Thursday, 5 April 2018

Themes in fiction series - Welcome to the Apocalypse theme "consequences"

Thou art consequences

I’m almost done with the final edits of the Welcome to the Apocalypse trilogy. And one of the themes is quite evident when you read all 3 books. The theme is: consequences.

Book 1 started out as an entertaining story about 3 characters who join in on the launch of a new virtual reality game, and they have to survive 24 hours of an apocalypse, but something happens on the outside and they become stuck in the game. They have to keep playing, advancing through the games, until they’re rescued or the simulation pods fail. Whichever comes first.

Imagine you’re stuck in a world where anything goes. Do you apply the ‘anything goes’ moniker, or do you uphold the same values you do in the real world?

 
 
This to me was the core theme behind this first book. And I have to admit, I copped flak from some readers who wanted this to be a giant 'kill fest'. A book with characters who think about the consequences of their actions? Yikes. They didn’t understand that this wasn’t just a game. This is full immersion into a virtual world where you are faced with monster or environments that want you dead, and you get to fight to stay alive. Inside this virtual world, should it matter what you do? Should you ignore the consequences of what your decision say about you? That’s what I asked my characters.
In Book 2, the characters are rescued and taken to a facility to recover. There they have to deal with the deaths of some friends, and face that the outside world isn’t what it used to be, and it’s forever changed. Now all they want to do is get home. The story is no longer just a fun read, it’s a shift in balance for some players. Money no longer matters. All a person has is their conscience and their deeds. Some of the players are thankful they didn’t apply the ‘anything foes’ moniker. Others realize that ‘anything goes’ only applies in a real situation, and their situation is now very real.

In Book 3, the survivors now have to make it home and find their place in this new world. Hierarchy has changed. The people have changed. Nothing will ever be the same again. Everything they did before mattered naught, everything they do now does. Everything has consequences.

There’s a valid reason for this question. This series is science fiction, and science fiction does not predict. It tells of the world as is it now. And right now, there are sex robots being built. Japan currently has for sale life sized dolls that men push around in wheelchairs. These dolls are their friends. We might smirk that whatever they do behind closed doors is their business. We might also remind ourselves that dolls and robots are not sentient beings. So what does it matter?

It matters because there is also talk of creating robots or dolls for paedophiles. This is supposedly to keep them off the streets. Give them a tool to satisfy their needs. What’s the matter with this? The doll or robot is not a sentient being.

It’s been proven that humans give non-sentient objects their humanity. So on a basic level, there is nothing wrong with going into a virtual world and killing everything. But it' the philosophical level that leads to the core of science fiction. Can we do a particular thing? Yes. But should we do a particular thing? That's the question that as scholars up all night arguing. Can we create robots for sexual deviants? Yes. But should we?

Inside my virtual world, it’s later discovered that some players went in there to terrorize the non-player characters. Now, these non-player characters are nothing but a bunch of pixels. So no harm done. But consequences are something humans face each day. And with most crimes, the focus is on the victim. But with consequence in these novels, the focus is on the perpetrator. There’s nothing physically wrong with bashing in the head of a life-like doll. There's nothing illegal about killing a bunch on unarmed non-player characters. But is there something morally wrong with this behaviour? Just like there is nothing physically wrong with entering a virtual world and doing whatever you damned well please. But there could be questions around the morality of such an approach. Philosophical debates are nothing new to mankind. They've been around for centuries. 

Welcome to the Apocalypse started out as an adventure. As I finalise Book 3, I realize that I have asked my characters to consider the consequences of their actions. In itself, that’s just crazy. Fiction is about escapism. And yet I can’t help but feel that a kill fest trilogy isn’t escapism at all. It’s too close to the real thing.


Have you started reading this new sci-fi series yet?


Welcome to the Apocalypse
 
Where were you when the world ended?
 
Book One – Pandora
The Apocalypse Games is a state of the art virtual game, yet when it traps over 100 players inside, there’s reason to worry – their simulation pods are designed to last 3 days and the artificial intelligence is taking over.
 
Book Two – CyberNexis
When rescue finally arrives, the players are transported to an offsite facility to recover from cyber sickness. Not all the players survived and not all is what it seems. What is CyberNexis hiding out in the desert?
 
Book Three – Primal Scream
The disaster known as The Event has plunged the world into icy darkness. Humans can’t survive but a group of mutants can. All signs lead back to the simulation pods. What were they really designed for?
 
Join these characters on an emotional and fast-paced journey to explore what it really means to survive.

 ww.dlrichardson.com
 
Welcome to the Apocalypse

Avail as ebook and print
 

 
Buy in person or online

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“...resembles  a blend of The Hunger Games and Jumangi while still maintaining a level of believability not achieved in those works...” ~ Authors Talk About It


“...really intense characterizations of individuals who can’t help eliciting reader’s empathy and understanding...” ~ The Haunted Reading Room
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
D L Richardson writes speculative fiction. She is currently a self-published author of three YA novels "The Bird with the Broken Wing", "Resident Spy", and "One Little Spell". She is also the creator of the apocalyptic/sci-fi series "Welcome to the Apocalypse", and the novella series inspired by Tales from the Crypt, "The Shivers Novellas".

A former singer and musician, she credits this stage experience for her ease of public speaking, conducting writing workshops, and appearing on panels. Her books don't feature the usual tropes and this has earned her many loyal readers.

When she's not writing she enjoys playing music, watching Netflix, reading, gardening, and walking the dog.

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