Choosing your escape by John Nelson


When we pick up a work of fiction and start turning pages, we hope to begin a journey. A good novel will hook us right away and transport us there quickly. We choose a genre like a holiday destination. Some may pick up a romance novel because they wish to escape to a romantic fantasy world and they select the heat index of a novel based on the level of titillation they desire.
My “holiday” destination is often the dystopian genre. I read to escape, be entertained, and mentally stimulated. I want a book to make me pause, think and reflect. What I look for in a good dystopia is that I can see my own society reflected back in the pages. I like cautionary tales that show us the road signs that may lead us (in reality) to a place we may not want to go. George Orwell was a master at crafting a cautionary dystopia tale. We could reflect upon our own society as he took us to an imaginary world. 
My first published novel, Against Nature, was inspired by Orwell, Aldous Huxley, and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. But it was also inspired by the world around me in post- 9/11 America. The newspapers were filled with frightening headlines about torture, secret prisons, domestic spying, and suspension of habeas corpus. I also became alarmed by the rise of politicians who espouse a Social Darwinist philosophy and were finding their way to high government positions. I thought we weren’t too far away from descending into a dystopian society and it inspired me to write Against Nature.
Fact can make good fiction! I used headlines of past events and added in a little imaginative fiction to create a modern dystopia. Most dystopia fictions start off in the post-apocalyptic world and give the reader hints about how they got there. In Against Nature I take the reader from the here and now and we head into a dystopian world together.
My catalyst is a global pandemic; a disease without a cure. The disease is neither virus nor bacteria and all known treatment regimens have failed. One radical scientist, Serena Salus contends it’s an extraterrestrial organism introduced to earth in the wound of a now deceased astronaut. The government asserts it’s a genetically engineered microbe created on earth by enemies of freedom. Serena discovers an experimental vaccine, but also learns of the government’s plan to distribute it based on one’s future labor value to the stock exchange. Serena comes in conflict with powerful forces that will stop at nothing to control her vaccine; considered the world’s most valuable commodity.
Serena’s suspenseful journey across pandemic America makes us wonder if such a landscape could exist during a catastrophic pandemic. That’s what I love about the dystopian genre. It transports us to a fantasy world, but we can still see our own society reflected back in the rearview mirror.
John Nelson is the author of the e-book dystopian thriller Against Nature. The novel is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, OmniLit or from the publisher: Wild Child Publishing. You can email him at:

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