There is so much I could say about where this book comes from, but there are too many people in this world who are too eager to call for another human being’s destruction simply because of something they say, so I’ll keep these details to myself.
This book was inspired by the way that human nature needs to have a villain’s face to put on a problem in society, and how far we’re often willing to go to protect ourselves from that villain simply because they’re easy to point to. This book is about the consequences of the insanity that so often floods our society because we have confused allowances from Terms of Service with freedoms granted by the Constitution, God or simply inherent to being human.
If you’ve ever found yourself troubled by the direction a society can go because of a people’s willingness to take offense and seek the destruction of others simply because its people disagree with each other, then you’ll understand where this story came from for me.
This story started, for me, driven by these notions and our need to vilify others so that we can feel like we’re solving a problem and making society a better place.
I thought about many ugly people in society as I crafted this book, and I thought of people who are considered ugly for no reason other than other people want them to be a villain. Every day, it seems it gets more impossible to escape being tagged as someone the masses deem as ugly. Every day, it seems to get easier to attack our fellow beings. Every day, we become more comfortable with this act of destruction.
So how do you escape? Where do you go? Who do you trust.
From the beginning it was my full intention to create a story about an underground railroad for people with mental disabilities or illnesses because they are so often vilified for so many of today’s problems in society, but then the tunnels grew to help others who had been vilified.
This is one of the most difficult pieces I’ve ever worked on. I met so many people in the creation of this book, people who were not like me and didn’t have the same values. It was difficult for me to let so many of them hold the values, behaviors and opinions that so many had, and I had to let them be their human selves. It felt wrong in writing a book about offense and various angles of diversity to restrain the characters to subscribe to how I would have them speak so as not to offend my audience or people who know me. Any time I tried to infringe on their behaviors or values in any way, they stopped being who they were, and they stopped telling their story.
I say it in my book, and I’ll say it here. I don’t agree with my characters, but this isn’t my story and I wasn’t there. I’ve written about werewolves. I’ve had a career in scaring people in other forms of media, and many of these people are the most frightening characters I’ve met, and they made sure I didn’t forget it as this story unfolded before me.
I love the characters. I love the story, and I just cannot bring myself to force their humanity into hiding simply because some audiences and friends have certain predispositions on how a book should behave or what it doesn’t need. I know many people used to my previous works won’t like this because of its characters and how they may conduct themselves, but that’s how humanity works. We don’t always like what other people say or do.
A girl who feels nothing; a boy who sees shadows and hears what others cannot; a baby without license to be born; a deaf teenager and scientific savant; offensive people; a general who passed law to hunt, imprison and kill them all.
Where do they hide when the sub-nations of the United States draw their own lines in the ground that dictate which people get to be oppressed and who gets to be offended?
The Salvo Cartel built the tunnels to help them escape, to aid those with mental ailments, those who question, those who refuse to conform, gays, Christians, artists, people with scruples, and other deviants.
Do they flee to Salvo’s underground cities, with eyes set on a grander safeplace?
Where do they go when Lady Liberty douses her light?
Perhaps the same place she’s been pointing her torch towards ever since she stepped atop her pedestal and realized at once that one day she too would be told to shut up.