The Coming Storm by Mark Alpert

This novel is a cautionary tale. I’m very worried about the future.

First and foremost, I’m worried about global warming. The summer of 2018 was hellish: wildfires in California, drought in Britain and Scandinavia, deadly heat waves in Canada and Japan. In July, scientists predicted that 2018 would be the fourth hottest year on record. The only warmer years were 2015, 2016, and 2017. Even worse, the American government has retreated from efforts to curb the carbon emissions that are warming the globe. President Trump made the problem worse in 2017 by withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, and in 2018 he watered down the federal rules intended to make cars more fuel-efficient.

I’m also concerned about the rise of xenophobia in America. Immigrants are the key to this country’s success; they’re what made the U.S. so prosperous and powerful. By its very nature, immigration ensures that America will be blessed with brave, resourceful people, because it takes so much courage and cleverness to leave one’s ancestral home and start over in a new country. I just can’t understand how a nation of immigrants has become so resistant to new arrivals. It’s stupidly self-destructive. Immigration makes America richer, not poorer.

And I’m worried about threats to free speech. President Trump has said that “a large percentage” of the news media is “the enemy of the people.” He’s used the term “fake news” to refer to the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NBC, ABC, and CBS. He has vilified the press at campaign rallies and expressed approval of political supporters who harassed journalists.

So I decided to write a novel that shows what might happen to America if these trends continue. I portrayed a future in which super-storms and flooding become much more common, as scientists predict will happen in a warming world. I described a White House obsessed with persecuting immigrants and punishing critics. And I imagined the ultimate apotheosis of fascistic conformity, the development of a technology that can transform free-thinking individuals into highly skilled human tools.

Read the first chapter of THE COMING STORM