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The Golden Rule: Path to Disaster?

April 18, 2015

Children-of-Arkadia-cover-1000Strangely enough, I’m not the only author with a new book coming out this month!  Please welcome Darusha Wehm, author of the soon-to-be-released Children of Arkadia.  Darusha is here to tell us about her new book and her perspective on the Golden Rule…

DARUSHA WEHM:

Following the Golden Rule is a path to disaster.

I’m not, of course, advocating that we should treat each other badly. But people are different and have different preferences. When I treat you the way I want to be treated, there’s no reason to believe that you’re being treated the way you want.

For example, when I feel sick, the last thing I want is anyone else around. I want to wallow in my misery, feeling sorry for myself, and wait for it to be over. Imagine my shock when I discovered as an adult that some people want to be mollycoddled — having someone nearby at all times when they feel unwell, offering soup, support and sympathy. To me, that sounds utterly horrible. But to someone who wants to be taken care of when ill, my natural instinct to leave them alone would be seen as uncaring and cruel.

This is a simple example, but I’m fascinated by the myriad ways in which the finest of intentions can go wrong. My new book, Children of Arkadia, is about a group of humans and Artificial Intelligences who are trying to create a just and fair society on an orbiting space habitat. There are, of course, challenges they face from the inherent danger of building in space, and not everyone is completely community-minded, but the driving conflicts in the story are the ways in which people can run afoul of each other even when they are trying to be kind.
Peace, justice and fairness are noble causes, but achieving them is surprisingly difficult even when almost everyone is committed to those goals. How can we reconcile our different needs and preferences without infringing on another? Is it even possible? Is there a better way than following the Golden Rule?
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Children of Arkadia

Kaus wants nothing more than to be loved while its human counterpart, Raj Patel, believes fervently in freedom. Arkadia, one of four space stations circling Jupiter, was to be a refuge for all who fought the corrupt systems of old Earth, a haven where both humans and Artificial Intelligences could be happy and free. But the old prejudices and desires are still at play and, no matter how well-meaning its citizens, the children of Arkadia have tough compromises to make.

When the future of humanity is at stake, which will prove more powerful: freedom or happiness? What sacrifices will Kaus, Raj, and the rest of Arkadia’s residents have to make to survive?
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M. Darusha Wehm is the three-time Parsec Award shortlisted author of the novels Beautiful Red, Self Made, Act of Will and The Beauty of Our Weapons. Her next novel, Children of Arkadia, is forthcoming from Bundoran Press in April 2015. Her short fiction has appeared in many venues, including Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Toasted Cake and Escape Pod. She is the editor of the crime and mystery magazine Plan B.
She is from Canada, but currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand after spending the past several years traveling at sea on her sailboat. For more information, visit http://darusha.ca.
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