A. L. Buehrer What I Write and Why

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Birth of Dronefall: The Story

I’ve had a lot of dreams like this: Who are they? We don’t know. What do they want? Can’t say. But they’re peeping at the windows, and we’ve got to hide.

I was researching for a project in college when my interest in drones and mass-surveillance solidified. I started to conjure up a future where drones ran the world. They dominated the airspace, delivered the packages, cleaned the chimneys, kept the peace, and few questioned it. This was a world that believed constant surveillance was the only way to protect the public. But in the end, humans still had to call the shots. Someone had to decide who was a threat.

For my main character, I picked out a cynical young woman who believes she’s irrelevant and invisible to society—until someone behind a monitor (or is it just an algorithm?) seems to target her as a threat. So, she takes off and joins her only friend in a neighborhood full of Christians that have their own reasons they wish they were invisible.

I don’t know. A story about a gang of people who hunt surveillance drones just sounded kind of fun to me. There was just enough escapism in the sci-fi concepts to pull me in. I wanted to write a dystopia, but I didn’t really want it to be a non-stop bummer story. The fact that so much of my thematic material was going to hit a lot of readers close to home made me want to make an effort to try to add some contrasting material—explosions, fascinating technology, unusual settings, vibrant characters, and even a decent bit of humor, if I could really pull all that off.

Most importantly, I wanted to give something great to Christian readers. I never meant Dronefall to be an evangelism tool. Life goes on after you get saved. It isn’t easy, either. I wanted to write as a ministry to other Christians, like me, who wanted to step back from the chaos and confusion of life and see life’s spiritual battle from a new vantage-point. I wanted to show them people they could identify with in a world rougher and scarier than their own still standing up for the things we believe in.  

I don’t think the goal of Christian dystopia is to be alarmist or get everyone dreading the future. Instead I want to make Christians aware of the direction the world is headed around us. Because no matter how it looks, it’s a good direction. It’s God’s plotline. You’re a hero in his story and a part of the most thrilling and magnificent epic imaginable. 

If you read the Dronefall series, you’re going to start recognizing elements of it in the world around you. But I hope, beyond the pain the state of history gives you, you’ll discover a sense of exhilaration. Now is the time to stand up, speak out, and shine brightly with the truth of Jesus Christ. This is what you’re on earth for.      

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