At my final panel yesterday, we talked about love in dystopian society (including failed romances like the one in 1984) and the importance of relationships and community in wartime.
For myself, the discussion suddenly went meta: being at BayCon, in this IDIC atmosphere, an enclave of loving and diverse relationships that contrasts so sharply with the current state of U.S. politics–right there, in the middle of the panel, I found I had made a decision. I need to work on Red Hand.
Red Hand tells the story of an older woman with the rare ability to heal individuals dying of a galactic-wide plague that’s been decimating populations for decades, causing wars, disrupting civilizations, and encouraging isolationism. The woman and others who possess the healing ability are themselves oppressed by those who see them as a source of power and wealth, or as means to stabilize chaos, or as a threat that must be properly regulated and controlled.
At the beginning of the novel, we see the woman in crisis. She has little of herself left to give, drained by decades spent healing others while on the run from the Red Hand, an apparently benign paternalistic organization sanctioned by the remnants of the galactic government to regulate healers. She longs for a permanent home, to live in a community without fear of discovery. But she can’t have that if she continues to heal.
People will die if she stops healing.
If she doesn’t stop, she will die without having lived a life of her own.
In this moment of personal crisis, forced to flee yet another impending capture on yet another planet, she takes passage on a small spaceship captained by a man with secrets of his own on a mission that poses a direct threat to her dreams.
He’s a good guy. He has reasons.
But he’s out to capture a healer.