Which do you believe in, fate or free will?
My answer is both.
No, that’s not cheating. You don’t make choices in a bubble, separate from self or consequence. You make them from preference, beliefs, from the exigency of the moment, weighted by lingering shadows of your past.
Wait, that sounds as though we have no freedom to choose, that an outside (or inside) force predestines our future. So fate wins?
No, and no. We humans are more than set of binary answers, pre-programmed by culture and the past. We are creatures who can learn, who can change. Our own real-world history proves that. The operative word being can. No guarantee there, alas. But there is a particle of hope.
So what if–my favorite question–what if we were gifted with multiple lives? How would choice, and consequence, and our past, affect us? It’s not a new question. In Hinduism and many other religions, life doesn’t end with death. You die, you are reborn, and the choices you make in one life determine the next. You are free to spend eternity struggling with the same questions over and over, or you can rise toward enlightenment. Fate and free will rolled into one package.
Which is a hell of a lot more interesting to me than a single shot at Paradise.
So when I sat down to write the first book in the Passion Play universe, I gave my characters many lives. Each of them remembers what came before through dreams, some of them more vivid than others, and because the soul carries the imprint of that person, each is drawn to the same kinds of situations over and over. Ilse Zhalina has spent all her lives avoiding confrontation, choosing instead to run. Lord Raul Kosenmark has always taken the oblique path, the hidden role throughout history. Time and again, other characters also gave the decision to others in power. At first these choices are small ones, but the weight of each affects the rest. At the point where Passion Play begins, they are mountains.
These books are about how the mountains can fall down. And what comes next.
From the Tor/Forge October newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.
More from our October newsletter:
- Worlds Colliding? That’s Nothing by Edward M. Lerner
- The Half-Made Frontier by Felix Gilman
- Space Cadets and Starship Troopers: The Eagle Has Landed By Stacy Hague-Hill, Wishing You Good Journey