“[W]hen the price of peace with others is the surrender of one’s highest values, conflict becomes one’s greatest asset.” The conflicts in Southwick’s dystopia are disturbingly familiar, with elements that echo today’s headlines.
In a world where most people are increasingly constrained to toe the line and give at least lip-service to the dual social concepts of Unity and Sacrifice, anyone who does not conform must self-identify as criminal, or become actively anti-social. Society regards either as negative, of course, and so the real choice is self-abnegation—accepting the values imposed by society—or isolation from it.
Young Roble Santos is anti-social, labeled delinquent, then abandoned to the foster system. Unlike his friend Danny Sands, the son of his last foster parents, however, Roble is never conflicted about what he wants. Given the choice between pursuing his dream of creating the ultimate jet plane or conforming, Roble rejects society’s expectations and runs away. In his last interview with the Alexa Patra, the driven head of a private charity that places Nevada children in foster “care,” he tells Patra: “I don’t need to hear how scary the world is and how I shouldn’t try anything. I don’t need to know how much suffering there is out there,” he pointed out the window, “or how bad I should feel about it. What I need…” he looked up, his grey eyes pleading, “…is to see someone who is still happy after growing up.” –Dr. Pat
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“I find nothing to be more heroic than someone chasing their own dream against all odds.”
S.W. Southwick lives in Las Vegas.