In the book “The Omega Children – the Return of the Marauders,” the main characters are sent to a civilization that has been hidden from the world for hundreds of years. The denizens have lost sight of their origins – a shroud having long ago fallen over their history. This gives depth to the events and like a small player in a massive arena, the characters feel they are part of some enormity vastly larger than themselves.
Affected by the oldness of the land they come to see that despite the obvious decay, its citizens cling to ways that no longer make any sense. The evocative coolness of ancient civilizations and the ability of a people to blindly hang on to a way of life are the underpinning themes here that thread through the story.
Ancient civilizations are cool. I mean really cool. As a kid, I used to bike along a river on the way to school, passed what looked like the crumbled remains of an ancient castle. Weather batted and twisted iron girders protruded to nowhere. A once working water wheel lay rusted up, frozen in time. Layers of old crumbled concrete traced a path where the walls once soared high, and bushes and grass invaded what had once been the inside. I discovered years later it was only an old flour mill, not more than a hundred years old, but with little knowledge of history or ancient civilizations something in me as kid instantly could feel affected by its emptiness and once past imagined glory.
Ancient civilizations conjure up images of evocative, past-glory faded to the inevitable nothing. Stand amongst the ruins of once great nations and one cannot help but feel the din of silent voices that used to throng its busy highways. A mighty testament to our constant impermanence, it is a harsh invitation to consider how long our way of life will last, or even what a speck of dust we are in the backdrop of history.
For the “Omega Children,” it adds a depth to the backdrop of events they must wend their way through.
All things must pass, all things must die. It is the way of things. Out of death comes rebirth. A lot of historians write about the reasons why civilizations pass into myth and history. They mainly focus on the depletion of resources (as in Angor Wat in Thailand) or an invasion from another civilization (as in the American Indians), yet there is another reason – one that almost borders on spirituality.
If a people hang on to outdated modes of thinking and doing, then over time this will kill all the facets that make for a great civilization – ingenuity, freedom, exploration, discovery, community, growth – all the intangibles that make life worth experiencing. At some point, rules will be established and humanity will be quashed. The spirit that dwells in man forever wants to be connected to the infinitely varying not hemmed in by a want for everything to stay the same.
The “Omega Children” have only the pattern of playing and exploring, yet the land they are taken to is locked in maintaining traditions thousands of years old. This puts them at major loggerheads with the land and provides a meaty conflict for two clashing ideals both as strong as each other.