Life After is a journal kept by a man who was born in 1986 and died in the year 2050. As per the cycle of life, everyone dies, and that, in and of itself is unremarkable, but the ill-fated circumstances of his death may be grievously similar to ours unless preventative measures are taken. He survived the collapse not just of American and Western civilization, but nearly the entire world, decades before he finally took his last breath. Years after that collapse, referred to by survivors as The Dying Years, he started this journal, a missive of warning and hope for his children and their children –- so that they might begin to understand the world that was, how their predecessors came to lose it, and what might be done to prevent history from repeating itself.
Speculative fiction can be a difficult thing to undertake. Telling a cohesive, entertaining story and making an effort to bring attention to self-destructive human actions do not always go hand-in-hand. It can be especially hard to avoid a tone of chastisement, which is one reason the protagonist of this story is a father to younger children –- chastisement, to an extent, is expected.
Life After is a harsh and unfortunately realistic story of ruination, but also of idealism. The protagonist’s purpose in writing is to serve as a volume of caution and information for future generations in the hope that they might succeed where their forefathers failed. The story outlines what brought our species to where it is now, where it very well may be going, and what those results may mean for us, and our children. Humanity is driven and humanity endures, but we cannot and should not assume that the ingrained persistence of our species means we must abide by our current and future suffering. We can take now a lesson from the past and present and put an end to what may be our downfall. Our struggles -– those we face every day -– will only grow if we as a species do not make the conscious and mindful choice to instate the changes we need to survive and flourish. We need only realize that we have the power within ourselves to make these changes, and that cooperatively, we have always had that power.
Life After is the first book in a three-book series called The Human Trilogy. The first book details what may become of us, should we as a people ultimately lose sight of the fact that we are all one species. The second and third follow humanity’s path to greatness after the disasters that nearly caused our extinction.
The admittedly optimistic objective of Life After as a novel is to emphasize to our species that we are one people on this earth, and that the kind of disasters that occur in the text do not have to come to pass for us to reach our potential and our greatness. We can do it now, by fortifying ourselves for future generations, instead of exacerbating the divides of our past.