Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Designing a fictional Government?

One of the things I have been working on with the new book is how to describe the differences between the two major groups in the world of Shade. The Ons live in the cities under constant surveillance. Their lives are dictated by a powerful central Government. Sanctioned drugs are given to the people in order to keep them docile and under control. Every move they make is monitored, and they receive only the information that the State wants them to know. Could this happen in America? Is it? Many think that it not only could but is happening slowly as I write this piece. Drones flying over our cities, invasive searches before flying, Bills being passed by people who haven't even read them. It isn't something that would happen overnight, it would take a couple of generations at least to make it happen. Nikita Khrushchev once bang his shoe on the desk in the UN General Assembly and announced that the United States would fall without the Soviets firing a single shot. While the Soviet Union fell apart first it doesn't mean that we are safe from following their lead. If this all controlling Government was to come about could it really control the whole country?

With our history of independence I don't think that they would be able to do more than control the major population centers. We as a people in general have been bred with a streak of hard headed reliance on ourselves and our God. While the cities might have the manufacturing and tech industries, they will need food, water, raw materials like lumber, oil, and various minerals, all of which come from the rural areas. Our DNA has a large dose of rebellion in it. Don't think so? Just ask an Apple user about Microsoft, throw Linux fan into the mix and watch the fireworks. We have people who hack computer systems just to show that they can. It is those people who live separate from the main populations in the Shade books and stories. They have their own government which is based on the ideas put forth by our Founding Fathers. Each group has its own rules that run the daily lives of its members, there is a loose coalition with other communities and even a central council made up of members from each of the smaller groups. The power to affect the daily lives of their population remains at the local level. This group is known as the Subs. They are not totally off the grid but they do operate just under the surface of the grid. It is their defense and a weapon against the Ons.

If the first part of this post were to come true, hopefully there will be a group like the Subs as well.

Friday, March 1, 2013

City vs Country

When our ancestors moved away from the settlements and struck out across the wilderness they had to rely on themselves. Along the way they built cities and communities before once more striking out on their own. Leaving civilization behind they pushed out onto the prairies and mountains. If something broke they either fixed it or did without it. People learned skills that were needed to survive. While there were blacksmiths and wheelwrights many people had to make repairs on their own if they were too far from one of those craftsmen. As the west grew and became more populated settlers were able to get things in town that they had once made themselves. Cities grew and the people who moved into them lost the skills that were vital on a farm or ranch. So did some of the people living close to town.

Even today people who live far from towns or cities can't just get in the car and run to the corner store, so they have to learn some of those lost skills. That is one of the reasons I have a problem with so many of the post apocalypse movies and books. Rural people know how to fix things that are needed for their own survival, they know how to build things and most importantly they know how to grow their own food. The movies and books make it seem like the rural areas will become places where roving gangs will take over by brute force. Funny the farmers, ranchers and other rural types I have met are physically strong and well versed in the use of firearms. Also country folks have a sense of individuality that makes it hard for them to just bow down because someone tells them to. More than once have I helped a neighbor erect a wood shed or other structure made out of things taken right from the land. I doubt seriously that the urban gangs would last very long out in the countryside where they had to forage to survive.

This is why the heroes in my Shade stories live in the rural areas. Without total disarmament keeping the people in those areas docile would be a very difficult task. It would also create problems for the urban areas who would need the food grown by these people. This is the area I am dealing with in the present Shade novel, it is a delicate balance between the two areas. How far can the Government which is an urban dictatorship push the rural areas that live a much freer life? Can the city dwellers force the people from the small towns and agricultural areas to help them find the fugitive who killed a sadistic Government official?