If we can progress from arrowheads to the internet, why can’t we progress from violence to peace?
Story-wise, UnPredator is unlike any novel I’ve ever written, though I’ve dug into themes that have preoccupied me throughout my other novels: paradise-lost and mankind’s abuse of our planet; the toxicity of violence; unfulfilled loves and desires.
UnPredator is inspired, in part, by the Occupy Movement of 2011, and in particular, by the group of Occupiers who hunkered down in a tent village in St. James’ Park in Toronto during the fall of that year. The novel begins with the imagined descendants of these original Occupiers in the year 2133, starving to death in an abandoned quarry pit on the Niagara Escarpment, lamenting the death of a red bird, which they believe may be the last bird, anywhere.
I’ve imagined three worlds. On Earth the humans (perpetual predators) are nearly extinct; on Luca, the inhabitants there have survived the Nearly Unsurvivable Epoch and are living peacefully balanced between technology and nature, though they’ve lost almost all knowledge of their history and have neither music or books; and in the third world, Palingensia, the inhabitants there (the UnPredators) have evolved completely without predation and live in an utopian paradise, devoid of technology. The UnPredators are a culture of animals imbued with advanced intelligence…from horses to dung beetles. Weird, I know, but I did this because I wanted to give non-human species a voice.
What happens when the last survivors of Earth are rescued by Lucans and brought to Palingensia as refugees?
UnPredator has elements of sci-fi, though there are no space ships, unattractive aliens, or space explosions; elements of fantasy, though there are no wizards, unicorns or vampires; and elements of dark realism balanced with a tender utopian hopefulness.