Part 2 Their World, Our World
The answer to the question at the end of Part 1:
How can we portray all the complexity of power games, exploitation and not least, deception in the interest of the greed for knowledge and even power?
The answer is to make that world our own – but not at the expense of rendering that world and compressing it in the way stories usually do. Stories represent for me, a ‘slice’ of an alternative reality. It is not real, it is fiction and we abstract away from reality in the degree we smooth out contradictions and the complexities in life.
I want to go another story road: I want a story to reflect all of the contradictions and complexities in life – and bring those into an expanding story universe. So while the Elements isn’t fantasy – there are no trolls, no wonderfully enigmatic settings such as the tower of Isengard, Barad Dûr (‘they are taking the Hobits to Isengard!’) or other-wordly beings such as the elven folk of the woods – what it is is epic on the scale of scope, brought into play through the unfolding of back-plot as a gritty, real, and disturbing journey into the deeds of men setting the agenda the world is forced to play along with.
Unlike Fantasy, the real world is one we are a collective part of. My grandfather fought in the Second World War and he bore the scars of that war for the rest of his life. His memories and reflections made an impact on me as a child, as did those of my other grandfather who stayed behind in Blighty to help as home-guard. My world was conditioned by his, and my world conditions those worlds of my family and on it goes. This simple reflection on life, that we are all connected, somehow, and that connection it made manifest in how the actions of those before us condition our own actions, as a rolling wave of cause and effect, was the start of weaving in historical layering, but across many fronts – hence the reference to Fantasy.
I wanted to bridge the imagination with the ah-ha factor we know from other works of fiction such as the Da Vinci Mystery, the reader following the main character’s unravelling of a complex and intriguing historical mystery leading to reconsideration of what we thought we knew. The Elements is therefore a conceptual device where each book has a distinctive identity, but also becoming a fragment of a puzzle, an enigma whose scope and meaning grows with each release.
As the agents aligning these pieces, the characters can be understood in the same way as Mulder and Scully in the X-files, investigating a deepening world of conspiracy related to events expanding like an underground iceberg, uniting subplots and timelines through a blend of real and fictitious events, working with Archaeological discovery, the fight for freedom, the heroes and anti-heroes of the resistance, the cover-ups and games played between the Communist East and Capitalist West that while in existence, prevents truth and knowledge of the past from being revealed.
In the next part 3 I’ll look in more detail at the interplay premise, theme and structure