The CSFF Blog Tour for The Enclave begins tomorrow (Monday), with reviews and discussion about the book or things related to it and at least one interview at some time during the next three days. For a list of active participants check Rebecca Luella Miller’s blog, A Christian Worldview of Fiction for the various links.
For my own contribution, here is another of the questions I answered about The Enclave for Bethany House’s Marketing and Publicity Questionnaire.
How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for The Enclave?
Way back in the late 80′s and early 90′s, long before I began developing The Enclave, Biosphere II was a hot topic around Tucson, one I followed with great interest. It was (and is) a giant greenhouse designed to be a completely self-sustained world, cut off from any dependence upon earth, including air and water. Inside, 8 volunteers spent two years of their lives, from 1991 to 1993, seeing if they could survive without opening the hatch. (For the record, they could not.)
Unfortunately, what was initially presented to the public as a reputable scientific experiment was later revealed to be the outworking of theories of the cult leader who was behind it all. Members of the experimental team were also members of a world wide cult of “Synergists”. One of my long time friends was the veterinarian contracted by the group to advise them on care for the livestock they took into the Biosphere with them. She provided a number of intriguing anecdotes that confirmed the cult rumors. The whole thing fascinated me and I knew I wanted to write a story some day based upon it.
In considering what sort of world within our world I could create for The Enclave, it seemed to me that the Biosphere story would be a perfect model. My intent in this book was to explore the ways that different organizations and communities draw people in and keep them in bondage to their creeds, which are in opposition to the ways of God.
Because our perceived reality is often a composition of layers of deceit, I wanted to echo this in the story.
Thus, in addition to the isolated and relatively closed community of my Biospherian inspired research institute, I wanted to have a hidden cult, which is the enclave itself. With its wholly fabricated history, purpose, cosmology and religious system, its members completely imprisoned and living in a total lie, the enclave’s society would serve as the most obvious illustration of my theme. That some have grown to young adulthood, and are beginning to question and break free of the lies in which they were raised is also an obvious analogy to a person raised in the world system coming to a knowledge of truth.
Note: First photo of Biosphere 2 nearing the end of construction in 1991 courtesy of The Arizona Daily Star