UnPredator 2021-04-13T07:35:09+00:00

Project Description


Beckett was at the top of the hydro tower in the centre of the quarry. It was twilight, the sky darkening as the day drained into the night. His toque was tight and low across his forehead, his eyes peering below the woolly band of it. He had climbed the tower on the strength of his anger, though he had done so numbly like some traumatized insect. But now that he was here, arms and legs twisting around a bony pole of steel that extended from the tip of the tower like an antenna, he was pretty damned sure that he was too tired to climb back down.

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 no books; and in the third world, Palingensia, the inhabitants there have evolved completely without predation or violence of any kind (including violence against their planet) and live in an utopian paradise, devoid of technology, but highly evolved in other areas. 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, but there are no space ships, unattractive aliens, or space explosions, though the Lucans do travel across the Melamuu galaxy via a yogic-like dematerialization method called Sublimation Travel, and at the speed of thought, no less; elements of fantasy, though there are no wizards, unicorns or vampires, and no magic, though there are pools of violet water where the Palingensians safeguard their collective memories; and elements of dark realism balanced with a tender utopian hopefulness.

“And the legend says the man killed the bird, and with the bird he killed the song, and with the song, himself. He dropped dead, completely dead.”

Joseph Campbell