This all sounds pretty terrifying.
Well, it's not The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It's a break from things that we've known: comfort, convenience, being able to drive from Louisville to Chicago on a whim. The America I depict in my novel World Made by Hand (Atlantic Monthly Press) is a very, very changed America. Life has become very, very localized — to the extent that people don't even know what's going on in different parts of the country. And a lot of systems have broken down completely, particularly the electric system. But the people are not living in this brutish Hobbesian anarchy. In fact, part of the hidden agenda of me writing that book was to depict an America that was very different — but had many aspects to it that were very appealing. It was tranquil. Agriculture had come back to the center of life. Nature was returning. People were working shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors at things that mattered to them. I wanted to give people the sense that the world we could be moving into might be more difficult and might require more of us. But it might be a very beautiful world in many ways.
Mike Miliard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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