homes was that it doesn’t fit easily into a genre – it has sex in it but it’s not erotica – it’s sf but the sex is a little too graphic for some of those sites (hopefully the success of Richard Morgan’s books will make the SF press re-think some of their attitude to sex).
But I think part of the reason I couldn’t place it is that the cynically named “Patriot Act” and the Orwellian wet dream of “Homeland Security” together with the rising number of dead in
“Reflexes” now has a home at Sedona’s Attic http://www.sedonasattic.com/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=67&MMN_position=85:85
Sedona’s Attic provides the perfect venue, focused as it is on sex and politics and religion.
Writing “Reflexes” was a strange experience. It met a need in me that just wouldn't leave me alone.
It was 2003 and the war in
Together with a lot of folks in
It wasn’t America’s involvement I was angry it – it was the countries that followed them, including my own, who, it seemed to me, were either cynically currying favour with Bush or had lost themselves to a rhetoric that could only produce more and more dead bodies. I felt they should have known better and behaved better. I believed that they should have listened to the wishes of their own citizens.
Then I was sent to
I went to
In those circumstances, small things grow out of perspective and I became over-sensitive to how white
So I found myself sitting up at night, thinking about the war and researching Australian politics on the web. I realised that part of my reaction to the war had been driven by the exposure I’d had to multinational teams. I’d travelled widely and made friends (and enemies) in many countries and it seemed to me that the war just ignored the humanity of the people on the receiving end. Then I realised that that was too simple – the war ignored or discounted the impact on the soldiers who went to war and on their families.
In the isolation of my hotel room I analysed what I felt and I realised that it was partly anger at politicians who choose to lead through creating fear and hatred, partly contempt for those who let themselves be lead, but mostly sadness for how ordinary and predictable and “normal” it all was. It had happened before. It will happen again.
I used “Reflexes” to discharge some of that emotion: to free myself from a sense of helplessness; to ground myself back in individual human reactions to “regime change” and “pacification”.
I don’t mean this to be a political rant. The whole point of what I have to say is that politics are not the driver here. I wanted to focus on the decisions of individuals in difficult circumstances.
Please take the time to read “Reflexes” and let me know what you think.