When you can’t leave lest you die from radiation poisoning, entertainment and community bonding take on a whole new level of importance. No wonder they promised people would die! I’d kill myself from boredom, if not from going insane from the confined and isolated living first. That’s not how I envisioned myself going out in the world, and my imagination was crushed.
Since the early 1990s, I’ve been captivated by the Biosphere 2 Project, a Mars prototype biodome that featured several biomes, including an ocean and coral reef. The biomes allowed the scientists (most were self-proclaimed), who belonged to The Theater of All Possibilities, to live on Earth (even though it was “Mars”), and embody a lifestyle like the ancients. Basically, they got to live like off-grid hippies. At the end of the day, when they tired of connecting with their earthen roots, they sojourned to their swanky modern apartments to relax and socialize, connecting with loved ones beyond their glass walls with the “internet,” which was then a whole new technological social experience.
This strange combination fascinated me. I completely appreciated their mission and what the Biospherians accomplished and endured during their two year enclosure. Their story is straight from the pages of science fiction, right down to the orange jumpsuits they were issued. Interestingly enough, the most valuable aspect that the world gleaned from the experiment was not the technology, but the social and psychological results they did not expect.
Isolation and Confinement Environment Syndrome (ICE) became the buzzword. Everyone was talking about it – NASA, psychologists, sociologists, media, the Biospherians – and all had an angle on why the eight individuals, who lived inside such an incredible dwelling, would form a heated faction and refuse to leave the experiment when social conditions grew unbearable. They were forced out of the biodome when the oxygen depleted to dangerous levels, and their lives depended on breathing the atmosphere of Earth once again.
Fast-forward twenty years, and the scientific world still does not know how to fully combat ICE. All agree this is one of the toughest hurdles in colonizing Mars. How does one sever her ties to Earth, her known life, and create a whole new world?
Many benefits of a LARPing community – the bonding, camaraderie, incredible problem-solving skills, mastery of point-of-view, common goals and purposes that stimulate the mind rather than tire it, and an appreciation of the finer arts of society and survival – prove necessary ingredients to form a functional society filled with healthy individuals. The psychological and sociological benefits of LARPing drew me in. If a whole society needs to forget its life on Earth, why not through the art of escapism? By creating a game, becoming a character, and crafting a setting that is reminiscent of Earth (though not one in which the society ever lived), there is real potential to combat ICE and social breakdown.
I had to write about it. My imagination was burning for release. Over the last year, I labored and gave birth to a story that uses live action role-playing as an experimental test against ICE in a large earth-based Mars prototype biodome city named New Eden Township. Approved applicants are hermetically sealed inside for twenty-five years to emulate a rustic medieval society with environmental sensibilities (many are scientists), with assigned roles and functions within the community. Additionally, the residents of New Eden Township live a worst-case scenario to simulate what would happen if a society became completely isolated because of technology failure, and disrupted food and medical deliveries from Earth. There is very limited contact to the Outside world, and only the noble class has communications access.
Nineteen years after the doors are shut, a brother and sister, who are part of the second generation – those born inside the biodome – learn a life-altering secret when their father dies. This secret forces them to face and interact with the mundane reality of the Outside world. To them, their life is not a game of physical and psychological survival; it is their known world, their identity. Although they understand they are part of a test for Mars colonization, they do not understand what their generation, in specific, is proving for the scientific community beyond their walls. When they are faced with the truth, they must make a choice that will make or break the experiment.
On the flip side, brother and sister connect with a young man from the Outside world whose father is the overseeing Gamemaster behind the experiment, a secret the Outsider keeps from the siblings to protect his own identity. The Outsider is forced to play various roles to protect the brother and sister, and to appease his father. In the process, he forms convictions and beliefs by playing out points of view that are not his own. Ultimately, he bonds with the community of New Eden Township, an experience he never expected, but one that will radically change his life.
The story unfolds as the Outsider, brother, and sister discover what they are truly made of when they are pushed to their limits.
Click Here to read the first three chapters of Legacy!
You can also enjoy the futuristic world I have crafted on Pinterest through my Book Series Board, New Eden Township Board, and the Anime Tech Punk Movement Board.
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About the Author