Sally and Billy in Babyland is a political satire told in the form of a fable. It also borrows elements from fairy tales. In particular, it borrows the setup of the Grimm fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. In my story, Sally and Billy are two children abandoned in the woods. But beyond that, the story is not like the Grimm fairy tale (plot spoiler: they are not eaten by a witch).
The world that Sally and Billy encounter, Babyland, is cult-like. I live in Michigan and there have been a couple of well-known cults here. So that was somewhere in the back of my mind as I played with the design of this story. The most notorious cult (well, technically, it’s a religion) is arguably what happened on Beaver Island.
What happened on Beaver Island, you ask?
Beaver Island is an island in Lake Michigan. It’s part of the state of Michigan, and in 1848, James Strang, a Mormon who claimed to be Joseph Smith’s successor, moved there and declared it a sovereign country, naming himself the monarch of the country. For quite a few years, he lived just a little bit like a king. It didn’t end well for him.
But once I got the story of Sally and Billy rolling, I didn’t work anymore of those parallels into it. The story began to tell itself as I grew to understand and care about the characters. I even cared about the characters I didn’t like very much (we all have a role to play) but I admit it was a relief to see some of them go.
And I was worried about the welfare of Sally and Billy as well. It’s not easy to be abandoned in the woods. If you survive, it can really build character. But I don’t recommend it.
I mentioned that Sally and Billy in Babyland is a fable and animals play a prominent role in the story. It’s also a satire, so there are some ridiculous elements in it, as well. But I think you’ll agree that, as a satire, you can recognize the truth in the story.
If you read it, I hope you enjoy it. Either way, I hope you’ll let me know.