This title is a deliberate play on Steinbeck’s masterpiece.

There seem to be two conflicting mega-trends going on in the world today.

The science reports describing the state of Gaia (Mother Earth) are almost uniformly appallingly bad. Oceans are dying and heating up, droughts and famines are endemic, fish stocks are plummeting, rain forests (the “lungs” of the earth) are disappearing, drinking water is forecast to be devastatingly scarce, and it seems that oil will either run out or we will poison ourselves with exceedingly dirty ways of recovering ever more difficult sources of it. Governments, multi-national corporations, and the super-rich not only seem impotent to deal with these issues but for the most part are making the mess worse. This way clearly leads to the end of civilization as we know it, even if the super rich manage to somehow insulate themselves from the rest of us and the environment.

On the other hand, Paul Hawken documents that we currently have the largest and most effective grass roots movement in history, mostly operating under the radar of the mass media. This movement addresses every aspect of the global mess including the creation of fairer, more just, and sustainable economies. This way leads to a new world and a new society, so far glimpsed only dimly.

The Donald Trump takeover of the Republican Party is, at least in part, a response to this mess. Unfortunately, the Trump response plays to the worst in human nature: anxieties, fear, and resentment against all the “others” of the world. The Bernie Sanders phenomena is also a response to this mess. Fortunately Sanders is emphasizing the best impulses of our common humanity and seeks to empower the common man and woman.

Grapes of Wrath 2016 is an attempt to say something useful, in the form of a novel, about these two trends. More precisely, the book is an attempt to provide some impetus to the grass roots movements attempting to save the planet and civilization.

At the moment this novel is still gestating in my head. I’m not at all sure where it is going and I invite interested parties to dialog with me.

Publication Date:  Unknown

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