After a six month pause from my blog, I return to report of the 2nd edition of my fiction book, ‘The Conflagration’. It does not fit available genres—it is a cautionary tale for the 21st Century. A fire-bird, a Phoenix, graces the cover, a symbol of new possibilities rising. It is now in a second edition which carries a new sub-title: ‘Toward a Better World’. When I began writing the book about a decade ago, ‘conflagration’ was, perhaps, a less familiar word. It can now be found in music and as at least one other book title. It has also struck me that my use of the word on its own may be a bit misleading as it brings to mind images of widespread destruction. The addition of the subtitle helps set up the more positive post-destruction story that takes place in a world that has learned to live in peace.
The story opens 300+ years into the future in a world without war when a plane from the 21st Century is found in the Antarctic containing an intact cryonic capsule with a mature young woman inside. There is controversy about what to do as that world does not practice cryonics.
She is revitalized and slowly learns of her fate. She is angry, unbelieving and resistive to what she is told. Her resistance gradually thaws under the gentle care of her rehabilitation team. The team recognizes her intelligence and a plan is made to educate her to this world and hopefully enable her to find a career.
Once Sydney accepts the truth of the destruction of her world at the end of the 21st Century, she falls into a deep depression. Next, recovering from the depression, as new information piles on, she becomes overwhelmed by what she must absorb and she goes to the desert on a long retreat. In that soul search she becomes obsessed with the question, ‘Did the Conflagration have to happen? Was it inevitable?’
Upon her return, she decides to write her Master’s thesis on some version of that question by delving into what information was available to her former world that could have helped avert WWIII, The Conflagration.
In the story, this is Sydney’s question . . . Our 21st Century world is in crisis; we are on the wrong path; Sydney’s question is the book’s question.
*all references to the 20th and 21st Centuries are factual.