I had the great fortune once of attending a discussion with Tom Stoppard, my favorite playwright. In conversation with his biographer, Hermione Lee, there were several points I was thrilled to hear the virtuoso expound upon, not least of which was a principled articulation of what art can and cannot do... At least if it wishes to remain art... A discussion for another day, perhaps.
The major encouragement, however, came when Stoppard explained he never planned his writing out. Ever. When penning The Real Inspector Hound, he placed a dead body on the stage, not knowing what he was going to do with it. There it stayed for an entire thirty-two pages while the show plowed forward, not because he had a reason for it to remain unused, but because the moment hadn't presented itself yet when the dead body was meant to come into the story.
I was thrilled, for that is the only way I know how to write.
2028 follows three protagonists as the whole of humanity is conscripted into a galactic battle where existence itself is at stake. Terrence Barnes, New Yorker, rolls with the punches no matter where in the universe he finds himself. Annie Rhodes Jr. - descendent of Traxton Rhodes of Delirium Tremens fame - is one of a handful out of billions of humans who escapes the forced draft, fighting for a sense of normalcy against a war that simply won't leave her alone. And Henly Bancroft, bête noire of the Bancroft line, determined to survive if only so he can beat his Pulitzer-winning sister to publish the definitive account of the galactic war effort.
Brilliant cover art by Burton Gray
When I began 2028, I had no idea where it was going. I had three disparate threads running all over the universe, two thirds of the way through, I still had no idea where, or even when in the galaxy we were. Was there any point to the dead body I'd planted early on? Guess there's only one way to find out. Annie, Desmond, Henly, and I traversed the entire galaxy together... I miss them now that I'm done writing... Especially Annie. And Desmond. And Henly. And Sergeant Dirraj and Lanac (a palindrome of Canal, the subway stop I was held at while introducing her character), and Annie Rhodes Sr., and Bricht the Bubble Man, and the meth-heads, and Sergeant Glibbic, and Daqum, and his half-human daughter Cyndel, and the dreaded Oriax, and the even more dreaded Garbaja of the Vlov... But am so excited you'll all get to meet them... Especially the Sloam, for reasons you'll have to discover on your own...
Read a sample chapter here!
Ok, so while purchasing the book is perfectly fine by me, I have to stress that you'd be missing out on one of the best performances in this, or any, galaxy on the audio version of 2028 by Broadway's own Heather Jane Rolff (Shrek the Musical) and produced by Jeremiah James. But beware, you might find yourself driving thirty below the speed limit to prolong your drive so you can keep listening just to find out what she does next!! Consider yourself warned.