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Hello World // Mission statement

I'm happy to report that I have jakobdrud.com up and running. The website has been online for a while, but now that I've added an introduction and a mugshot, I thought I'd announce it to the world.

I spent some time thinking about the 'concept' of the site. The title, 'Alternative', seemed obvious to me, since what I do is pretty alternative in Denmark. I mean, science fiction? In English? I'm not alone, but if there's a crowd of SF writers around these parts, I certainly missed it.

Explaining how the word 'alternative' related to my stories nevertheless had my poor brains on the rack. What I came up with for the website is the short version. The long one is here.

I really like to think about how the world could be different. Humanity has all kinds of possibilities going for it at the moment: We've reached a technological level that makes it possible to send probes to Mars and Titan; we are battling cancer with increasing efficiency and knowledge of the human genome will teach us a lot more in the coming decades; we know more about subatomic particles than ever before; and the internet has made the exchange and accessibility of information very, very easy. 

Et Cetera.

But there are also a lot of social factors standing in our way. Poor levels of education in many countries in the world. Extreme poverty. Religious fundamentalists insisting that we should follow doctrine written centuries or millennia ago in every aspect of our lives – even when our understanding of the world today is better than it was when those founding documents were written. Political leaders who think war is the way to a better world, and who fail to invest the humongous sums of war money in helping the planet and humanity survive. Nationalism and other political ideologies providing leaders with a platform for enriching themselves and their friends.*

Et Cetera.

In my opinion, education is the answer to these problems and increase the things we've got going for us. And education comes in many forms, stories being one of them. Through their characters, stories let readers look at problems from a different angle and help them see the world in a new way. They show people that there are alternatives to the life they're living, and explore different social structures that may work better than the one we're currently living under. Stories entertain and provide the breathing space a reader may need to recoup for tomorrow's tasks. They add perspective. They provoke feelings and help us deal with the sometimes horrendous task of being human – and help us enjoy the fabulous moments that come from being alive. They don't do all of this all of the time, but if writers can touch the minds of their readers once in a while, they've done a great thing.

So, if there's a theme to my writing, it's showing that problems can be overcome, that social changes are possible, and that the individual with an eye for opportunity has the power to make changes in the world for the better. I guess this worldview also explains why I like science fiction so much. SF is a genre of worlds, technology, possibilities, and the interaction of individuals in that world. 

As far as a mission statement for my own fiction goes, this is all pretty pretentious. I don't follow this philosophy strictly, but if there's a common denominator to the things I write, this is the closest I've come to expressing it to date. And i my gymnastics when reaching for the stars can get people to shift their gazes skywards for a moment, then it's fine by me.



* Many caveats here, of course. Religions provide sound advice about being human, but I'd rather that people are free to take the advice they need than doctrine thrust upon them by religious leaders. Just wars are known to have happened, e.g. in response to Hitler, who thought war was the way to a better Germany... No caveats about the lack of science-based education, though.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 24th, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
Will you be linking between LJ and your site?
May. 24th, 2011 10:14 am (UTC)
For the moment I'll post everything on LJ and copy only the writing- and publishing-related blog posts to the website.

And inspired by your question I'll also put a live link to the website in this post :-)
May. 24th, 2011 10:27 am (UTC)
Yay! :)
May. 24th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
The site looks GREAT! Very nice.
May. 24th, 2011 10:34 am (UTC)
Thanks! I can't take credit for the design, but I think the template was a good choice. I looked at A LOT before I decided :-)
(Deleted comment)
May. 24th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks! That's kind of what I aimed for :-)
May. 24th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC)
The new site is GORGEOUS! Well done, Jakob!
May. 24th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you :-) I do try my best.
May. 26th, 2011 06:14 am (UTC)
The new web site looks wonderful Jakob!
May. 26th, 2011 08:22 am (UTC)
Thanks, Ralan. I'm glad you like it -- even if the link collection is less comprehensive than yours ;-)
May. 26th, 2011 08:36 am (UTC)
Give it time. Mine is over 14 years in the making.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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