Brian Cox Day 2

Day 2 – Question

I asked Brian Cox, author of “The Stratosphere: The Birth of Nostradamus”, what
made his book different.


Q. What makes your book different?

     A. I would love to say it’s the writing… but I would be lying. I believe writers 
fall into three categories: those who can write beautiful prose; those who can tell 
interesting stories; and, those who can do both. Great writers can sing and dance. I 
can only dance – just, maybe! My dancing efforts have led to many sins, including 
spending too much time “telling” rather than showing, and deploying a few too 
many adverbs.

     Before I talk you out of reading my book, and quite clearly if that was my
intention it would be simpler to un-publish the work, you will find my novel has 
one critical difference. So what is it?

     Well, sometimes the meal you most remember is not the best cooked one, but
the first time you tasted something unique. Imagine, if you can, the very first time
you ate curry, or an unpronounceable exotic fruit. Experiencing something new can
be wonderful, simply for being new.

     Where George Orwell asks in his book “1984”, what happens when
individualism is subsumed by the state, I ask what happens in a world where
everyone is free. Just think about that for a moment. What is absolute freedom, and
how would it play out? Of course there is no way my writing is even a patch on his
great work. However, my story is quite different, and is premised on a unique
question and resolution.

     We are living in an age of fundamentalism. On one end we have individuals
who believe that death is a gateway to paradise. At the other end we have the rise
of narcissistic right-wing US politics, epitomized by Trump. In between all this, we
have masses of ordinary people trying to make sense of a crazy world that seems to
be lurching towards disaster.

     Where people enjoy other post-apocalyptic books for the understandable
fantasy of wanting to start with a clean slate, or to express a concern for the future
– my readers will enjoy being challenged to think about the dynamics that led to
the slate becoming dirty in the first place. That is what makes my book different,
and what makes it worth reading.

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