In Quarantine: Fear vs. Faith
Reviewers and others have pointed out the recent popularity of dystopian fiction—stories about future worlds gone wrong—during an era when our own world has gone wrong. We read these stories looking for consolation, or guidance, or maybe just out of morbid curiosity.
My own dystopian novel, Dreambender, deals with a conflict that many of us are experiencing in these days of coronavirus and quarantine—a wrestling match between fear and faith.
In the novel, Jeremy and Callie live in a post-apocalyptic world in which a small, secret group has gained access to people’s dreams. Out of fear, the group controls dreams in an effort to keep people safe, but in the process they limit creativity, beauty, and risk taking. Jeremy, a novice dreambender, is ordered to control the music in Callie’s dreams but can’t bring himself to do it. Defying his trainers, Jeremy seeks out Callie, and together they embark on a quest to stop the dreambenders and create a world ruled by faith, not fear.
I heard a similar message from the Rev. Julia Hamilton of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara. Speaking from her home during quarantine, Rev. Hamilton urged her listeners to think of their separation not as isolation but as something we are doing for mutual support and benefit. In a strange way, our separation during these difficult times is, in fact, an expression of love.