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Copyright 2000 Tara K. Harper.  All rights reserved.

Storm Runner

What's This Book Really About?

Storm Runner is about two issues: responsibility/obligation, and the resolution required for dealing with deliberate evil. In the late seventies and early eighties, my family was involved in helping refugees from Southeast Asia.  (A note of family pride:  Because of our experiences, my mother served on the task force which advised the President of the U.S. on the subject of refugee resettlement.)  At the time the refugees flooded to the Pacific coast, I was old enough to have done volunteer work for many years, and I was not unexposed to the idea or the reality of poverty or physical hardship.  This--dealing with the boat people--was different. I had never before and have never since seen bodies so abused as those I saw then.

Why did we help those people?  What obligation did we have--or was it even as strong as an obligation--to help them?  Is there any difference between "loaning" your neighbor a cup of sugar or milk and "giving" a foreigner a coat?  How far away, ethically, is a foreigner from a neighbor?  What would you do for your child, which you wouldn't do for a neighbor?  What would you do for your neighbor, which you wouldn't do for a stranger?  Are ethics defined by familiarity or form?

What about those responsible for degrading and destroying people who once had been productive members of their own society?  What do you do when you encounter someone who is so destructive that she leaves behind her only shells of human beings?  Do you  step in, try to soften the destruction, or pick up the pieces afterwards?  Or do you walk away, ignoring it or distancing yourself from the damage?

"We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone.  
Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar...
Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out."

     - William James

Storm Runner deals with those questions because I had to deal with those questions--not only through working with the refugees, but also in other aspects of my life.  One of the hardest lessons I had to learn was that there are some situations/problems which have no acceptable solution.  Sometimes, facing your enemy is the worst thing to do--not for yourself, but for everyone else, because it will be those others who must pay for your actions.  In Storm Runner, I wanted the characters to explore different choices:  which battles to fight, which people to help; which risks to take; which prices to pay.

Power is not intangible. It is a force that creates action and reaction.  When abused, it pushes at "good" people to step out of their comfortable "good" ruts and take action.  It can force someone to look at the cost of inaction and the price of action, and then pay those bills when they come due.  Abused or otherwise, power forces scrutiny; scrutiny forces choice; choice forces action; and action can change the world.

Copyright 2000 by Tara K. Harper
All rights reserved.  It is illegal to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, any part of this copyrighted file without permission in writing from Tara K. Harper.  Permission to download this file for personal use only is hereby granted by Tara K. Harper.

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