I was guest of Stephen Andrews and the Hardwired science fiction book club at Waterstones in the beautiful city of Bath Spa on 13 September 2017.
I read from Our Memory Like Dust and gave a short introduction on the topic of ‘Why Dust?’:
There is a war for ownership of our founding myths. Of who we are and the stories we tell ourselves which reinforce our sense of who we are, where we’re from, who is not ‘us’, who is ‘outside’, and who ‘inside’.
Sometimes our stories lead us to great compassion; sometimes to awful acts of harm. And, sometimes, the war for ownership of our myths will tear old beliefs apart.
One of the most powerful foundational myths of Western culture is that of Exodus. Of a group of refugees who fled slavery and oppression, crossed an ocean and a desert, fought a war of occupation against native communities, dominated them and founded an empire whose culture and myths have been incorporated into the cultures and myths of half the planet.
We are living through a similar era now, when myth-telling contradicts and reinforces our experience of climate and economic disruption, that will disrupt our notions of stable borders, nation, and identity.
Of storms that can scour habitable land to bedrock. Of drought, fire, flood, conflict and genocide that thrust millions into braving traumatic journeys in search of a safe place to live, to form new communities. Communities which will tell of their journey, of their struggle, and of their foundation.
We are being challenged to decide what we want from ourselves and our futures.
And I asked myself … how will we be remembered?