Beauty in the Beast
Beauty In The Beast is a futuristic story in which the protagonist is faced with re-starting the human race after the earth population was wiped out by a virulent air-borne virus.
Nearing Earth, our protagonist wakens from a six year space voyage:
A sound. A feel. A presence?
Something is out there that wasn’t.
What is it? What is it? What is it?!
Ensign Philip Edge came out of hyperspace suspension more quickly than the training manual authors would have liked. He yanked away his orifice tubes and carelessly peeled the dermal and the temporal sensors. He was like a Monday morning hangover late for work.
No. Not a presence, but a lack of presence. Something’s missing.
The sound is different. The feel is wrong.
Something that should be, isn’t.
This was to have been my first novel. It started out in 1994 as “The First Ones,” and was changed when I saw the cover art of Joe Burleson titled “Beauty In The Beast.” Other novels interjected themselves into my thoughts, and I shelved “Beauty” for later times. Twenty years, and four novels later, I’ve come back to my early attempt at writing a novel. In my 1994 version the killer disease was AIDS. About ten years ago I read about EBOLA and considered changing, but I was occupied with other works at the time. About a year ago, over lunch with my friend, David Pipes, I told him I had re-started “Beauty.” When I refreshed his memory of that work he immediately pointed out that EBOLA was a better choice. I’ve gone with his advice.
The original title and the story came about I read an account of orphaned child survivors found in the concentration camps at the end of World War II. Those children seemed to be almost a different species. I couldn’t help but wonder what would the human race be like if we were to shed our various chauvinisms regarding nationality, race, religion and so on. What if the human race could be started over? The only way possible was to destroy the present population of Earth, and start with children. Hence, “The First Ones.”
What would you want to teach an entirely new population of children born into an environment shorn of all the previous beliefs, values and assumptions regarding humanity? Think of the present state of the world, and ask yourself; what could we do without?