I am tired of the publishers paradigm that cruelty and stupidity sells books. I am not surprised that the industry is failing. All books used to be illustrated, even adult books, until the pulp publishers had to print them cheaply. Now that e book publishing is so affordable, any book can be illustrated.
I have a vision of three books, starting at ages 6 to 8 then one 9 through 12 years with more sophisticated art. And finally a dark novel with dark art for ages 12 and up. …Books about the future, that humans will have to change to, a different way of life.
Ecotopia (Callenbach) sold over a million copies, not because it is a ripping good story, but because it is a manifesto of the way we should be living. There is no reason why some one cannot write a good story that is also a manifesto. The kin of Ata is another one still popular for the same reasons.
I do not see any way to avoid an ecological disaster, but it should not be part of the story because it is too depressing. It should be only a vague memory, unless there is a keeper of memories. Trees and the natural ecosystem will need to become the center of their lives. With a little genetic manipulation, trees could be made to grow into the concepts I have spent years developing.
Walnut trees in particular should be worshiped, simply because the nuts are the best thing for humans to eat. The only food very high in omega three fatty acids. There is a pandemic of heart disease from the lack of omega three oils. Cooking these oils destroys them. Almonds are very high in magnesium and vt E, but has no omega three. Of course people should eat vegetables. Even grub worms could be a good source of food.
Forest will become the source of life. And communal tribalism will be necessary because capitalism is the primary reason we are destroying our ‘life support system’. Obviously the big words will have to be reserved for the older age groups. But they are necessary to describe a world as I envision it.
The people of Gaia Island lived in homes that were alive. Their houses were hollow trees. The walls, ceilings, and even the furniture, were all part of the living, thriving plant. The plumbing fed the tree from the inside, by draining down into the roots. Windows were made of resin bubbles that the trees grew for the light to inter. ……(a version of this was used in the book ‘The Houses of Iszm’ by Jack Vance)
Year 2525 (long after the ecological disaster.)
Zoëy was born in a tree shaped like a house. When Zoëy was old enough she started climbing trees, and found that the trees helped her climb. She was able to climb higher than any of the boys could ever climb. (this can be a magical ability but empathic-psychic abilities are the most important)
After a while she found a hand written book called ‘Secrets of dendronology’. In the book she found secrets of how to tap on the trees in just the right way to get them to grow a room, or a window made of tree sap bubbles; and also how to open or lock a secret door in the trees.
…She taped on the base of the tree in just the right way and it opened by peeling back the bark, and there was a stair case leading up through a dark tunnel, up into the tree.
“What is this diploma? Dendronology?” (use your dictionary; Dendrology is the scientific study of trees. Dendronology is the study of tree-like structures)
“you have to be a ‘dendronologist’ to be a ‘forest-shomer’ these days.” (‘Shomer‘ is a Yiddish word for care taker)
About five hundred years ago our relatives saw how we needed keep the forest intact by integrating human culture into nature, rather than forcing nature to conform to peoples irrational ideals.
Training nut trees to provide housing as well as food, went a long way towards training people to live in harmony with nature.
Most of all religions had to change; all of the male sky god belief systems had to be subverted. Even the ones that taught personal detachment from the world. People need to be attached to nature to have enough motivation to live simply, with a small foot print on the environment.
Slowly we all came to believe in a sustainable, almost magical earth goddess concept. Don’t spell it out, illustrate it with words and pictures.
… we sing to the trees and worship them as the life giving beings that they truly are. Not because they are conscious like we are, but because it evokes reverence in us.
Ok it is possible to make the trees a bit more concision than you may think. And defiantly humans can be genetically enhanced to be more empathic (not that it really needs to be part of the story). ‘Empholding’, my version of ‘emphol’ a word invented by Allen Dean Foster (in his book Mid-World) to mean empathic communication with plants.
Description of the big forest, not the one that the tree houses are in:
In the green foggy gloom, they see shapes that look like faces in the trees. “It’s scary how your mind makes up images when you can’t see something clearly.” Moss covers everything, cute little mushrooms grow on top of the logs where people need to walk, so it can get very slippery if you don’t watch your step. There are huge 3 to 10 feet wide psychedelic flowers with amazing colors, most of them carnivorous. There are animals and insects that will eat you, if you give them a chance.
Early one morning I heard a sound that I had never heard before; ice crystals falling off trees from high enough that the sun could reach them. They were hitting the still frozen leaves on the ground. But how can I describe the sound? Almost a tinkle, but not quite.
Inside the tree houses is warm enough to never need to burn anything for heat. The base of the trees are connected to the warm earth enough heat is emitted up into the house. The walls are thick enough that even in sub freezing weather all you need is a sleeping bag. However if you want to make some hot tea, you need to burn some of the dry discarded branches or nut shells, in a small simple stove made of clay. A small vent port is part of the kitchen walls.
Something moved sluggishly through the branches ahead the eyes half closed made it look like a sleep walker. The tail looked like it could be used to hang from a branch. He had no legs but several multi-jointed arms, moving hand over hand grabbing the bark as it went.
These psychedelic flowers:
A flower whose petals twisted to form a a perfect spiral. The top of pedal was a bright silver green with the underside a gold green. Each a meter or so in diameter.
Blocking his path the hundred slender petals were dark green laced with tartrazine while the center of the flowers bulged with thick orange nodules whose purpose was not to apparent.
Purple stamens thrust skyward dusted with yellow pollen. It’s body was alternating crimson and green stripes.
Explosions of enormous purple and red blossoms whose over sized stems bright, metallic gold.
Carnivorous plants and bugs
Looking down he saw the barbed abdomen of a dull orange segmented crawler sticking oout of his boot, and watched the segments scatter for cover.
A massive flower about a meter across slurped out long sticky tentacles and tried to grasp his legs. It detected the vibration of your approach.