I’m often asked, “what influenced your creation of a dystopic future in Heart Wood ?” Although I’ve read speculative novels by amazing authors (think Margaret Atwood), my answer is always the same:
The three dystopic novels forever branded into my memory are:
“Earth Abides,” “The Great Bay,” and “Feed“
Each novel influenced how I wove the 2075 journey of great-granddaughter Amisha into my vision of the future. Coincidentally, two of the authors described a great pandemic that wiped out most of mankind – a premise that now gives me chills. That wasn’t the premise of Heart Wood, although I did mention “the flu” as something Amisha often endured as a child. In Heart Wood though, there’s a sense of something else….
“EARTH ABIDES” by George Stewart. Written in 1949, Stewart details the earth’s transition and rebuilding after a virus wipes out most of civilization. Saved by the venom of a rattlesnake bite, the character Ish survives the virus and wanders through Northern California in what civilization has left behind. In vivid detail, Stewart describes the waves of transition the earth experiences, now freed from mankind’s influence. This book helped me let go of what I assumed is vital for the future. “Men go and come, but earth abides.” (Ecclesiastes, 1, 4)
“THE GREAT BAY” by Dale Pendell. Written in 2010, the late Pendell who lived in Nevada County, details the Great Collapse in California from 2021 to 16,000 years later. This takes place after a global pandemic in 2021 kills most of mankind – more than 200 million die in the U.S. in the first month alone. Chillingly prophetic! Pendell moves forward decades and centuries at a time with detailed stories of survivors and maps that show the steady filling in of Central California to form a “Great Bay.”
“FEED” by M.T. Anderson. Another prescient book written in 2002. Although this Young Adult novel was written before smart phones (introduced in 2007), Anderson absolutely nailed how insidiously this communication technology would infiltrate and control our lives. Like the Nib in Heart Wood, almost everyone has a chip implanted in their brain that connects them to “The Feed.” I listened to this as an audio book first and was hooked.
About Heart Wood – From Sandra Rockman, Theater Director
“Wow! What a feat! A really good read, mammoth detail and impressive imaginings with the Nibs, etc. Although sobering to read right now in the midst of the pandemic and the election – such an important story and sensibility. Thank you for all your work on it. The world needs this book right now.“
Heart Wood – Four Women, for the Earth, for the Future
The perfect gift for holiday giving; the perfect read for the times we’re in.
You can purchase your copy of Heart Wood at all local bookstores.
Visit me at: www.shirleydickard.com
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