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Source

by Matthew S Williams

Copyright 2011 by Matthew S Williams

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Contents:

Introduction/Dedications ……………………………………………………… 2

Part I: Source ………………………………………………………………...... 4

Part II: Shortfall ………………………………………………………………. 25

Part III: Deliverance ……………………………….………………………..... 44

Part IV: Galilee ……………………………………………………………….. 55

Part V: Reclamation ...……………………………………………………….... 71

Part VI: For Keeps ……………………………………………………………. 108

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Introduction/Dedications

This story is dedicated to Chris A Jackson, James K Bowers, and all the members of the Herscher Project. Were it not for their inspiration, critiques, and constant support, this story would never have been possible. Thanks are also due to numerous friends and colleagues who, as usual, contributed their time and energy to help me with this work. To my parents as well, who at an early age instilled in me an appreciation for the environment and this planet we call Earth. Thanks are due to many people for many different reasons, so some explanation needs to be made as to how this story was inspired, who helped, and in what capacity.

Originally, all chapters in this volume were created as sequels to one original short story.

Together, they represent the culmination of an idea that grew from a single project, commissioned by Mr. Bowers at the Herscher Project, to have writers create visions of a dystopian future. As a starting point, all interested parties were told to consult a short story by Mr. Jackson, known as ―A Flash In The Pan‖. Mr. Jackson, it should be noted, is an established fantasy writer with many titles to his credit, which include the ―Zellohar‖, ―Deathmask‖, ―A Soul for Tsing‖, ―Weapon of Flesh‖, ―Scimitar Moon‖, and the hilarious sci-fi spoof ―Cheese Runners‖. In this particular short story, Jackson explored the possibility of humanity‘s future, discerning twelve different scenarios, arranged from worst to best. In one particular scenario, the human race continued to face the challenge of population threatening to outstrip its natural resources. After limitless expansion, it could no longer deny that it was reaching the limits of its growth, and would have to face severe decline. It was from this particular scenario that I decided to write my contribution which I had already named ―Source‖.

Since I first heard about the project, it was my hope to do a story based on the very real possibility that the human race will someday run out of drinking water. This possibility, should it ever come true, will not only mean environmental catastrophe, it will also have immense social and political consequences. One can imagine without much difficulty how terrible death tolls, international incidents, a global war, government crackdowns, and the rise of totalitarian regimes could result. It therefore seemed like a perfect idea to base a dystopian story on. In addition to that, I also feel it is an environmental issue deserving of attention.

Much like the problem of petroleum and global warming, discussion on this issue has typically been reserved to environmental and academic circles. It is only within the past few years that this issue has graduated from this arena and started to occupy an important position in political discourse. With the very real threat of diminishing supplies of crude oil, climbing energy prices and environmental changes that threaten human lives, it is little wonder why the people and politicians of the world would start to take notice. Unfortunately, this graduation has yet to produce any true results. On the one hand, the issue has been mired by the insistence of some that it is still a mere theory, rather than scientifically proven fact. On the other, it appears that entrenched economic interests are dead set against any initiatives that would discourage the consumption of their product. Nevertheless, in spite of these attempts to block legislation, clearly much progress has been made in terms of promoting general awareness. The mere fact that there is a debate should be considered as a good sign. However, as of yet, little discussion has been dedicated to the problem of diminishing water supplies around the world. It is unfortunate that such a problem would need to be considered imminent before it was considered worthy of our attention. It would also be unfortunate if this problem were left for too long, for as we are learning, global warming may not be helped in time to prevent a severe loss of life from happening in the next century.

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In any case, Source was inspired by this combination of factors. Once I had finished with it, I had no doubt that I was pleased with the product. My colleagues were equally happy, but still found room for improvement. I took their suggestions very seriously, and in the end produced Source as it appears in its entirety. It contained many characters and moved quickly between perspectives and time periods in order to establish a sense of uncertainty and impending crisis. Shortly thereafter, the moderators at Elfwood Lysator read it over and were impressed enough to give it a Moderator‘s Choice award. Several comments followed, many of which suggested I correct the unfortunate cliffhanger ending by writing a sequel. Almost immediately I caved in to their suggestions, and began working on part II of the story, known as ―Shortfall‖.

Whereas the first story dealt with crisis, selfishness, and sacrifice, the second volume was almost exclusively concerned with death, loss, and terrible purpose. By the time it was finished, I believed I had more material to work with, enough to fill the pages of a full-length novel.

After completing the shorts named ―Deliverance‖, ―Galilee‖ and ―Reclamation‖, I finally felt I had written the story through to its completion. All parts now appear in their entirety in this volume, not as separate short stories, but as a single, ongoing story. I sincerely hope that people enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I also hope that its message, that the planet is our responsibility, and every action has consequences, will not go unnoticed. All too often, it appears that the responsibility for conveying important social messages is relegated to authors and intellectuals, and that they rarely manage to have an impact on anyone outside of intellectual circles. But I think it is clear at this juncture in our history that we can no longer speculate about our problems, and that everyone is capable of being informed. We can no longer stand to be silent, and we must deal with the problems facing our world responsibly, and immediately.

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