Sunday, 24 February 2013

Dreaming of Aboriginal characters and a future Australia

Whenever I find myself deep in the development and completion of a project, I tend to let go of secondary concerns to have single minded focus on my top-level goal.  This has been the case with my blog, as I have been completely engaged with finishing up The Technology of Dreaming over the past few weeks.  Completing this work has been particularly difficult, as the plot and subject matter center on Aboriginal Australians in a mid-21st century Australian Republic. 

My primary concern has been to develop and present a fictitious group of Indigenous people with traditions that pay homage to the many individual cultures across Aboriginal lands without causing offense.  Inference to or mention of the specific knowledge of a real group of people could be deemed offensive by some, and would go against the spirit of what I have tried to create.   Thus, the names and locations of the lands of the tribe at the core of the story are purely fictitious.  Although the Ceremony and Laws of a fictitious group of people are presented in the story, what is presented is an amalgam constructed from research across a wider group of cultures in Australia and neighboring states.  I attempt to portray these subjects with sensitivity, but with purpose.

Ceremony and custom are of paramount importance to Aboriginal identity, as is their special relationship with their lands.  These are some of things I most admire about their cultures, in addition to their resilience and willingness to share their stories with others.  As they are the protagonists in my work, I wanted to showcase these values to a wider, global audience who might not be aware of them.   Finally, it would be an understatement to say that Australia's historical relationship with Aboriginal Australians has been difficult; there are yet many serious and real issues that remain unresolved to anyone's satisfaction.  This real conflict in identities and crossed purposes is at the core of the plot.

The Technology of Dreaming contains a detailed account of the future Australia itself, with particular reference to how it arrived to its predicament in relation to the politics of today.  This is also a tricky subject to deal with, as an effective cautionary tale must be both earnest and frightful at the same time.   Having a good depth of knowledge of the true history of a place can help to develop a thematic bridge to a realistic, but bittersweet future.  Economic prosperity and illegal immigration are real themes that lend credence to this story's thesis, but also set the stage for some of other stories in future volumes of Altstralia: A Speculative Republic.

The Technology of Dreaming will be available on in April.

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