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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Introduction and Prologue to My 2nd Edition of The Last Wizard - The Story of a Reluctant Hero


                                                             Introduction

Wizard is just a book, a flight of fancy, a work of fiction.   It is not intended to be prophetic.   It does not represent the views of paganism or heathenry as a whole.  This book contains adult themes and situations and should not be used as a children’s bedtime story or read by those who are not mentally or emotionally secure. 
            The characters do not represent any persons past or present; they are fictional.  All of the characters are flawed with personal traits that we all can identify with.  I have tried to depict humanity at its best and at its worst.  Ordinary people, when faced with life- changing decisions, make choices, be it for good or ill.  Heroes are not born but made.  They are ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances, who have chosen to make a stand for what they believe is right.  You will meet heroes in the pages of this book, and may find some of them to be the most unlikely to wear that title.  And, you will meet the scum of the earth.
            History is used to flesh out the various concepts presented.  For those who take issue with my interpretation of history, I remind you that this is a work of fiction.  I have tried to remain as true to the Celtic and Germanic/Norse mythos as possible but I do admit that I have stretched a point or two for the sake of the story.  I use the term, “the Quickening” to describe a series of events that occurred nearly simultaneously and that brought about the life-changing circumstances that the characters face. 
            I am aware that this work could create controversy among pagans, heathens, and Christians.  However, if this controversy leads to a dialogue that brings better understanding and tolerance among people, that is a good thing. 
            Places mentioned in the book like Lake George and its surrounding areas, and the Finger Lakes, are very real.  Here in the United States we still have many places to see and visit that are beautiful.  Every one of these great vistas should have a sign that reads, “Don’t muck this up!  Keep it for our grandchildren’s grandchildren!”  Enjoy!!!  
                                                             


                                                               Prologue
                                                          
This book, The Last Wizard- The Story of a Reluctant Hero was met with good reviews. However, many folks asked me why I did not have a “bridge” from the modern to the post-modern world I storied in Wizard.   The answer is simple.  My editor at the time argued, rather strenuously, that I drop the prologue because it read like a “history book” and gave away the contents.   Looking back, I feel this was a mistake-not the editor’s mistake but mine for going along with it.  The reader needs to know the origins of something, not just the end result.  Therefore I present here the omitted prologue.

“It” finally happened.   This “It” in, later history would be referred to as “The Quickening.”  This was not just a failed environment but a variety of unrelated issues that combined to bring about planetary change….
            The polar ice caps melted sooner than expected, creating massive coastal flooding.  This caused many people to move inland. The loss of the polar caps pushed land temperatures up an average of six degrees in most areas.  In the northern hemisphere the increased temperature reduced snow and rainfall.  The lack of water worldwide caused general sanitation to break down. Humanity, with its false sense of scientific superiority, had declared bacterial infection defeated decades before.
            But those tiny life forms had just adapted and when the temperature rose, came back with a vengeance.  New strains of cholera, measles, small pox, influenza, diphtheria, and plague killed untold millions before a treatment to defeat them was found.
            Oil became black gold.  Demand increased while supply decreased, bringing about sky-rocketing fuel prices.  For many years people had heard how government would create energy independence but to no avail.  In an effort to supplement fuel supply, government turned to the production of ethanol as a quick fix.
            As a result, basic grains never made it to grocery stores let alone family tables.  In effect, western nations put people’s groceries into their SUVs via ethanol.   Governments were aware of this, but for reasons not fully understood, food production did not increase although the capacity was there.   Some at the time had speculated it was a combination of climate change, less growing space due to population increase, and just plain greed.
            And bees, necessary in the process of pollination, were dying off by the millions with no satisfactory explanation.  Before the ethanol rage, western nations produced grain foodstuffs with large surpluses.  This surplus went to feed hungry people in third world countries.  Bu now this surplus went into ethanol, creating even greater world hunger.  Food shortages, combined with fresh drinking water shortages, brought about mass riots that eventually hobbled many governments.
            Throughout all of this, the Catholic Church declared a ban on any form of contraception in South America, Mexico, Central America, and Africa.  In these poor countries the Church felt it still had significant influence.  This action only added to the already staggering population growth.  People not killed off by disease died from starvation.  The rise of the Christian Right, who were no more than fascists, added their considerable weight to the crisis.
            This movement managed to influence the U.S. federal government, particularly the executive and judicial branches.   Their influence had U.S. Presidents reject the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Accords, using the excuse that participating in them would hurt American business interests.  In true Fascist tradition, the American military industrial complex and right wing Christian ideologues, were cozily in bed with each other.  When the developing nations saw the United States pay no more than lip service to Kyoto and Bali, they followed suit. 
            Debt – national, corporate, and personal – was staggering.  The Christian Right became deeply entrenched in government, the military, and business.  But they needed Democrats and began to court them like a rich old geezer courts a Playboy centerfold.  Payment rendered by the Democrats was the gutting of the Constitution and the repeal of Roe v. Wade.  The Christian Right was very close to creating their ideal “Christian Nation” but took one huge misstep.
            Nuclear missiles were shaken by their political puppets like a stick shaken by an armchair general scolding a poor ally.  China and India, considered godless by the Right, were the targets of this saber rattling, even though they held most of this nation’s debt. When they had had enough, they called in the debt.
            The United States went financially belly-up and because of the inter-connectedness of the global economy woven between nations, so did other countries.  This worldwide governmental bankruptcy, combined with things previously mentioned, brought about total collapse.  Governments capitulated and civil order became non-existent, ushering in The Age of Anarchy.  The world, now more than ever, needed heroes………….

                                           Copyright@ 2011 Terry Unger  

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