As a brief (warning) introduction: I’m participating in the A-Z blog challenge again this year, and again on the topic of the series I’m in the midst of writing.
One of the self-reflective things about writing Red Slaves is the opportunity to weave in a sub-plot about culture clash. In the first book, Anne notices small things about the differences in food and the way hotels and public transportation are managed. In the second book, the differences become deeper, and she finally comes around to a point where she has to comment on the deeply ingrained nature of her individuality. Russians in general, and dragons specifically, have a much tighter sense of community and mutual support and connection than she’s used to, and the difference heightens her discomfort with her situation.
What’s exciting to me? This year, FX has started a series call The Americans. The premise isn’t unrelated to my series, either. In the case of this story, the KGB has sent undercover agents to America. In an episode I happened to catch last night, they too were talking about cultural differences–in the midst of navigating the possibility of a high-stakes cultural misinterpretation of motive and blame from when Hinckley shot Reagan–ironically enough, that anniversary was just 32 years and 2 days from today on March 30.
In the past year, as I’ve seen more and more search traffic related to the Cold War, and have come to realize that my generation is no longer as young as I think it is, I’ve also realized that the persistent, background level of tension built on a bipolar power structure is foreign to most people younger than 30. By the time they were born, the Berlin Wall had already fallen, and the world, for better or worse, became much more complicated than the “Communists bad, Americans good” paradigm I returned to (gotta love the simplicity of the 8th-grade mindset!) after living behind the Iron Curtain for almost 7 years.
Maybe my stories–even though they’re a sub-set of fantasy I like to call crypto-history–can remind another generation of some of the pitfalls of history.
I’d also like to send a special shout-out to Arlee Bird, the founder of the A to Z blog challenge. He came up with the idea in 2010, and it’s grown every year since. I was introduced to it last year and was thrilled with the introduction to a very friendly community. Thanks, Lee, for continuing to encourage the madness. 🙂