Guest Post: John Nelson author of Against Nature

Joining us today we have John Nelson, author of Against Nature.

John is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and former Special Forces Medic. He’s now the Director of Quality and Risk Management, Patient Safety, and Infection Control at a community hospital in Utah. His novel Against Nature was released on April 5th, 2011 by Wild Child Publishing.

For more information on John Nelson visit his Website

Modern Dystopian Fiction in the Post- 9/11 Landscape

As a fiction writer, you often don’t have to look very far to find inspiration for a storyline. I saw the news headlines over the past decade as road signs for a modern dystopian thriller. I believe that from fact comes great fiction. In the wake of 9/11 the headlines included tales of secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, torture, military tribunals, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, suspending habeas corpus, ignoring the Geneva Convention and so many other misdeeds befitting an Orwellian novel.

I wondered how we would react to a catastrophic event greater than a terrorist bombing or a broken levy. In my new novel Against Nature, I created a global pandemic; a disease without a cure and superimposed some of our post-9/11 reactions onto this new crisis. Just to spice things up a bit I made the disease causing organism an extraterrestrial dust mite introduced to earth in the wound of an astronaut. I also added in the recent rise of Social Darwinists on the political scene and what came out the other end was a frightening and all too plausible dystopia in the spirit of Orwell, Huxley, Crichton, and Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here.

I think if you want to write in the dystopian genre you have to have a keen sense of the current landscape. You have to look critically at your own society and then reflect on it. I wrote a dystopia about a global pandemic. At the heart of such a story line must be the vaccination plan. In the recent Hollywood film Contagion, the vaccine for a mutated strain of avian flu is doled out by lottery and all the citizens wait in line in an orderly fashion. I guess it feels good to feel good, but is that realistic? What would pandemic America really look like?

Based on our experience of the recent past, I wondered how we would dole out an experimental vaccine for a fatal and highly contagious disease that was spreading unabated across the globe. Would we distribute it in an egalitarian way? While writing Against Nature I pondered such questions and decided to look at our national economic model of wealth distribution as a framework. Considering we live in a society where four hundred Americans control half the wealth of the entire nation and one-percent of Americans control ninety-five percent of the national wealth, I wondered if those four-hundred would wait in line with the masses. Would the Wall Street banker get the vaccine before the day laborer or the venture capitalist before an inner-city pre-school teacher?

I think as a fiction writer you have to ask those questions and view the world through different lenses. To write a compelling dystopia you have to be more than just a good storyteller; you also have to be a social critic. You have to look at your own society from “outside the fishbowl” and be willing to move away from your own comfort zone. If not, you run the risk of writing a predictable Hollywood-style story that’s been done and redone.

I didn’t want my readers to flip through 300 pages and find the same old good versus evil tale where good triumphs or some version of the tired old rags to riches story. I wanted to write something more complex and complicated. I wanted to write a fast-paced thriller without the same old tired formula. I believe that with the right formula you can take the reader on a wild ride and leave them breathless. One key ingredient to any good dystopia is to allow the reader see the reflection of their own society in the pages of the fantasy society. That’s what draws the reader in and that’s what I tried to do in Against Nature. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether I succeeded or not
about the book

The U.S. is ground-zero for a mysterious global pandemic. The disease is highly infectious and kills its victims within two weeks of exposure. It’s neither bacteria nor a virus and all traditional treatment regimens have failed.

Serena Salus, a radical scientist, discovers the organism is an extraterrestrial dust mite brought to earth by a shuttle astronaut. The government contends it’s a genetically-engineered organism created on earth by enemies of freedom.

Dr. Salus uncovers a vile plan for distributing her experimental vaccine and finds herself in a deadly confrontation with powerful forces that’ll stop at nothing to control the distribution of her vaccine.

You can buy Against Nature on
Barnes & Noble

2 Thoughts on “Guest Post: John Nelson author of Against Nature

  1. That sounds like a very interesting book! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love reading the author’s thoughts on their book – great guest post!

Jump in on the discussion: click on the notify button below to follow along

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation