The Last Planet Chronicles

Today my three dystopian novels When The Last Tree Dies, When The Last River Dies, and When The Last Ocean Dies officially became a trilogy under the name The Last Planet Chronicles.

I have several venues where I announce such things, and as always the best part are the responses I get back. They range from one word congratulations to very long and fascinating explanations of meanings they gleaned from my books. Their questions always make me really appreciate my small but extremely interesting following. It’s one reason why writers write, to get the chance to brush minds with such people.

Often the questions I get recently hint at a past many of us obviously shared. They write about the marketplace in my dystopian universe, a barter faire in the dusty hills, and exotic bazaars far from home. What they share is the same place in the universal mind. The location doesn’t matter when the experience is what’s remembered. They share what they remember and it takes me there as well, so my dystopian marketplace is a two-way ride.

There’s a sense of community that comes from shared adventures, no matter when and where they took place. Many of us already know what it’s like to barter with something other than money in several languages. If we woke up to a dystopian universe in the morning, by breakfast we would expect market stalls set up and waiting. That’s why so many are able to see the marketplace so clearly. They’ve been there, and that’s why I enjoy them so much. They understand.

Sometimes I like to ask those I’ve already exchanged a few messages with, and who really seem to understand why I wrote my books, how they would describe them. I’ve learned people have very definite opinions on what they’re about. I’ve gained some new insights into my own words by reading theirs, because often they see things I was too close to see. Readers are great clarifiers.

My favorite response is still You write books for smart people. That’s because when I started to plot out the first book several years ago, the best advice I received from my long time friend and adviser, Kristina, was don’t skimp on your intelligence.

It’s advice I’ve lived most of my life, and it drew the most fascinating human beings into my world, people whose ideas soared higher than most. I always loved thinkers, people who put their thoughts out there for dissection and discussion. It’s a high all in itself to engage in such conversations. And that’s who my books are mostly for, those who are not afraid to step outside their beliefs to expand what they know.

I did that with my third book, When The Last Ocean Dies. I’ve never been one to give much attention to what some refer to as spiritual matters. My spirit was always nurtured by alone time out in nature. No church, no religion, no spiritual belief can match the purity of that experience.

But I did want to understand, because I wanted to write about it, so I drew on other experiences that opened my eyes to different existences. I approached these experiences very much like Yewen and Aquia, but in a much different place in time. I came of age during the human potential movement. It was almost expected you look within for answers to life’s great mysteries.

But like Yewen and Aquia, and also many of my acquaintances, it was very much like stumbling along a path you knew held some great mystery at its end. You were afraid, nervous, unsure of yourself, but the compulsion to find out was stronger than anything else, so you kept looking, you kept digging, you kept learning, and you kept growing.

There really is no end to the search for self, just as there is no end to the search for awareness. It’s a continual process. The hardest part is opening the door. The rest all happens as a result of that one action. I hope my books keep opening those doors.

Kate Taylor’s Books and Art Ursine Logic

The World Of Ideas

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Eleanor Roosevelt

One of the most interesting responses from those who read my latest book, “When the Last Ocean Dies,” came from a man in northern California. You write books for thinkers. Of all the nice things people wrote to me over the last couple years, this one intrigued me for several reasons. First, because he understood the pleasure that came from the exchange of ideas.

And second because I wrote about the alienation of thinkers in my novel. The character Aquia lives in the world of musicians where language is based on sounds instead of words. And yet, he also lives in the world of the mind, a place that grows increasingly more lonely. The more complex his ideas become, the more alienated he begins to feel.

“Being different is a challenge because the more ideas you have, the more dreams you dare to voice, the deeper you dig inside yourself for truth, the more you distance yourself from most people. Your world grows smaller with each realization, with each insight. Every bit of awareness sets you apart from yet another circle. After a while, you start to ask yourself why does it matter that we have a sky if only you can see it?”

quote from When The Last Ocean Dies

Sometime in the last few decades we became a culture more enamored with things than ideas, and the world of the mind, the world of those who thought and shared those thoughts with others grew even smaller. It was a character defect to think too much. It was a waste of valuable time to talk about intangible things like ideas.

But a culture unable to address the complex issues of its inner civilization begins to stagnate from the inside. It begins to rot away and sink into the easy comfort of light conversation and meaningless gossip. Or it becomes a raging inferno of personal opinion ready to spew and overwhelm. In between there’s the safe dialogue bridge to cross into the acceptable ways to exchange ideas realm.

For example, you can talk about sports, you can discuss the history of sports, but if you talk about wanting to examine the need for sports, the herd begins to back away. And if you want to speculate on the metaphysical meaning of the word sports, you will be left talking to the wall.

That is how a culture of things over ideas grows. That is how the media meant to inform and challenge became a shrieking hysteric that spewed rumors, conspiracy theories, and gossip. It’s what sells, they told us. It’s hard to disagree when the consumer lapped up their crap and headed to the mall to accumulate even more things they didn’t need.

The discussion of ideas leads to a greater sense of awareness, a deeper understanding of self and others. This exchange of thoughts, of different views on diverse subjects creates not only an awareness but a tolerance, an acceptance, an understanding of others. And that is the problem.

The thinkers are impossible to control. They don’t fit inside society’s neat little compartments. Many times they make their own. They are also impossible to herd into one ideology, are unable to follow leaders, see no reason to believe in limited spirituality, and are unwilling to accept there’s only one way of looking at the many different truths.

Maybe that is the reason billions of dollars were spent over decades for the sole purpose of demonizing intellect. The thinkers were beginning to see through the bullshit. That was the threat that had to be stopped. But anytime a society, a culture, a group presses too far on one end, the other end begins to rise higher.

The anti-intellectualism movement will have its backlash moment because everything evens out eventually. Those who read my books seem convinced the mind will once again gain value, that things will lose their importance and the world of thinkers will change us and the world for the better. And because they understand my ideas, I am inclined to believe them.

Kate Taylor’s Books and Art Ursine Logic