Today I’d like to welcome ACFW author Angela Shelton. In the following passage she describes the inspiration that led to her new novel, Rise of the Y. It is now available on Amazon.
I live on a cattle farm in a quaint little town in Georgia, where our livestock and pets often find their way into the pages of my novels as colorful characters. Oddly enough, my inspiration for a dystopian world didn’t come from my day-to-day life. It came from a book my sister absolutely insisted I read. Written by Peter Zeihan—a geopolitical strategist who’s taught at places like Quantico—his book The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization was too tempting to pass up, especially after wrapping up my own post-apocalyptic series, Collapse.
Zeihan’s work is a rollercoaster of facts and predictions that will leave you rethinking your entire life—if you enjoy the thrill of non-fiction horror, that is. We’ve long known about the mass retirement of Baby Boomers, the generation that is the largest in American history. The first Boomers hit retirement age in 2011, and by 2029, they’ll all be 65 or older. While we all saw it coming, what we didn’t anticipate was a pandemic shifting the gears.
Quick Google research backs up the real-world changes we’ve felt in our workplaces and local businesses. COVID-19 accelerated early retirements, exacerbating the labor shortages already predicted due to the Boomers bowing out. Flashback to 1940, there were a whopping 42 workers for every Social Security recipient. Fast forward to 2001, that ratio dropped to just three workers per retiree, and it’s expected to be 2-to-1 by 2050.
Zeihan dives deep into the domino effect a decreasing workforce could have on different regions of the world, and consequently, the global economy. One shocking revelation: The U.S. imports 95% of certain critical minerals, primarily from China, a country facing an even more drastic population downturn than ours.
While I could elaborate on Zeihan’s grim forecasts, it’s this “what if” scenario that got my creative juices flowing: What if a shrinking global population led to a world war? What if, in the aftermath, humanity vowed never to risk another population collapse? How would that altered reality look?
Enter Lexi, the protagonist of my series Rise of the Y. She’s a 17-year-old living in a tightly controlled dystopia known as the Imperium. Here, the government dictates everything: where you live, your education, your career, even your marital fate. They reward procreation, while those who can’t or won’t have children face ostracization. And the elderly? They’re shipped off to mysterious “retirement cities,” never to be heard from again.
If you’re into “what if” scenarios that keep you up at night, and you’re a fan of series like Divergent or The Hunger Games, then Rise of the Y is a must-read for you.