December 1, 2015

Absolute Power: a guest post and giveaway by Michael J. Foy, author of "Ghosts of Forgotten Empires"

So first, do you know where the phrase in the title of this piece comes from? No, it wasn’t Star Trek. It was actually first uttered by Sir John Dalberg-Acton, a European Baronet from 1837 to 1869. But it was, in my opinion, never more powerfully uttered than in the Star Trek episode ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’.
As you may recall in that show, the Enterprise attempts to penetrate an energy barrier at the edge of our galaxy in order to discover the fate of a previous expedition. They failed and were lucky to extract themselves from the barrier without blowing up. With the ship badly damaged they decide to limp to an automated facility on the uninhabited planet Delta Vega and attempt repairs. As a result of their contact with the energy barrier Captain Kirk’s friend Gary Mitchell, he of the glowing eyes, seems to have developed telekinetic abilities which are increasing every day.
An ever more powerful Gary eventually decides that the ship and its crew aren’t worth his caring. Before he can take over, however, Kirk and Spock manhandle him down to the planet’s surface. There they imprison him as they cannibalize the station to fix the ship’s warp drive. But it wouldn’t be a show if everything went smoothly and Gary escapes. He takes a female psychiatrist, Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, after he converts her into a god like being as well. Recognizing a threat to the whole of humanity Kirk follows him with a Phaser Rifle. Like that’s going to kill him.
During their confrontation, which Kirk is losing, he turns to Dehner and asks: “Do you like what you see? Absolute power corrupting absolutely.” Pause there. Let’s think about this for a minute. If, all of a sudden, you were given god-like powers how would you behave? Would you respect the same things? Would you respect human life for instance? I don’t know the answer. My guess is that it depends on the individual.
I created a character, Cord Devlin, who comes by similar power in Ghosts of Forgotten Empires. He’s an intelligence freelancer and his handlers at the CIA worry about the same question. Can they trust him when he doesn’t have to adhere to anyone’s rules? They use him anyway since the enemy is similarly armed with unworldly powers. In my story, however, Cord has a preoccupation with Star Trek. It’s his moral compass among other things and that’s what prevents him from abusing his fellow man. But would some personally held ideal of human behavior be enough to restrict one’s shadier impulses? Maybe at first but what about later? It’s a tough question that we may never be able to answer.
Anyway, as you know, Kirk defeats Gary by using his phaser rifle to dislodge several tons of rock which falls on Gary. Conveniently, he’s standing in a grave meant for Kirk. Let’s remember that if we’re in a similar situation.
Michael has a GIVEAWAY on his Facebook page where the winner will receive a copy of GHOSTS OF FORGOTTEN EMPIRES. Click HERE to enter!
BIO: Michael J. Foy was born to Irish immigrants in upstate New York and lived in London for a year on two different occasions as a child. He graduated Northeastern University in 1979 with an engineering degree. In 1993 he changed careers to become a recruiter servicing the publishing industry. In essence, his literary career has spanned two other careers but has always been his first love.

In 1991 he sold an option for his first novel, False Gods, as a screenplay to Timothy Bogart the nephew of Peter Guber, Producer of Batman. Michael has since published Future Perfect, a Science Fiction novel and local bestseller, and The Kennedy Effect which weaves the story of JFK with parallel reality themes.

He was also an early pioneer in publishing short stories over the internet including the Solar Winds of Change, The Adventure of the Moonstone and A Land to Call Our Own. He lives in Massachusetts where he enjoys kayaking, bicycling and exploring a wide array of literary subjects.

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