Among the true-to-life complexities of Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands series is the diversity of the motley opposition against the Safe Lands government.
There are the people of Glenrock and Jack’s Peak, who were dragged into the city and fell into the war quite haplessly. If the Safe Lands had left them alone, they would have left it alone.
There is the Freedom for Families, comprised principally of Naturals – an underground society that has existed within the shadows almost from the beginning. Theirs is a quiet rebellion.
There is the Black Army – full of disgruntled Safe Landers who, born and bred in the system, now want out.
And there are those without organization, whose need drives them away from normal life in the Safe Lands.
There is an equal diversity of motivations. All Jordan and Levi really care about is taking care of their own. Anything and anybody else? Not their problem.
Mason, though also from Glenrock, has some concern for the Safe Landers themselves, some desire to help them – though it understandably receives a lot of impetus from the fact that he’s falling in love with a Safe Lander. So, too, with Omar: He looks beyond Glenrock to the Safe Lands, his altruism and his self-interest all mixed together. But what he is seeking for himself in these efforts is peace, a place to belong, his own identity.
Bender and Rewl, of the Black Army, seem primarily concerned for themselves – as does Red, who dismisses the government taking a woman’s baby with the words, “I don’t like the government telling me what to do. But babies aren’t my interest.”
Look, I found a libertarian in the Black Army!
Levi, by the way, disclaimed concern for the same baby and mother. He just didn’t bother to articulate his reasons so clearly.
But the Black Army has its noble ones, too. So does the Freedom for Families – people who are not content merely to hide and enjoy their escape, but who have compassion on those still caught in the dark web, whether the difficult elders of Glenrock or the lost souls of the Safe Lands.
I can’t name the bad apples among the FFF, but that’s only because we have seen little of them. As the human heart is always struggling between love and selfishness, and often wrapping them together in the most ingenuous of ways, so every community is made of bad and good. The purest causes draw impure votaries, and unworthy causes have been known to net worthy followers.
Because – for good and for bad, for better or for worse – that’s the way people are.