Some events we never forget, and these experiences work their way into our stories. For me, xenophobia, fear or contempt for foreigners or foreign cultures, is such a memory. Xenophobia is the vicious mirror-mage of racism. After years gave me distance, I used my brush with evil as a template for characters and situations in my science fiction novel.
Science fiction is a perfect forum, with its diverse universe and varied species and cultures. Some of my people display xenophobia like badge of honor, others wear it with shame, and still others fight against it. Two of my main characters fall in love in spite of it. Sometimes, the lies of xenophobia can be exposed with humor, helping everyone learn some compassion. But, usually, the truth remains as dark and brutal as watching the KKK march in full regalia down the main street of the town I grew up in. Of course, that was then and now our town is a bright, sophisticated destination for arts and entertainment.However, like everywhere in our 21st century world, xenophobia still lurks like a hibernating virus. When writers bring these dark impulses to the surface, it reminds us all no one is immune to these potentially destructive thoughts and actions.
Will you speak against the dark side through your characters? What memories from your past, good or bad, influence your writing?