Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I - Full Jacket Wrap

Full cover mock-up, pending final page count and size. Projected page count after editorial revisions is 175 pages. The first rough draft is complete at 162 pages, barring a half dozen scenes which still need to be inserted at various points in order to tie up loose ends and provide additional back story. Editing will likely reduce the page count to some degree, although I tend to add rather than subtract with each revision.

I is a continuation of Ayn Rand's 1937 novella Anthem, first published in England in 1938, and in revised edition in the U.S. in 1946, where it is now in the public domain. This sequel begins the day after Equality 7-2521 flees into the Uncharted Forest, and explores the repercussions and subsequent effects of that event.

Since first reading Anthem as a teenager, I have long pondered what might happen after the events depicted in the novella, several hints for which are provided in its final chapters. Among the relevant passages that have motivated and inspired this sequel are the following:
"We heard that you had gone to the Uncharted Forest, for the whole City is speaking of it."
- Liberty 5-3000, upon following Equality 7-2521 into the Forest (Part 9)
"When I shall have read all the books and learned my new way, when my home will be ready and my earth tilled, I shall steal one day, for the last time, into the cursed City of my birth. I shall call to me my friend who has no name save International 4-8818, and all those like him, Fraternity 2-5503, who cries without reason, and Solidarity 9-6347 who calls for help in the night, and a few others. I shall call to me all the men and the women whose spirit has not been killed within them and who suffer under the yoke of their brothers. They will follow me and I shall lead them to my fortress. And here, in this uncharted wilderness, I and they, my chosen friends, my fellow-builders, shall write the first chapter in the new history of man."
- Equality 7-2521, in the house from the Unmentionable Times (Part 12)
Of course, it is never quite that easy to free a people who have long been subjugated. Even more so when they do not even know they are enslaved - and in this case when they have so little sense of self that they have lost the first person pronoun from their language. How one goes about achieving freedom from oppression is a question that has haunted many nations throughout mankind's history.

The only proper answer is education. For it is knowledge that frees the mind. But man by his very nature as an individual has an independent spirit that tends to chafe at constraints upon his liberty. And that spirit is both enduring and indomitable.
"Through all the darkness, through all the shame of which men are capable, the spirit of man will remain alive on this earth. It may sleep, but it will awaken. It may wear chains, but it will break through."
              - Equality 7-2521