By Rebecca Fernandes
Richard Harris certainly has great faith in the potential of humankind to rise above the differences, conflicts and darker aspects of human nature to build a world of cooperation and peace. Inspired by the lyrics of John Lennon’s iconic song Imagine, Harris envisions a world where humanity finally manages to gets its act together.
Let’s imagine this shall we? A world of intelligent beings, where love was the guiding principle. Let’s see a world transformed in a day. Let’s call it I Day or Imagine Day, a moment when everything changed and we were free to dance and sing and love one another without fear and restraint.
How does the world change? Through the ingenuity of science where a pair of scientists in California discover that wave transmissions – a combination of radiofrequency, ultrasound and microwave – have the peculiar effect of altering the behaviour of rats, turning their aggressive and individualistic behaviours into peaceful and cooperative endeavours. They quickly see the potential of these wave transmissions, called ‘harmonics’ to change humanity for the better, and set about bringing together a team of brilliant minds to coordinate global deployment.
And suddenly, the ills of the world just drop away as humanity begins to work together to address a range of issues that plague societies. Genuine democracy prevails as established leaders make way for those best suited to lead, resources and income are re-distributed, mass migration occurs as the borders that separate countries no longer matter, and humankind finally has shared goals and understanding with some individuals even having an innate sense of the role they play in creating a better world. It is not all smooth sailing though and there are some compelling chapters devoted to an American General working in Area 51 who is adamant that he will not yield to this ‘liberal madness’ and ‘crazy politicians’.
The chapters of the novel are divided between those set before I Day and those set after, in a variety of locations and time periods. Harris takes the reader to locations know for long-term conflict including Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and South Africa, revealing how these places can be quickly transformed into places of peace, understanding and unity.
There are even some quite amusing chapters alluding to world leaders Trump and Putin, who each reflect on the error of their ways and seek to address the wrongs of their administrations. Baldwin (aka Trump) willingly resigns and happily wields the first sledgehammer blow to bring down the Wall between the USA and Mexico, before quietly fading into obscurity ‘with the embarrassing realisation of all the hateful things he had provoked’. Likewise, Valdis Outski (aka Putin) resigns and willingly goes on trial to face corruption charges.
Essentially, this is a novel about human potential and Harris promotes the idea that the capacity for good exists inside all people – it just needs the right conditions to allow it to surface. It is intricately planned and the frequently shifts in time, place and characters allow the reader to maintain their engagement with this concept. My only real quibble is with the dialogue, which at times seemed a bit too contrived. This novel is definitely worth your time to read and with an optimistic message about the ability of humanity to correct its mistakes through collective effort.
Richard A Harris provided a free copy of his novel in return for an independent review.