Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Thanks to everybody for their kind comments and support of Thrice Fiction. It was a lot of fun (and a lot of work!), so it's nice to see people enjoying it.
When it comes to my "literary" contributions, I wrote two stories.
One, called "Too Many Days" was written after everything else had been completed, as I wanted something to tie-in with the cover I had made. I've always been fascinated by the rise of the Roman Republic and the days before the Roman Empire, so it was a good opportunity to play around in that arena.
The second, called "The Exit Interview" was written just four days after RW and I had decided on a theme for the debut issue of Thrice. The first draft was very different than what eventually got used. Originally, it was about a genetic scientist who planned to come up with a toxin which would rid the world of anybody carrying any genetic traits she considered "undesirable." I worked very hard to make the lead character a woman which people would absolutely loathe. She was vile, evil, racist, bigoted trash. She discriminated against absolutely anybody which didn't fit the mold of what she considered to be an "acceptable" human. The twist at the end would be when some aliens came to earth and found her genetic makeup didn't live up to their standards.
Eventually, I decided I wanted a more complex story, and the whole "genetic master race" plot was streamlined to a simpler world domination plot. That way, I was able to add more elements and play with the idea of telling the story in reverse-order. I still left in hints of how the geneticist character was originally written... she seems to have an obsession with genetic defects, for example... but the more obvious "she is evil" elements were removed.
The idea for the story came while watching some health debate on television. In it, there was a woman who remarked that she was tired of her tax dollars going to pay for other people's health problems. To some extent, I agree. If somebody does something stupid and breaks their leg, why should my tax dollars have to pay for their dumbassery? But this woman wasn't talking about that. She was saying she "didn't want to pay for other people's sick kids because she was paying for her own kids."
Which is all fine and dandy when the extent of your kid's sickness is the flu or something.
But what about kids that have devastating health problems that your average family can never pay for... even if they have insurance? Should these kids be tossed aside to live miserable lives of pain and suffering for something that's not their fault? Or should society say "We're better than that!" and try to lend a hand and give them the best life they can have?
I would hope that everybody would vote for the latter, but I honestly don't know. Some people simply lack compassion (which, ironically, I consider to be the ultimate genetic defect).
The woman who "didn't want to pay for other people's sick kids" has apparently been blessed with (relatively) healthy children. But what if one of her kids had cancer? Or muscular dystrophy? Or cystic fibrosis? Or any number of other tragic diseases? I'd think that if her children had catastrophic health problems which she couldn't pay to care for, she might be singing a different tune.
For my story, I took this woman's argument to the extreme and concluded that, if she had her way, all these "sick kids" would be wiped from the face of the earth. She only wants there to be "perfect" healthy kids like hers so she doesn't have to pay extra taxes.
Sometimes reality is so much scarier than any fictional villain.
In a perfect world, charities and foundations, not taxes, would provide all the money needed to help people when they're struggling with overwhelming health problems. But we live in a far from perfect world, so sometimes society has to step up and say "We're better than that!" and pick up the slack.
Because the next "sick kid" may just be your own.