I have a confession to make. I have always been a Sci-Fi/Fantasy geek. I have been a lifelong Trekkie and an Elven archer on an adventure with a Hobbit. I’ve been lost in a galaxy far, far away and I have taken the train to Hogwarts too many times to count. When I was a tween living in a small remote town in northern Ontario, escape for me lay in the snowy TV screen. Some days the antennae allowed for a clear view onto the bridge of the Starship Enterprise and other times it was just disembodied voices coming out of the box that propelled me far out of where I was and into an alternate universe.
I often would picture myself as a young yeoman on the bridge of the Enterprise when I was in my teens. Humans seemed to have figured each other out in that alternate futuristic time. There was harmony and respect for each other. Men and women were equally captains and doctors and engineers and there was acceptance of any race and skin color. Merit seemed to be the deciding factor in any rise to the top. It was that utopian vision of human evolution that attracted me the Enterprise’s adventures. Ironically, though, whenever the ship crossed paths with other planetary civilizations, the age-old issues that haunt humans now still arose.
At that time in my life, I was certain I wanted to be an astronaut. Flying to the stars seemed so amazing, especially when witnessing the first moon walk. But reality set in when I realized the amount of math and science I would have excel in. This dreamer couldn’t hack the academics except, of course, in my imagination. Then I had no problem traveling to the Alderon system aboard the Millennium Falcon. So here is the thing about alternative universes. They are only as real as we make them.
Ironically, what has started me thinking about alternative universes is the reality of the world of today. It’s difficult to know anymore what is true and what is not in the media, in the political arena and in everyday interactions. There seems to be a push towards wanting us to stop believing what we are hearing and seeing, a plea to deny our senses and accept the smoke and mirrors. I hear words spoken that are known lies, obvious lies, and I look around to see who else must have caught the same words only to be shocked to see adoration of the speaker on the faces of my neighbors and many nodding heads. I love an alternate universe as much as the next person but I can’t help feeling we have crossed a line.
What I find frightening is that some of the alternate universes created by well-known fiction writers with visions of the future are not so very different from where we are now. Big Brother is watching us as much as we are watching each other. Social media is a double edged sword. Books like 1984, Animal Farm, and The Handmaid’s Tale are all echoing life today. What is true and what is fake? What is fact and what is fiction? If enough people believe the fiction does it become a fact? If a tree falls in the forest…..but that’s another story.
This alternative reality pretending to be reality makes me feel like I am on a massive roller coaster. It’s that downward rush of adrenaline with just a hint of nausea mixed in. It’s a walk through the fun house when the floor is uneven and the mirrors make you look ten feet tall and fat. And if I can continue with the circus analogy, that’s exactly what it all feels like at times. One great giant circus with creepy clowns and scary things jumping out from behind innocent facades. I feel dizzy and disoriented like I am walking the tightrope with no net below.
These are strange times indeed. It would be easy to just accept what is being presented to me by those in power but here is the deal with the alternative universe theory. There’s usually a way out of trouble. There’s a hero waiting in the wings or the heroine finds a way to save herself. It can be an epic battle or it can be the turn of a key. Of course it would be cool if it involved dragons but I am trying to be real here in the midst of this alternative universe. Not an easy thing to do.
What seems to be the solution I can live with is to not deny my senses and to stand firm in my beliefs. That can be hard but I have decided to have a lodestar of sorts, a concrete object I can grab onto to ground me and reveal if I am in an alternate universe or in reality, much like what Leo’s character did in the movie Inception. I have decided my lodestar will be a ring. Not that ring, silly! That ring spawned 4 books and an epic story. This is a special ring that was gifted to me. This ring can be my lodestar, my anchor to reality. And yet like that other ring, when I remember how much I loved the one who gave it to me, it will always be my Precious.