BY AN INTERESTING post and discussion of Human Wave self-and-mutual promotion over at Sarah Hoyt’s blog (not to mention grocery shopping, which seems to take it out of me more than it should), so I didn’t get nearly all the work done on re-drafting Chapter 3 of The High T Affair, but I’m real close, now.
In the meantime, I had a few bored minutes near the end of the day and I opened up the cover art, which I’ve been staring at on and off for the requisite days, in Photoshop and messed around with a few things at the margin — mostly adding a muzzle flash to Dolly’s gun and putting the old map of the East family demesne in the background. The whole overall still looks to action-adventury and cartoony to me, and not enough dark-and-gritty urban science fantasy-y. But, as I review each characteristic, I don’t see an alternative that moves in that direction. So — to quote Pooh — bother.
The question cropped up in the above-alluded-to discussion, “Why is this work Human Wave?” Good question, and more than a little bothersome. But, here goes.
First off, the lead character in the Baby Troll Chronicles, the eponymous Baby Troll (a.k.a., Gabrielle Francesca “Dolly” East) is an anarchist. She doesn’t think so — she may be the most relentlessly apolitical character you’ll ever meet. But she is. As I describe her (in the perspective of her lover, Mitchell Cary Drummond), she is a teleological chaos machine. But she also resents anything or anyone who gets in her way, which makes her a natural anarchist, even if she wouldn’t respond to the description. So, while not a libertarian per se, she acts in a manner that reflects a core belief in the supremacy of the individual human mind.
She gets that in large part from Drummond. While she is the reincarnation of the Hero of a Thousand Generations, in this lifetime, her early development was greatly influenced not only by Drummond himself, but by his influences. In her time as a dolly (whence comes her nickname), she was confined largely to Drummond’s Over the Rhine loft in Cincinnati and limited for her input to Drummond’s cable subscription and his library, which took up an entire floor of his building. She had to struggle to deal with books that, in many cases, were larger than she, but there were so many of them. And, from Adam Smith to Ayn Rand, Lysander Spooner to Murray Rothbard, she steeped in the philosophers of liberty.
And put her own spin on it.
And Drummond is a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian. Agonizes over it. Goes overboard in his respect for individual autonomy to the point he wonders whether he has the right to urge Dolly to get medical treatment.
And the larger situation. Upothesa, the vast, global conspiracy to which both owe fealty of a sorts is a supra-national un-governed organization. Involved in commerce, it almost inevitably engages in smuggling, albeit never of arms, drugs, or humans. Being supra-national and pre-existing all nations, it has little respect for government and goes its own way on the “Do what you like, just don’t let the policeman on the corner see you doing it” principle.
Upothesa started back in the Stone Age as a partnership between Gods and a family of Men. Since the Twilight of the Gods, which began with Zarathustra and continues to this day, the Gods themselves have diminished and Men have become greater. At the time in which Dolly and Drummond swim in these waters, great changes in the power structures of Upothesa portend. I can’t say much without spoilage, but the Trolls — traditionally very xenophobic — have begun to admit select members of other hominid species into their secret worlds. Gods are increasingly withdrawing from the daily affairs of Upothesa. There is a great conflict brewing between Trolls and Elves. And the very edifice of Upothesa is threatened. All of which means that mankind — if it can sieze the day — faces a future fraught with possibility.
The very definition of the Human Wave.
Not that I intended it. When I began writing the Dolly stories fourteen years ago this winter, the Human Wave wasn’t even a glimmer in Sarah Hoyt’s eyes, though in retrospect, it would seem to be inevitable. But, then, historical moments almost always do. But, as I think on it and work through the issues of getting the stories on the page and screen, it seems a natural fit. Mankind is shedding its gods and marching toward a future in which we must stand alone, masters of our own destiny. That’s Human Wave. That’s why the Baby Troll Chronicles are Human Wave.