© Christopher Gooding
When the 45th president of the United States retires in 2043, his name might not be Henderson West, but author Ken Jackson can paint a portrait of the issues he may endure in his novel ff21st.
AMHERST – It will be another four years before Barack Obama can sit down to write his memoirs as an American president, but, for fictional president Henderson West, that day is already here.
The year is 2043, and Henderson reflects on a world that has witnessed significant change during his presidential term. Congress has restructured itself into management groups that allow experts to become involved in policy making; instead of writing cheques for relief aid from major disasters, businesses give their employees the day off to use their expertise and become hands on with rebuilding and citizens can add their voice to the issues that concern them.
It’s a world of engaged democracy, one that Amherst author Ken Jackson reveals through the eyes of a president in ff21st (Founding Father of the 21st Century).
Inspired by the memoir style of George W. Bush’s Decision Points, Jackson found a style that would allow him to use retrospect set in the future, which could encapsulate current events readers might be familiar with today and then use them to set the stage for some of the issues Henderson struggles with.
“I struggled with how to take a philosophy and make it a story,” Jackson says. “That’s why lots of current affairs come into play and pop culture references. I didn’t want people to think this is a science fiction novel. I wanted it to seem plausible.”
In Henderson’s world, Jackson sees a culture of contribution, where businesses do right by people and politicians elect to not vote on every issue as an expert, instead calling on the experts to be part of the process.
It’s not by chance that ff21st is available on the heels of the American election, let alone set in the United States instead of his native Canada, Jackson says. Traveling abroad, Jackson he said he began to see the global influence of the United States over Canada.
“I’ve lived overseas for a few years and, once you get overseas, you realize how little influence Canada has outside their own realm,” Jackson says. “The U.S. is representative of the West so I chose to Americanize it for outside readers. At its core, it’s pure philosophy.”
ff21st is available in hardcover and paperback through online distributors, including Amazon.com, Chapters and Jackson’s publisher iUniverse, and is also available as an ebook. ff21st will also soon be available through local bookstores.
Online, more information on ff21st can be found at wwwiuniverse.com or www.facebook.com/FF21st.