When I began writing my DAR & Earth Series for young adults, I never realized how much of an impact the books would have on me, the author. What organically evolved changed how I view humanity and its relationship with the Earth forever.

Instead of creating a fictitious dystopia, I decided to use the climate crisis, which is actually threatening our way of life and potentially the continued existence of not only humans, but of all species that inhabit the Earth. In 2016 and 2017, I began voraciously reading journals of science, nature, and microbiology as well as climate journalists, scientists, and authors. I also studied the history of our world from the Middle Ages to the present, as one needs to understand the past to comprehend how we got here. I focused on religion, kings, the patriarchy, and how women were viewed then and now. Why is over 50% of humanity so completely underrepresented in history? How different could our world have been if women held more positions of power throughout history in the fields of science, theology, and politics?

This led me to create a magical world called DAR, which is governed by females. DAR stands for dignity, acceptance, and respect, three attributes I find sorely lacking in the way we treat each other on Earth. We’ve based so many of our attitudes and prejudices toward one another on simple genetic mutations, such as skin, hair, and eye color. These attributes, in turn, led men with light skin to dominate those with darker skin tones through subjugation, colonization, and enslavement.

The shared sun between DAR and Earth affects the color of DARlings much in the same way the sun causes the variety of human skin colors on Earth. But in DAR, those with the darkest skin are the most revered because they live in the sunniest quadrant where the POD, the Protection of DAR, is located.

Using a magical world as a mirror by which to examine the philosophies and belief systems on Earth, led me to grasp just how far humanity would go toward self-­‐annihilation in its quest for more money and more power. What we have done to our Earth, by ravaging and pillaging its natural resources, has left it compromised, vulnerable, and most likely about to turn on the one thing that is destroying it—humans.

The lies that have been told throughout my lifetime by corporations, be it fossil fuel, pharmaceutical, or agricultural, was staggering to read about. When I thought about those, like myself, who unwittingly held shares in corporations actively threatening our planet, just to ensure a stable retirement, it made me divest everything and I have never looked back. When political leaders signed the Paris Accord there was a moment of hope. But that was over five years ago. And while renewable energy growth is gaining on fossil fuels, we are nowhere near where we should be in order to stop the climate crisis.

I wanted to share with young adults what I learned through my research, so their generation could potentially invent, discover, and find new ways to save the Earth and ensure that humanity evolves into a more equitable and inclusive form of life. Quite simply, my generation has eclipsed the future of the younger generation and it is a debt I fear I will never be able to repay. But I hope writing the DAR & Earth Series is a start.

DAR & Earth: Oraculi, ISBN 978-­‐1-­‐7339828-­‐0-­‐1 (available)

DAR & Earth: Revelations, ISBN 978-­‐1-­‐733982-­‐81-­‐8 (Feb. 2021)

San Francisco Review of Books Calls DAR & EARTH: Oraculi A very impressive debut novel – one that is highly recommended for the YA audience, and enlightened adults concerned about climate change!

Weuncut - Athena M. Kaiman

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