The Country/The Country
A serialized novel by Robert Knox
"One of the things science fiction does... is to extrapolate imaginatively from current trends and events to a near-future that’s half prediction, half satire.” -- Ursula Le Guin
I just posted chapters 16 to 18 of my new novel, "The Country/The Country," online on a site designed for authors of a new work. Starting last month I have posted weekly segments of the book online, following the formula of the serial novel exploited by 19th century authors such as Charles Dickens and Dostoyevsky. Inspired by the catastrophically divisive presidential election of 2016, the novel's events take place in a fictional country that shares many similarities with our own. I consider the book a combination of political satire and speculative fiction. Similarities between the fictional country of The Commonhope of UZ and the US will be apparent. But I've also given myself permission to invent characters (and a few creatures), such as a psychically empowered seer who calls herself a witch, a backwards neighboring culture from 'the North,' ancient earthly forces known as "the bodies," a near-human robotic assistant, and various spiritual aides referred to as the Ancient Ones.
The principal character, named Keel, is a former college teacher pressed into early retirement by the declining interest in his academic specialty, "the classics." The chief antagonist is a wealthy politician, the principal of an international cartel called Animal Firm, whose political theories involve more frankly brutal tactics than even those currently on display in our national politics. Dogs also play a role, as does an oppressed class of gender nonconformists know as the 'flexibles,' women who can walk up walls, and the political theories readers may recognize as those attributed to the influential theorist Machiavelli.
So far I have posted about one quarter of the total book. I intend to continue posting weekly segments of the ongoing story online (Wednesdays are the weekly target) through the November election. I'll post link to the site here:
Click on the word "chapters" to navigate easily through the portions of the book posted so far.
If you create an account on the Inkitt site (it's free), it will allow you to post comments, or a 'review,' at the end of any chapter. Posting comments, even a word or two, helps me by (among other reasons) drawing attention to the book. You don't need an account to read the work, but you do to comment. I would of course appreciate hearing what you think, as well as any amount of time and attention you can give to reading my serial novel.
I'll finish this 'pitch' by posting the brief summary publishers call the 'blurb' I created for this book.
And then share a few of the readers' comments I have so far been fortunate to receive on the early chapters.
A retired teacher, Keel is an Everyman in "The Commonhope of Uz," content to be a good citizen in a country founded on the rule of law and the guidance of reason. But after a long period of prosperity under a widely admired chief executive, fears of economic stagnation and social change are driving the candidacy of a new kind of leader. Called "Pig" by his supporters, who pack rallies to show their eagerness for vague, sweeping concentrations of power, businessman Karol Pegasso dominates the country's complicated election system. Chance, or something larger, drives Keel to join an opposition, formed by young radicals and old-fashioned idealists, and led by an aging psychic who calls herself a witch. Together they summon forces beyond the old understandings of reason and law to build a wall of flesh and stop Pig's march to power. But in the end the country's safety relies on waking the slumbering giants of compassion and care, known as the Ancient Ones, "the bodies," and the Angels of Light.
My thanks to those of who commented on the early chapters. Some sample comments:
"I like sense of humor, irony, and suspense."
"Easily recognizable and relatable. I hope the citizens of UZ are able to resist! I look forward to reading more."
"Knox's fictional world is far too real. Many analogies can be made between this world and the United States in 2018. Looking forward to reading future chapters."
"Enjoying this story. Anxious for more. Knox's attention to detail is always exciting."
"Looking forward to reading the next chapter."
"Now we've been introduced to Mrs. Nathan and I'm anxious to learn more about her. A wonderful story is unfolding, which has parallels to our current society. Can't wait to see what will happen next."