Perilous Republic : my latest fiction

"Perilous Republic" $US2.99 : available in all ebook stores  Future fiction starts with a premise. You make some guesses. In "Perilous Republic" I explore the world of Melbourne at the end of the 2020s.  There are some trends, some pressures that I think will be important. Let's start with demographics. As the population ages, we will get to the point where the majority of the population are beyond working age. This is a profound change and has far reaching consequences.  Political parties are in the business of winning elections. If they can do this by handing out money to the majority of old people, then I think they will. Where will they get this money? They might take it from the minority of working age people or they might borrow from the future, which is essentially the same thing. We already see the use of direct election bribes in the early 2020s. It's simple. It works. But in essence it's a violation of the social contract: it puts all of the he

Ten small towns in Victoria for a holiday

After lockdown, we residents of Melbourne, Australia are all desperately seeking a place to go on a holiday. Which could be very challenging: everyone wants to do the same thing. I am expecting that the places you first think of will all be booked out by now. Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time travelling around Victoria. So I have tried to think of which towns I would recommend for a holiday. Places that might be a bit off the beaten track, that might not be the first place that comes to mind.  Why a small town? I am very much a big city person. To me, the small towns have an atmosphere that is quite different to my normal life. Isn't that what we want on a holiday? Somewhere different? There are not quite as many facilities as the bigger towns, but to me that adds to it.  My preferred way of travelling is to camp with a tent that I carry on my trusty bicycle. So I prefer towns that have a campground or caravan park that caters for campers. These days some places on

On reading Piketty "Ideology and Capital"

It is enormous. It is incredibly comprehensive. The style of writing makes this very much an endurance test.  Most confronting is the history of slavery. The very idea that slave owners were being financially compensated for the "loss" of their slaves until almost the end of the 20th century. It defies belief.  There is very little ideology. At least not in the sense of engagement with the ideology. We don't find a detailed analysis of the ideas of Marx, that  there is an arc to history. One description  was "Marxism turned on its head".  He documents the great progress made towards egalitarian societies.  Europe and the United States after the second world war. Then as if to confound any idea of progress, the systematic unravelling of that  from the 1980s onward. To progress so far, and then to revert so rapidly.  The sheer variety of arguments in favour of inequality. When you put them all together though, as he does, then you see them for what they are. Ficti


An extract from "2032" available now in all ebook stores. Fitzroy "Fitzroy." Jack said. "What?" "Clearance." It was enough of a novelty for them to be able to attend in person. The housing policy in action. Whole blocks of 5km square blocks were being cleared out for redevelopment. Today's target was Greeves Street by George Street in Fitzroy. Some compensation, although nothing near market rates. Then the bulldozers moved in and cleared it flat. There was sporadic resistance from the owners. In this space only a small percentage, less than 10%, actually lived in the houses they owned. Mostly the owners were distant, and reluctantly accepted the compensation. In a lot of cases the owners were overseas. Hardly likely to jump on a plane and lie in front of a bulldozer. The renters in the space were overjoyed: with a 50% cut in their rent, and funded relocation to one of the new developments. They held parties, feted the government


Extract from "2032" by Andrew Jennings. Available in all ebook stores now. Cabinet meetings were of a size larger than Jack liked to deal with. Nominally it was 20 people. But with advisors hovering it stretched to something like 100, spread across two or even three rooms. Today was focused on security. The upstart government was surrounded by enemies. He tuned in as an army major stood at the lectern. “Fortunately the geography works in our favour. With a combined satellite and drone surveillance it is a simple matter to keep the northern plains free. North of the dividing range in the agricultural zones there is very little cover.” He brought up a map showing the zone. Between Albury and Shepparton, and north of Bendigo there were great open spaces. The red swathe was broad and like a circle. He thought about asking about sea-born attacks from the south, where there seemed to be no defences, but he was cautious about making an idiot of himself in such a large gathering

Ruby's victory speech

Extract from "2032" by Andrew Jennings. Available in all ebook stores now. "Somewhere between 1 and 2" an eager face responded. Noah struggled to process that. Of course he meant somewhere between 1 and 2 million people. Where on earth do you put them all? Something like one fifth of the entire population of Melbourne. Spread throughout the city. For Ruby’s speech. A very important speech. Marking the new beginning, setting an agenda. Consolidating power. "How do we fit them?" Noah asked the obvious question. Jack turned towards him. "As far out as Brunswick. On the street. Everywhere." "Screens?" Noah asked Those without the augmented reality viewers would gather in parks. But most had the viewers that projected onto glasses. You got the speech overlayed on top of the scene you were looking at. He  hesitated to ask the most obvious question. "Security?" Ruby looked up. Glanced at Jack. “If they fly anything in pas

Jack and the Employer

Extract from "2032" by Andrew Jennings. Available in all ebook stores now.  “Just like old times.” Noah said “Yes.” Ruby replied. Jack just smiled. In a sense it was. They would meet at the beginning of the day. Somewhere. Perhaps a cafe, or later on in a rented meeting room. Now it was the same schedule, but with quite a different view. Early in the day they could see all the way to Geelong. A few stray clouds drifted above the bay. As the day progressed, the heat would burn them off and the thin line of sand they could see would have many people on it. Below them, the MCG would hold a cricket match. Life went on. While it was possible to get 100,000 people to a sporting event you would struggle to get 10,000 to a political rally. Ruby began. “Employment practices. The sweep. We have separated them into segments. About 60% of employers are ok. A bit of dodging this and that, but they are not really a problem. Then there are about 40% that are seriously out of whack. I