What would you like to your readers to know about your novels and their purpose?

This is Rhobin’s homework task for me in May.

In 1972, I was the father of two tiny children. My main task was the writing up of my otherwise completed PhD thesis, which was a BORING thing to do. There were no personal computers then, or looking up references online, so every Wednesday was library day.

There I sat, in approximately public view. For some reason, the 907 students taking the psychology subject I coordinated also haunted the same parts of the library, so I couldn’t go to sleep. What an example that would have been! So, when the Quarterly Journal of Psychology or the like could no longer hold my attention, I needed a holiday in a completely different topic.

I asked myself, “What kind of a future will my kids grow up in?”

Boy, did the answer wake me up!

I read the Ecologist magazine, and books by Paul Ehrlich and David Suzuki, and then got interested enough to chase down source documents. Over about nine months, not only did I complete my thesis, but also became knowledgeable about futurology. No, this is not Nostradamus and stuff, but extrapolating current trends under a variety of stated assumptions.

This was terrifying.

We are now officially in the sixth great extinction event of Earth. I predicted that in 1972, only the rate of change is far faster than I thought it would be.

Global population then was under 4 billion. Now, it is 7.7 billion. I chose “zero population growth:” two adults having two children. Now, I’d choose to go childfree.

I predicted the terrible effects of income inequality, the conquest of humanity by multinational corporations, the spread of diseases into new areas and the emergence of previously unknown diseases.

Knowing of the work of John B. Calhoun, I predicted the epidemics of stress-related disorders, the breakdown of social norms, galloping depression and anxiety, and irrational wars.

So, I became an environmental and humanitarian activist. As time has passed, I’ve identified myself as a Professional Grandfather, but this is still the same thing.

Everything I do, including my writing, is intended to save a future for all living things on this planet including humans, and a future worth living in.

One way or another, every one of my books, fiction or nonfiction, is a tool in my campaign for survival.

I hope you’ll join me. Please read my essay How to Change the World, then check out my 18 published books.

The message is in all of them, but hidden. I hate being preached at, so won’t do it to others.

My first two books, The Earth Garden Building Book and Woodworking for Idiots Like Me are hands on instruction, but well seasoned with inspiration.

My first successful attempt at novels was the Ehvelen series. They were the protectors of the wild spaces; the Mother’s sword against slavery, cruelty, exploitation. I wrote four in the series, but have withdrawn the first two, pending revision… one day. The Making of a Forest Fighter won an award. The Travels of First Horse is still one of my favourites.

Then came my most awarded book, the biography Anikó: The stranger who loved me. It shows the strength of the human spirit in the worst kinds of adversity. She was my mother, but that’s not why her story is worth the telling. It’s because she survived the unsurvivable, and achieved the impossible, more than once.

I could go on to my four novels, three short story collections and four psych books but… promotion is no fun. I’d rather write books than spruik them. Perhaps my latest book is worth a mention, because it is a distillation of all the above. Do look up From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide.

Please leave a comment below (well, you can’t leave it anywhere else), then visit my fellow conspirators in writing about writing:

Rhobin Courtright
Diane Bator
Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
Beverley Bateman
A.J. Maguire
Fiona McGier
Connie Vines

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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10 Responses to What would you like to your readers to know about your novels and their purpose?

  1. ajmaguire says:

    It is a bit terrifying that we can predict these things and yet, nothing is done to turn away from the train wreck. I hope your message takes root and spreads.


  2. okwriter says:

    Wow, you have done a lot of research. I loved that you’d read David Suzuki. And you are definitely doing your best to save a future for all living things on this planet including humans, and a future worth living in. Thank you.


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you, Beverley. Unfortunately, not enough. I’ve spent the past month, putting 200% effort into campaigning for the Greens in my country’s elections, but the climate change denying, big business dinosaurs got reelected. Analysts put it down to the Murdoch press. I find it unbelievable that anyone believes them, but… all we can do is the best we can do.


  3. Skye-writer says:

    My latest campaign is to try to make all these millennials who preach about global warming and have the arrogance to think mankind alone is responsible for millions of years of warming and cooling cycles to think about what they CAN do to change our world for the better – like stop drinking water from disposable plastic bottles that pollute our world, or reach out to someone less fortunate than yourself even if all you have to offer them is a smile or a shoulder to lean on. It sounds as if you are light years ahead of me.


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      The way climate change works is that averages get moved. So, if an area has occasional droughts they will be dryer and longer and more frequent. Areas at risk of flooding will have higher floods, more often, and so on.
      There is a time lag. The disasters that have struck in recent years are due to greenhouse gas levels 20-30 years ago. Currently, they are higher than they have been in 3 million years.
      The little actions you describe are essential, and useful, but we need system change, or repeat after me, “Our Father, who is in Heaven…”


  4. Yours is a lengthy, but very respectable, writers resume. No wonder you can span fact to fiction and back again so well.


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you Vicki. Everything is fact, once it’s in my computer. That’s why I learn so much from the characters in my stories.


  5. Rhobin says:

    While I have not studied these future predictions, my interest started with the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra when it first started decades ago (it has gone somewhat out of style) and as someone interested in gardening and the environment, I’ve learned much that alarms me. Few talk about over population (as in the addition of 6 billion people in only 200 years) but it is part of our mess, as is breaking the chain of life through this massive extinction. I appreciate that you write about the implications and outcomes of our disregard for our home planet. Which is probably one reason why I write science fiction.


    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Yes. In science fiction, we can actually have solutions that work. 🙂
      I practice Buddhist equanimity flat out. OK, so humans are self-destroying, so what.


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