Plot Twists…

Allyson challenged us to talk about the plot twists that drove my novel Awaken The Star Dragon. For me, it wasn’t so much a plot twist, as a twisted plot, although there’s a great twist at the end as well. Several of them, because why the hell not?

Fermi’s Paradox is the concept (actually propounded by a number of folks, but Fermi gets the credit anyway) that asks: “Where is everyone?” (see also Drake Equation.)

If we assume intelligence in the galaxy, why haven’t we detected any of it? Granted, our first electronic transmissions of sufficient power to be detectable somewhere else were only the the 1930’s, so a listener would have had to be within forty light years or so to have heard it and replied by now. And that assumed they were looking the right way. Plus, there’s not much within forty light years, as the galaxy goes.

If they’re further away, our signal maybe hasn’t gotten to them. Or they don’t want to talk to us.

Flip it on its head and we haven’t heard any of them talking. Again, lots of possible reasons.

Too far away for us to pick up a faint signal. Or they did what we’ve threatened to do a number of times and reduced themselves to savagery or extinction. Or they just aren’t there yet. (Our species is hundreds of thousands of years old, and technology like this is really only a hundred years old or so, so they might be early Bronze Age, laying siege to Ilium.)

Or perhaps they have evolved so far past us in the last million years that they don’t use radio or whatever. Or don’t care.

There is no good explanation for Fermi’s Paradox. But my buddy Steve has always believed that they also don’t want us knowing about them.

Face it, we’re a xenocidal plague that nobody wants moving into their neighborhood. Best to make sure we remain in savage ignorance, banging the rocks together, while they go about their business.

That’s one of the twists in Awaken The Star Dragon. That there exists a whole galactic civilization out there, and they don’t want us around, because we’re too dangerous and violent.

That in itself goes against most of the tenets of modern, western science fiction (largely the white, western European derived bunch), which sees humans as the grand, peaceful explorers bringing civilization to the galaxy. (Let’s pause to consider the experiences of the folks of other continents on Earth when those friendly, white explorers “found” them previously. Impressive, no?)

So we’re considered space orks. The worst, most dangerous kind. Show up, get drunk, puke on the host, trash the place, and pass out in the front yard, only to get into a fight with the cops when they show up later to bust up the party.

If you’ve read any of my stories, you’ve probably noted that one of my main themes tends to be “sticking it to the man,” whoever that man might be. Not just underdogs, but the ones dedicated to busting balloons of pomposity.

Awaken the Star Dragon isn’t all that different. The aliens previously kidnapped a different human, because they were criminals and wanted access to that level of impersonal violence as a tool of intimidation.  The problem was that nobody could control the guy afterwards, and he killed the boss to take over the gang.

So now a couple of scientists in the gang have a brilliant idea to fight fire with fire. (“Won’t you just burn the house down twice as fast?”) They’re going to kidnap another human, and get him to fight the first. But not just any human. They will need a special human to do this.

The man they’ve identified is a cop.

What could possibly go wrong?

And that’s when things get really twisted. And I don’t want to spoil it by giving away the ending, other than this creature, this human, must find a way to transcend even himself, grasping hold of that fire that burns within all of us to become something even greater.

A hero.

Check it out.