Want a glimpse into the not so distant future?
You could pay attention to the events happening around the world and let your imagination run wild.
Or, you could pick up a copy of World Nation, authored by one of the newest writers on the literary scene, Judy Groves.
A 1964 Sunnyside High School graduate now living in Yakima, who before getting married carried the last name of White, Groves got the inspiration for her novel from the current events that transpire daily in all our lives. From there, she takes the everyday tragedies and self-inflicted wounds that mankind regularly endures in today's world, and drums up a not-so-difficult-to-believe work of fiction that is, quite succinctly, extremely plausible.
Science-fiction? No, Groves counters, "I'd call it futuristic," she says of her first-ever attempt at producing a literary work of art.
The story line in World Nation is centered on the earth's most powerful individuals, namely the rich, and how they go about reconstructing a workable society following a Middle East nuclear disaster that devastates the planet.
"Look around you today. It's the stock markets that seem to control everything.
"If such an event of this proportion, this doomsday, were to occur, it only stands to reason it would be the rich that would seize control," the author, despite her grandmotherish charm and nearly always smiling face, says insightfully.
Groves craftfully weaves the villains and heroes of the book together, intricately tying their lives to one another in such a manner that the reader finds both distaste and respect for the people on both ends of the spectrum.
Without giving away all the sub-plots, not to mention the outcome of World Nation, the best way to describe this fictional work would be to compare it to George Orwell's 1984, required reading for most of us when we were in either junior high or high school. Like Orwell, actually the pen name of Eric Blair who published his classic back in 1949, Groves focuses on the role that Big Brother has in the lives of the common man.
That World Nation, produced by PublishAmerica based out of Baltimore, even came to be is somewhat remarkable. The first six chapters were lost because of a computer malfunction.
"I didn't back up my files," Groves lamented.
She admits to throwing in the towel. Starting anew, she recalls, was just too much of a chore she could bear.
But, at the urging of her 11-year-old grandson, Groves sat back down in front of her keyboard and began plunking away in September of last year. The first six chapters soon came back to her, but she admits the book's opening is quite different than the original version.
Appropriately, Groves singles out her family for their support in her dream of becoming a published author in the book's opening dedication. All the more appropriate, the one family member who's named in the official dedication is her grandson, AJ, "...who urged me to never give up."
The one other thing that might have tempted the Sunnyside native to return to the drawing board, so to speak, was the burning desire she's always had to produce a novel.
That driving force, said Groves, "...was partly because my mom had always wanted me to write a book.
'Part of it, too, was to see if I had the discipline to carry it all the way to publication. I wanted to see if I could.
"And....this was on my bucket list," she sheepishly admits.
For a first effort in piecing together a novel, not counting several unpublished children's books and short plays, Groves has exceeded what many first-time authors might reasonably expect to produce.
There are a few shortcomings, chiefly she doesn't allow the reader to truly get to know the different characters. It's almost as if you're viewing them from afar, instead of being made privy to their inner-selves.
The transitions are awkward at times, although not so much that the reader gets lost in following the paths that each character takes. It's just, well, vague in places, but nothing that a quick recall from a previous passage can't correct.
The decision by PublishAmerica to allow Groves' work to remain exactly as the author intended, verbatim, without editorial input, was not the most prudent. There are places a skilled editor's hand could have been put to good work...such as several usages of present and past tenses in the same sentences and paragraphs. Also, some of the conversations that appear between quotation marks are too stiff, they don't always come across in the way everyday people actually converse.
World Nation isn't yet out in bookstores, but can be ordered on-line through borders.com or on the website www.publishamerica.net/product41769.html.
Back when Groves was attending Sunnyside High School, her senior class English teacher assigned the students numerous essays to write. Groves' instructor, while admitting the teen had a firm grasp on the English language, conveyed to her, however, that because of a lack of imagination, she would never be a writer.
Groves has proven her wrong. I don't know what kind of grade that teacher gave her back in the mid-60's, but the novel I just completed written by this first-time author deserves a B+ in my book.
It's worth the price of admission.