I originally started Outland Exile, the excerpt of which is posted, with the following observations:
1) In much of the developing world, the average age has fallen to the mid twenties, not due to war, plague or famine but due to better food, better infant care and western intolerance to war,
2) During the last 50 years, however, the world’s average life expectancy has increased from 46 to 71 years old, due to reduced death from violence (in the USA down to about 0.3% of what it was mid-19th century), globalization (i.e. trade) and western affluence.
For Outland Exile I posited two countries that went opposite ways in the age profile, one becoming youth oriented and losing its history the other finding a way, despite military catastrophe, to enhance people as they age. I simmered them for a few generations and then plucked one individual out of one society and dropped her into the other. The rest was watching what a young person and an old person might work out.
As it turned out, quite a lot. I still have more to say after Outland Exile came to a reasonable size and conclusion. It was published in October 2015 to some very nice reviews.
I had originally called the book “Ageplay” as a working title; things have expanded beyond this initial concept. Therefore, I have chosen to title the prospective series “Old Men and Infidels.”
Aging is inexorable but not inevitable. A momentary hiccough in personal judgment, or in the world, its politics, science or physics and one is no longer aging. One is rotting. Young Americans, for reasons that I of the “Never trust anyone over thirty” era may no longer contemplate, look at the continuum of aging and feel obliged to turn its survivors into a discrete sub-caste of the society. The young disdain the elderly for possessing in abundance what they have in scarcity (usually disclaiming how much of it they do have: “I’m eighteen. I am an adult.”). They talk about what should be done while disdaining those that have done. They ascribe greed (to those who have demonstrated thrift and providence in their youth) even while lusting after their wealth (presumably to avoid thrift and providence in their own youth). In any contentious argument, after about the third point-counterpoint, the young will dismiss the old…by saying they are old. It is a conundrum.
Faith is a commodity that is supposed to have been interred a century ago, much to our grandparents surprise. Walter Lippman once said “What most distinguishes the generation who have approached maturity since the debacle of idealism at the end of the (First World) War is not their rebellion against religion and the moral code of their parents but their disillusionment at their own rebellion.” Crystals, Ouija boards, ghosts, ancient aliens, bigfoot, natural healing, “holistic” medicine, organic (I can think of only one inorganic) food and “Change” all generate enthusiasms far outweighing any demonstrated good or even lack of harm. We as a society have traded our belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, good god for Santeria, “luck,” “vibrations,” and self-righteous, ambitious political hacks. Infidelity waxes universal.
Much of a society could be located on each of three axes (yes, like Algebra 101): 1) age-youth and how the continuum is considered, 2) faith and unbelief and 3) the truth or fallacy of that faith. In this country, a midden of belief, much of what we take as true is not and the most faithful people are frequently those with the least reason. Lots to write about there.
Current Tentative Outline of the Series:
Book 1 Outland Exile: Malila of the Unity is sent to the lawless outlands as punishment for her misconduct only to discover that her arrival is part of a plot by the savages, Johnstone, the oldest man she has ever met. Malila’s education and enlightenment in the savage outlands brings insight and horror to her on returning to the Unity as a pawn of General Jourdaine and his political schemes.(Published)
Book 2 Exiles’ Escape: Malila, forced into a moral dilemma, learns that the Unity is all illusion and escapes the illusion of her dilemma, the dilemma of her society, and her growing appreciation for Jesse. She joins forces with her childhood friend, Hecate Jones, and attempts to return to the outlands. Hecate and she discover a wounded and lamed man, Will Butler, also trying to escape. Jourdaine is close behind her and gaining until he initiates a conquest of the outlands. Jesse takes to the air to dodge assassins.
Please watch for the release of Outland Exile.